CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
TULSA – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and the Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights Enforcement (OCRE) hosted a special educational event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The day-long seminar was held July 24 (Thursday) at the historic Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa. The event featured some of Oklahoma’s most sought-after employment lawyers who provided free training and education on compliance with all major employment law aspects of Oklahoma’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
The landmark federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law 50 years ago this month. Title VII of the law prohibits employment discrimination. Oklahoma’s Anti-Discrimination Act mirrors Title VII and covers all Oklahoma employers.
The event sought to advance civil rights by helping employers, managers, supervisors, HR professionals, attorneys, civil rights advocates and others learn best practices for ensuring a workplace free from unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The event was approved for continuing education credit by the Human Resources Certification Institute and the Oklahoma Bar Association.
In remarks prepared for presentation at the Tulsa event, Pruitt reflected, “As attorney general, I focus on the importance of the Rule of Law – particularly in light of the ongoing lawsuits we are fighting to check the power of the federal government when it overreaches its authority.
“But the Rule of Law is just as important in the context of civil rights. The preeminence of the Rule of Law is the legal foundation upon which all civil liberties and civil rights stand and the fountainhead from which all civil rights flow. Under the just, impartial and equal application of the Rule of Law, no man, no woman, and no group is above the law or treated differently under the law.”
Pruitt continued, “When the Founders of our nation asserted their civil rights, they made clear in their declaration of independence the legal foundation upon which they based their claim: namely, the ‘self-evident’ truth ‘that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.’
“As the chief law enforcement officer of the State of Oklahoma, I take seriously my duty to ensure justice is served by zealously protecting the civil rights of all Oklahomans.
“And I'm proud to say that my administration is advancing the cause of civil rights in Oklahoma. In recognition of the importance of civil rights, we made the Office of Civil Rights Enforcement its own separate unit within my office. We placed the OCRE in Tulsa because we realize and are sensitive to the fact that Oklahoma still has much to do to heal the civil rights wounds that have been inflicted in our recent past.”
Pruitt concluded, “We have hired a diverse group of highly qualified OCRE staff for the Tulsa Office and for Oklahoma City as well in order to better serve the entire state. With this special commemorative event honoring the civil rights advances made by our predecessors, we are launching quality educational outreach events to promote civil rights in a positive way.”
The OCRE became a division of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office in 2011. The OCRE investigates and seeks to conciliate complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation in connection with employment, housing and public accommodations. When necessary, the OCRE also files civil actions to enforce Oklahoma’s anti-discrimination laws.
To help promote compliance with the law, the OCRE plans to launch educational and training opportunities for employers, civil rights interest groups, and citizens throughout the state.
If you believe you have been discriminated against in employment (wrongful discharge, failure to hire, failure to promote, failure to accommodate a disability, harassment or some other difference in treatment), or if you believe you have been discriminated against in housing (sale, rental, mortgage lending, threatened, intimidated, coerced and denied a reasonable accommodation or modification), call the OCRE at (918) 581-2910 or visit the AG’s website at www.ok.gov/oag.