Brookhaven passes law combating discrimination by businesses

Brookhaven is the latest city to pass a law protecting residents and employees from discrimination by businesses.

The ordinance, which the City Council passed unanimously Tuesday night, gives the city the ability to investigate claims that a private business discriminated against someone based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or other traits.

Several other cities in DeKalb passed similar laws over the past year, including Clarkston, Decatur, Doraville, Chamblee and Dunwoody. Atlanta passed a non-discrimination ordinance about 20 years ago.

According to a copy of the ordinance, Brookhaven considered the measure because the city “was founded in part on a principle of being friendly, welcoming, and encouraging to business.”

The ordinance spells out a process for people to file a complaint with the city if they feel they were discriminated against by a business, and provides a process for officials to look into the allegations.

A business found in violation of the ordinance would face a civil penalty of $1,000, and $2,000 for each subsequent violation.

The new law goes into effect in about a month. The city plans to implement a program to educate residents and businesses about the new rules.

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