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 procedural requirements.

The following charts are a summary of the complaints filed in FY 1986.

As Chart 1 indicates, during FY 1986 complaint filings increased 18% compared to FY 1985.

Chart 2. Complaints Filed by Area of Discrimination FY 1985 to FY 1986
Year Total Employment Public Accom. Housing Credit Combination
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.

Chart 3. Basis Upon Which Individuals Filed

the 1,672 Complaints in FY 1986
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

*All others: color, creed, religion, marital status, and combination.

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.


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 Rights Act.

In FY 1986, 29 (2%) cases were successfully conciliated (see Chart 4) as compared to 32 (2%) cases in FY 1985.

Unsuccessful conciliation cases are considered by the Executive Director and a Commissioner for 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.


Chart 4 indicates case determinations rendered in complaints processed in FY 1986. Definitions of each case determination follow Chart 4.

Chart 4. Case Determinations in FY 1986
Administratively Closed: 676
 -Administrative Review 400 29%
- Failure to Locate, etc. 104 8%
- Right to Sue 172 13%
No Jurisdiction 21 2%
Withdrawn 75 6%
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%
Total 1356 100%

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.


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.


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.


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.

1984 Annual Report Main Page