The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 4554. Complaint; investigation and conciliation
(a) Any person who believes he or she has been subject to unlawful discrimination may file a complaint under oath with the Commission stating the facts concerning the alleged discrimination. Every complaint shall be reviewed by the staff of the Commission. If a complaint states a prima facie case, it may be accepted for investigation.
(b) An employee of the Commission may file a complaint alleging a prima facie violation of a prohibition against discrimination for the benefit of the victim of the alleged discrimination or of a described class. If at any time it is determined that a complaint filed under this subsection or under subsection (a) of this section does not state a prima facie case, it shall be dismissed.
(c) Upon receipt of such complaint under subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the Commission or its designated representative shall make every reasonable effort to resolve the matter by informal means prior to a determination whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that unlawful discrimination has occurred. The Commission or its designated representative shall conduct such preliminary investigation as it deems necessary to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that unlawful discrimination has occurred. In conducting an investigation, the Commission or its designated representative shall have access at all reasonable times to premises, records, documents, individuals, and other evidence or possible sources of evidence and may examine, record, and copy those materials and take and record the testimony or statements of such persons as are reasonably necessary. The Commission shall make every reasonable effort to interview each relevant and noncumulative witness identified by a party. If a witness is interviewed, a summary of the witness statement shall be included in any report prepared in connection with the complaint. Such statement shall be taken into consideration in determining whether or not there are reasonable grounds to believe that unlawful discrimination has occurred.
(d) If, after investigation, the staff of the Commission makes a preliminary recommendation that there are no reasonable grounds to believe unlawful discrimination occurred, the parties shall be notified of this preliminary recommendation of no reasonable grounds of unlawful discrimination prior to their appearance before the full Commission. If the Commission does not find reasonable grounds to believe that unlawful discrimination has occurred, it shall enter an order so finding, and dismiss the proceeding.
(e) If the Commission finds reasonable grounds to believe that unlawful discrimination has occurred, but does not find an emergency, it shall make every reasonable effort to eliminate the discrimination by informal means such as conference, conciliation, and persuasion. If the case is disposed of by informal means in a manner satisfactory to a majority of the Commission, it shall dismiss the proceeding. If the case is not disposed of by informal means in a manner satisfactory to a majority of the Commission within six months, it shall either bring an action in Superior Court as provided in section 4553 of this title or dismiss the proceedings, unless an extension is necessary to complete ongoing good faith negotiations and all parties consent to the extension.
(f) Failure to file a complaint under this section shall not affect any other remedies available under any other provision of State or federal law, unless the other provision of law specifically so provides.
(g) The Commission shall not represent the charging party or the respondent nor shall it favor any party in its handling of a complaint.
(h) In attempting to resolve the matter informally, the Commission may transmit to a party an offer of settlement. When an offer is transmitted the Commission shall:
(1) indicate which portion of the offer represents the settlement offer of the other party and which portion represents an offer by the Commission; and
(2) state that it has made no finding nor takes a position as to the reasonableness of the party's offer. (Added 1987, No. 234 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1995, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)