Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bill Repeals Sections of Law That Create the Human Rights Commission

Bill Places Discrimination Claims in Hands of AG
When an alleged discrimination arising from an employment-related or housing matter occurs, SB 1728, replaces the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission with the Attorney General as the entity that enforces Oklahoma’s respective discrimination laws and where the party must file the complaint.
Additionally, the measure specifies that a prevailing plaintiff will be entitled to an additional amount as liquidated damages, not to exceed the amount of back pay awarded, where the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant engaged in discriminatory practice with malice and eliminates the award of attorney fees.
The Attorney General powers to enforce provisions of the Act are modified to authorize enforcement actions when conciliation (attempted resolution of issues through informal negotiations) is unsuccessful. If conciliation is successful, the Attorney General must approve the terms of the agreement and information concerning the agreement will not be made public unless contented by the parties. The Attorney General is required to promptly review, instead of promptly investigate, claims of discriminatory practice to determine if the complain contains a sufficient factual basis to warrant further investigation.
Discriminatory complaints contents and procedure for processing are modified. Complaints must be under oath an in the form prescribed by the Attorney General where the Attorney General will promptly notify the complainant of receipt and may investigate those allegations and notify the respondent if a sufficient factual basis exists.
The measure repeals several sections providing procedures for Human Rights Commission enforcement and judicial review of discriminatory practices.
The measure additionally repeals sections of law that create the Human Rights Commission.

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