Human Rights Investigative Process
Once a complaint is served on the Respondent, the Respondent has thirty calendar days, pursuant to the Human Rights Code, to respond in writing to the complaint. As a neutral fact-finder, the Human Rights Investigator may interview parties and witnesses, review respondent's position statement and supporting documentation, issue interrogatories and document requests, and conduct field visits where appropriate. In most cases the investigation will be completed within 180 days.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The office will offer to conduct mediation with the parties early in the process. If the parties agree to mediation, a trained mediator will contact the parties to schedule mediation. The mediator, who is a neutral third party, will facilitate a voluntary discussion between the parties of issues raised in the charge, underlying interests and concerns, and areas of agreement. If mediation is successful, the terms agreed to by the parties will be memorialized in a written agreement. Upon receiving the agreement, signed by both parties, the office will close the case.
If the parties do not agree to mediate or if mediation fails, the investigation will proceed. Information revealed in the mediation process is confidential and will not be part of the investigative process if mediation is unsuccessful.
For conflicts involving City employees, the offices of the City Attorney and Organizational Excellence also offer mediation through the City of Alexandria’s Mediation Program (CAMP). To learn more, City employees can visit the CAMP page on AlexNet.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the Human Rights Investigator recommends a determination of probable cause or no probable cause to believe unlawful discrimination has occurred to the Human Rights Director. The Human Rights Director reviews the recommendation and issues a formal finding.
No Probable Cause
If a formal no probable cause finding is issued, the case will be dismissed and no further action will be taken. A Complainant whose complaint was filed under federal anti-discrimination laws may ask the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to review the Office's finding
If a probable cause finding is issued, the Office will begin a thirty-day mandatory conciliation process. If conciliation is successful, the terms of the agreement are set forth in writing and the case is closed. If conciliation is not successful, the Human Rights Director may notify the Human Rights Commission to schedule a public hearing. The parties should consult with the Investigator or with an attorney about post-administrative legal actions.
Request for a Notice of Right to Sue
Complainants may request a "Notice of Right to Sue" in federal court from the EEOC at specified periods while a case is pending. Once a request for a Notice of Right to Sue is made, the office terminates its investigation and the case is closed. Cases with concurrent federal and Alexandria jurisdiction are deemed dual-filed with the Office and the EEOC.