By: Rudman Winchell Attorney Anne-Marie Storey
The Maine Human Rights Commission has published some changes to its procedural policies, effective for claims filed on or after January 1, 2015.
When a new complaint is filed, the respondent will be given 8 weeks to respond, unless the file is one to be marked with a “red dot”, in which case only 6 weeks will be permitted for the response. There will be no extensions granted.
The complainant now has a deadline to file any response – 8 weeks, unless it is “red dotted” in which case it is 6 weeks. Again, no extensions. The Commission’s notification says that in the event of a “sincere life-and-death emergency that necessitates extra time for an Answer/Reply”, it may permit an extension but that the permission must come directly from the Executive Director and will be granted only in very limited circumstances (which do not include vacation and busy schedules).
The respondent may still request administrative dismissal, but the request should be made in conjunction with the reply to the charge. If the request is made in lieu of a substantive response, the Commission will “assume that the respondent has said all it has to say in defense on the claim and act accordingly”. If administrative dismissal is requested but denied, the case will be sent to an investigator who may then permit additional evidence. Likewise, either party may still request mediation but the request should be made in conjunction with the response, not in lieu of it.
These changes do not apply to claims filed prior to January 1, 2015.
These materials have been prepared by Rudman Winchell for educational purposes only. They should not be considered legal advice. The transmission of this information to you is not intended to create a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. You should not send any confidential or private information to Rudman Winchell until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established, in writing.