Human Rights Commission
What is the Human Rights Commission?
Established in 2018, the Cuyahoga County Human Rights Commission (CCHRC) promotes diversity, inclusion and harmony to ensure equal opportunity and treatment for all citizens of the County.
The Commission hears and decides each discrimination complaint through a neutral process which gives complainants and respondents the opportunity to present evidence and testimony at an administrative hearing. The work of the Commission is authorized by Chapter 206.13 and Title 15 of the Cuyahoga County Ordinances.
Who is Covered?
The CCHRC enforces the County’s Anti-Discrimination Ordinance by resolving complaints of discrimination, including those based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression (SOGI).
Cuyahoga County’s Anti-Discrimination also prohibits discrimination based on the following protected classes:
- Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression in combination with race, color, religion, military status, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, familial status, and sex.
What is Covered?
- Housing (sale, lease, rental, financing, etc.)
- Employment (hiring, promotion, discipline, working conditions, salary, etc.)
- Public Accommodations (access to goods, services, business and public spaces)
Within five days after a notorized complaint is filed, the Commission determines whether it has jurisdiction to hear your case (Section 1501.03). A case number will be assigned. After a complaint is filed, the Commission notifies each named respondent by mail. Respondents have 30 days to submit a response [Section 1501.03(C)].
The complainant and respondent may voluntarily decide to mediate and settle their dispute. If each side does not agree to participate in mediation, an administrative hearing will be scheduled. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement at the mediation conference, the Commission will schedule the matter for an administrative hearing [Section 1501.03(D)].
About the Administrative Hearing
The Commission does not prosecute the case and is not the complainant’s lawyer. The Commission does not become involved with a case unless it comes before it for a final ruling after an administrative hearing.
Complainants must prove their claims of discrimination by presenting reliable, probative, and substantial evidence [See Title 15, Section 1501.04(C)]. Both sides can submit documents, records and other materials and testimony for consideration by the Commission at the administrative hearing. Commission orders and decisions are issued in writing and mailed to all the parties within 30-days of the hearing. This decision may be appealed to Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas by either party [See Title 15, Section 1501.06].
Remedies and Relief for Discrimination
If the Commission finds substantial evidence of a violation of the Cuyahoga County Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, the Commission can order anyone who has been found to have discriminated in violation of the Cuyahoga County Anti-Discrimination Ordinance to cease and desist from engaging in the unlawful conduct and to pay complainant’s attorney's fees. Upon a finding of unlawful discriminatory practice or act, the Commission may also impose civil administrative penalties from $1,000 to $5,000 for violations for each offense paid to Cuyahoga County [Section 1501.05(B)].
All penalties collected will be used to defray costs and enforcement of the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, and to support the County’s efforts in eradicating discrimination. If the Commission finds substantial evidence of a violation, the Commission can order anyone who has been found to have discriminated in violation of the Cuyahoga County Anti-Discrimination Ordinance to cease and desist from engaging in the unlawful conduct and to pay complainant’s attorney’s fees. Upon a finding of unlawful discriminatory practice or act, the Commission may also impose civil administrative penalties from $1,000 to $5,000 for each offense paid to Cuyahoga County [Section 1501.05(B)].
Many of the Commission’s cases are settled by the parties before a full administrative adjudication on the merits. These settlements conserve the resources of both the parties and the Commission, so if at any time after filing a complaint, you are interested in mediating your dispute, please advise the Commission.