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Increase In Discrimination Complaints Linked To Poor Economy

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By Kavitha Cardoza

Discrimination complaints in D.C. have increased by 70 percent in the past two years. The director of the Office of Human Rights says this upward trend is linked to the poor economy.

Gustavo Velasquez heads the Office of Human Rights in the District. He says during the last fiscal year, there were 585 discrimination complaints filed.

"This is the year we've had the highest volume of cases in the last 15 years," says Velasquez.

Velasquez believes the economy is the main reason- because business have been hiring less, laying off more people and feeling reluctant to promote employees.

"That creates an effect where many people believe that the reasons why is because of who they are and not what the companies claim which is deteriorating revenue," he says.

Velasquez says the fourth most common reason for filing an employment discrimination complaint relates to age. He says a few years ago that wouldn't even have made the top ten. Velasquez says typically approximately five percent of the complaints are found to be substantive.

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