State Human Rights Commission Expands Enforcement

The commission that enforces Kansas’ nondiscrimination laws will begin hearing claims from people who allege they are being mistreated because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Kansas Human Rights Commission says that the decision is in response to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian, and transgender people from discrimination in employment.

The commission has expanded the ruling beyond employment cases, however, offering protections for people alleging discrimination in housing and public accommodations, such as retail stores and educational institutions.

In Kansas, any business with four or more employees will be covered; the Supreme Court ruling affects businesses with at least 15 employees.

The LGBT-rights group Equality Kansas’ Executive Director Thomas Witt said, “This is a great day for fairness in Kansas.”

The conservative Family Policy Alliance of Kansas tweeted of the decision, “You’ve shown contempt for Kansans, for their duly elected representatives, and for the law itself.”