Akron Could Have Its Own Civil-Rights Commission

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Akron could soon have its own anti-discrimination law and civil rights commission.  From Ohio Public Radio station WKSU, Tim Rudell reports.

The Mayor and City Councilman Rick Swirsky introduced an ordinance to create the new law and commission.

Assistant city law director Ellen Lander-Nischt says the legislation augments federal and state anti-discrimination protections.

First, by specifying coverage for gender-identity, national-origin and other non-traditional discrimination cases.  And second, by making it easier to seek a hearing of grievances.  

“The goal in enacting this was to provide a local for forum for basically for hearing those complaints.  We expect it will be faster than going to the Ohio Civil Rights Commissioner or the EEO.”

Lander-Nischt says the City civil rights commission will be truly “of the city.”

“It’ll have five regular members and up to two alternates. They have to be Akron residents.  And, they’ll be coming from diverse backgrounds to obviously, represent the diversity of the city.”

The Akron ordinance would cover discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations—including places of business, entertainment venues and parks—and City Contracts.  

City Council is expected to pass it next week.

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