The Compliance Division continued
to perfect its case processing procedure. The agency made a total of 1,356
case determinations in FY 1986, its second highest ever.
The agency's case inventory
increased to 1,955 cases in FY 1986 from 1,431 in FY 1985, a rise of 38%.
Despite this increase in inventory the average case was processed 3 months
faster during the year.
The following defines the complaint process with charts to illustrate FY 1986 activities at each stage.
Intake is that process by which
the agency receives complaints and obtains information from a prospective
charging party sufficient to allow the complaint to satisfy all legal and
The following charts are a summary
of the complaints filed in FY 1986.
Chart 1. Complaint Filing Comparisons of FY 1985 to FY 1986
|Year||Number of Complaints Filed||Percentage Change|
As Chart 1 indicates, during FY 1986 complaint filings increased 18% compared to FY 1985.
|1985||(1373) 100%||1263 (92%)||46 (3%)||58 (4%)||6 (-1%)||-|
|1986||(1672) 100%||1504 (90%)||93 (5%)||50 (3%)||9 (.6%)||26 (1.4%)|
Chart 2 illustrates that most complaints filed during FY 1986 alleged discrimination in employment.
|Year||Total||Sex||Race||Age||Disability||National Origin||Combination||*All Others|
|1985||99% 1373||21% 287||19% 258||19% 266||15% 210||2% 31||19% 265||4% 56|
|1986||100% 1672||23% 384||21% 351||26% 434||19% 317||3% 50||-||7% 279|
Chart 3 shows that 89% of the persons alleged sex, race, age, or disability discrimination. Age and disability complaints marked the highest increase compared to FY 1985 - 30% for age and 50% for disability.
B. ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
Upon receipt, complaints are
first processed through the administrative review stage. A questionnaire
is sent to the complainant and respondent asking for information and documents
pertinent to the complaint After the questionnaires are received, the complaint
is screened. A decision may be made that there is no reasonable cause to
pursue further investigation. If so, the complaint is administratively closed
after notice of intended closure is sent to the complainant
In FY 1986, 400 complaints were administratively dosed as a result of administrative review This figure represents 29% of all case determinations for the year (see Chart 4). This compares to 107 (7%) in FY 1985.
After administrative review,
a process called mediation is sometimes attempted to try to settle the case
before the investigation is completed. This is a voluntary process to resolve
the alleged discrimination to the satisfaction of all parties.
Successful mediation results
in a no-fault settlement In FY1986,91 (7%) of all case determinations resulted
in a satisfactorily adjusted resolution (see Chart 4). This compares to
173 (12%) in FY 1985.
If a case is not selected for
mediation or if mediation fails, the case is assigned to a staff investigator
The investigator will complete gathering information from the parties and
possible witnesses. An internal hearing officer will review the case file
before issuing a determination. If the determination is no probable cause,
the Commission will close the case.
Investigation can result in
a variety of determinations: administrative closure, no jurisdiction, withdrawn,
no probable cause, or probable cause (see Chart 4).
Where investigation reveals that discrimination has occurred, a probable cause determination is issued. In FY 1986, 229 (17%) of all case determinations were probable cause (see Chart 4). This compares to 29 (2%) in FY 1985.
A case with a probable cause
determination enters the next stage of conciliation. This is a process offered
to respondents to obtain voluntary compliance with the Iowa Civil Rights
Act. Unlike staff mediators and investigators, conciliators negotiating
probable cause cases are advocates for the complainant and use conference,
conciliation, and persuasion to redress the violation of the Iowa Civil
In FY 1986, 29 (2%) cases were
successfully conciliated (see Chart 4) as compared to 32 (2%) cases in FY
Unsuccessful conciliation cases are considered by the Executive Director and a Commissioner for public hearing.
E PUBLIC HEARING
A public hearing is conducted
by a Hearing Officer In the hearing, testimony is taken under oath, recorded
by a court reporter and documents are introduced as exhibits. A complainant
is represented by an Assistant Attorney General and may also retain a private
attorney. A respondent is almost always represented by private counsel.
The Hearing Officer issues a ruling which may be affirmed, reversed, or
modified by the seven member Commission.
In FY 1986, seventeen (17) public hearings were held before the Commission's hearing officer The Commissioners ruled on seven (7) of the cases (see Chart 4). All cases are closed after a Commission decision. The parties either adhere to the Commission's decision or the case is appealed to state district court.
G. CASE DETERMINATIONS
Chart 4 indicates case determinations rendered in complaints processed in FY 1986. Definitions of each case determination follow Chart 4.
|-Administrative Review||400 29%|
|- Failure to Locate, etc.||104 8%|
|- Right to Sue||172 13%|
|No Jurisdiction||21 2%|
|Withdrawn/Satisfactorily Adjusted||1 <1%|
|Internal Hearing Officers Dismissal||-|
|Satisfactorily Adjusted||91 7%|
|No Probable Cause||233 17%|
|Probable Cause||229 17%|
|Successfully Conciliated||29 2%|
|Closure After Public Hearing:||1 <1%|
ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED - Cases closed administratively by the Commission as a result of:
a) Administrative Review - No reasonable cause to pursue further investigation after a preliminary investigation based on a case's merit.
b) Failure to Locate - The Commission is unable to locate the Complainant.
c) Right to Sue - Complaints closed when complainant requests a letter granting the complainant the right to sue in state district court for relief.
NO JURISDICTION - The Commission does not have the power to process the complaint by statute.
WITHDRAWN - Complainant indicated that he/she does not wish the Commission to pursure the complaint any further.
WITHDRAWN/SATISFACTORILY ADJUSTED - Complainant has indicated in writing that the complaint has been resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant, and that no further action is desired from the Commission.
INTERNAL HEARING OFFICER'S DISMISSAL Closing of a non-contested case pursuant to a motion for procedural ruling or relief filed by one of the parties.
SATISFACTORILY ADJUSTED - A negotiated settlement reached between parties prior to rendering an investigative determination.
NO PROBABLE CAUSE - The internal hearing officer has found that there is no reason to believe that discrimination exists after reviewing an investigation of a complaint.
PROBABLE CAUSE - The internal hearing officer has found reason to believe that discrimination exists after reviewing an investigation of a complaint.
SUCCESSFULLY CONCILIATED - A written agreement has been executed on behalf of the parties and the Commission, the contents of which are designed to remedy the alleged discriminatory act or practice uncovered during the course of the investigation.
CLOSURE AFTER HEARING - Contested cases closed after a Commission decision is made on a hearing officer's proposed ruling.
H. CASE INVENTORY
Case inventory relates to the total number of open complaints. During FY 1986, the beginning case inventory was 1413 cases and ended at 1955 cases.
I. AVERAGE CASE PROCESSING TIME
The average case processing time refers to the length of time it takes to process a complaint to a determination. In FY 1986, the average case processing time was 9.5 months, a decrease of 3 months, compared to 12.5 months in FY 1985.
J. ANNUALIZED BENEFITS
As it has been explained, cases
can be resolved as a result of settlements. Case resolutions always involve
remedial action. In addition to affirmative action steps to eliminate the
discriminatory practice, remedial action often means financial return for
persons victimized by discrimination. The total dollars returned to Iowans
in any fiscal year is measured by annualized benefits.
In FY 1986 annualized benefits totaled $574,485.10 compared to $909,607.48 in FY 1985.