(a)   A person subjected to an unlawful housing practice may file, within 360 days of the alleged violation, with the Human Relations Commission a complaint in writing, sworn to or affirmed, which states:
      (1)   The name and address of the person aggrieved;
      (2)   The name and address of the person against whom the complaint is filed;
      (3)   A description, and the address, of the dwelling which involves the alleged discriminatory housing practice or employment practice;
      (4)   A concise statement of the facts, including pertinent dates, constituting the alleged discriminatory housing or employment practice; and
      (5)   Such other information as may be required by the Commission.
   The complaint may be reasonably and fairly amended. The Commission may also corroborate or initiate complaints on the basis of studies carried out by its staff or volunteers authorized by the Commission.
   (b)   Upon the filing of the complaint, the Secretary of the Commission shall make such investigations as he or she deems appropriate to ascertain facts and issues. Such an investigation shall be conducted within fourteen business days after the filing of the complaint. The time for investigation may be extended when deemed necessary by the Chairman of the Commission. If the Secretary determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe a violation has occurred, he or she shall attempt to conciliate the matter by methods of initial conference and persuasion with all interested parties and such representatives as the parties may choose to assist them. Conciliation conferences shall be informal, and nothing said or done during such initial conferences shall be made public by a member of the Commission or its staff unless the parties agree thereto in writing.
   (c)   The terms of conciliation agreed to by the parties shall be reduced to writing and incorporated into a consent agreement to be signed by the parties, which agreement is for conciliation purposes and does not constitute an admission by any party that the law has been violated. Consent agreement shall be signed on behalf of the Commission by its Chairman.
   (d)   The Commission is authorized to seek the cooperation and aid of the Ohio Real Estate Commission, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and any other person or group, regarding any matter before the Commission.
   (e)   If the Secretary determines that the complaint referred to in subsections (a) and (b) hereof lacks reasonable grounds upon which to base a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, he or she shall so inform the Human Relations Commission and the Commission may in its discretion dismiss such complaint or order such further investigation as may be necessary. However, the Commission shall not dismiss such complaint without first affording either party an opportunity to appear before the Commission.
   (f)   If the Secretary, with respect to a matter which involves a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, fails to conciliate a complaint after the parties have in good faith attempted such conciliation or fails to effect an informal conciliation agreement or an informal consent agreement or determine that a complaint is not susceptible of conciliation, he or she shall so notify the Commission and the Commission shall thereafter schedule a public hearing to determine whether or not such a violation has been committed. The Commission shall serve upon the respondent a written statement of charges and a summons and shall serve upon all interested parties a notice of the time and place of the hearing. The respondent or his or her authorized counsel may file and amend such statements with the Commission prior to the hearing date as he or she deems necessary in support of his or her position. The hearing shall be open to the public. The hearing shall be held not less than fifteen, or more than thirty, calendar days after service of the statement of charges and summons. The summons so issued must be signed by two members of the Commission, and the issuance of such summons shall require the attendance of named persons and the production of relevant documents and records. The failure to comply with a summons shall constitute a violation of this chapter. The interested parties may, at their option, appear before the Commission in person or by a duly authorized representative and may have the assistance of an attorney. The parties may present testimony in evidence, and the right to cross- examine witnesses shall be preserved. All testimony in evidence shall be given under oath or by affirmation. The Secretary shall keep a full record of the hearing, which records shall be public and open to inspection by any person, and upon request by any principal party to the proceeding, the Commission shall furnish such party a copy of the hearing record, at such cost as the Commission deems appropriate.
   (g)   If, at the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission determines upon the preponderance of the evidence that the person complained against has violated any of the provisions of this chapter, the Commission shall, after consultation with the Director of Law, in executive session, state its finding to the Director and call the Director to prepare and issue an order under Commission directive requiring the person complained against to cease and desist from such unlawful conduct and to take such affirmative action as will effectuate the purposes of this chapter, with notice that if the Commission, upon investigation by the Secretary, determines that the person complained against has not after fifteen calendar days following service of the Commission's order complied with the order, the Commission will recertify the matter to the Director for enforcement. The Director shall seek compliance by appropriate civil action brought in the name of the Commission before a court of competent jurisdiction.
   (h)   If, at the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission determines upon the preponderance of the evidence of the record that the person complained against has not violated any of the provisions of this chapter, the Commission shall so state, publish its findings and issue its order dismissing the complaint.
(Ord. 37-79. Passed 5-1-79.)