The Compliance Division continued to perfect its case processing procedures by utilizing the agency's new computer in sending out questionnaires to parties and computerizing other procedures.

A continued emphasis was placed on mediation, conciliation and settlement prior to public hearing. These efforts resulted in a record breaking number of dollars $909,607.48 - in annualized benefits returned to persons filing complaints in FY 1985. This is a 50% increase compared to FY 1984 annualized benefits of 603,834.03.

The agency set another record in total case determinations for FY 1985 of 1462, its highest ever.

The agency's case inventory declined to 1413 cases in FY 1985 from 1703 in FY 1984, a 17% decrease.

The following defines the complaint process with charts to illustrate FY 1985 activities in 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 1985.

Chart 1. Complaint Filing Comparisons

of FY 1984 to FY 1985

Year Number of Complaints Filed Percentage Change
1984 1,118
1985 1,373 23%

As Chart 1 indicates, during FY 1985 complaint filings increased 23% compared to FY 1984.

Chart 2. Complaints Filed by Area of

Discrimination FY 1984 to FY 1985
Year Total Employment Public Accom. Housing Credit Combination
1984 (1118) 100% 986 (88%) 73 (7%) 48 (4%) 8 (.7%) 3 (.3%)
1985 (1373) 100% 1,263 (92%) 46 (3%) 58 (4%) 6 (-1%) -

Chart 2 illustrates that most complaints filed during FY 1985 alleged discrimination in employment.

Chart 3. Basis Upon Which Individuals Filed

the 1,373 Complaints in FY 1985

Year Total Sex Race Age Disability National Origin Combination *All Others
1984 100% 1118 23% 251 20% 225 15% 168 14% 159 3% 36  - 25% 279
1985 99% 1373 21% 287 19% 258 19% 266 15% 210 2% 31 19% 265 4% 56

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

Chart 3 shows that 74% of the persons alleged sex, race, age, or disability discrimination. Age and disability complaints marked the highest increase compared to FY 1984 - 58% for age and 32% 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 1985, 107 complaints were administratively closed as a result of administrative review This figure represents 7% of all case determinations for the year (see Chart 4).


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 FY 1985, 173 (12%) of all case determinations resulted in a satisfactorily adjusted resolution (see Chart 4). This compares to 203 (15%) in FY 1984.


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 1985, 29 (2%) of all case determinations were probable cause (see Chart 4). This compares to 14 (1%) in FY 1984.


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 1985, 32 (2%) cases were successfully conciliated (see Chart 4) as compared to 25 (2%) cases in FY 1984.

Unsuccessful conciliation cases are considered by the Executive Director and one 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 1985, nine (9) 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 determination rendered in complaints processed in FY 1985. Definitions of each case determination follow Chart 4.

Chart 4. Case Determinations in FY 1985

Administratively Closed: 911 62%
 -Administrative Review (107) (7%)
- Failure to Locate, etc. (112) (8%)
- Federal Determination (590) (40%)
- Right to Sue: (102) (7%)
No Jurisdiction 33 2.25%
Withdrawn 89 7%
Withdrawn/Satisfactorily Adjusted 11 .75%
Internal Hearing Officers Dismissal 2 -
Satisfactorily Adjusted 173 12%
No Probable Cause 175 12%
Probable Cause 29 2%
Successfully Conciliated 32 2%
Closure After Hearing: 7 -
Total 1462 (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, etc. - Complaints closed for reasons other than their merits, i.e., cannot locate the complainant, failure to cooperate by complainant, respondent has gone out of business.

c) Federal Determination - Complaints closed after a federal agency's initial determination on merit.

d) 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 settlereached 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 PUBLIC 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 1985, the beginning case inventory was 1,703 cases and ended at 1,413 cases.


The average case processing time refers to the length of time it requires to process a complaint to a determination. In FY 1985, the average case processing time was 12.5 months, an increase of 4 months, compared to 8.5 months in FY 1984.


As it has been explained, cases can be resolved as a result of settlements. Case resolutions always involve remedial action. In addition to affirmative 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 1985 annualized benefits totaled $909,607.48 as compared to $603,834.03 in FY 1984.

1985 Annual Report Main Page