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City Breaks Settlement Record For Discrimination Victims In 2000

Friday, January 12, 2001
(Washington, DC) Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced today that the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) recorded more than $700,000 in settlements in discrimination cases for the calendar year 2000, a half a million dollar increase over 1999 settlements, making more money available to victims in public and private discrimination complaints in the District. Most of the discrimination complaints involved private housing, employment and public accommodations. OHR also closed more cases during 2000, resulting in a caseload reduction of more than 20 percent since March 2000.

The previous high recorded by OHR in settlements for a single calendar year was $534,972.46 in 1994, according to records maintained by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) since 1983.

"We will not tolerate discrimination in any form in the District of Columbia," said Washington DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams. "The Office of Human Rights and the DC Commission on Human Rights are committed to ending discrimination. We all stand to benefit from their stewardship and efforts to obtain redress for discrimination victims."

"This increase translates into more than 300 percent more money for discrimination victims as compared to the previous year," said Charles F. Holman, III, Director of OHR since February 2000. "This is one of the strongest indicators that Mayor Williams' efforts to turn around OHR are beginning to show results."

The OHR recorded $769,465.34 in settlements in 2000 compared to $187,750.29 for 1999. The OHR had a caseload of 722 in March 2000. Figures available as of December 29, 2000, show a pending OHR caseload of 560.

"We have made significant progress at OHR, but we must do more to solve cases more quickly and more efficiently." said Holman. "Although we are off to an excellent start, we still have a long way to go. We expect to do better by adding more investigators to our staff and increasing training opportunities."

Persons with strong writing skills and experience in civil rights and/or investigatory work are encouraged to contact OHR for employment opportunities. Persons with experience in, employment discrimination, fair housing work and Spanish language skills are encouraged to apply.

OHR's recent statistics compare favorably with civil rights agencies in other jurisdictions. Although comparative statistics can be difficult to come by, the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission, which serves a population significantly larger than the District of Columbia, reported $600,000 in settlements as of September 2000. Additionally, the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission, serving a statewide population three times the size of the District, reported total monetary relief for 1999/2000 of $694,206.

The OHR administers the DC Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, disability, source of income, and place of residence or business. For more information, call the Office of Human Rights at (202) 727-3900.