The Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement is a city agency devoted to upholding the federal and local civil rights laws, as well as the local minimum, living, and prevailing wage laws. The overarching mission of the Office of Civil Rights is to carry out activities to eliminate discrimination and protect individuals' civil rights. There are four commissions that are housed in the Office of Civil Rights: the Community Relations Commission, the Wage Commission, the Civilian Review Board, and the Mayor's Commission on Disabilities.
The Civilian Review Board is authorized to process complaints lodged by members of the public who allege abusive language, harassment, false arrest, false imprisonment or excessive force by members of various law enforcement agencies in the City of Baltimore. It is the only entity in Baltimore City authorized to investigate the police and is an independent body with its own investigators.
The Community Relations Commission is the city's official fair employment practice, human rights, and intergroup relations agency which is responsible for combating unlawful discrimination in employment, public accommodation, housing, education, and health and welfare services based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry sex, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and marital status. The Community Relations Commission is also charged with enforcing the city's Ban the Box law that prohibits employers from inquiring into an individual's criminal history during the application phase of the hiring process.
The Wage Commission is the city agency tasked with enforcing the local minimum, living, and prevailing wage laws. The commission was created to investigate wage complaints as well as inspect payrolls to prevent wage fraud. Each year the Commission sets the new prevailing and living wage rates for the city.
The Mayor's Commission on Disabilities was created by the City of Baltimore Ordinance #93-237. Work to remove barriers and promote equal rights and opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The purposes of the Mayor's Commission on Disabilities are to:
• Assist the City with the accessibility of city facilities, programs, employment opportunities, and services for residents with disabilities.
• Assist the City in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.
• Assist the City in providing information and educational programs for City government, businesses, and industries regarding reasonable accommodations for employment and other issues concerning persons with disabilities.
• Assist the City with ensuring the implementation of the City's Master Plan for Accessibility and Universal Design.