Worthington is a community that values equality and non-discrimination. The community has a long tradition of inclusion and respect for people of diverse backgrounds, from the support of anti-slavery efforts and the Underground Railroad in the 19th century to civil rights and fair housing efforts in the 20th century. Few communities, whether large or small, can lay claim to organizations such as the Community Relations Commission, the Worthington International Friendship Association and Partners for Community and Character – all of which foster respect for others.
Worthington Community Relations Commission
There has been some type of human relations organization active in the City of Worthington since the 1960s. The current Community Relations Commission (CRC) was re-established by City Council in 1991. City Council appoints the nine members of the CRC and the Commission’s duties are listed in the City Charter:
The Commission shall act in an advisory capacity to City Council and to the City Administrative Staff on community issues related to fair and equal treatment for all persons. The Commission shall promote educational and other programs and opportunities to foster understanding, positive relationships, and a strong sense of community among people of diverse educational, racial, ethnic, cultural and economic
Yearly activities include the Martin Luther King Celebration, Neighborhood Grant program and the Good Neighbor Award. The CRC also sponsors forums and educational programs on topics of community interest.
Summary of Proposed Ordinance
In an effort to promote tolerance, respect and inclusion, the Community Relations Commission has recommended an Ordinance for consideration by City Council which clarifies that persons may not be treated differently because of a protected characteristic in Worthington. Under Ohio law, there are protections against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age and ancestry. However, there is no statewide protection for sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Worthington’s Codified Ordinances currently only reference race, color, religion or national origin.
Who is covered?
The proposed ordinance provides protection from discrimination because of a person’s race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, marital status, familial status, genetic information, or military status.
How are individuals protected?
The protections extend to housing, employment and public accommodations throughout Worthington. Essentially, persons may not be treated differently or denied services, credit, housing (sale, lease or rental), or employment (hiring, terms or conditions of employment) because of their protected characteristic.
People who believe they have been discriminated against because of a protected characteristic may file a charge with the Worthington City Clerk. Depending upon the specific nature of the allegations, the CRC will either proceed with an investigation or instruct the person fi ling the charge to re-file the charge with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If the CRC retains the matter, voluntary mediation is available. If mediation is not pursued or unsuccessful, the CRC or its designee will conduct an investigation and issue a determination. If discrimination is found, a cease and desist order and fine will be issued.
The Community Relations Commission will seek input from Worthington community members on this proposed Ordinance, and then will report the results of these conversations to City Council.
For More Information
Additional information about the Community Relations Commission is available here. Questions or comments for the Community Relations Commission may be sent to staff liaison, Lori Trego by Email or by calling 614-854-7171