The Lincoln Commission on Human Rights (LCHR) dates back to 1966 when Lincoln voters passed Article 10, an antidiscrimination and human rights amendment to the City Charter.
Title 11 was then added to the Lincoln Municipal Code, creating the framework to foster equal opportunity for all Lincoln residents and to prevent and respond to discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation.
Today, LCHR continues to strive to prevent, respond to, and eliminate all forms of illegal discrimination, and to assure and foster equal opportunity for all City of Lincoln community members. LCHR receives, settles, investigates, issues findings, conciliates, and holds public hearings on complaints alleging discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, familial status, age, ancestry, marital status, and retaliation within the City of Lincoln. Additionally, LCHR provides community education and assistance to community groups, businesses, schools, and governmental entities for the purpose of providing education regarding our legal rights and responsibilities, as well as promoting diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our community.
Who We Are
- Mindy Rush Chipman, Equity and Diversity Officer / Director
- Margie Nichols, Senior Civil Rights Investigator
- Michelle Ware, Senior Civil Rights Investigator
- Francisca Beltran, Community Outreach Coordinator
What We Do
- Institute actions to educate the public as to unlawful discriminatory practices and the enforcement measures provided in this title for the prevention and punishment of such practices.
- Enforce the provisions of this title by appropriate measures, including the requiring of affirmative action on the part of violators of such provisions in order to correct such violations, and by ordering such violators to cease and desist from doing any act in violation of this title.
- Seek to eliminate and prevent discrimination in places of public accommodation, housing, and employment as provided in this title on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, familial status, ancestry, age, or marital status.
- Effectuate the purposes of this title by conference, conciliation, and persuasion so that persons may be guaranteed their civil rights and goodwill may be fostered.
- Formulate policies to effectuate the purposes of this title and to make recommendations to agencies and officers of the city government in aid of such policies and purposes, and to advocate for the rights of women, minorities, and disabled individuals and promote causes in the name of the Commission before agencies and legislative bodies on matters of human rights.
- Designate one or more members of the Commission, or the Equal Opportunity Officer, or the Equal Opportunity Officer's staff and such other persons who may be retained for such purpose to conduct investigations of any complaint alleging discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, familial status, ancestry, age, or marital status, and in aid of such investigation, subpoena records or witnesses and compel their attendance, and to attempt to resolve such complaint by conference, conciliation, or persuasion and conduct such conciliation meetings and conferences as are deemed necessary to resolve a particular complaint.
- Determine whether reasonable cause exists to credit the allegations of a complaint; provided, that reasonable cause may be determined by any Commission committee of at least three commissioners or a Commission-appointed hearing officer, and such committee's or hearing officer's actions shall be deemed to be the action of the Commission.
- Determine that a complaint cannot be resolved by conference, conciliation, or persuasion.
- Dismiss complaints when it is determined there is not reasonable cause to credit the allegations of a complaint, or when a complainant requests the withdrawal of such complaint. In the event that a complainant cannot be reasonably located, or circumstances are such that the complainant's complaint cannot be finally disposed of, the Commission shall have authority to administratively close such investigation of such complaint. If no further action is taken on such claim for a period of four years from the date of closure, the complaint shall then be deemed dismissed without prejudice.
- Hold hearings in aid thereof, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, and administer oaths, take testimony of any person under oath and in connection therewith require for examination any books or papers relating to any matter under investigation or in question before the Commission.
- Issue publications and the results of studies and research which will tend to promote goodwill and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, familial status, ancestry, age, or marital status.
- Recommend damages, based on actual pecuniary loss or such damages as the Commission or Commission-appointed hearing officer may determine should be assessed against a respondent violating the provisions of this title. Additionally, the Commission may require such other remedial measures to accomplish the purposes of this title as the Commission may deem necessary. Such remedial measures may include directing the display of equal access to public accommodations or housing posters, equal employment posters, and such other informational materials as the Commission may deem appropriate.
- The Commission may file in a like manner a verified complaint of an alleged unfair discriminatory practice whenever there is reason to believe an unfair discriminatory practice has occurred, but this complaint must contain a bill of particulars setting out dates, names of witnesses, and the facts upon which the complaint if based.
- The Commission may, after the filing of a complaint, request the City Attorney to institute appropriate legal proceedings to protect the rights and privileges of the complainant provided by this title.
See LMC § 11.02.040