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(a) Whenever it is charged in writing and under oath by a person, to be referred to as the complainant, that another person, to be referred to as the respondent, has engaged in or is engaging in unlawful discriminatory practices, or upon its own initiative when the Board has information in its possession relating to the existence of unlawful discriminatory practices as defined in Section 547.02, the Board shall initiate a preliminary investigation. The formal written charge of discrimination prescribed herein shall be brought and filed with the Board within six months of the occurrence of the alleged acts of discrimination.
(b) After the filing of a formal complaint or the passage of a resolution by the Board authorizing the initiation of a preliminary investigation on the Board's own initiative, the Board shall designate an investigator from the regular staff of the Board to make a prompt preliminary investigation into the matters alleged or of concern to the Board, and report their findings to the Board as a whole. If, after such preliminary investigation it is determined that it is not probable that an unlawful discriminatory practice has been or is being engaged in, the Board shall notify the complainant of its decision and that further proceedings will not be instituted. If, after the preliminary investigation, the Board finds that it is probable that unlawful discriminatory practices have been or are being engaged in, the Board shall attempt and endeavor to eliminate such practices and the effects thereof by informal methods of conference, conciliation and persuasion, which proceedings may include or involve the execution by the parties of a written conciliation agreement, setting forth the manner, terms and conditions of the resolution for the dispute and requiring compliance with such terms and conditions. Nothing said or done in the course of endeavoring to conciliate the subject matter of any complaint, shall be disclosed by any member of the Board or its staff or be used in any subsequent proceedings. If, after such investigation and conciliatory efforts, the Board is satisfied that the discriminatory practices in question will be eliminated, it may treat the complaint as resolved by conciliation and entry of such disposition shall be made upon the records of the Board.
(c) If the Board, after preliminary investigations, has found that unlawful discriminatory practices probably have been or are being engaged in and the aforementioned efforts at conciliation have failed and the Board is unable to obtain voluntary compliance with the provisions of this chapter, the Board shall issue and cause to be served upon any person or respondent, alleged to have been involved in the commission of the discriminatory practice or practices in question, a complaint stating the charges in that respect and containing a notice of hearing before the Board or a committee or subcommittee of the Board, appointed to conduct such hearing, at any place within the boundaries of the City and at a time not less than ten nor more than thirty days after the service of such notice. The City Law Director, or a member of his staff, shall represent the Fair Employment Practices Board at such hearing and assist in the presentation of the evidence in support of the complaint.
(d) Any complaint may be amended by the Fair Employment Practices Board or the committee conducting the hearing at any time prior to or during the hearing. The respondent has the right to file an answer or an amended answer to the original and amended complaint and to appear at such hearing in person or by attorney, to examine and cross-examine witnesses and present evidence and testimony in support of his position.
(e) The complainant shall be a party to the proceeding and any person who is an indispensable party to a complete determination or settlement of the matters involved shall be joined. Any person who has or claims to have an interest in the subject of the hearing and in obtaining or preventing relief against the acts or practices complained of may be, in the discretion of the person or body conducting the hearing, permitted to appear for the presentation of oral or written arguments.
(f) In any proceeding the Board or committee or subcommittee of the Board shall not be bound by the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity, but shall, in ascertaining the practices followed by the respondent, take into account all reliable, probative and substantive evidence, statistical or otherwise, produced at the hearing, which may tend to prove the existence or nonexistence of any discriminatory practices.
The testimony taken at the hearing contemplated by this section shall be under oath and shall be reduced to writing and filed with the Board. Thereafter at its discretion the Board, the committee or subcommittee of the Board conducting the hearing, upon due notice to the complainant and to the respondent with an opportunity for them to be present, may take further testimony or hear argument. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself at any such hearing. (Ord. 383-77. Passed 11-21-77.)