What does the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission (“Commission”) do?
The City of Fort Wayne’s anti-discrimination laws prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and education on the basis of religion, sex, race, color, disability, national origin, ancestry, place of birth, sexual orientation, age (40+, not in housing), and familial status (only in housing). An individual who feels he or she has been illegally discriminated against in employment, housing, public accommodation or in education, can file a complaint with the Commission.
How do I file a complaint?
A complaint must be filed with the Commission either by personal delivery or by mail. To begin the complaint process, you must first fill out an intake information sheet. You may download a form or fill out a form from this website (Pre-Interview Information Form) or you may come to our office to complete one in person. Your intake information sheet will be assigned to a member of the Commission staff who will then conduct an intake interview.
You cannot file a complaint over the telephone, but you may call us at any time (260-427-1146) if you want to set up an appointment to file a complaint or have questions about our process.
Is there a cost to file a complaint with the Commission?
No. There is no cost file a complaint.
Is there a time limit to file a complaint with the Commission?
Yes. An individual has 300 calendar days from the last day alleged discrimination took place to file a complaint with the Commission. The Commission can only investigate complaints in which the alleged discrimination took place within the last 180 days. Anything that falls outside of the 180 days may be transferred to our federal partner (EEOC or HUD) for further review.
Can I file an anonymous complaint?
No. Complaints must be signed and sworn to under penalty of perjury.
Can I still file a complaint if I'm not fluent in English?
Yes. Your complaint will be translated, and translators will be used during the investigation. Additionally, you may have someone you know (a representative) translate on your behalf.
Is this a lawsuit in court?
No. The filing of a discrimination complaint is not a lawsuit. It is an administrative process.
If I file a complaint with the Commission, can I still file in court?
As long as you’ve met the requirements to file in court, you may do so. Your Commission complaint will be closed once a lawsuit is filed if the allegations are the same.
Does the Commission represent me?
No. The Commission is a neutral fact-finding agency charged to investigate each complaint of discrimination to determine if a violation of the anti-discrimination laws has occurred.
Do I need an attorney?
You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed to obtain one at any time.
Can you recommend an attorney?
The Commission does not recommend attorneys. You can contact your local bar associations or legal aid services for attorney referrals.
What happens after a complaint is filed?
It goes to our intake department, and moves through the following process: Click here for more information on our complaint process.
What does the Commission do when it finds probable cause?
If the Commission determines that there is probable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred the parties are notified and attempts are made to conciliate (or settle) the complaint. If conciliation is unsuccessful, the complaint may be taken to an administrative hearing with an administrative law judge. The Commission does not represent either party at the hearing.
How can I protect myself or my witnesses from retaliation for filing a charge?
Once a complaint is made with the Commission, our laws protect you and your witnesses from retaliation. If you feel that you have been retaliated against for opposing discrimination based on a protected class, such as filing a discrimination complaint with the Commission or complaining of discrimination to your employer or housing provider, you may file a retaliation complaint.
I think I may have been discriminated against, but I'm not sure. What should I do?
You should contact the Commission and we will determine if it’s jurisdictional for an investigation. If so, our investigation will focus on whether discrimination occurred by gathering evidence such as interviewing witnesses and reviewing documentation.