Section 103-006 Ord. 17127; Amending Chapter 12 RE: Commission on Human Rights


Ordinance No.           17127               Council Bill No.          B 398-01A             

AN ORDINANCE

amending Chapter 12 of the City Code as it relates to the Commission on Human Rights, procedures for investigating and resolving complaints of discriminatory practices and the penalty for discriminatory practices; and fixing the time when this ordinance shall become effective.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:

    SECTION 1.  Chapter 12 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Columbia, Missouri, is hereby amended as follows:

    Material to be deleted in strikeout; material to be added underlined.

    ARTICLE II. COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS*
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Sec. 12-17. Officers; meeting and quorum; rules and procedures; compensation; attendance; training.
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(f)    Each member shall receive training in mediation techniques within one (1) year of the member's appointment to the commission.

Sec. 12-18. Functions, powers and duties.

    The commission shall have the following functions, powers and duties:

. . .

    (6)    To encourage fair treatment for all persons regardless of age as it relates to employment, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, marital status, or handicap, sexual orientation or familial status as it relates to housing.

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    (11)    To adopt rules, regulations and guidelines pertaining to the investigation and disposition of complaints consistent with the provisions of this chapter.

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Sec. 12-32. Definitions.

    For the purposes of this Article, the following words and terms shall have the meanings respectively ascribed:

    Commission. The commission on human rights.

    Complaint.  A written charge of discrimination alleging that a person has engaged in a discriminatory practice.

    Complainant. A person filing a complaint with the commission concerning an act, practice or course of conduct made unlawful by this Article who has filed a complaint with the commission alleging that another person has engaged in a discriminatory practice.

    Discriminatory practice. An act, practice, or course or conduct made unlawful by this Article.

    Dwelling. Any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designated or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one (1) or more families, or occupied, designed or intended for occupancy by one or more persons for commercial, professional or institutional purposes, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or leased for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure or portion thereof.

. . .

    Handicap. A physical or mental impairment resulting in a disability unrelated to a person's ability to perform the duties of a particular job or position for which otherwise he the person would be eligible and qualified for employment or promotions; to utilize the existing public accommodations; to acquire, rent or maintain property; to enter into a loan or other financial transaction for the purpose of purchasing, constructing, improving, repairing or maintaining real property; or to participate as a member in those organizations or facilities specified in section 12-41(1)(3) of this Article.

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    Investigating commissioner. The commissioner assigned to investigate a complaint Investigator.  A city employee whose job duties include investigating complaints or any individual appointed under commission rules to investigate a complaint.

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Sec. 12-34. Employment.

(a)    It shall be unlawful:

    (1)    For an employer, because of any individual's protected category:

        a.    To fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his the individual’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

        b.    To limit, segregate or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his the individual’s status as an employee.

. . .

Sec. 12-57. SameInvestigation, conciliation and mediation resolution.

(a)    Complaints shall be investigated and conciliated or mediated by individuals who have been approved by the commission and trained in investigation, conciliation and mediation.

(b)    Upon filing of a complaint, the chairperson of the commission shall designate an individual to investigate the allegations. The individual shall promptly investigate such allegations, and if he determines that probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, he shall thereupon undertake to eliminate the alleged discriminatory practice or practices by conference, conciliation and persuasion or mediation, and shall inform the commission of the results of such efforts. If the individual determines that no such probable cause exists, he shall so report to the commission, which shall thereupon dismiss the complaint without further proceedings, or direct further investigation or, if it determines that probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, direct that the alleged discriminatory practice or practices be the subject of conference, conciliation and persuasion or mediation. Neither the members of the commission nor any person participating in the investigation shall disclose what has occurred in the course of such efforts to conciliate. The determination of probable cause shall be made, and the investigation and conciliation or mediation shall be conducted, in accordance with such rules, regulations and guidelines as the commission shall prescribe.

(c)    If such efforts fail to eliminate the alleged discriminatory practice or practices, the complainant shall be referred to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.

(a)    Before investigating a complaint, the investigator shall determine if the complainant and respondent are willing to resolve the issues raised in the complaint through mediation or some other method of dispute resolution.  If the complainant and respondent are willing, the investigator shall facilitate dispute resolution.  The complainant and respondent may engage in dispute resolution at any stage in the process.  If the complainant and respondent resolve the dispute prior to investigation, the case shall be closed.

(b)    If the complainant and respondent are unwilling to attempt dispute resolution or are unsuccessful in such an attempt, the investigator shall promptly investigate the allegations of the complaint.

(c)    After completing the investigation, the investigator shall report to the commission the results of the investigation and the investigator’s opinion on whether there is probable cause to credit the allegations of the complaint.

(d)    After receiving the investigator’s report, the commission may direct further investigation. When the commission is satisfied that the complaint has been properly investigated, it shall determine whether there is probable cause to credit the allegations of the complaint. If the commission determines that there is no probable cause, it shall dismiss the complaint.  If the commission determines that there is probable cause, it shall attempt to have the issue resolved through mediation or some other method of dispute resolution.  If the respondent is unwilling to participate in dispute resolution, the commission may forward the matter to the city prosecutor.

(e)    At any stage in the process, the commission may close the case for good administrative reasons.  Such reasons shall include but not be limited to the following:

    (1)    The complainant has failed to cooperate with the commission.

    (2)    The commission is unable to locate the complainant or respondent.

    (3)    The complainant wishes to withdraw the complaint.
    (4)    The subject matter of the complaint has been satisfactorily investigated and resolved by another governmental agency.

    (5)    The complainant has filed a lawsuit against respondent involving the subject matter of the complaint.

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Sec. 12-59. Penalty for violation of article.

    Any person who shall violate any provision of this Article shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred one thousand dollars ($500.00 1,000.00), or imprisonment not exceeding thirty (30) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

    SECTION 2.  This ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage.

    PASSED this 7th day of January, 2002.