WEST VIRGINIA CODE
§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
(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
(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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