The City of Columbia’s role during an investigation of any complaints received is that of a neutral fact-finder. In the investigation, the City does not represent either party to the complaint and its role is to attempt to gather evidence to determine whether or not the ordinance has been violated.
Outline of Procedures for Filing and Investigating Complaints of Discrimination
The following outlines the sections in the Procedures of Filing and Investigating Complaints of Discrimination.
- Preliminary Inquiry: You may contact the Human Rights Commission’s staff liaison to discuss the circumstances and merits of your complaint and your options for filing a complaint at the local, state or federal level.
- Complaint of Discrimination Intake: Following your preliminary inquiry, if your complaint appears to be within the City of Columbia’s jurisdiction, the Human Rights Commission’s staff liaison will assist you in filing a complaint of discrimination with the City of Columbia and/or other state and federal agencies.
- Notification of Complaint: Once you (the Complainant) have filed a complaint of discrimination with the City, the Human Rights Commission will notify the appropriate person (the Respondent) that a complaint of discrimination has been filed against them.
- Jurisdictional Review: Once the Human Rights Commission’s staff liaison receives your complaint of discrimination, the staff liaison will determine whether the City has jurisdiction over the complaint
- Resolution Prior To Investigation: If your complaint falls within the City of Columbia’s jurisdiction, the Human Rights Commission will contact the Complainant and the Respondent to determine if the complaint can be resolved prior to conducting an investigation. Resolution may be accomplished by an agreement between both parties to the complaint or both parties to the complaint may choose to have the complaint mediated by the Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri School of Law.
- Investigation: If your complaint cannot be resolved through mutual agreement or mediation, the Human Rights Commission will conduct an investigation of the complaint.
- Commission Review and Determination: Upon completing the investigation, the Human Rights Commission’s staff liaison will present the information gathered during the investigation process to the Human Rights Commission for review and determination if probable cause exists to support the complaint of discrimination.
- No Probable Cause: If the Human Rights Commission finds that the evidence does not support the complaint of discrimination, a no probable cause finding will be issued and the complaint will be administratively closed.
- Probable Cause: If the Human Rights Commission finds that the evidence does support the complaint of discrimination, a probable cause finding will be issued.
- Conference, Conciliation or Mediation: Mediation services are provided at no cost by the Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri -School of Law. The Center for Dispute Resolution acts as a neutral third party in mediating a resolution to the complaint.
- Referral or Prosecution: If efforts to eliminate the alleged discriminatory practice have failed, the Commission shall determine whether the complainant will be referred to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights or the complaint of discrimination and related file be forwarded to the municipal prosecutor for prosecution.
- Voluntary Withdrawal and Administrative Closure: At any point in the process, a complaint may be subject to closure for administrative reasons.