Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The City of Austin is Dedicated to Empowering Residents and Defending Civil Rights



Office of Civil Rights Hosting a Virtual Education Series Focused on Civil Right Protections

The City of Austin's Office of Civil Rights is holding a series of events to help Austinites identify and understand their rights when it comes to housing and employment discrimination. Approved by the Austin City Council in August 2020, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has been dedicated to promoting racial equity. That year alone, the OCR investigated 97 employment and 34 housing complaints. 
 
Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on a person's nationality, race, color, religion, disability, sex, and familial status. The City's OCR is empowered to receive complaints and enforce civil rights protections which guarantee equal social and economic opportunities, and equal protection under the law.

The Office of Civil Rights has investigated 55 cases involving allegations of civil rights violations in FY21 so far (October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021).  Of those cases, 17 resulted in monetary or other relief to the complaining party. This highlights the important work the department does to ensure Austinites live free from discrimination and other civil rights violations.

"We are dedicated to cultivating an environment of respect and inclusion," said Civil Rights Officer Carol Johnson. "Enforcing civil rights protections is critical in promoting visibility, accountability, and responsibility within our community."
 
In the department's work to promote accountability and responsibility, the Office of Civil Rights is hosting a virtual education series focused on the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance and other civil right protections. The goal is to empower participants with information to increase economic opportunity; prevent and reduce discrimination; and protect the health and safety of Austin residents.

Registration for the workshops is free and each series will include presentations by industry professional speaking on the following critical topics:
  • Employment Discrimination Education             September 22, 2021     1:00PM – 2:30PM
  • Housing Discrimination Education                    October 20, 2021         1:00PM – 2:30PM
 
This series aims to inform the community, employers, housing providers and businesses on specific civil rights protections for Austin residents, business owners and visitors.

City of Austin Opening Cold Weather Shelters Tonight

Warming Centers Available During the Day The City of Austin and partner agencies will be opening warming centers and cold weather shelters t...