Human Rights Commission Looking for Early Information From Claimants

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Representing defendants in claims before the Maine Human Rights Commission can be frustrating because the allegedly detailed statement of charge is often not very detailed. It can be difficult to respond to a claim when the defendant doesn’t fully understand the nature of the charges. Recently, I received a sexual harassment claim which, while detailed in many respects, was vague as to the specific acts of sexual harassment. Apparently, the Human Rights Commission felt the same way. They established a procedure which simultaneously sent the document request to the plaintiff and the respondent. In this case, the request to the complainant asked for very detailed information regarding the sexual harassment, including who committed it, what occurred, when it occurred, where it occurred, who was present, how complainant reacted to it, and how the complainant’s job was affected. Further, it asked whether complainant complained to anyone and to whom, whether an investigation was conducted, whether corrective action was taken, and the identity of any witnesses. This information can be very helpful to the Commission who investigates the claim, as well as the respondents, and can also facilitate the speed of the case.