Responding to a Complaint of Unlawful Discrimination

The Urbana Human Rights Ordinance (“Ordinance”) prohibits discrimination with respect to housing, employment, credit or access to public accommodations because of a person’s race, color, creed, class, national origin, religion, sex, age, marital status, physical and mental disability, personal appearance, sexual preference, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, prior arrest or conviction record or source of income, or any other discrimination based upon categorizing or classifying a person rather than evaluating a person’s unique qualifications relevant to an opportunity. (Chapter 12 of the City Code)

What are the four (4) areas of activity covered by the Ordinance?

  • Employment: The Ordinance protects persons from discrimination in all terms and conditions of employment, including hiring, selection, promotion, transfer, pay, tenure, discharge, and discipline.
  • Housing (Real Estate Transactions): It is unlawful to discriminate in the sale or rental of residential or commercial property. Examples of such discrimination are: altering the terms, conditions or privileges or the transaction; refusing to receive or transmit a bona fide offer; refusing to negotiate or grant mortgage loans; misrepresenting that property is not available for rental or sale.
  • Financial Credit: All financial institutions doing business in the City of Urbana are prohibited from discriminating in the granting of commercial or personal loans and credit.
  • Public Accommodations: It is unlawful to discriminate in the full and equal enjoyment of facilities, goods and services by any place of public accommodation, such as a business, recreation, lodging, entertainment, or transportation facility.

What are the elements of a charge of discrimination?

A charge of discrimination with Human Relations Office may be filed against you or your organization, company or agency alleging:

  • you discriminated against a covered individual;
  • the conduct was based on the individual’s status in one of the protected classes; and
  • the conduct was in one of the four covered areas.

Charges must be filed with the Human Relations Office within ninety (90) days of the occurrence of a violation or ninety (90) days after the discovery of a violation. In no event shall a complaint be filed more than one (1) year after the occurrence of the violation.

What happens when a charge is filed?

If a charge filed with the Human Relations Office names you, your company or organization as a Respondent, a copy of the charge and an initial request for information will be served on the named Respondent via mail within seven (7) days of the date HRO receives a perfected (notarized and dated) charge. You will be required to file a verified response to the charge and provide a response to any HRO issued questionnaire by the date indicated. Failure to respond can result in a default finding against you.