Because the task of the agency is the central purpose of this report, it will be presented first. Information about who performs the various parts of the work is secondary and will follow in Division Two. All of the separate pieces of work described here are interrelated to the central purpose of the agency--the elimination of discrimination. The complaint process will be described first.
Under the law, the agency has the power and duty "to receive, investigate, and pass upon complaints alleging unfair or discriminatory practices." (Section 601A.5:2) The Commission has no control over the number and kinds of complaints received. Complaints arrive by mail, persons contact the office by telephone, complaints are deferred to the Commission by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and by city human rights agencies. In addition, the law specifically authorized the Commission, a Commissioner, and the Attorney General of Iowa to file complaints if the circumstances warrant that action.
Although the process of receiving a complaint is stated in a simple way in the statute, the actual process becomes more complicated. Individuals who believe they are aggrieved are assisted by the Commission staff in filling out complaint forms which must be signed, notarized and filed in triplicate. The complaint contains the identity of the respondent (or person or organization) who committed the act or acts complained of, and information describing the policy or practices which are alleged. Thus the actual receiving of a complaint may, and usually does in practice, include a lengthy conference with a staff member.
As of December 1, 1972, 532 complaints in various stages of the agency process were open and on hand. During the ensuing 19 months, 1,142 additional cases were received by the agency from the various sources, providing a grand total of 1,674 complaints which the Commission has the obligation under the law to process. During that period action on 636 cases was completed, leaving a total of 1,038 cases on hand as of June 30, 1974.