Augusta commissioners debate proposed anti-discrimination ordinance


AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – Augusta leaders are being presented with proposed guidelines to help those who face harassment or discrimination at Augusta businesses.  

“When you look at the intent behind this was to provide a way for those most vulnerable in our community have their voices heard and be able to go through that process deliberately,” said Mayor Hardie Davis.  

Under the proposal those who alleged discrimination would file a complaint with the city Compliance Department.

The department would investigate and could call in a mediator, if the parties are not satisfied the case goes to Magistrate Court.

The city attorney is offering this piece of advice.

“We need to ask who’s involved, do we need to add somebody to the Compliance Department? How much is a mediator going to cost? Where would the mediator meet additional duties to the Marshal,” said City Attorney Wayne Brown. 

But some commissioners suggesting though this could just lead to businesses being harassed by disgruntled employees or customers.  

“It is somewhat of an embarrassment to Augusta because what I feel like is it used to encourage more complaints than it is to help us,’ said Commissioner Catherine Smith McKnight.   

 That also a concern for the mayor who has already proposed the ordinance include provisions to stop that.  

“How would we handle that there was a penalty for frivolous claims, and I think that would make legislation stronger to have those penalties in there for frivolous claims,” said Mayor Davis.  

 Augusta does not support discrimination in the workplace but city leaders unsure if this proposed ordinance is the best way to deal with that.

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