EQUAL ACCOMMODATIONS REGULATIONS
These Rules and Regulations have been prepared pursuant to the powers granted the Human Relations Commission and are intended to meet the applicable requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.
These Regulations shall govern individual cases over which the Human Relations Commission and the Division of Human Relations have jurisdiction pursuant to Chapter 45, Title 6 of the Delaware Code, as it may be amended from time to time.
These Regulations refer to "hearings" for case decisions only and are, therefore, to be distinguished from any other public hearings which may be held by the Commission to address general issues of public concern and which are not controlled by these Regulations.
These Rules and Regulations are specific to the processing of complaints of discrimination under the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law. The Commission believes these Rules and Regulations are necessary to ensure the appropriate administration of the Equal Accommodations Law.
These Regulations shall apply to Equal Accommodation causes of action arising under the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law on or after July 1, 1996. Regulations of the Commission previously in effect shall continue for Equal Accommodations causes of action, which arose prior to July 1, 1996. Delaware Fair Housing Act actions under Chapter 46, Title 6 of the Delaware Code are not affected by these Regulations.
PART I. DEFINITIONS
(1) A "place of public accommodation"
(6) "Conciliation Agreement"
(7) "Discriminatory public accommodation practice"
(9) "Marital Status"
(11) "Panel Chair"
(13) "Special Administration Fund"
B. As used in these Regulations, the following terms are defined:
(1) Commissioner: A person duly serving as a member of the Commission.
(2) Director: The administrator and head of the Division of Human Relations, or other person duly authorized to act as such.
(6) Office: Any one of the places of business of the Division of Human Relations.
(7) Party or Parties: The Complainant(s) or Respondent(s).
(10) Staff: A person who is employed by the Division of Human Relations of the State of Delaware.
PART II. COMMENCEMENT OF PROCEEDINGS
Rule 1: Who May File A Complaint
Rule 2: Investigations Initiated by Commission
Rule 3: Where Complaints are Filed
A complaint shall be filed at any one of the places of business of the Division of Human Relations.
Rule 4: Filing Dates of Complaints
Complaints made with the Commission through the Division of Human Relations shall be in writing and deemed to be "filed" when received at the Division in substantially completed form.
Rule 5: Form of Complaint
All complaints must be filed on a complaint form provided by the Office.
All complaint forms shall include the following information:
A. The Complainant's name and address;
C. If known, the name and address of each Respondent and, if different, the name of the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager or superintendent of the place of public accommodations.
E. The signature of the Complainant or his/her attorney.
Rule 6: Updating Address and Telephone Information
Complainants and Respondents must keep the Division of Human Relations informed of their current addresses and telephone numbers during the pendency of any proceedings.
PART III. RESPONSE TO COMPLAINT
PART IV: AMENDING A COMPLAINT
PART V. CASE CLOSING PRIOR TO HEARING
Rule 10: Voluntary Termination
A. A case may be dismissed by the Complainant without order of the Commission by filing a notice of dismissal at any time before service of a response to the complaint or by filing a stipulation of dismissal signed by all parties who have appeared in the case. Unless otherwise stated in the notice of dismissal or stipulation, the dismissal is without prejudice, except that a notice of dismissal operates as an adjudication upon the merits when filed by a Complainant who has once dismissed a case before the Commission based on or including the same claim. A Complainant who dismisses a case pursuant to this paragraph may re-file a complaint within ninety (90) days after the occurrence of the alleged discriminatory public accommodation practice.
B. After a Respondent has filed a response to the complaint, a case shall not be dismissed at the Complainant's request except upon order of the Commission and upon such terms and conditions as the Commission deems proper. Unless otherwise specified in the order, a dismissal under this paragraph is without prejudice.
PART VI. INVESTIGATION
Rule 11: Investigation of the complaint shall be conducted by Staff and shall commence promptly after the filing of the complaint. Investigation may include, without limitation: interviews, questionnaires, fact finding conferences, searching of records, testing, identification of any witnesses, development of statistics, other studies of practices and patterns, or other work to gather relevant evidence.
PART VII. CONCILIATION
Rule 12: Opportunity to Conciliate
The opportunity to conciliate or settle a case is available at any stage of the complaint process and may include a no-fault settlement offer. The Complainant(s) shall be notified of the opportunity to conciliate when a complaint is filed, and the Respondent(s) shall be so notified when a complaint is served. Staff shall schedule an informal conciliation conference to be held with the Complainant(s), the Respondent(s) and, if they so choose, attorneys representing them, within thirty (30) days after the receipt of the response to the complaint, unless it is impractical to do so.
Rule 13: Conciliation shall be initiated upon request of any Party, or upon the request or recommendation of Staff or a member of the Commission.
Rule 14: Conciliation Agreements
PART VIII. HEARINGS
Rule 15: Purpose of Hearing
The purpose of a hearing is: (i) to hear argument; (ii) where appropriate, to receive evidence and determine facts; and (iii) in all events to render an adjudication in accordance with applicable law.
Rule 16: Scheduling a Hearing
Rule 17: Notice of Hearing
The date, time, place and a brief description of the subject matter of the hearing shall be included in the Notice of Hearing sent to all Parties, the Panel and the Attorney General's representative, as well as other information required by the Administrative Procedures Act.
Rule 18: Location of Hearing
Rule 19: Subpoenas
Rule 20: Quorums
Rule 21: Witnesses
Rule 22: Exhibits
Rule 23: Procedure at Hearing
A. Formal rules of evidence need not be strictly followed.
C. Testimony from any person may be allowed at the discretion of the Panel.
E. Evidence on the behalf of the Complainant(s) should ordinarily be introduced first, to be followed by the Respondent(s)' evidence, then allowing rebuttal, if any.
G. Following the presentation of the evidence, an opportunity shall be given to each Party to make a closing statement.
H. The Panel may recall the Parties for further testimony if necessary to reach a decision.
Rule 24: Preparation of Written Transcript
PART IX. DECISION AND ORDERS
Rule 25: Decision Rendered
Rule 26: Notice of Final Order
Rule 27: Reconsideration
PART X. RECOVERY OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND EXPENSES
PART XI. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Rule 29: Time
(1) with or without motion or notice, order the period enlarged if the request therefore is made before the expiration of the period originally prescribed or as extended by a previous order; or
(2) upon a motion made after the expiration of a specified period, permit the act to be done where the failure to act was the result of excusable neglect.
C. Additional Time After Service By Mail.
Rule 30: Service
A. For the initial complaint and any pleading which brings in a new Party, service shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested with the return receipt card signed by:
(1) the person to be served;
(2) a person living with or working in the office of the person to be served; or
(3) an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
B. Alternatively, where appropriate, service may be made in accordance with Superior Court Civil Rule 4(f), or Superior Court Civil Rule 4(h) for service under Title 10, Section 3104.
Rule 31: Amendment of Regulations
Rule 32: Periodic Review
These Regulations shall be reviewed periodically by the Commission, or a designee and the Director of the Division of Human Relations. Any recommendations for revision shall be submitted in writing to the Commission for consideration at a regularly scheduled meeting.
Rule 33: Interpretation
Rule 34: Availability of Regulations