Human Rights   

 

Home

 Overview

 Human Rights
Commissioners

and Staff

   Structure &
    Function
     How the   
  Commission
     
Works

Steps for Filing a Complaint of Discrimination

LCHR intake
 Questionnaire

WorkSharing with EEO Commission
Contact Us
INFO Louisiana

  Get Acrobat Reader

 

Louisiana State Seal -- link to Governor's Home Page

 

 Governor's Office    divider line 

Louisiana Commission
on Human Rights
                                

how the  commission  does its work

The role of the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights is to enforce specific laws pertaining to discriminatory practices in the state of Louisiana. To accomplish this purpose, the Commission uses distinct procedures for intake, investigation, mediation, and determination to process official complaints of discrimination.
 
FILING A COMPLAINT

All persons in Louisiana are protected against acts of unlawful discrimination by national and state laws. Anyone may file an official complaint with the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights.   There is no fee for this service and a claim may be filed by telephone, mail or in person at the LCHR offices located at 1001 N. 23rd Street in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
 
THE INTAKE PROCESS

Intake includes an initial screening to determine whether Complainants meet guidelines related to the prescribed number of employees and jurisdiction. Complainants whose allegations meet all guidelines — (1) required number of employees and (2) within the 180-day LCHR jurisdictional limit — are sent a letter requesting specifics about the allegations. Only when this form or document detailing the specifics is returned within the specified time is an investigation acceptance letter mailed to the complainant and the case forwarded to the investigative unit. 

THE INVESTIGATIVE AND DETERMINATION PROCESSES

The investigator reviews the intake documents and responses to the initial request to determine eligibility for acceptance based on the LCHR jurisdictional areas of employment, banking and lending practices and public accommodations. If, after this review, the investigator determines that the claim is ineligible, a Dismissal and Notice of Rights form is sent to the complainant. Based upon a review of the file, the investigator makes a determination of the charge according to the gravity of the complaint. These may fall into one of three categories: 

CATEGORY A: Enforcement Plan/Potential Cause Complaints includes (1) complaints that fall within LCHR enforcement plan and (2) other complaints where further investigation will probably result in a cause finding. Cases are also classified as Category A if irreparable harm will result unless processing is expedited. 

CATEGORY B: Complaints Requiring Additional Information are complaints that initially appear to have some merit but will require additional evidence to determine whether continued investigation is likely to result in a cause finding. 

CATEGORY C: Complaints Suitable for Dismissal may be dismissed when the Commission has sufficient information from which to conclude that it is not likely that further investigation will result in a cause finding. Category C complaints are usually established and dispensed within the intake unit. 

NO JURISDICTION DETERMINATION

If a Category C is determined, the complaint usually does not fall under the LCHR’s jurisdiction and a Dismissal and Notice of Rights form is issued to the complainant. 

MEDIATION OFFERED

If a prima facie determination is made indicating that the alleged discriminatory act has occurred, then mediation is offered to the complainant and respondent. Mediation can expedite the case through a mutually agreed settlement and therefore benefit both parties. If mediation is desired, one of the Commission’s two certified mediators may proceed with the case. If mediation is successful, the Commission closes the case. Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) that is offered by the Commission as an alternative to the traditional investigative or litigation process. 

FACT FINDING

If mediation is not an option, the investigator will proceed with additional fact-finding, including site visits, interviews and requests for additional documentation of allegations. The complainant has ten days to submit any additional information requested. The investigator then submits a formal Notice of Charge to the respondent and a Request for Information. The respondent has 30 days to respond to the Request for Information. 

RECOMMENDATION OF DISCRIMINATION

To make the determination on the findings, the investigator may use several theories of Discrimination, including:

Disparate Treatment – Considers  discriminatory motive or intent.

Adverse Impact/ Disparate Impact - Evidence is established that an employer has a policy or practice that is neutral on its face, but has a substantially greater negative impact on members of a protected group.  

When all sufficient information is gathered, the Commission makes the determination of discrimination and merits of the case. 

DETERMINATION IS ESTABLISHED

Once a determination is established, LCHR submits a copy of the determination to the complainant, the respondent and to EEOC in  cases of employment discrimination. 

RESOLUTION DETERMINATIONS

After determination has been reached, LCHR undertakes several procedural factors to close cases. The “no cause” and “merit factor resolution” determination discussions explain the procedural process.
No Cause
- In general, a “no cause” finding arises when the file contains insufficient
evidence to determine whether it is more likely than not that a statute has been violated. When a no cause resolution is determined, the Complainant may appeal to the EEOC in cases of employment discrimination, in which a substantial weight review will be done, or an appeal may be made to the Commission. Decisions rendered by the LCHR Commissioners and EEOC are final.

 Merit Factor Resolutions - In case of a finding for the Complainant, the Commission would proceed to employ remedies that provide “make whole” relief to the Complainant based on the merits of the charge. When a merit factor resolution is determined in favor of the Complainant, the Respondent may appeal to the EEOC only in employment discrimination cases, in which a substantial weight review will be done, or an appeal may be made to the LCHR Commissioners.
 

MODELS OF RELIEF

Negotiated Settlements - Settlement efforts are encouraged at all stages of the administrative process. Settlements may be accepted which provide “substantial relief” or “appropriate relief.” Settlement agreements must maintain the neutrality of LCHR and/or the EEOC. 

Conciliation Agreements -The objective of a conciliation agreement is to reach a just resolution of violations found and to obtain a written agreement that provides that the Respondent will eliminate the unlawful practice and/or policy and provide appropriate affirmative relief and appropriate damages, where applicable.