Commission on Human Rights
KY Human Rights Commission issues November 2013 rulings on discrimination complaints

Press Release Date:  Thursday, November 21, 2013  
Contact Information:  Victoria Stephens
Mobile: 502.641.0760
Commission Headquarters
1.800.292.5566
 


The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Board of Commissioners met on Thursday, Nov. 21, at Louisville, Ky., headquarters to rule on discrimination complaints for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The commission ruled to approve 11 case withdrawals giving complainants the right to file private suits, three case withdrawals resolved with private settlements, and dismiss 21 complaints with findings of no probable cause to evidence that discrimination occurred. The commission successfully mediated one complaint with an undisclosed settlement and approved a summary brief of a non-complaint investigation.

Non-complainant investigation as part of employer’s self-evaluation of possible sexual harassment in the area of employment at the Fayette County Detention Center, in Lexington, Ky.: At the request of former Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights conducted from January to July 2010 a general investigation, on a no-complaint basis, into the possibility of a sexually hostile work environment. The then mayor reported claims had been made by employees at the Fayette County Detention Center that included claims of retaliation against employees who resisted, opposed or reported such discriminatory employment practices.  Because a formal complaint of discrimination had not been filed with the commission by any employee of the detention center, the commission’s investigative powers were limited. As three years have passed since the investigation and no discrimination complaints have been made during the three-year period to the commission by Fayette county Detention Center employees, the commission ruled at its November to approve the summary brief concerning the subject and to close the matter as it currently exists. The commission does urge any person to contact the commission to make a discrimination complaint if the person believes he or she is a victim of discrimination in the area of employment based on sex or any other protected class. The commission concluded that various staff at the detention center perceived a sexually hostile work environment existed at the detention center during 2010. Since the commission’s investigation of that year, the center now offers regular sexual harassment trainings throughout the year, hired a new director in 2012, hired more officers to alleviate tension and bolster morale, and confirms it implements its existing policy regarding sexual harassment including fraternization policy. The commission urged the detention center to continue its efforts to provide and implement aggressive policies to alleviate and eradicate employment discrimination, stating, “Such policies must include safe and effective procedures for reporting, investigating and resolving all claims of discrimination and retaliation.  Reporting procedures must insure that witnesses and claimants are protected from threats, intimidation or other forms of retaliation for coming forward with information and claims.  During the investigation of a claim, there should be a physical separation in the workplace between the claimant and the alleged perpetrator.  Further, such policies must include severe penalties for any person found to have engaged in unlawful discriminatory or retaliatory employment practices up to and including termination.”

The Kentucky Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate against people in the areas of employment, financial transactions, housing and public accommodations. Discrimination is prohibited based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, and disability. In employment, discrimination is further prohibited on the basis of age (40-years and over) and tobacco-smoking status. In housing, discrimination is further prohibited based on familial status, which protects people with children in the household under the age of 18-years old and protects women who are pregnant.

 

For more information, contact the commission at 1.800.292.5566. For details about civil rights and commission activities, visit the website at kchr.ky.gov. For news about civil rights and information pertaining to protected classes, visit the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Facebook and Twitter sites.

 

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