FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 23, 2014
CONTACT: Elliot Imse, Director of Policy and Communications – 202.481.3773; [email protected]
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) released its Highlights of Fiscal Year 2013 report today after a year marked by an increased caseload and enhanced outreach efforts to reduce discrimination in the District. The report shows claims of discrimination based on disability remained the most commonly filed with the agency, while complaints of sex discrimination replaced race as the second most common. OHR also increased its mediation settle rate and doubled its social media followers.
“Our staff is quite proud of its accomplishments over the last year, including our increased efforts to proactively reduce discrimination and the launch of our Citywide Youth Bullying Prevention Program,” said Acting Director Mónica Palacio. “We have expanded our agency’s reach while continuing to provide the efficient and high-quality investigations of discrimination that District residents and visitors have come to expect.”
Over 80 percent of OHR’s 357 cases alleged employment discrimination, with disability (87), sex (76), race (63) and age (59) among the most commonly cited protected traits. Approximately 9 percent of cases were related to housing, 6 percent public accommodations, and 1 percent educational institutions. Nine cases were complaints alleging non-compliance with the District’s language access laws, which OHR enforces. Additionally, OHR successfully settled 47 percent of the cases it mediated, an increase from the 41 percent of cases successfully mediated the year before.
Beyond investigations, OHR’s Citywide Youth Bullying Prevention Program, launched in June 2013, began working with youth-serving agencies, government grantees and schools to develop and implement bullying prevention policies based on best practices. The Language Access Program, which will release its annual compliance report next week, trained over 2,000 agency employees to ensure they can properly respond to the needs of limited and non-English proficient customers.
More details about OHR’s caseload and programs are available in the Highlights of Fiscal Year 2013 report, which is available for download at ohr.dc.gov/annualreports/2013.
About the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights
The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live in or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. OHR also proactively enforces human rights in the District through Director’s Inquiries, which allow it to identify and investigate practices and policies that may be discriminatory.