Community Relations Commission

The Baltimore City Community Relations Commission (CRC) is the City Agency that investigates claims of discrimination and assists people who have been discriminated against by enforcing the laws that protects them. The Baltimore Community Relations Commission combats unlawful discrimination in employment, public accommodation, housing, education, and health and welfare services.  Discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or marital status is illegal in the City of Baltimore.


History

The Community Relations Commission was originally known as the Baltimore Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Created by Ordinance 379 in 1956, the Baltimore Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was designed to enforce new laws that defined and ruled against discriminatory employment practices by employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations.  These new laws outlawed discrimination by employers on the basis of an individual's race, color, religion, national origin, or ancestry.  Tax exempt employers such as religious organizations and private educational organizations were not covered by these first laws.

In 1960, Ordinance 379 was amended to provide enforcement powers to the Commission.  This amendment allowed the Commission to issue subpoenas for witnesses and employers' documents.  Then in June of 1962, the City Council passed a limited public accommodation ordinance which outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, and other public areas.  This law, however, did not cover restaurants or parts of restaurants that were primarily devoted to the sale of alcoholic beverages.  The public accommodation ordinance also changed the name of the Commission to the Baltimore Equal Opportunity Commission.

On February 26, 1964, one of the most comprehensive civil rights bills passed by a City was passed and signed in Baltimore. This Ordinance, Ordinance 103, covered unlawful discrimination in employment, public accommodations, public and private education, and public and private health and welfare agencies and institution.  It made it so that individuals who were discriminated against would be compensated and it also eliminated the exemption regarding restaurants that primarily serve alcohol. 

Ordinance 103 changed the name of the Commission to its current name, the Baltimore Community Relations Commission.  It also broadened the Commission's jurisdiction and authority.  The Baltimore Community Relation Commission became responsible for all matters in the area of intergroup relations and the Commission was given power to take action and hold public hearings.

Then in 1971, the prohibiting of discrimination based on sex was outlawed in all areas covered by Ordinance 103.  Soon thereafter, a prohibition against age discrimination employment was added to the law.  In 1975, discrimination based on physical and mental disability was prohibited and then in 1998 discrimination based on sexual orientation became outlawed as well.  Later, in 2003, the Mayor and the Baltimore City Council passed Ordinance 02-453 which prohibited discrimination on gender identity and gender expression.

Most recently, in 2014, the Mayor and the Baltimore City Council passed Ban the Box which combats discrimination against former offenders who are seeking employment.  The Baltimore Community Relations Commission is in charge of enforcing Ban the Box, as well as all of the above mentioned City Ordinances and amendments, so that the City of Baltimore is a place free from discrimination.