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> Human Rights - Office

Office of Human Rights

Created in 1963, the Office of Human Rights (OHR) is Tompkins County's civil rights enforcement and human rights outreach agency. 

Our Mission
To work towards the elimination and prevention of unlawful discrimination, and to develop and facilitate County-wide programs that increase awareness of human rights and social justice ideals.

We fulfill our mission through the following actions, programs, and strategies:

Civil Rights Enforcement

We work to eliminate and prevent unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, credit, places of public accommodation, volunteer fire departments, and non-sectarian educational institutions; based on age, creed, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, marital status, disability, military status, arrest record, conviction record, predisposing genetic characteristics, and familial status (in housing only).  For example, OHR is charged with enforcing local law No.1-2004 (Chapter 92 Anti-Discrimination)which protects Tompkins County citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression in employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and credit.  OHR also helps enforce state and federal civil rights laws by assisting local residents in filing complaints with state and federal civil rights agencies.  Confidentiality is protected. Any individual who resides or works in Tompkins County may use these services without a fee.

Human Rights Outreach and Education

We develop and facilitate County-wide programs that increase awareness of human rights and social justice ideals.  To further this purpose, OHR engages in a strategy of collaboration, partnership, and dialogue with local, state, and federal organizations and local stakeholders in providing workshops, trainings, and other programs that will increase understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizens in regards to human rights law.  

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)

Tompkins County receives and regularly competes for federal and state housing dollars from the New York State Department of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). Both HUD and HCR require recipients to certify their engagement efforts to AFFH as a condition of funding. The OHR assists the County in meeting its federal and state obligation to AFFH by offering fair housing enforcement, training, and outreach services throughout the county.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

OHR provides assistance to Tompkins County by developing, overseeing, and updating its LEP Plan which ensures that LEP populations are not excluded from access to County services.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Through the enforcement and education-outreach programs, OHR assists the county in meeting federal obligations pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Actand Executive Order 13166. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee (WDIC)

OHR provides administrative assistance and lends expertise to County efforts in implementing its Workforce Diversity and Inclusion policy


Office Hours

M-F 8:30am-4:30pm
120 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street, Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-4080              Fax 607-277-4106


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