The city’s Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (LA Civil Rights) officially launched its discrimination enforcement division, allowing for city enforcement of civil rights law on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
In a press conference with Mayor Eric Garcetti, Council President Paul Krekorian, and Council President Pro Tempore Curren Price, LA Civil Rights announced its authority to investigate alleged discriminatory practices in the private sector areas of commerce, education, employment and housing and enforce the city’s Civil and Human Rights Law.
“Today we’re doubling down on our work to build an L.A. that is more equal, more fair, and more just,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We’re creating a place where Angelenos who have faced discrimination can seek justice — and affirming that we will always stand up for each other and put our values at the center of everything we do in this City of Angels.”
“Now, more than ever, at a time when our city and our nation have suffered such pain from the actions of some to divide us, Los Angeles is proud to ensure that civil rights for all are protected. Those who have suffered from discrimination in employment or in housing, in business or in commerce, should know that the City of Los Angeles stands with you, and is ready to see that justice is done,” said Council President Paul Krekorian.
“The establishment of a Discrimination Enforcement Division is yet another reminder that Los Angeles is the epicenter of equity and opportunity and there’s no place for discrimination here,” said Councilmember Curren Price.
“Over the last few years and most recently last month, we have been mired in scandals involving hatred and bigotry from Hollywood to politics. The sad truth is that discrimination and racism are real in Los Angeles – and we need all the resources we can get to fight it.”
“Fighting hate and discrimination is in our DNA at LA Civil Rights, and we are proud to take this fight to a whole new level,” said LA Civil Rights Executive Director Capri Maddox. “Our Discrimination Enforcement division can enforce civil rights law in Los Angeles and provide much-needed justice to those who have faced discrimination in private sector commerce, education, employment and housing.”
LA Civil Rights can investigate discrimination against protected classes that occurred in the City of Los Angeles within three years of a complaint being filed. After a complaint intake form is filed and an initial assessment is conducted, special investigators will investigate the case.
Based on outcomes of the investigation, financial penalties up to $250,000 and other corrective actions may be implemented. All available tools including subpoenas will be implemented to the maximum extent possible by the City’s Human Rights law. LA Civil Rights will offer outside mediation services, provided by Pepperdine University. Complaints can be filed online or via telephone at (213) 978-1845.
The establishment of the Civil and Human Rights Law and discrimination enforcement authority is the result of a multi-year effort led by the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA), UCLA Labor Center and others in a multiracial coalition of workers and community organizers.
“I am truly happy to hear about the launch of the LA Civil Rights Discrimination Enforcement program, something long sought by the LA Black Worker Center,” said Janel Bailey, Co-Executive Director of Organizing and Programs at the Los Angeles Black Worker Center. “For many years now, Black Angelenos have raised concerns about the lack of equity and opportunity at work. The LA Black Worker Center, in coalition with other marginalized workers, helped lead the fight for local enforcement of civil rights law. This is an important step forward, and I’m eager for Black workers and other marginalized workers to feel the effects of this program in their day-to-day lives.
Many of these organizations joined Mayor Eric Garcetti, Council President Paul Krekorian and LA Civil Rights Executive Director Capri Maddox for today’s announcement, alongside representatives from the California Civil Rights Department, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the department’s Commission on Civil Rights, civil rights activists and others.
State law controls the enforcement of housing and employment violations for certain protected classes under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). In areas where it lacks jurisdiction, LA Civil Rights will refer cases to other agencies, including the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Filing a complaint with LA Civil Rights does not preclude anyone from seeking justice through other government agencies or through the legal system.