The October 2019 meeting of the HLAA Chapter for South Palm Beach County featured a speaker who did a wonderful job of explaining what her office does to protect people from discrimination in housing, employment and places of public accommodation.
Pam Guerrier, Director of the County’s Office of Equal Opportunity, made it very clear that the burden of an investigation falls on her staff – not the general public. Residents of the county merely have to bring information, including simple “hunches,” to her office and they will be fully investigated. The other important message for chapter members: “Your one and only job is to explain to the operator/manager of a public space what your disability is and how they need to accommodate you. There is no need to carry a doctor’s note or any evidence of what your disability is.” Her example: If you speak to a theater manager, explain that you are hearing impaired or deaf and describe the type(s) of assistance that will allow you to hear/understand/participate in that venue — from Captions to Loops to ASL — and how the assistance/technology will accommodate your specific needs.
For more information, or to file a complaint notice with Pam’s office, visit Palm Beach County’s website for the OEO. Click here for the complaint form related to spaces of public accommodation. Phone: 561-355-4884 or 561-355-1517 (TTY/TDD)
Office of Equal Opportunity’s Mission Statement
The Office of Equal Opportunity’s (OEO) mission is to promote a discrimination free quality of life for Palm Beach County residents through educating and advocating a policy of nondiscrimination and enforcing local, state and federal civil rights laws.
OEO is responsible for investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status or familial status and gender identity or expression. Additionally, OEO provides human relations training and referral services. OEO is a federally recognized equivalent agency under the federal civil rights laws – Title VII (employment discrimination cases) and Title VIII (fair housing cases). Through OEO, Palm Beach County residents have direct access to protection of civil rights laws.
OEO also is responsible for the County’s Disability Accessibility program. This program assures that County government and countywide organizations and public facilities maintain compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act by enforcing the County’s Handicapped Parking Program and helps to remedy discrimination against persons with disabilities in housing, access to facilities and services, employment and all other areas of equal access.