The purpose of this letter is to familiarize you with the procedures which will be followed during the Predetermination Conference (the conference). The conference is being held pursuant to the investigatory powers of the Alexandria Office of Human Rights (the Office), as established by the Alexandria City Code, Section 12-4-14. The purpose of the conference is to assist the Office in its investigation of the discriminatory practices alleged in the charge and to obtain resolution of the charge.
The Human Rights Investigator (the Investigator) will control and direct the conference. Other Office employees may be non participating observers. The Investigator will take the following steps during the conference. First, the charge will be read or summarized and the specific allegations discussed. The Complainant will then, without interruption from the Respondent, present their case. The Respondent then will be given an opportunity to answer the charge and present its views without interruption from the complainant. Witnesses will not be permitted during the conference, except when presenting their own testimony. Each witness will wait outside the conference room until called to provide information on the complaint. During the conference, the Investigator may question any party or witness to the charge.
Who May Attend
Complainant and Respondent may be represented by an attorney. If the Respondent or complainant is represented by an attorney, the attorney may present their party's case, however, attorneys shall refrain from answering any questions posed by the investigator unless asked to do so. No cross examination or questioning by the parties will be permitted. Complainants may also elect to have, in addition to an attorney, one non-witness with them during the conference. The individual may not take part in the conference, other than to accompany and provide support to the Complainant. Any individual accompanying the Complainant shall be required to keep confidential any matters or information raised during the conference. Failure to abide by this confidentiality requirement will result in the removal of the non-witness from the conference, as well as forfeiture of that individual's right to participate as a non-party in any further conferences conducted by the Office.
If either the Complainant or Respondent have any witnesses they wish to call, they must do so during their presentation. Any witness affidavits, documentary or their evidence which either party believes should be considered by the Investigator in reaching a determination on the merits of the charge must also be submitted during the conference.
The conference will be tape recorded. Complainant and Respondent are permitted to take handwritten notes during the conference. Copies of the tape(s) shall not be provided to either party while the case remains open and under investigation. Copies of the tape(s) may be requested through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request after the case is closed.
If either of the parties suggest a recess to discuss settlement of the complaint, where settlement has been deemed to be appropriate, the Investigator may calla recess. The Investigator may conduct settlement discussions separately with each party. If settlement fails, the Investigator will reconvene the conference.
When all immediately available information has been gathered, the Investigator will announce a decision or initiate a discussion to resolve the complaint. Should the case require additional investigation beyond the conference, the Investigator will attempt to gather all information needed as quickly as possible and issue a decision on the merits of the charge as soon thereafter as possible.
If any party fails to cooperate with these guidelines, the proceedings will stop and the investigation will be conducted through other means.