The number of employment discrimination complaints received by the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights (LCHR) decreased slightly from 2008 to 2009. But Director Larry Williams said the number of complaints is only one part of the picture. The 2009 LCHR annual report shows a total of 86 cases filed – 71 for employment discrimination, 13 for housing discrimination and two for public accommodation discrimination. That compares to 98 cases filed in the previous year.
"It's difficult to tell whether discrimination is increasing or decreasing based solely on the number of complaints filed," Williams said. "Some people simply do not file complaints because they fear retaliation or are unaware of the resources available to help them. That is why education and outreach are so important to us."
LCHR conducted more than 50 educational outreach and training sessions in 2009, reaching more than 3,000 people. The efforts included programs to career education classes at Lincoln Public Schools and the annual Fair Housing Conference. This year, the Civil Rights Conference April 20 and 21 will expand on the topic of fair housing and also cover employment discrimination.
"To end discrimination, we must do more than enforce the law," said Williams. "We also must provide the opportunity for all people in the community to reflect on their own attitudes, perceptions and beliefs through education and communication."
More than 57 percent of LCHR's annual budget comes from grant sources. In fiscal year 2008-2009, LCHR received $112, 474 in City general fund dollars, less than 1 percent of the City's total general fund budget.
Other findings from the 2009 annual report include the following:
To learn more about LCHR and the 2010 Civil Rights Conference, call 441-7624 or visit lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: rights).