Introduction. Forums for Discrimination Complaints. Internally 1B.1 Administrative charge (MDHR, EEOC, OCR) Lawsuit

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1 Discrimination Complaints: Understanding the Institution s Role in Responding to Office for Civil Rights, Minnesota Department of Human Rights and EEOC Charges Intended Audience: Human resources directors, affirmative action officers and investigators, student affairs professionals, and others who assist in responding to such claims.

2 Introduction Forums for Discrimination Complaints Internally 1B.1 Administrative charge (MDHR, EEOC, OCR) Lawsuit

3 Introduction (continued) The MDHR, OCR, and EEOC are administrative agencies that enforce civil rights laws (anti-discrimination; anti-retaliation).

4 Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) Enforces the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which prohibits unfair discriminatory practices in employment, public services, and in the full utilization of, or benefit from, any educational institution on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or disability

5 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Jurisdiction exclusively employment matters Title VII (employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin) Americans with Disabilities Act Age Discrimination in Employment Act Equal Pay Act

6 Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education (OCR) Jurisdiction generally concerns students (but can be employees) Title VI (race, color, national origin) Title IX (sex in educational programs; athletics) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (disability) Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (age) Title II of the ADA (disability)

7 Remedies (depends on agency) $ Attorneys fees Injunctive relief or other agreed upon action (provide training, make facility accessible, etc.,) Denial of federal funding

8 Typical Charge Elements Narrative allegations Document request (with subpoena) Position statement request Short timeline to respond

9 Typical Document Request (Student Race Discrimination) Complainant s student file List of students enrolled in program (with name, contact information, and race) List of employees who worked in the program (name, contact information, race, any disciplinary action?) Relevant policies, procedures, handbooks Any internal investigations, notes, etc.

10 Typical Document Request (Student Claim) (continued) Student handbook Personnel file(s) for alleged discriminator(s) Name/title of all persons involved in the decision Any other information the Department should consider List of internal/external discrimination complaints against the institution in last three years

11 Position Statement Institution s factual and legal statement explaining why the institution did not discriminate If 1B.1 investigation exists, it will form the basis for the Position Statement. If no 1B.1, then start from scratch.

12 Institution s Role in Responding Because of short timeline, quickly get charge to the Attorney General s Office EEOC - Elizabeth Hegman; Gary Cunningham MDHR and OCR Assigned AG Can always also contact the Office of General Counsel Assist AG in gathering documents, identifying witnesses, preparing position statement

13 Process After Submitting Information to the Agency Offer of pre-investigation conciliation (only in some cases) Investigation Follow-up requests from agency Decision (probable cause; no probable cause) Appeal or Request for Reconsideration Post-decision conciliation Formal complaint, administrative proceedings, private lawsuit

14 Pre-Investigation Conciliation A non-binding ADR process offered by the Agency Pros: possible resolution; find out information; no cost Cons: complainant usually pro se and thus may be unrealistic; time

15 The Agency Investigation Employee interviews (telephone or in-person) Site visit (more likely for certain OCR investigations)

16 Retaliation DO NOT RETALIATE Treat complainant like any other student/employee All too often, retaliation claims have more merit than the student s/employee's original complaint DO NOT RETALIATE

17 Resources MDHR Web site (summaries of settled/resolved charges) OCR Web site (case resolution manual; Dear Colleague letters) EEOC Web site

18 Contact Information Scott Goings Assistant General Counsel Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Kathy Woodruff Assistant Attorney General Attorney General s Office Kevin Finnerty Assistant Attorney General Attorney General s Office Elizabeth Hegman Paralegal Attorney General s Office

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