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Letter Addressed to City Council Addresses Inadequate Workplace Discrimination Resources

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A letter to City Council asks for more resources to the Office of Human Rights A letter to City Council asks for more resources to the Office of Human Rights
Walt Heinecke, the letter's author Walt Heinecke, the letter's author
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A letter is sparking a renewed call to add more resources to the Office of Human Rights in Charlottesville.

The Jefferson School hosted a discussion on Tuesday, February 27, about discrimination in the workplace, but some say the city still needs to do more.

A representative from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission talked about the steps you can take as an employee if you feel you are being treated unfairly because of your skin color, sex, age or other protected classes.

The letter addressed to the city is reigniting a call to bring back a civil rights attorney to Charlottesville's Office of Human Rights.

"More cases would be filed, more cases would be resolved in a quicker time period - so it really makes sense for the city to invest the original amount of dollars that they put into this when they started it,” says Walt Heinecke, who wrote the letter.

Heinecke wrote the letter to City Council and is one of the people who helped create the Human Rights Commission for the city. He says that two years ago, a civil rights attorney was let go.

"It's really a disservice to local Charlottesville residents who are suffering from employment discrimination, and from housing discrimination,” says Heinecke. “We can do better."

The HRC helps investigate complaints when people feel they have been discriminated against in the workplace, but it can only work with companies that have 5-14 employees. If you work at a company with more than 14 employees, you need to file your complaint through the Richmond Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"The rights that you don't know, you've given them away because the employers know the rights,” says Daron Calhoun, the director of Richmond’s EEOC.

Calhoun says he thinks it would be beneficial for Charlottesville to have a Federal Employment Practice Agency that would help keep companies accountable.

“It would be better if they had one, because the neighbors know each other and it’s faster to get to them, then us coming an hour away,” says Calhoun.

If you have a discrimination complaint to file, you can call the Office of Human Rights at 434-970-3023 or go to eeoc.gov.

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