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Cuyahoga County bans LGBTQ+ and other discrimination

Friday, September 28, 2018

The County also established a Human Rights Commission to hear discrimination complaints in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

On September 28, 2018, the Cuyahoga County Council passed an ordinance amending the county’s anti-discrimination policies to prohibit discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Effective October 27, 2018, it is illegal for businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community in all 58 cities and townships in Cuyahoga County in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The ordinance applies to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, categories that are not well-protected under federal or state of Ohio law.

The ordinance also includes protections against discrimination based on race, color, religion, military status, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, gender, marital status, familial status, and alienage or citizenship.

The ordinance also created a three-member Commission on Human Rights to promote diversity, inclusion, and harmony in our community. The commission will hear, investigate, and rule on discrimination complaints. The commission will have the power to levy civil fines against violators and to award attorneys’ fees to prevailing parties.

The commission will be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by Council. It will consist of three attorneys who will serve 24-month terms. The Commission has not yet been appointed, and the process is new, so there will likely be delays in the initial stages of enforcement.

At a packed hearing, the Chandra Law Firm LLC’s managing partner Subodh Chandra testified in favor of the ordinance, and urged County Council members to vote across party lines in the same way the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ruled unanimously that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.

(Unfortunately, every Republican member of Council voted against the ordinance’s legal protections, while every Democrat voted to protect Cuyahoga County residents from discrimination.)

It remains to be seen whether Cuyahoga County’s new commission will be effective in combatting discrimination. Because federal law affords precious little protection against private businesses’ anti-LGBTQ discrimination, the ordinance represents an important first step to trying to combat such discrimination.

The attorneys and staff at the Chandra Law Firm LLC are committed to fighting discrimination in our community and throughout the country. If you have been the victim of discrimination, please contact our office and ask to speak to an intake specialist.

Please be prepared to share information about what evidence you may have in support of your claim:

  • What type of discrimination has taken place?
  • What was said or done?
  • Who observed it?
  • What documents exist that might help prove your claim?

Chandra Law is also a member of Ohio Business Competes, nonpartisan coalition of businesses committed to achieving nondiscrimination policies at the state level to attract the best talent to our state, welcome visitors, and grow our economy.

Related Practice Areas
LGBT RightsEmployment DiscriminationEmployment RetaliationSexual HarassmentRace DiscriminationSex/gender DiscriminationPregnancy DiscriminationDiscrimination Against Deaf People

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