Coronavirus Prompts Justice Department Warning About Discrimination
Federal officials say they are doubling down on efforts to root out discrimination against people with disabilities and other groups while the nation contends with coronavirus.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a newly-released statement that those with disabilities should be on guard for discrimination that may arise in a host of settings ranging from education to housing and health care and they should speak up if their rights are violated.
“As the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the department will remain vigilant in enforcing civil rights laws,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric S. Dreiband said. “We must ensure that fear and prejudice do not limit access to housing, schools, benefits, services, jobs and information, among other things, on account of race, sex, religion, national origin, disability or other protected classes.”
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If people with disabilities believe they have been discriminated against, they should file a complaint with the Justice Department or contact the civil rights division directly, the agency said. Complaints related to employment can be directed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the notice.
Local FBI field offices should be contacted about violent acts or threats based on disability or another protected class, the Justice Department indicated.
“It is important that we all work together to address unlawful discrimination, including violent acts or threats based upon protected classes,” Dreiband said. “Laws prohibiting unlawful discriminatory behavior must and will be vigorously enforced.”