You or your attorney has filed a “charge of discrimination” with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights, an administrative agency in New Hampshire state government. What happens next?
Under the Commission’s rules, the complaint is assigned to an investigating commissioner (one of the seven people appointed by the governor to sit on the Commission), while the Commission Director (an agency employee) appoints a staff investigator (another agency employee) to investigate your complaint. The investigator remains neutral, and it is his/her job to discover facts and make a report and recommendation about the outcome of the complaint to the investigating commissioner.
To do this, the investigator usually asks the complainant for: a detailed written account of the events alleged in the complaint; a list of witnesses the complainant believes will provide important information; and documents (like emails) which are relevant to the complaint. The investigator will also ask the respondent, your employer, for a detailed answer to your complaint, which is a sworn explanation of the employer’s conduct from its perspective.
After this, the investigator must call you, the complainant, and typically calls your supervisor, to separate interviews at the Commission. The investigator will ask targeted questions that he/she feels are necessary to understanding the complaint and the employer’s defenses.
Finally, the staff investigator drafts a report and recommends a “probable cause” or “no probable cause” finding to the investigating commissioner. If the finding is “probable cause,” the investigating commissioner almost always endorses the finding and the complaint proceeds toward a hearing before the full Commission (the 7-member pane). If the finding is “no probable cause, the investigating commissioner almost always adopt this recommendation, too, and the complaint is dismissed from the state agency.
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If you have questions about filing a charge of discrimination, NH discrimination law or retaliation, please contact our office at (603) 288-1403 for a free consultation or fill out our online contact form.