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It is the desire of the City Commission to foster and encourage the growth and development of the City of Sarasota in a manner that will assure all persons an equal opportunity to live free of discrimination.

On August 8, 2003, the City Commission of the City of Sarasota passed Ordinance Number 03-44621 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status, in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodation.

Discriminatory practices are contrary to the public policy of the City and are a menace to the public peace and welfare of our citizens.  The City shall direct its efforts and resources toward eliminating discriminatory practices within the City in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations where they exist.

The ordinance created the Human Relations Board of the City of Sarasota and provides a process for a person to file a complaint of discrimination with the Board.  Conciliation of a complaint is a vital part of the process of resolving a complaint.  If a complaint cannot be conciliated or otherwise settled, it will be the subject of a public hearing in which the Board determines whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that a prohibited act of discrimination occurred.  If the Board finds reasonable cause, then a notice of right to sue letter is issued and the complainant may elect to file suit in circuit court seeking damages or other relief provided for by the ordinance.

The Board consists of five (5) volunteer members who possess the technical, professional, financial, business, or administrative skills necessary to accomplish the work of the Board.  Meetings are scheduled monthly, alternating between evening and morning, to accommodate the needs of the public.  The Board is supported by the City of Sarasota’s Human Resources Department.  

1 Ordinance No. 03-4462 was codified in Chapter 18, of the Sarasota City Code.

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