FAQ's REGARDING the Rights and Duties of Parties after the Merit Assessment Review (MAR)
1. Q. What does it mean if my case is retained after MAR?
It means that unresolved issues remain after the MAR. For example, credibility issues or other questions about the facts of the case may require further fact-gathering and analysis. Therefore, the Commission will conduct a further review of the facts of the case to make a final determination of whether reasonable cause exists.
2. Q. What kind of further review will occur?
The Commission will assign an investigator to review the case and determine what documents and witnesses will be necessary to find out what happened. The investigator may then issue notice of a fact-finding conference and/or mandatory mediation conference to the parties. The investigator may also request that the parties provide documents and/or witnesses at the fact-finding conference. The Commission has the right to subpoena documents and/or witnesses, but voluntarily producing documents and witnesses by the parties saves much time.
3. Q. Where is the fact-finding conference held?
The conference is typically held at one of the Commissionís 4 regional offices or at the central office located at 21 Grand Street, Hartford.
4. Q. Who is at the conference?
The parties, witnesses and attorneys (if any) are expected to appear. The notice of fact-finding may list specific people expected to appear.
5. Q. What is the purpose of the conference?
The purpose of the conference is to obtain information from the parties and their witnesses. The investigator does so by questioning the parties and witnesses and by reviewing documents produced at the fact-finding conference.
6. Q. How are individuals at the conference questioned?
The parties may be questioned under oath. At the investigatorís discretion, the parties may be questioned separately. Since fact-finding is not intended to be an adversarial proceeding, no cross-examinations will take place. At the discretion of the investigator however, the parties may propose questions to ask the other side or the witnesses.
7. Q. Are the conferences tape-recorded?
Yes. This is done in order to preserve a record of the conference. The parties may request copies of the tapes for a small fee (currently $2.00 per tape). CHRO does not transcribe tapes.
8. Q. Who has the right to look at the file and request the tapes?
The parties must provide each other with a copy of all documents filed with the Commission. When you send a copy of a document to the Commission, you must send a copy to the other party and certify to the Commission that you have done so. Both parties have a right to inspect and copy evidence in the Commissionís file, except as otherwise provided by federal law or Connecticut General Statutes.
9. Q. Do I need an attorney? Must my attorney be admitted to practice in Connecticut?
An attorney is not required. However, if you decide to retain a lawyer and a public hearing is held, that lawyer must be licensed to practice law in Connecticut.
10. Q. What happens after the conference?
After the investigator completes the investigation, he/she prepares a draft finding of Reasonable Cause or No Reasonable Cause to share with the parties. The parties then have 15 days to comment on the draft. The investigator will review the partiesí comments with his/her manager and determine if further inquiry is necessary. If not, the investigator issues his/her findings
11. Q. Are mediation and settlement a possibility?
Yes. At all times during the investigation, appropriate staff are available to discuss settlement options.
12. Q. Can I be required to mediate?
Yes. If a mandatory mediation conference is scheduled, both parties must attend. If the Complainant fails to attend mandatory mediation without a showing of good cause, the complaint may be dismissed. If the Respondent fails to attend mandatory mediation without a showing of good cause, the Respondent may be found in default. Attendance is mandatory, but settlement is not.
13. Q. What other duties are required of the parties in this process?
The Complainant has a duty to cooperate and to respond in a timely manner to any information and/or assistance requested by the Commission. The Complainant must notify the Commission of his/her whereabouts at all times throughout the process. You must notify the Commission, in writing, if your telephone number or address changes.
14. Q. What is a "make whole relief offer?"
A "make whole relief offer" may be found if the Respondent has eliminated the discriminatory practice complained of, taken steps to prevent a likely reoccurrence and has offered full relief to the Complainant. The Commission may dismiss a complaint when a Complainant fails to accept a "make whole relief offer."
15. Q. What are the next steps if an investigator finds "reasonable cause"?
The investigator will attempt to conciliate a settlement between the parties. If this proves unsuccessful, the case will be certified to the Office of Public Hearings.
16. Q. What are the Complainantís options if the investigator finds "No Reasonable Cause?"
If investigator finds that there is No Reasonable Cause, the complaint is dismissed. After dismissal, the Complainant may (within 15 days of the date of notice) request reconsideration from the Commission, or alternatively, may appeal to the Superior Court, as provided by the applicable statutes.
For further information regarding Frequently Asked Questions or other inquiries, please contact:
Capitol Region (860) 566-7710
West Central Region (203) 805-6530
Eastern Region (860) 886-5703
Southwest Region (203) 579-6246