D.C. human rights report reveals 41 percent increase in discrimination
The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) has reported a 41 percent increase in cases of discrimination in 2014.
OHR, under the leadership of Mónica Palacio, is an organization that seeks to end discrimination through policy initiatives and awareness events. It works to protect human rights and increase equal opportunities for those visiting and working in the District of Columbia.
Most cases sent to the OHR cited issues of discrimination based on sex, race, and disability. Of the 504 cases reported to the office, discrimination in employment was the most prevalent at 77 percent. 93 of these cases were attributed to race and 87 to disability.
Many of the cases revolved around the lack of access to public services, more specifically single-stall gendered bathrooms. In the report, these cases “violate gender identity and expression protections in the District’s non-discrimination regulations.”
The OHR has been very successful in investigating and providing support to those who have filed reports of discrimination. 44.7 percent of the cases the OHR received were settled and 2.12 million dollars were paid to victims through settlements.
The OHR has recently become much more proactive and innovative with their reporting methods and outreach campaigns. OHR credits the increase of reported cases of discrimination to these renewed efforts, which revealed that discrimination based on sex was the most frequent in 2014.
OHR director Palacio has been formative in making these campaigns more effective. “It has been a transformative and exciting year at the Office of Human Rights,” Palacio said in a statement.
Palacio attributed their success to the housing outreach events and the new #SafeBathroomsDC campaign, stating, “we have built trust within vulnerable communities and increased awareness of OHR’s work, leading to substantially more discrimination complaints received by our agency.
OHR plans to build on these early achievements. Palacio said, “Looking ahead, we are very excited for the year to come as we support Mayor Bowser and her administration in fulfilling her vision of expanding equality in all eight wards.”
Photo: Matthew Rutledge via flickr