[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Meriden 12-7-1970; amended in its entirety 1-21-1997. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Housing discrimination — See Ch. 122.
Discrimination in accommodations — See C.G.S. § 46a-64.
This chapter shall be known as the "Equal Opportunities Ordinance."
The population of Meriden is composed of people of diverse familial status, races, colors, religions, creeds, national origins and physical and mental abilities. It is essential to the health, safety and welfare of the City and its inhabitants that those differences serve only as bases of individual and community strength and integrity and not as causes of discrimination, segregation and restricted opportunities. Discrimination and its consequences cost the City and its people dearly. They cause unsafe and unsanitary housing, unemployment and underemployment and human waste.
Denial of equal opportunities to any person because of familial status, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin or physical or mental disability is against the public policy of the State of Connecticut. Government initiative to repair the consequences of past denials of equal opportunities, and to prevent such denials in the future, promotes the state's public policy. Because Meriden's population is diverse in familial status, race, color, religion, national origin and physical and mental abilities and the need for inter-group respect and understanding is therefore great, it is essential that official local action be taken to promote and ensure equality of opportunity for all residents of the City.
The City of Meriden does hereby reaffirm its policy to ensure equal opportunity in employment for all persons; to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry or physical or mental disability except in case of bona fide occupational qualification or need; and to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a continuing intensive affirmative program in each department of the City which will be an integral part of every aspect of personnel policies and practices in the employment, development, advancement and treatment of employees of the City of Meriden to the maximum extent possible.
The City of Meriden will endeavor to ensure full participation of all persons contracting or providing services to the City of Meriden and through this cooperative effort will ultimately improve community conditions that affect employability. The equal opportunity clause shall be incorporated in all purchase orders, leases, contracts, etc., covered by Executive Order 11246, as amended, and its implementing regulations.
The City of Meriden, as evidence of its intent to comply with basic policies and procedures necessary for equal employment opportunity standards, does hereby direct the City Council to adopt an affirmative action policy statement which will be on file in the Town Clerk's office and the office of the City Manager.
As used in this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes an individual, partnership, association, corporation, legal representative, trustee, trustee in bankruptcy and receiver.
There shall be established a Human Rights Advocacy Program, to be administered by the Human Rights Advocate. The Human Rights Advocate, who shall be an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Connecticut, shall report directly to, and perform under the direct supervision of, the City Manager on any issues related to human rights advocacy. The Human Rights Advocate shall be responsible for enforcement of the letter and spirit of this chapter. In addition, the Human Rights Advocate shall serve as a staff liaison to any boards or commissions as deemed necessary by the City Manager.
The Human Rights Advocate shall be responsible for ensuring the objectivity of any investigations undertaken and recommendations made in the enforcement of this chapter. To that end, the work product of the Human Rights Advocate shall remain physically isolated from any other department or work product and the Human Rights Advocate shall take any steps necessary to ensure the absence of any appearance of a conflict of interest.
The Human Rights Advocate's function shall be to promote mutual understanding and respect among, and encourage and ensure equality of opportunity for, all the people of Meriden without regard for their familial status, race, color, religion, creed, national origin or physical or mental abilities; to conduct such programs of education, study, research, investigation and action as will contribute to carrying out the purposes and provisions of this chapter; and to cooperate with governmental and nongovernmental agencies and organizations in the field of inter-group relations and equal opportunities.
The Human Rights Advocate shall have the following powers and duties:
To work with federal, state and City agencies as well as private, civic, religious, business, industrial, labor and other organizations, groups, and persons to achieve harmonious inter-group relations in the community as well as to develop and establish positive programs which will help all members of the community enjoy equality of opportunity in all phases of community life.
To study and investigate individual or community problems of limited opportunities, prejudices, discrimination, segregation and disorder and tensions occasioned thereby.
To assist in expediting complaints by referring complainants to the appropriate local, state or federal programs, agencies, commissions or courts which can effectively process, evaluate, address and resolve their complaint.
To issue reports and publications on its study, research and investigations designed to promote greater understanding of the problems, needs and progress in the field of inter-group relations and equal opportunities.
To counsel and assist in mitigating their damages, including but not limited to informing the complainant of any applicable time limitations.
To recommend to the City Council legislation or policies which will aid in carrying out the purposes and provisions of this chapter and applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
All departments, boards, commissions, agencies, bureaus, officers, officials and employees of the City shall cooperate with the Human Rights Advocate in implementing this chapter, and the heads thereof shall furnish to the Human Rights Advocate information in their possession when the Human Rights Advocate, upon the approval of the City Manager, so requests.