Madison Dept. of Civil Rights makes filing discrimination complaints easier

Madison Dept. of Civil Rights makes filing discrimination complaints easier

The City of Madison Department of Civil Rights is making it easier to file discrimination complaints.

Previously, Madison residents could only drop off reports at the Department of Civil Rights office located at the City County Building, but now they can go to United Way, the North/East Side Coalition and the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice.

Through the new Certified Community Partner Program, DCR investigators train trusted nonprofit employees on how to file discrimination complaints.

“If they have someone in their community that they trust, that they already have a relationship with, we wanted to empower those individuals to be able to guide them in how to lodge a discrimination complaint,” DCR Director Norman Davis said.

The reports will then be sent to the DCR office to be investigated.

Davis said often times people in underserved communities are unaware of the resources available to them or don’t have transportation to make it to the downtown office, which can prevent them from reporting complaints.

“There’s an under-reporting in discrimination and so we hope to be able to capture those instances of discrimination that have not been reported,” Davis said.

In 2016, 114 discrimination complaints were filed in Madison. That’s 21 more reports from the year before, according to the Department of Civil Rights.

The most common discrimination complaints were related to employment and housing.

Davis expects the number of reports filed to increase now that there are more certified drop-off locations.

By the end of November, there will be 10 official drop-off locations in Madison. DCR would like to expand the free program across Dane County.