On May 3, 2021, the City of Champaign’s Human Relations Commission will conduct the first day of a public hearing in a human rights case alleging that the former Rogue Barbershop discriminated against a resident on the basis of sex. The public hearing will be conducted during the regular Human Relations Commission meeting, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be held electronically through Zoom. The meeting is open to the public and will be televised on CGTV and live streamed on the City’s website (champaignil.gov/cgtv).
The Human Relations Commission is responsible for the promotion of equal rights and opportunities for Champaign’s residents and visitors. The Commission serves as the hearing board for complaints concerning violations of the Ordinance that cannot be conciliated by City staff. At their regular meeting on May 3, the Commission Chair will appoint a hearing officer for this case. The May 3 hearing date will be solely for purposes of appointing the hearing officer, giving instructions to the Commission regarding procedure, and scheduling the substantive portion of the hearing, which will occur at a later date. During the public hearing, the City’s Legal Department will serve in a prosecutorial role, the hearing officer will preside over the hearing, and the Human Relations Commission will determine the outcome of the case.
The City’s Human Rights Ordinance was developed with the intent to secure an end to discrimination in approximately 17 protected classes in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodation, and lending/credit. The City’s Office of Equity, Community, and Human Rights investigates discrimination complaints and works with complainants and respondents to mediate and attempt to come to a voluntary agreement to resolve a complaint. In cases where a probable cause finding is issued by the City, the facilitation of a settlement agreement may occur between both parties prior to a public hearing. In nearly all cases, the City successfully facilitates a conciliation process and a public hearing is not necessary. This is the first City discrimination case to proceed to public hearing since 2002.
Members of the Human Relations Commission are appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council. The Commission consists of nine resident volunteers who provide support through outreach and education to the community regarding the human rights ordinance and human rights issues. For more information about the City of Champaign’s Human Rights Ordinance or the Human Relations Commission please visit champaignil.gov/ECHO.
To protect the integrity of the process, the City will provide no further comment on this case until after the hearing has concluded.