When the General Assembly created the SC Human Affairs Commission in 1972 with the mission to prevent and eliminate discrimination in South Carolina, the State Legislature not only wanted to improve human relations among all citizens; but, it also wanted to ensure that State Government, as opposed to the Federal Government, was taking the initiative to resolve complaints of discrimination.  The initial legislation to create the Human Affairs Commission allowed the agency to investigate State Government employment discrimination complaints, and eventually through the years, legislation evolved where the Commission also investigated private sector employment discrimination complaints.

When the 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed into law and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created, the EEOC was able to establish a working relationship with Fair Employment Practicing Agencies (FEPA) to investigate employment discrimination complaints.  The SC Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC) became a FEPA and established a working relationship with the US EEOC.  As a result, each year since 1975, the SC Human Affairs Commission has entered into a written contract with the US EEOC to investigate employment discrimination complaints.  This gives the authority of the SCHAC to work with local businesses, local governments, law firms and local citizens to resolve disputes in a timely fashion where fairness, quality and personal service is guaranteed.  SCHAC employees work to resolve employment complaints through mediation, negotiated settlements and conciliation agreements. If agreements cannot be reached between the employer and the Complainant, the Human Affairs Commission, acting in an impartial manner, makes a determination regarding the evidence provided by the parties as to whether or not there was a violation of employment law regarding discrimination.  Once this determination is made a Notice of Right to Sue is issued to the Charging party that allows the Complainant to file in State Court.

Related: Discrimination in South Carolina: Facts Every Citizen Should Know

The Human Affairs Commission successfully completed the 2015-2016 EEOC Contract ending on September 30, 2016. Overall, 898 complaints of employment discrimination were investigated that resulted in a total monetary settlement value of 1.5 million dollars.  The effective working relationship between the EEOC and the Human Affairs Commission allows State Government, through the SCHAC, to take the lead in fighting discrimination and to provide the best possible services to all South Carolinians.

to learn more about the SC Human Affairs Commission visit our website at www.schac.sc.gov

The MinorityEye
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