The Commission on Equal Opportunities, New Haven's semi-autonomous civil rights agency, is charged to take "...official local action...to promote and assure equality of opportunity for all residents of the city" and to "...repair the consequences of past denials of equal opportunities, and to prevent such denials in the future..." It was established in 1964 by City Ordinance Chapter 12 1/2.
The Commission "repair[s]" and "prevent[s]...denials of equal opportunities" in part via its power to investigate discrimination complaints in employment, public accommodations, housing and credit. If it finds reasonable cause that discrimination has occurred, it can mediate between the contesting parties or issue appropriate orders for redress and award punitive and compensatory damages.
Similarly, the Commission "promote[s] and assure[s] equality of opportunity..." for individuals as it monitors and enforces compliance by city agencies, contractors and vendors with the City's equal employment/affirmative action policies and goals and the Living Wage ordinance. It is mandated to do the same for related state and federal laws, including enforcing their respective prevailing wage requirements.
The ordinance and related state and federal laws and policies mandate a Commission focus on city-related construction projects, which have specific minority and female employment and training goals that contractors must "exert maximum effort" to meet.
The Board of Commissioners meets monthly. Its agenda can include, but is not limited, to the following: recommend or adopt policies to further its mission, find for or against discrimination claims, and determine appropriate penalties for violations of the ordinance.
Commissioners are appointed to terms from one to three years. The Mayor appoints eight Commissioners and the Chairman. The Board of Alderman appoints one of its members to the Board of Commissioners. The Board selects its Executive Director, who is responsible for the administrative functions of the Board of Commissioners as well as staff.
Acting Interim Executive Director
Commission offices are located at:
New Haven City Hall
165 Church St, 6th floor
New Haven, CT 06511