The 163 C.P.'s closed for other
than lack of jurisdiction have been evaluated in terms of the number of
months elapsed between the date of filing with the Commission and the date
officially closed at a Commission meeting.
Table J lists the average number of months to close a case. It is categorized by the disposition for which closed (e.g., S. Conc., N.P.C.), and also by the original reason for filing the complaint (e.g., failure to hire, discharge).
A record number of complaints were closed in 1972 (nearly 100% more than a year ago), a fact which would certainly tend to diminish somewhat the overall elapsed time from start to finish in processing a complaint. Nevertheless, the Commission considers the elapsed time to far exceed the ideal time requirements for closing cases. A number of factors are involved in drawing out the time to these extraordinary lengths.
Clearly the huge caseload is among the biggest factors responsible for increasing the time. With new cases being filed at the rate of 50-60 per month, a good deal of each investigators time is spent in merely taking these complaints (a process requiring more than a few minutes, for a large amount of information must be gathered from the complainant. When all relevant facts are known, on both side of the issue, there is assurance that a fair determination will be made in the case). In addition to the time spent in actually taking complaints, a good deal more of an investigators time is spent in answering inquiries (often angry) from many of the more than 500 complainants, asking why their complaint has not yet been processed. Thus, much of an investigator's time is spent in pursuits relating to the huge case backlog and receipt of new complaints, leaving far too little time to actually process these charges.
Another important factor in the
time delay, and one which gives rise to a good deal of concern by the Commission,
is the delay caused by respondents dragging their feet, throwing up roadblock
after roadblock, refusing to answer the Commission's questions, refusing
to provide relevant
information, and generally refusing to cooperate with the Commission in any way. The law does not provide for any time limits on answering Commission inquiries, nor does it require that information be supplied (until the public hearing stage at which time the Commission has subpoena powers). This unwillingness to cooperate drags out the case processing; doubles and triples the amount of paper work, phone calls, and travel time; and generally frustrates
the work of the Commission in attempting to find all the relevant facts to make a fair determination about the merits of any allegation of discrimination.
In processing any complaint, there
is a necessary 60 day period which cannot be reduced. This 60 day period
provides time for all steps mandated by the statute to ensure due process
for both complainant and
respondent. Thus, the amount of elapsed time can never be expected
to drop below two months.
Another aspect of the elapsed time problem relates to the increasing complexity of civil rights law and enforcement. Several years ago, case processing was handled on a much more informal basis. Standards of compliance were much lower and the documentation of each step in writing was done only on a hit and miss basis. Conciliation agreements were often verbal and contained no more than a slap on the hands of the discriminater.
Today, the level of sophistication in civil rights law enforcement has risen greatly. Every step the Commission takes must be documented and follow precisely, not only the statute, but also general administrative procedure, to ensure "due process". (Commission procedures are spelled out in detail in chapter three of the rules of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission) "Rules of Practice").
Daily the courts are issuing interpretations of civil rights statutes, defining what is expected of an administrative agency. These standards require more thorough investigations, greater statistical affirmation, and better remedies where discrimination is found,, including affirmative action (to rectify the present effects of past discrimination, and to make whole again the complainant). These agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties.
The deferral relationship with the federal E.E.O.C. also imposes on the ICRC the responsibility of seeing that each step in processing a case meets the requirements of the federal government.
Two ways, therefore, appear that could aid significantly in reducing the time for processing complaints to completion. First., the hiring of more staff (through increased appropriations to free investigators to investigate. This is far and away the most important and significant single item to reduce elapsed case closing time.
Secondly, the power to subpoena records and witnesses, to compel answers to Commission questions, and to put deadlines on providing the information - all during the investigative stage - would greatly expedite procedures and prevent a good deal of foot dragging.
|Avg. # mths to close case|
|ads||2 / 10.5||0 / 0||0 / 0||0 / 0||0 / 0||2 / 21||10.5|
|application||3 / 15||2 / 10||0 / 0||1 / 4||0 / 0||6 / 69||12|
|tests||2 / 11.5||1 / 9||0 / 0||1 / 8||1 / 8||5 / 48||9|
|failure to hire||9 / 9||7 / 10||1 / 8||5 / 5||2 / 2||24 / 188||8|
|demotion||1 / 18||3 / 6||1 / 10||1 / 4||0 / 0||6 / 50||8|
|promotion||1 / 12||2 / 5||0 / 0||2 / 2.5||1 / 3||6 / 30||5|
|seniority||1 / 14||0 / 0||1 / 12||0 / 0||0 / 0||2 / 26||13|
|discharge||9 / 9.6||21 / 10||4 / 6||17 / 4.5||3 / 5||54 / 412||7.6|
|layoff or suspension||1/ 11||2 / 3.5||1 / 21||2 / 1||1 / 1||7 / 42||6|
|TERMS: pay||1 / 15||1 / 10||0 / 0||0 / 0||0 / 0||2 / 25||12.5|
|TERMS: maternity leave||5 / 7||1 / 8||0 / 0||0 / 0||1 / 7||7 / 50||7|
|TERMS: other||5 / 11||0 / 0||0 / 0||2 / 3.5||1 / 2||8 / 64||8|
|conditions||3 / 7||3 / 5||1 / 6||6 / 7||0 / 0||13 / 84||6.5|
|underutilization||6 / 18||4 / 6||4 / 16||3 / 2||0 / 0||17 / 202||12|
|other||0 / 0||3 / 8||0 / 0||0 / 0||1 / 4||4 / 28||7|
|Avg. # mths to close case||11.3||8.5||11||4||4||1339|
Overall average months to close an employment case 8
|10 successfully conciliated||7.7 months|
|8 no probable cause||6.2 months|
|2 no jurisdiction||8.0 months|
|2 administrative closure||5.5 months|
|22||7.0 months average time to close|
|7 successfully conciliated||7.0 months|
|8 no probable cause||6.4 months|
|31 no jurisdiction||7.0 months|
|3 withdrawn||5.7 months|
|49||6.8 months average time to close|
Another chart (Table M) has been prepared which approximates the actual time (in hours) to process a complaint to completion, barring undue delays and foot dragging by any of the parties involved. These figures have been categorized according to final case disposition (e. g. , public hearings, no probable cause).
In addition, the actual percentage of complaints closed for each disposition during the 24 month period, 12/1/70 - 12/1/72, has been listed.
From this data it is possible to project statistics relative to the following; time required to close the 532 case backlog; number of staff persons necessary to close the case backlog; and number of persons necessary to handle the cases coming daily to the Commission.
|Cases to public hearing||110 hours|
|Administratively closed||35 hours|
|Successful Conciliations||50 hours|
|No probable cause||30 hours|
|No Jurisdiction: C. P.'s||2 hours|
|No Jurisdiction: N. J.'s||1 hour|
|(21%)||"No Probable Cause"|
|(5%)||Withdrawn by complainant|
|5% of 532 cases||= 27 public hearings||* 110 hrs.||= 2970 hrs.|
|22% of 532 cases||= 117 successful conciliations||* 50 hrs.||= 5850 hrs.|
|7% of 532 cases||= 37 administrative closures||* 35 hrs.||= 1295 hrs.|
|21% of 532 cases||= 112 no probable cause||* 30 hrs.||= 3360 hrs.|
|5% of 532 cases||= 26 withdrawn||* 15 hrs.||= 390 hrs.|
|40% of 532 cases||= 213 no jurisdiction||* 2 hrs.||= 426 hrs.|
|5% of 60 cases||= 3.0 public hearings||* 110 hrs.||= 330 hrs.|
|22% of 60 cases||= 13.2 successful conciliations||* 50 hrs.||= 660 hrs.|
|7% of 60 cases||= 4.2 administrative closures||* 35 hrs.||= 147 hrs.|
|21% of 60 cases||= 12.6 no probable cause||* 30 hrs.||= 378 hrs.|
|5% of 60 cases||= 3.0 withdrawn||* 15 hrs.||= 45 hrs.|
|30% of 60 cases||= 18.0 N. J.||* 2 hrs.||= 36 hrs.|
|10% of 60 cases||= 6.0 no jurisdiction (C. P.)||* 1 hr.||= 6 hrs.|
backlog-two years to close:
Presently the Commission has three officially designated investigators.
Other staff members often do part-time investigative work and complaint
processing, in addition to their regular duties. Thus, it may be assumed
that there are four investigators processing complaints. These four (4)
persons have available to them (at a rate of 40 hours per week., 50 weeks
per year) a total of 8000 cumulative man-hours per year. The backlog alone
would demand nearly two years to close if the present staff were to do the
case processing, and no new complaints were received.
new complaints: However, new complaints are being received at the rate of 50-60 per month, requiring approximately 1600 hours per month to process. But, only 640 man- hours are available per month. Thus, with the present appropriation and staff it is not only impossible to dig into the 532 case backlog, but it is IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP UP WITH PRESENTLY INCOMING COMPLAINTS.
needed investigators: Six (6) additional investigators (in addition to the four (4) persons presently processing complaints) would be required to adequately process the complaints coming to the Commission office each month (10 investigators x 160 manhours per month = 1600 man-hours combined per month).
An additional four (4) investigators would be required to reduce the open case backlog by one-half (1/2) during the next year (requiring 7000-8000 man-hours).
In summary, 10 additional investigators would allow the Commission to keep up with the incoming caseload. It would also permit the reduction of the 532 case backlog by approximately one-half (1/2) during the next year. In two years time there would be no backlog. However, increased new complaints would, in another two years, necessitate keeping investigators who formerly were working on the backlog.