§5-11A-11. Administrative enforcement; preliminary matters; complaints and answers; service; conciliation; injunctions; reasonable cause determinations; issuance of charge


Published: 2015

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WEST VIRGINIA CODE











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WVC 5-11A-11

§5-11A-11. Administrative enforcement; preliminary matters;

complaints and answers; service; conciliation;

injunctions; reasonable cause determinations;

issuance of charge.

(a) (1) (A) An aggrieved person may, not later than one year

after an alleged discriminatory housing practice has occurred or

terminated, file a complaint with the commission alleging a

discriminatory housing practice. The commission, on the

commission's own initiative, may also file such a complaint. Such

complaint shall be in writing and shall contain such information

and be in such form as the commission requires. The commission may

also investigate housing practices to determine whether a complaint

should be brought under this section.

(B) Upon the filing of such complaint: (i) The commission

shall serve notice upon the aggrieved person acknowledging such

filing and advising the aggrieved person of the time limits and

choice of forums provided under this article; (ii) the commission

shall, not later than ten days after such filing or the

identification of an additional respondent under paragraph (2) of

this subsection, serve on the respondent a notice identifying the

alleged discriminatory housing practice and advising such

respondent of the procedural rights and obligations of respondents

under this article, together with a copy of the original complaint;

(iii) each respondent may file, not later than ten days after

receipt of notice from the commission, an answer to such complaint; and (iv) unless it is impracticable to do so, the commission shall

make an investigation of the alleged discriminatory housing

practice and complete such investigation within one hundred days

after the filing of the complaint.

(C) If the commission is unable to complete the investigation

within one hundred days after the filing of the complaint, the

commission shall notify the complainant and respondent in writing

of the reasons for not doing so.

(D) Complaints and answers shall be under oath or affirmation

and may be reasonably and fairly amended at any time.

(2) (A) A person who is not named as a respondent in a

complaint, but who is identified as a respondent in the course of

investigation, may be joined as an additional or substitute

respondent upon written notice, under paragraph (1) of this

subsection, to such person, from the commission.

(B) Such notice, in addition to meeting the requirements of

paragraph (1) of this subsection, shall explain the basis for the

commission's belief that the person to whom the notice is addressed

is properly joined as a respondent.

(b) (1) During the period beginning with the filing of such

complaint and ending with the filing of a charge or a dismissal by

the commission, the commission shall, to the extent feasible,

engage in conciliation with respect to such complaint.

(2) A conciliation agreement arising out of such conciliation

shall be an agreement between the respondent and the complainant and shall be subject to approval by the commission.

(3) A conciliation agreement may provide for binding

arbitration of the dispute arising from the complaint. Any such

arbitration that results from a conciliation agreement may award

appropriate relief, including monetary relief.

(4) Each conciliation agreement shall be made public unless

the complainant and respondent otherwise agree and the commission

determines that disclosure is not required to further the purposes

of this article.

(5) (A) At the end of each investigation under this section,

the commission shall prepare a final investigative report

containing: (i) The names and dates of contacts with witnesses;

(ii) a summary and the dates of correspondence and other contacts

with the aggrieved person and the respondent; (iii) a summary

description of other pertinent records; (iv) a summary of witness

statements; and (v) answers to interrogatories.

(B) A final report under this paragraph may be amended if

additional evidence is later discovered.

(c) Whenever the commission has reasonable cause to believe

that a respondent has breached a conciliation agreement, the

commission shall refer the matter to the attorney general with a

recommendation that a civil action be filed under section fifteen

of this article for the enforcement of such agreement.

(d) Nothing said or done in the course of conciliation under

this article may be made public or used as evidence in a subsequent proceeding under this article without the written consent of the

persons concerned, except the commission shall make available to

the aggrieved person and the respondent, at any time, upon request

following completion of the commission's investigation, information

derived from an investigation and any final investigative report

relating to that investigation.

(e) (1) If the commission concludes at any time following the

filing of a complaint that prompt judicial action is necessary to

carry out the purposes of this article, the commission may

authorize a civil action for appropriate temporary or preliminary

relief pending final disposition of the complaint under this

section. Upon receipt of such authorization, the attorney general

shall promptly commence and maintain such an action. Any temporary

injunction or other order granting preliminary or temporary relief

shall be issued in accordance with the West Virginia rules of civil

procedure. The commencement of a civil action under this

subsection does not affect the initiation or continuation of

administrative proceedings under this section and section thirteen

of this article.

(2) Whenever the commission has reason to believe that a basis

may exist for the commencement of proceedings against any

respondent under subsections (a) and (b), section fifteen of this

article or for proceedings by any governmental licensing or

supervisory authorities, the commission shall transmit the

information upon which such belief is based to the attorney general, or to such authorities, as the case may be.

(f) (1) The commission shall within one hundred days after the

filing of the complaint determine, based on the facts, whether

reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing

practice has occurred or is about to occur, unless it is

impracticable to do so, or unless the commission has approved a

conciliation agreement with respect to the complaint. If the

commission is unable to make the determination within one hundred

days after the filing of the complaint, the commission shall notify

the complainant and respondent in writing of the reasons for not

doing so.

(2) (A) If the commission determines that reasonable cause

exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has

occurred or is about to occur, the commission shall, except as

provided in subparagraph (C), immediately issue a charge on behalf

of the aggrieved person, for further proceedings under section

thirteen of this article.

(B) Such charge: (i) Shall consist of a short and plain

statement of the facts upon which the commission has found

reasonable cause to believe that a discriminatory housing practice

has occurred or is about to occur; (ii) shall be based on the final

investigative report; and (iii) need not be limited to the facts or

grounds alleged in the complaint filed under subsection (a) of this

section.

(C) If the commission determines that the matter involves the legality of any state or local zoning or other land use law or

ordinance, the commission shall immediately refer the matter to the

attorney general for appropriate action under section fifteen of

this article, instead of issuing such charge.

(3) If the commission determines that no reasonable cause

exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has

occurred or is about to occur, the commission shall promptly

dismiss the complaint. The commission shall make public disclosure

of each such dismissal.

(4) The commission may not issue a charge under this section

regarding an alleged discriminatory housing practice after the

beginning of the trial of a civil action commenced by the aggrieved

party under an act of Congress or a state law seeking relief with

respect to that discriminatory housing practice.

(g) After the commission issues a charge under this section,

the commission shall cause a copy thereof, together with

information as to how to make an election under subsection (a),

section thirteen of this article and the effect of such an

election, to be served: (1) On each respondent named in such

charge, together with a notice of opportunity for a hearing at a

time and place specified in the notice, unless that election is

made; and (2) on each aggrieved person on whose behalf the

complaint was filed.





Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session

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