OHR testifies on compliance with Mayor's Order 2000-131
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[Note: This OHR testimony was sent to GLAA in all caps.]

GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

TESTIMONY OF NADINE CHANDLER WILBURN
INTERIM DIRECTOR
OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
AGENCIES' COMPLIANCE WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131
JULY 12, 2002

GOOD MORNING COUNCILMEMBER GRAHAM, MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL, AND CITIZENS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. MY NAME IS NADINE WILBURN. I AM THE NEW INTETIM DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS, EFFECTIVE JUNE 10, 2002. IT IS A PLEASURE FOR ME TO GIVE TESTIMONY BEFORE YOUR SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AGENCIES' COMPLIANCE WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131.

AS YOU KNOW, EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131 REQUIRES D.C. AGENCIES TO PROVIDE UNIFORM LANGUAGE IN ALL ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ISSUANCES AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY NOTICES. THE UNIFORM LANGUAGE MANDATED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131 READS:

"IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE D.C. HUMAN RIGHTS ACT OF 1977, AS AMENDED, . . . . . THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, SEX, AGE, MARITAL STATUS, PERSONAL APPEARANCE, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, FAMILIAL STATUS, FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES, MATRICULATION, POLITICIAL AFFILIATION, DISABILITY, SOURCE OF INCOME, OR PLACE OF RESIDENCE OR BUSINESS. DISCRIMINATION IN VIOLATION OF THE ACT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. VIOLATORS WILL BE SUBJECT TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION."

THE TYPES OF ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ISSUANCES REGULATED UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131 INCLUDE: JOB POSTINGS, EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY NOTICES, GENERAL ORDERS, DEPARTMENTAL DIRECTIVES, SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS, AND ANY OTHER DOCUMENT WHICH RECITES THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA'S ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131 WAS DRAFTED AFTER MAYOR WILLIAMS LEARNED, THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF THE GAY & LESBIAN ACTIVIST ALLIANCE OF WASHINGTON, THAT SOME D.C. AGENCIES FAILED TO INCLUDE ALL OF THE CLASSES PROTECTED BY THE D.C. HUMAN RIGHTS ACT OF 1977 IN ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ISSUANCES.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131 REPLACES AND REPEALS EXECUTIVE ORDER 85-59, WHICH DID NOT LIST ALL OF THE PROTECTED GROUPS LISTED IN THE ACT. EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131 ALSO DIFFERS FROM THE REPLEALED EXECUTIVE ORDER 85-59 IN THAT 2000-131 REMOVES ENFORCEMENT AND MONITORING AUTHORITY FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY AND PLACES IT IN THE OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

ALTHOUGH EXECUTIVE ORDER WAS SIGNED BY THE MAYOR, AND IS DATED AUGUST 21, 2000, THROUGH AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR IN THE OFFICE OF DOCUMENTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUANCES, THE EXECUTIVE ORDER WAS NEVER PUBLISHED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REGISTER. IN ADDITION, ALTHOUGH SOME AGENCIES LEARNED OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE ORDER THROUGH SOME OTHER MEANS OF DISTRIBUTION, AND ARE IN SUBSTAINTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH THE ORDER, A MAJORITY OF THE DISTRICT AGENCIES ARE NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ORDER BECAUSE THEY MAY NOT HAVE RECEIVED A COMPLY OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER. EVEN AGENCIES THAT ARE IN SUBSTAINTIAL COMPLIANCE ARE INCONSISTENT WITH REGARD TO THE PLACEMENT OF THE UNIFORM LANGUAGE IN ANTI-DISCRIMINATION NOTICES.

THE OFFICE OF DOCUMENTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUANCES HAS REMEDIED NON-PUBLICATION IN THE JULY 5, 2002 ISSUE OF THE D.C. REGISTER. IN ADDITION, ALL OF THE AGENCIES ARE NOW AWARE OF THE ORDER AND IT'S MANDATE TO PLACE UNIFORM ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LANGUAGE IN APPROPRIATE DOCUMENTS BECAUSE MY OFFICE NOTIFIED THE AGENCIES OF THIS REQUIREMENT, DURING MY PREPARING FOR THIS HEARING. THEREFORE, ALL AGENCIES WILL BEGIN TO TAKE IMMEDIATE STEPS TO COME INTO FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE EXECUTIVE ORDER, BY SEPTEMBER 30, 2002.

IN ADDITION TO A COMMITMENT FROM AGENCIES TO COMPLY WITH THE ORDER, THE OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS WILL ALSO FULFILL ITS MANDATE OF ENFORCEMENT AND MONITORING AGENENCIES' COMPLAINANCE WITH THE EXECUTIVE ORDER.

I DID BRING WITH ME TODAY FOR YOUR OFFICE, COPIES OF VACANCY ANNOUNCEMNTS, EEO POLICIES, CERTAIN CONTRACTS, GENERAL ORDERS, AND PARTICULAR FORMS, DEPICTING THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC LIBRARIES, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE AND SECURITIES ADMINISTRATION, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OFFICE OF PERSONNEL, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICES ARE IN SUBSTAINTIAL COMPLIANCE WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131. I AM NOT AWARE OF ANY AGENCY THAT IS IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE EXECUTIVE ORDER.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 2000-131 DEMONSTRATES THE MAYOR'S COMMITMENT TO ENFORCING THE D.C. HUMAN RIGHTS ACT OF 1977, ONE OF THE BROADEST AND STRONGEST ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS IN THE NATION AND THE AGENCIES ARE COMMITTED TO COMMUNICATING THE BROAD PROTECTIONS AFFORDED BY THE ACT TO THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL.


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