Kansas City Needs To Improve How It Reviews Discrimination Complaints, Audit Finds

Apr 19, 2017

An audit released Wednesday found that Kansas City's human resources department does not adequately document discrimination complaints.
Credit File photo / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City needs to do a better job investigating and documenting employment discrimination complaints.

Kansas City Auditor Doug Jones says his office initially set out to audit the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity (EEO) office because it was told that complaints take too long to resolve.

“But unfortunately, we found the data was unreliable, and we could not use that data to review the timeliness of the investigation process or how much time it was taking them on an average or on a median basis,” Jones says. 

His office found that documentation on complaints was so inadequate, they were unable to determine if they were handled effectively or if certain complaints were even investigated at all. 

Jones says its important that when a person files a complaint to the EEO, that it is handled in a timely matter. 

“If we don’t do a prompt investigation and a prompt resolution, then complainants may feel not like they have been heard,” Jones says.

That could lead a person to take the complaint to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or even to court, although Jones says even if complaints are investigated they can still lead to lawsuits. 

Kansas City has settled several expensive discrimination lawsuits in recent months.  

Jones’ office made several recommendations to the director of human resources to improve efficiency, including better documentation on when complaints are filed, and and records of when and what actions are taken on each complaint.  

In the report, human resources director Gary O'Bannon agreed with all the recommendations and said that all were either already in place or in the process of being implemented. 

Lisa Rodriguez is the afternoon newscaster at KCUR 89.3. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig

Danny Wood contributed to this report.