The Investigative Process

Page updated on Dec 16, 2015 at 9:41 AM

The 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.  The office will offer to conduct mediation with the parties early in the process.  If the parties do not agree or if mediation fails, the investigation will proceed.  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.


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.

Probable Cause

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.