The Kentucky General Assembly created the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in 1960. Initially, the state government agency was instructed to encourage fair treatment and foster mutual understanding and respect, and to discourage discrimination against any racial or ethnic group or its members.
However, in 1966, the commission role expanded with the passage of The Kentucky Civil Rights Act (Kentucky Revised Statute [KRS]344). This law made discrimination illegal on a state level, and it made the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights the statutory authority to enforce the law for the Commonwealth. Kentucky became the first state south of the Mason Dixon Line to make discrimination illegal.
The agency receives, initiates, investigates, conciliates and rules upon jurisdictional complaints alleging violations of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. Certified with substantial equivalency to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights also enforces the policies set forth in The U.S. Civil Rights Act, The U.S. Fair Housing Act, The U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal civil rights laws.
KCHR is mandated by KRS 344 to educate members of the public about their rights under the law to live free from discrimination in Kentucky. The agency conducts a comprehensive program of education, training, outreach, partnerships, and public awareness initiatives to vigorously carry out this task.
The commission has been working on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth for more than a half-century. We are proud of our achievements in civil and human rights. With headquarters in Louisville and the Northern Kentucky office in Covington, the commission has opened doors of opportunity for thousands of people.