4. How does the EOC handle a complaint? Under what circumstances will the EOC discontinue the investigation of a complaint?
The EOC is required by law to investigate the complaint. Allegations by the complainant are sent to the respondent/discriminator for comment. Responses (if any) are then made available to the complainant. Witness statements are taken and pertinent materials are gathered to see if the case should be discontinued or proceed to conciliation (see the next question). All information gathered during the investigation stage is kept confidential from third parties but may be used in court proceedings.
The EOC may decide not to conduct or to discontinue an investigation into a complaint if:
- more than 12 months have passed since the discriminatory act was done;
- the act complained of is not unlawful;
- the aggrieved person does not desire to continue with the investigation;
- the complaint cannot be pursued appropriately only as a representative complaint (i.e. the complaint should be personally lodged by the aggrieved person instead of being lodged through a representative);
- the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, misconceived or lacking in substance.