Commission on Human Rights
Lincoln inducted at September meeting to Hall of Fame
LOUISVILLE – The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (KCHR) Board of Commissioners today inducted President Abraham Lincoln into the 2007 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame inducted 19 other members this past Saturday, Sept. 15, in a ceremony held at Northern Kentucky University.
Chair Henry Curtis determined that the commission at a previous meeting ruled to induct President Lincoln. The U.S. president who led the nation in a civil war that ended slavery was not listed as a new inductee at Saturday’s event due to an oversight, Chair Curtis said. The commission today unanimously voted to induct Lincoln.
Commissioner Curtis, who Gov. Ernie Fletcher re-appointed last week to serve on the commission for another term along with other appointees and re-appointees, was named chair by the governor this week when a new commissioner resigned.
The governor appointed Bonita Black of Crestwood last week to serve on the commission for the first time and to serve as chair. She resigned this week due to personal reasons.
The commission also ruled today to accept five conciliation agreements to resolve discrimination complaints in Kentucky.
Maxine Sheets v. Crystalbrook Condominium Association Inc., in Frankfort: In a complaint based on the protected class of disability in the jurisdiction of Housing, a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Act. Ms. Sheets alleged her condominium association charged her $10 a day in fines for housing a service dog that resides with her for emotional support. The fines allegedly totaled approximately $9,000. Crystalbrook denied any violations of the law. The parties agreed to resolve the complaint. The conciliation included civil rights training of the condo association board, $15,000 in compensation to Ms. Sheets, and monitoring by the commission with regard to compliance for three years.
Former Commission Chair Priscilla Johnson v. Darrell Lanigan d/b/a Wentworth Apartments, in Florence: In a commissioner-initiated complaint based on the protected class of Disability in the jurisdiction of Housing, then Commissioner Johnson alleged Mr. Lanigan discriminated against the public by requiring disabled individuals with service animals to pay additional deposits and charges for housing the service animal. Mr. Lanigan denied any violations of the law. The parties agreed to resolve the matter, and a conciliation included compensation to the commission of $1,500 to further Fair Housing education in Kentucky, civil rights compliance training, and commission monitoring with regard to compliance for three years.
Luis Martinez and Monserrate De Jesus v. the Republic Bank and Trust Company at the New Cut Road Branch, in Louisville: The complainants alleged discrimination based on the protected classes of National Origin and Race in the jurisdiction of Public Accommodations, a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Act. Mr. Martinez and Ms. De Jesus alleged the bank advised them Mr. Martinez would have to open his account in a special Hispanic program that would provide him an interpreter even though Ms. De Jesus speaks fluent English and said she could have interpreted for him. The couple was allegedly advised to return at a later time to open a bank account. Republic Bank denied any violation of the law. After the commission found probable cause to believe a violation may have occurred against Mr. Martinez, the parties agreed to resolve the matter. The conciliation included compensation of $5,000 to Mr. Martinez alone since the commission determined Ms. De Jesus was not denied a service due to her ability to speak fluent English. The bank agreed to undergo civil rights compliance training and commission monitoring with regard to compliance for three years.
Ann Ramser v. Dr. Daniel A. Reynolds, in Owensboro: Ms. Ramser as power of attorney for her aunt, Edna Thompson, who is deaf, alleged discrimination based on the protected class of Disability in the jurisdiction of a Public Accommodations, a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Act. Ms. Ramser claimed her aunt’s dentist failed to provide a sign language interpreter as required by law for Ms. Thompson. After the commission determined probable cause to believe a violation may have occurred, the parties agreed to resolve the matter.
Dr. Reynolds denied any violation of the law. The conciliation included an agreement by Dr. Reynolds to have a written policy to deal with meeting requirements for patients with disabilities, and to undergo training and commission monitoring for three years.
Hatton Reeves v. Erlanger Lakes Council of Co-Owners and Tim Renaud, in Erlanger: In a complaint based on the protected class of Disability in the jurisdiction of Housing, a violation of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Fair Housing Act, Mr. Reeves alleged he was denied the reasonable accommodation of a handicap parking space at his condominium. Erlanger Lakes Council denied any violation of the law. After the commission found probable cause to believe discrimination might have occurred, the parties agreed to resolve the matter. Conciliation included a handicap parking space for Mr. Reeves, compliance training for the respondents, and commission monitoring with regard to compliance for one year.
In other business, the Board dismissed three complaints under reconsideration with findings of no probable cause, dismissed 25 other complaints with findings of no probable cause, and accepted five complaint withdrawals – two with private and undisclosed settlements and three without settlement but with a right to file a private suit.
The KCHR is the state government agency that enforces The Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the policies of federal civil rights laws. It receives initiates, investigates, conciliates and rules upon jurisdictional complaints. The KCHR has jurisdiction in housing, employment, public accommodations, and financial transactions. The Kentucky Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, employment, housing, and financial transactions on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, and sex. Discrimination is further prohibited on the basis of familial status in housing, the basis of age (40 or over) in employment, and the basis of a person’s tobacco-smoking status in employment. Complaints not dismissed, settled or conciliated go to administrative hearing where commission decisions have the authority of a court of law.