The Iowa Civil Rights Commission annual report shows a decrease in complaints below 2,000 after topping that number the last two years. Commission executive director, Ralph Rosenberg, says there were 1,905 complaints investigated by the commission.
Rosenberg says while the number of complaints have dropped, that’s only one indicator of how the state is doing regarding diversity, but he says overall “most Iowans, most days, want to do the right thing when it comes to civil rights and diversity.” Eighty percent of the complaints involved employment and topped the list by a wide margin.
Rosenberg says there wasn’t one majority area for the employment complaints, the top three complaints include race discrimination, mental and physical disability discrimination, and sex discrimination, which also includes sexual harassment. Rosenberg says the number of housing complaints have doubled but he says it is still a small number statewide. The number of housing complaints went from 75 in 2005 to 167 this year.
This report includes information on settlements reached in cases, which included payments of just over 600-thousand dollars. Rosenberg says those settlements are as varied as the individual cases. He says they looked at every case and it’s important to look at the wide range of cases and the settlements that ranged from an apology, to all the way up to a $250,000 payment. Those overall settlement amount was up from $375,000 last year.
Rosenberg says the settlement total was one of the largest in years, but Rosenberg says that doesn’t necessarily mean there is more discrimination. He says it could mean people were interested in getting quicker settlements so they could move on with their lives.
You can see the entire report here: 2010 ICRC annual report PDF