Drawing of State Library BuildingConnecticut State Library Home

Connecticut Public Acts 1996

Previous Page TOC Next Page Public Acts Listings


Substitute House Bill No. 5518

PUBLIC ACT NO. 96-241

AN ACT CONCERNING THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section. 1. (NEW) (a) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes to the contrary, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities shall have jurisdiction over any complaint filed pursuant to section 46a-82 of the general statutes on or before January 1, 1996, which has not been finally adjudicated or resolved by action of the commission, that the commission would have had jurisdiction over but for the failure of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to comply with the time requirements of chapter 814c of the general statutes.

(b) If the commission fails to issue a determination of reasonable cause or no reasonable cause on any such complaint not later than January 1, 1997, the executive director of the commission shall issue forthwith a release of the complaint from the commission, allowing the complainant to bring a civil action. Upon receipt of a release pursuant to this section, the complainant may bring a civil action in accordance with the provisions of sections 46a-100, 46a-101, 46a-103 and 46a-104 of the general statutes, notwithstanding the statute of limitations pursuant to section 46a-102 of the general statutes.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (a) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes to the contrary, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities shall have jurisdiction over any complaint filed pursuant to section 46a-82 of the general statutes after January 1, 1996, that the commission would have had but for the failure of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to comply with the time requirements of section 46a-83 of the general statutes, provided the commission takes action to comply with such time requirements with respect to such complaints not later than June 30, 1996.

(b) The time frame contained in subsection (b) of section 46a-83 of the general statutes to conduct a review of the file shall be tolled if an answer is not timely received from the date the respondent's answer is due pursuant to subsection (a) of section 46a-83 of the general statutes until the date the answer is actually received by the commission.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (a) Any action filed pursuant to section 46a-94a, 46a-95 or 4-183 of the general statutes concerning a complaint filed pursuant to section 46a-82 of the general statutes on or before January 1, 1996, in which a final judgment has not been entered prior to the effective date of this act, otherwise valid except for the failure of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to comply with the time requirements of chapter 814c of the general statutes, is validated.

(b) If any action filed pursuant to section 46a-94a, 46a-95 or 4-183 of the general statutes concerning a complaint filed pursuant to section 46a-82 of the general statutes on or before January 1, 1996, has failed to be tried on its merits because the action has been dismissed by the Superior Court for want of jurisdiction due to the failure of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to comply with the time requirements of chapter 814c of the general statutes, a party to the action may, on or before October 1, 1996, petition the court to reopen such action. The court shall set aside the judgment and reinstate the case on the docket.

Sec. 4. Subsection (d) of section 46a-83 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(d) Before issuing a finding of reasonable cause or no reasonable cause, the investigator shall afford each party and his representative an opportunity to provide written or oral comments on all evidence in the commission's file, except as otherwise provided by federal law or any other provision of the general statutes. The investigator shall consider such comments in making his determination. The investigator shall make a finding of reasonable cause or no reasonable cause in writing and shall list the factual findings on which it is based not later than [nine] TWELVE months from the date of filing of the complaint, except that for good cause shown, the executive director or his designee may grant [a single extension] NO MORE THAN TWO EXTENSIONS of the investigation of three months EACH. If the investigator makes a determination that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of section 46a-64c has occurred, the complainant and the respondent shall have twenty days from receipt of notice of the reasonable cause finding to elect a civil action in lieu of an administrative hearing pursuant to section 46a-84. If either the complainant or the respondent requests a civil action, the commission, through the Attorney General or the commission counsel, shall commence an action pursuant to subsection (b) of section 46a-89 within forty-five days of receipt of the complainant's or the respondent's notice of election of a civil action.

Sec. 5. Subsection (b) of section 46a-84 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) Upon certification of the complaint, the executive director of the commission or his designee shall appoint a hearing officer or hearing adjudicator to act as a presiding officer to hear the complaint or to conduct settlement negotiations and shall cause to be issued and served in the name of the commission a written notice, together with a copy of the complaint, as the same may have been amended, requiring the respondent to answer the charges of the complaint at a hearing before the presiding officer or hearing adjudicator at a time and place to be specified in the notice, provided such hearing shall be [held] COMMENCED BY CONVENING A HEARING CONFERENCE not later than ninety days after a finding of reasonable cause. The hearing shall be a de novo hearing on the merits of the complaint and not an appeal of the commission's processing of the complaint prior to its certification. THE HEARING SHALL PROCEED WITH REASONABLE DISPATCH AND BE CONCLUDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4-180.

Sec. 6. (a) The Connecticut Law Revision Commission shall study and recommend to the General Assembly a revision of the complaint process of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The commission shall convene an advisory committee to advise the commission in the project. The advisory committee shall make findings and specific recommendations concerning the complaint process to the Law Revision Commission not later than December 1, 1996. After considering the findings and recommendations of the advisory committee, the Law Revision Commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly not later than January 15, 1997.

(b) The advisory committee shall be composed of: Two members appointed by the Governor; the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management or his designee; the chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities or his designee; the Attorney General or his designee; the chief court administrator or his designee; the chairperson of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women or her designee; an attorney who represents respondents in discrimination cases, appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate; an attorney who represents complainants in discrimination cases, appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives; two attorneys who have served as hearing officers for the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, one appointed by the majority leader of the Senate and one appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives; a representative of employees appointed by the minority leader of the Senate; and a representative of employers appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives. The general counsel of the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities shall be an ex-officio member of the advisory committee. The Governor shall designate one of the members of the advisory committee, other than an attorney in private practice, to serve as chairman of the committee. The chairman shall convene the first meeting of the advisory committee not later than July 1, 1996. Any vacancy in the appointed membership of the advisory committee shall be filled by the appointing authority.

(c) The Law Revision Commission shall provide such staff assistance to the advisory committee as is necessary to carry out the purposes of this section.

Sec. 7. This act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved June 6, 1996. Effective June 6, 1996.

[footer.htm]