Reports of discrimination are handled in-house beginning, in most instances, with the Enforcement Branch Intake Unit. Intake begins when a person contacts the Commission's office or a Commissioner brings an issue to the staff's attention. These trained intake Officers will take a complaint and determine whether the Commission has jurisdiction over the complaint to proceed with filing a formal complaint on behalf of the complainant. Once filed, case investigation then proceeds by Enforcement Officers who act as impartial fact-finders to determine if discrimination occurred. Investigations of complaints are conducted by interviewing the parties involved in the complaint, talking with relevant witnesses, and reviewing documentation and records. If the evidence cannot support a finding of Probable Cause, then a finding of No Probable Cause is rendered and the complaint is dismissed by the Commission. On occasion, the complaint can be resolved by a mutual (both parties of the complaint) Conciliation Agreement. Conciliation Agreements can include provisions for a job, promotion, the next available apartment, back wages, embarrassment and humiliation compensation, other compensation, and reports by respondents to the Commission. If a finding of Probable Cause is made, the case is turned over to the Commission’s Legal Unit to litigate in an administrative hearing on behalf of the complainant.
The Legal Division provides legal services on behalf of the Commission to complainants who allege violations of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. Staff attorneys negotiate conciliation agreements and present cases in administrative hearings and the state's court system. If a complaint is not dismissed or conciliated, it is brought before the Commission in an administrative hearing where one of the three attorneys in the legal division represents the complainant. The Commission has the authority to award damages and issue injunctive decrees. Aggrieved parties can appeal Commission rulings to the Circuit Court. Since 1992, complainants and respondents in housing cases can elect to bypass the administrative hearing and be heard in Circuit Court.
Education & Outreach
An important component of the Commission's mission is to educate and inform people about their rights under the law and to inform businesses, landlords, and other organizations about how to conduct their operations in accordance with the law. Research and Information coordinates the agency's field offices, public affairs, community relations, and publications. The Research and Information Division staff is available to conduct speaking engagements, workshops, classes and other events. The Commission's staff works with local commissions throughout the Commonwealth to identify problem, devise solutions and offer technical assistance. In addition, the Commission publishes reports on various topics each year.