What does the Kansas Human Rights Commission do?
The mission of the Kansas Human Rights Commission is to prevent and eliminate discrimination and assure equal opportunities in all employment relations, to eliminate and prevent discrimination, segregation or separation, and assure equal opportunities in all places of public accommodations and in housing.
As of July 1, 2005, the Commission also accepts, reviews, and investigates, if necessary, complaints from any person who believes they have been subjected to racial or other profiling by a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency in conjunction with traffic stops.
The Commission achieves its mission by investigating complaints alleging discrimination or profiling, and through a public education program designed to prevent discrimination.
How successful is the Commission?
In the last ten years, the Commission recovered more than $8.7 million on behalf of persons alleging discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodations, and housing, and resolved 9,219 complaints. The Commission resolved in excess of 800 complaints in each of the last ten years. In 2004, the International Association of Official Human Rights Organizations recognized the Commission as “as one of the most successful Civil and Human Rights offices in the nation”.
The above figures do not include the value of positions or other non-monetary remedies that may have been obtained by the Commission on behalf of complainants.
What do Kansas laws and guidelines cover?
Kansas laws protect persons from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Charges of alleged discrimination may be filed on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, disability, national origin, ancestry, retaliation, age in employment only, and familial status in housing only. Genetic screening and testing in the area of employment is prohibited
Employment and public accommodation complaints must be filed within six months from the last alleged discriminatory act. Housing complaints must be filed within one year of the last date of incident.
Kansas law also prohibits a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency relying, as the sole factor, on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender or religious dress in selecting which individuals to subject to routine investigatory activities, or in deciding upon the scope and substance of law enforcement activity following the initial routine investigatory activity in conjunction with traffic stops.
It is the Commission's position that complaints of racial and other profiling must be filed within six months of the last alleged incident to review and investigate such complaints.
Who can file a complaint?
Any person who feels they have been discriminated against or denied an equal opportunity in the areas of employment, housing or public accommodations based on race, religion, color, sex, disability, ancestry, national origin, retaliation, age in the employment, familial status in the area of housing only, genetic screening and testing in employment only, and can articulate a prima facie case may file a complaint with the Commission.
Any person who believes they have been subjected to racial or other profiling by a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency may file a complaint with the Commission.
How do I file a complaint?
An individual may write, telephone, e-mail, or come into one of the Commission's offices to begin the filing process with the assistance of one our intake workers. A complaint may be filed personally or by an attorney.
A complaint alleging discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodation must be signed and verified before a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths. A complaint alleging racial or other profiling must be signed, but is not required to be notarized or sworn to by the complainant.
Complaint forms can be obtained at the Kansas Human Rights Commission's website at www.khrc.net or by calling our complaint intake unit at 1-888-793-6874 or (785) 296-3206.
Will the Kansas Human Rights Commission help me in filing a complaint?
Yes, intake staff is available to assist in drafting a complaint based on information provided by the complainant. Intake staff can be reached at 1-888-793-6874 or (785) 296-3206, or an e-mail can be sent to email@example.com.
What happens if my complaint does not fall in the Commission's jurisdiction
The intake department will refer inquirers to other agencies for issues outside of the Commission's jurisdiction whenever possible.
Occasionally, employment complaints will fall outside the six-month time limitation set by the State of Kansas, but are within the 300-day limitation set by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). When that happens, the KHRC will assist the individual in completing the complaint forms and forward them onto the EEOC for investigation and determination. The EEOC will notify individuals when a complaint is transferred to them under these circumstances.
After I file a complaint with the Commission, what is the next step?
The Commission offers a voluntary third-party mediation program statewide through Kansas Legal Services to allow parties to mediate and resolve their controversies. A significant percentage of the cases filed with the Kansas Human Rights Commission are settled through the Kansas Legal Services’ mediation program. Parties participating in the mediation program are highly satisfied with it.
What happens if mediation is not selected or if mediation fails?
When mediation services are not selected by either party or when mediation services fail, a complaint may be sent for full investigation.
During a full investigation, a field investigator will interview the complainant, review relevant documents, conduct interviews with witnesses, and summarize the case for the investigating commissioner. The investigator's role is that of a fact finder. The investigator does not determine the outcome of the case, but rather gathers and presents the facts to a commissioner for determination. Information is gathered in an objective and impartial manner. All information discovered throughout the course of the investigation of an employment, housing, or public accommodation case is confidential. Information gathered in a racial and other profiling case is not considered confidential.
Depending upon the information obtained during the investigative process, the investigating commissioner makes a determination of either "Probable Cause" or "No Probable Cause".
If the Commission finds "Probable Cause" in an employment, housing, or public accommodation complaint, then an attempt will be made to reach a written settlement between the complainant and the respondent. If conciliation efforts fail for an employment, housing, or public accommodation complaint, the case may be scheduled for a public hearing.
In a racial or other profiling case, the Commission is required to consult with the head of the law enforcement agency before making final recommendations regarding discipline of any law enforcement officer or other disposition of the complaint.
What do I do if I have more questions?
Contact us at:
Kansas Human Rights Commission
900 S.W. Jackson, Suite 568S
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1258