After a Charge Is Filed (Brief Description)
After the discrimination charge is taken, the complainant and the respondent are given the option to participate in a mediation session, wherein an attempt at a mutually agreed upon settlement is made prior to an investigation. This agreement is a "no-fault" agreement, in which terms and conditions of a settlement are negotiated between the complainant and the respondent, and in which the respondent does not admit violations of the law and the complainant agrees not to file suit against the respondent based on the same issues. If either party chooses not to participate or the parties cannot agree to a resolution, an investigation is conducted.
Human Rights Bureau Process
- A claimant or charging party is one who
believes she/he has had an employment, public accommodation, housing or
credit harm based on a protected status (i.e. race, age, national origin,
color, religion, sex, physical or mental handicap, serious medical
condition, spousal affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity). The
individual must contact and file a Charge with the Bureau within 300 days
of the last date of alleged discrimination. The contact can be made in
person, via telephone, by mail, or email through this website.
- Based on the information provided by the
claimant, an investigator will draft a Charge of Discrimination and mail
it to you. If claimant is represented by an attorney, the attorney must
complete the forms. It is not a filed charge until the signed and dated
form is received by the Bureau.
- A copy of the Charge and an invitation to
mediation will be sent to the Respondent (employer). The purpose of the
mediation is to try and resolve the case. We do encourage that all cases
go through mediation initially as a means of resolving the charge. If both
parties agree to the mediation, our mediator will contact you to schedule
a mediation in the county where you were employed. If the mediation is
successful, the case will be closed and both parties will sign a settlement
agreement. If either party chooses not to participate or the parties
cannot agree on a resolution, the Bureau will continue with the
- The investigator will send the employer a questionnaire
asking for their position statement and request information and
documentation regarding your allegations. The employer has 20 days to
respond (but can request an extension, if necessary).
- After the Bureau receives the information from the
employer, the investigator will send the position statement to the
claimant/charging party, when then also has 20 days to send a written
rebuttal to the statement.
- Once the Bureau receives claimant’s rebuttal, the
investigator will evaluate the information in the file and gather more
information, if necessary, though additional requests for information,
witness interviews, and site visits.
- Once the investigation is complete the investigator
will review and summarize the information and forward the case file to the
- Claimants can notify the Bureau that they wish to
withdraw their case at any time during the investigation phase and file a
civil lawsuit in district court.
- The Division Director will review the case and make a
determination of Probable Cause or No Probable Cause. Probable Cause means
that the there is enough evidence to show that the law may have been
broken. No Probable Cause means the Director does not believe there was
sufficient evidence to show the law was broken.
- A determination of No Probable Cause will cause the
Bureau to close the case and issue a right-to-sue notice, allowing
claimants to appeal the determination within 90 days by filing in district
court. If a case was dual-filed, a claimant can also request that the EEOC
review the evidence.
- After a Probable Cause determination from the Director,
both parties will be invited to conciliate the case. Conciliation, like
mediation, is an opportunity for the parties to resolve the matter
themselves with the help of a mediator without having to go to a
Commission Hearing or to Court.
- If conciliation does not resolve the matter, then the
case will be scheduled for a hearing in front of a panel of New Mexico
Human Rights Commissioners or the Bureau’s Administrative Law Judge. Both
parties will be responsible for preparing their cases for the hearing,
which includes presenting evidence and questioning witnesses. Rulings are
appealable in district court.
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