2006 New Mexico Statutes - Section 28-1-10 — Grievance procedure.

28-1-10. Grievance procedure.

A.     A person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice and a member of the commission who has reason to believe that discrimination has occurred may file with the human rights division of the labor department a written complaint that shall state the name and address of the person alleged to have engaged in the discriminatory practice, all information relating to the discriminatory practice and any other information that may be required by the commission.  All complaints shall be filed with the division within three hundred days after the alleged act was committed.

B.     The director shall advise the respondent that a complaint has been filed against the respondent and shall furnish the respondent with a copy of the complaint.  The director shall promptly investigate the alleged act.  If the director determines that the complaint lacks probable cause, the director shall dismiss the complaint and notify the complainant and respondent of the dismissal.  The complaint shall be dismissed subject to appeal as in the case of other orders of the commission.

C.     If the director determines that probable cause exists for the complaint, the director shall attempt to achieve a satisfactory adjustment of the complaint through persuasion and conciliation.  The director and staff shall neither disclose what has transpired during the attempted conciliation nor divulge information obtained during any hearing before the commission or a commissioner prior to final action relating to the complaint.  An officer or employee of the labor department who makes public in any manner information in violation of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or imprisoned not more than one year.

D.     A person who has filed a complaint with the human rights division may request and shall receive an order of nondetermination from the director without delay after the division's receipt of the complaint and in jointly filed cases, after the federal complaint has been closed.  The order of nondetermination may be appealed pursuant to the provisions of Section 28-1-13 NMSA 1978.

E.     In the case of a complaint filed by or on behalf of a person who has an urgent medical condition and has notified the director in writing of the test results, the director shall make the determination whether probable cause exists for the complaint and shall attempt any conciliation efforts within ninety days of the filing of the written complaint or notification, whichever occurs last.

F.     If conciliation fails or if, in the opinion of the director, informal conference cannot result in conciliation and the complainant has not requested a waiver of right to hearing pursuant to the provisions of Subsection J of this section, the commission shall issue a written complaint in its own name against the respondent, except that in the case of a complaint filed by or on behalf of a person who has an urgent medical condition, who has notified the director in writing of the test results and who so elects, the director shall issue an order of nondetermination, which may be appealed pursuant to the provisions of Section 28-1-13 NMSA 1978.  The complaint shall set forth the alleged discriminatory practice, the secretary's regulation or the section of the Human Rights Act alleged to have been violated and the relief requested.  The complaint shall require the respondent to answer the allegations of the complaint at a hearing before the commission or hearing officer and shall specify the date, time and place of the hearing.  The hearing date shall not be more than fifteen or less than ten days after service of the complaint.  The complaint shall be served on the respondent personally or by registered mail, return receipt requested.  The hearing shall be held in the county where the respondent is doing business or the alleged discriminatory practice occurred.

G.     Within one year of the filing of a complaint by a person aggrieved, the commission or its director shall:

(1)     dismiss the complaint for lack of probable cause;

(2)     achieve satisfactory adjustment of the complaint as evidenced by order of the commission; or

(3)     file a formal complaint on behalf of the commission.

H.     Upon the commission's petition, the district court of the county where the respondent is doing business or the alleged discriminatory practice occurred may grant injunctive relief pending hearing by the commission or pending judicial review of an order of the commission so as to preserve the status quo or to ensure that the commission's order as issued will be effective.  The commission shall not be required to post a bond.

I.     For purposes of this section, "urgent medical condition" means any medical condition as defined by an appropriate medical authority through documentation or by direct witness of a clearly visible disablement that poses a serious threat to the life of the person with the medical condition.

J.     The complainant may seek a trial de novo in the district court in lieu of a hearing before the commission, provided the complainant requests from the director, in writing, a waiver of complainant's right to hearing within sixty days of service of written notice of a probable cause determination by the director.  The director shall approve the waiver request and shall serve notice of the waiver upon the complainant and respondent.  The complainant may request a trial de novo pursuant to Section 28-1-13 NMSA 1978 within ninety days from the date of service of the waiver.  Issuance of the notice shall be deemed a final order of the commission for the purpose of appeal pursuant to Section 28-1-13 NMSA 1978.

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