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2008 Media Releases


Date:
February 15, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Larry Williams, Human Rights, 441-8691


REPORT SHOWS INCREASE IN EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS

The number of employment discrimination complaints received by the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights (LCHR) in 2007 was 21 percent higher than the number received in 2006, increasing from 72 to 91. The LCHR annual report also shows that the total number of cases filed is holding steady from 112 in 2006 to 113 in 2007, while the number of housing discrimination cases dropped from 32 in 2006 to 17 in 2007.

“These statistics don’t tell us if cases of discrimination are increasing or decreasing in our community,” said Larry Williams, LCHR Executive Director. “We place a great deal of emphasis on our public education efforts, and awareness of legal rights and responsibilities plays a big role in the number of complaints.”

LCHR staff conducted 65 educational outreach and training sessions in 2007, reaching more than 3,000 people. Its annual free Fair Housing Conference usually draws more than 300 people. This year’s conference is March 25 and 26 at the Embassy Suites. LCHR also meets with career education classes in each of the Lincoln high schools four times a year.

“We’ve been working with the Lincoln Public Schools to take our outreach efforts to our elementary and middle schools throughout the City,” said Williams. “To end discrimination, we must do more than enforce the law. We also must provide opportunities for all people in our community to reflect on their own attitudes, perceptions and beliefs through education and communication.”

More than 52 percent of LCHR’s annual budget comes from grants sources, such as the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Housing and Urban Development Department. LCHR received $140,222 in City general fund dollars in fiscal year 2006-2007, about .12 percent of the City’s total general fund budget.

“Our job is to make sure everyone in the community is treated equally and fairly,” said Williams. “We have a responsibility to use our financial resources wisely to accomplish that goal, and leveraging City dollars with outside funding is one of the ways we do that.”

Other findings from the LCHR annual report:

  • More than $64,000 in monetary settlements were obtained for clients in 2007, compared to $20,000 in 2006.
  • Five public accommodation complaints were filed in 2007, compared to eight in 2006.
  • About 31 percent of the 2007 cases include race as the basis of discrimination, compared to 23 percent in 2006.
  • About 18 percent of the 2007 cases include sex as the basis of discrimination, compared to 21 percent in 2006.

Williams encouraged groups or individuals who want to learn more about the Commission and its work to contact LCHR at 441-7624 and visit the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: rights). The 2007 annual report and information about the upcoming Fair Housing Conference also are available on the Web site or by calling LCHR.


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