iowa civil rights commission


                      Brief Outline of the Complaint Process



1.                  When a signed/verified complaint is received, it is reviewed to determine whether it meets statutory requirements of the “Iowa Civil Rights Act,” Iowa

Code Chapter 216.  A complaint must be filed with the Commission within 180

days of the last alleged discriminatory incident.


a.      If the complaint does not meet the statutory requirements, it is given an NJ or NT#.  The Complainant, the person who filed the complaint, is notified that the Commission does not have jurisdiction and the complaint is closed.


     “NJ”  Means not jurisdictional

    “NT” Means not timely filed.


b.      If the complaint meets the statutory requirements, it is given a CP# and a   copy of the complaint is mailed to the Complainant.  Another copy is served

on the Respondent, the person, or organization charged in the complaint with a violation of Iowa Code Chapter 216.


CP# Means the complaint number


                        All inquiries about the complaint should be by complaint number (CP#)


2.                  The Complainant and Respondent are required to answer a questionnaire and submit        

relevant documents within thirty (30) days.



3.                  When the Commission receives both parties’ responses to the to the questionnaires,

all information is reviewed to determine whether further investigation is warranted.


                        It is very important to answer the questionnaire thoroughly                             


a.      If further investigation is not warranted the complaint is administratively closed. 

The complainant has appeal rights which will be explained in the closure letter.


b.      If further investigation is warranted, the parties will be given the option of  

mediation (a no fault settlement).  Both parties must agree to mediate for this option to become available.  If mediation is not mutually accepted by the parties or mediation fails, the complaint will be assigned to the investigation unit or a letter of right-to-sue may be requested.  Mediation is available throughout the investigative process, even if it initially fails.


4.                  After the complaint has been on file for sixty (60) days, the Complainant can choose    

whether the complaint will remain with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission for investigation and resolution or whether the complaint will be removed from the Commission and pursued by the Complainant in state district court. If the Complainants’ choice is to take the case to court, the complaint will be administra-tively closed with the Commission and no further action on the complaint will be taken.


5.         During the investigation, each party is usually interviewed and additional records are

           collected.  Witnesses are contacted and interviewed.  When the investigation is  

           complete, the investigator will analyze all of the collected information and 

           recommend to the Administrative Law Judge whether probable cause or no probable

           exists to believe that discrimination occurred.


From the time the Commission receives the complaint to the time the investigation is completed and a finding by the administrative law judge has been made, the Commission is a neutral fact-finder and represents neither party.


a.      If the Administrative Law Judge finds No Probable Cause, the complaint is   

closed.  A No Probable Cause finding cuts off the Complainant’s right-to-sue with

the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.


b.       If the Administrative Law Judge finds Probable Cause, the complaint is assigned

a conciliator who will contact the parties and attempt to conciliate or settle the complaint.


6.         If the conciliation fails, the complaint will be reviewed to determine whether it should

proceed to public hearing.  If the complaint is selected for public hearing, an Administrative Law Judge will hear the case in accordance with the “Iowa Administrative Procedure Act.”   If not selected for public hearing, the complaint will be administratively closed and the Complainant may request a letter of right-to-sue.