Evanston’s Human Services Committee tonight is scheduled to consider a human rights ordinance that would give the city manager power to review complaints of discrimination in hiring decisions by private employers.
The ordinance largely duplicates an existing state statute that gives the state Department of Human Rights the authority to investigate claims of discrimination in employment.
Both the state statute and the proposed city ordiance prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or disability.
The state statute — but not the proposed city ordinance — also covers discrimination based on ancestry, order of protection status, military status or unfavorable discharge from military service.
The city ordinance — but not the state statute — would cover gender identity, familial status and source of income.
The new ordinance would also prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace and discrimination in public accomodations, matters which are also covered by the state law.
The proposal before the Human Services Committee would also amend existing city ordinances that deal with fair housing and discrimination in hiring by the city and its contractors to add gender identity and source of income as banned reasons for discrimination.
While the existing ordinances carry provisions for monetary fines and appeals to the state Human Rights Commission or the courts, the proposed new ordinance makes no provision for enforcement beyond the city manager issuing an opinion directing “that the violation be remedied.”
Update 11:05 a.m. 4/8/14: Because of the length of the debate Monday night over the animal shelter, discussion of the human rights ordinance was postponed until the next Human Services Committee meeting, at 7:30 p.m. on May 5.
Human Services packet with proposed ordinance 26-0-14
City manager overreach of power
This is clear overreach by the city manager. We have the judicial system and state agencies to deal with these discrimination issues.
It appears the city is looking to find more ways to gain revenue through fines and inspections. This is just one more layer of problems for taxpayers, property owners and businesses.
You get what you vote for.
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