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(a) The commission on human relations shall proceed to make the investigation as it may deem appropriate to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the allegations of discrimination are well founded. If there is no probable cause to believe that the allegations of discrimination are well founded, the commission shall dismiss the complaint. If, after investigation, it is found that probable cause to believe that the allegations of discrimination are well founded, the commission shall transmit the finding of probable cause, along with the reasons for the finding and a recitation of the evidence and names of witnesses that support the finding, to both complainant and respondent. Both complainant and respondent shall be permitted to inspect any documents not prepared by the commission in the files of the commission that are relevant to the determination of probable cause. If there is probable cause to believe that the allegations of discrimination are well founded, and the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved, the parties shall be served notice of the time and place of a conciliation conference by personal service or registered or certified mail at least five business days prior thereto.
(b) No later than 20 days after notice of the finding of probable cause and prior to hearing, the complaining party or the respondent may elect to have the claims asserted in the complaint decided in a circuit court in lieu of a hearing before the commission. Parties shall be notified of their right to this election in the notice of the finding of probable cause. Upon receipt of notice of election, the commission on human relations shall have no further jurisdiction over the parties concerning the charge filed. In a civil action, if a court or jury finds that an unfair or discriminatory practice has occurred, it may award the charging party compensatory damages. The court may grant as relief any injunctive order including affirmative action. Punitive damages may be awarded under SDCL 21-3-2 for a violation of this chapter as they pertain to housing. Attorney’s fees and costs may be awarded to the prevailing party for housing matters.
(1957 Rev. Ords., § 2.1807; 1972 Code, § 13-31; 1992 Code, § 21.5-31) (Ord. 2700, passed 8-17-1970; Ord. 55-76, passed 6-21-1976; Ord. 22-81, passed 3-16-1980; Ord. 51-91, passed 6-10-1991)