The Investigative procedure

Investigative Procedure

Once a complaint is filed, the Elkhart Human Relations Commission (EHRC) has 100 days to resolve the case, in some cases it may take longer. The investigation shall be impartial and limited in each instance to the alleged discriminatory practice.

Our files are confidential and the information provided and/or gathered during the investigation will remain confidential.

The investigator will collect and summarize the facts. He/she must collect the best evidence available for both parties. Thus you may be asked to supply documents which support your position. The investigator may seek information to compare the treatment given to the complainant to the treatment given to similarly situated individuals.

The investigator may also call a "fact-finding conference," an informal meeting with the complainant (person who placed the complaint) and the respondent (housing provider), to discuss the issues and try to settle the case. The fact-finding conference is not a hearing.

 

Determination

After the investigation is finished, the Investigator presents the facts to the director who reviews the material and makes a determination of Reasonable or No Reasonable Cause that an illegal act of discrimination may have occurred. A finding of Reasonable Cause does not mean the complainant won the case. The director then takes this information to the commissioners who take a vote on the Cause Determination. This is not the final decision, but is a finding that a discriminatory act may have been committed.

 

Conciliation

If the parties reach an agreement, the parties are given the chance to compromise their differences with negotiations through the director or a staff member. The EHRC can recover compensatory or punitive damages.

 

Public Hearing

The case is heard at a formal public hearing. The burden of proof is on the complainant. A designated hearing officer presides at the Public Hearing.

 

Final Order

A Final Order by the Commission is binding. Either party may seek judicial review of the Commission finding.

 

Remedies

If the Commission finds discrimination, a Final Order may include a cease and desist order, require proof of compliance at periodic intervals and complainant’s losses and actual damages which could include: moving expenses, storage expenses, travel cost, etc. The Commission may also impose a penalty.

A good faith effort must be made by the complainant to mitigate damages.