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NEBRASKA EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION: Eliminating Discrimination in Nebraska



 

Jurisdictional Days

IMPORTANT NOTICE: There is a time limit for filing a charge. If you believe you have experienced illegal discrimination, please note the following filing requirements under Nebraska law:

  1. 300 days from the date of harm for Employment discrimination
  2. 365 days (one year) year from the date of harm for Housing discrimination
  3. 10 days from the date of harm for Public Accommodation discrimination
  4. 4 years from the date of harm for Equal Pay claims (under the Equal Pay Act of Nebraska.

If you choose to file a complaint, it's important that you file within the the required timeframe allowed by law. If you are close to the - filing deadline, we suggest that you contact us immediately by telephone at one of our offices (see left column for our locations and phone numbers).


Basis for Filing

Fair Employment Practice Act
(FEPA):

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Marital Status
  • Pregnancy
  • Retaliation
  • Whistleblower Retaliation


The Nebraska Age Discrimination
in Employment Act (Age Act)

  • Age (40 or older)
  • Retaliation

Equal Pay Act

  • Sex
  • Retaliation

Fair Housing Act

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Disability
  • Familial Status
  • Sex
  • Retaliation

Act Providing Equal Enjoyment of
Public Accommodations (PA)

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Retaliation

COMPLAINT PROCESS

Intake is the first step in filing a charge. You can contact the agency and speak to an Intake Investigator. If it is determined that the Commission has jurisdiction to file a charge, you will be set up with an appointment time. You can reach an Intake Investigator by one of the following methods:

Phone

Call our Lincoln office at 402-471-2024 or 800-642-6112, Omaha office at 402-595-2028 or 800-382-7820, or Scottsbluff office at 308-632-1340 or 800-830-8633. Staff is available to take calls from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. If staff is not available, or you call when the office is closed, you can leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

In person

Our offices are open 8:00 am through 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The locations of our office, with directions, are listed on our contact page. You do not need an appointment for an initial inquiry, but there may be a wait due to the Intake Investigator assisting others.

Online

You can contact us online by filing out the Inquiry form on the Contact Us page. Please note this is not a formal charge. An intake investigator will contact you after receipt of the inquiry form.

After your initial contact with an Intake Investigator, if it is determined that the Commission has jurisdiction to take a charge of discrimination, you will be set up with an appointment to conduct a more formal intake interview. During the interview, the Intake Investigator will explain the relevant laws which the NEOC enforces and get the information from the Complainant necessary to draft a charge of discrimination. The intake investigator will prepare the formal charge of discrimination which will be provided to the Complainant to review, sign and notarize. A charge is not formally filed until the Commission receives a signed, notarized charge.

Depending on the law under which you may be filing, and timeliness issues, the intake investigator may need to conduct the intake interview at the time of initial contact.

If you are interested in beginning the process, please go here to select the form to fill out.

Service is the next step in the complaint process. Once the charge is filed (signed by the Complainant and notarized), the NEOC must serve the charge on the Respondent within 10 days. Employment Respondents have 30 days from the day they receive the charge of discrimination to prepare their response and produce the documents requested at the time of service. Public Accommodations Respondents have 20 days to prepare their response and produce the documents at the time of service. Employment Respondents may request a 30 day extension to this response time. Such an extension will be granted only for good cause. Public Accommodations Respondents may request a 14 day extension. Housing Respondents have 10 days to prepare their response and produce the documents requested at the time of service. If such Respondents require additional time to prepare, they must contact the assigned investigator directly.

After a charge has been filed under the employment and public accommodations laws, Complainants and Respondents will be given the opportunity to participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution. ADR is a voluntary program to provide the parties an opportunity to resolve the matter without a formal investigation or determination regarding the merits of the case. The NEOC is an unbiased third party and has no vested interest in the outcome of the ADR process.

The parties have two option with ADR:

Mediation

Mediation is where the parties are brought together for a face-to-face meeting. Mediation gives the parties the opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the charge, clear up misunderstandings, determine underlying interests, find areas of agreement and incorporate these into solutions. The Mediator will not function as the representative of either party; however, the Mediator may assist the parties in understanding their rights under the laws and the terms of any proposed settlement agreement. Mediation is a confidential process. The sessions are not tape-recorded or transcribed and any notes taken during the Mediation are destroyed. If Mediation is unsuccessful, the case is assigned to an investigator and the Mediator has no further involvement in the matter.

Pre-Determination Settlement (PDS)

In Pre-Determination Settlement, the Complainant and Respondent do not meet face to face; rather, settlement offers and responses are forwarded to the parties by the assigned Commission staff member, usually the Director of Conciliation. The Commission staff member is a neutral party and acts only as an information provider; however, he or she can assist the parties in determining what would constitute full relief under the applicable law. This process is similar to mediation in that the Commission staff member may assist the parties in understanding their rights under the law and provide information about the investigative process should the case move to investigation. PDS discussions are not tape-recorded and are considered confidential. If the pre determination process is unsuccessful, the case will be assigned for investigation. The Commission staff member involved in the PDS discussions may or may not be involved in the investigation of the charge.

If either mediation or PDS is successful, the terms are formalized in a written Agreement. The resolution is a non-admission, confidential Agreement that releases the charge by the parties. Following execution of a successful Agreement, the case is dismissed and the charge cannot be re-filed.

Why choose ADR?

  • ADR saves time. ADR cases are normally handled within 30-60 days.
  • ADR has a high success rate. On average, over 70% of cases sent to ADR are resolved.
  • ADR may be less expensive than pursuing a discrimination claim or defending against a claim. ADR saves money by eliminating future litigation costs for both parties.
  • ADR gives all parties an opportunity to share information that may assist them in making informed decisions to determine risk should the claim move forward.
  • ADR is ?risk free.? There is no cost to participate in the Commission's ADR process; therefore, if the matter is not resolved, the only loss may be a few hours of time.
  • ADR allows parties to resolve issues with the presence of an objective, neutral third party.
  • ADR is confidential.

Investigation is the next step in the complaint process if the parties do not participate or resolve the charge through ADR. Both parties to the complaint will be notified in writing when the case is assigned to an investigator. The investigator will request information and documentation from both parties, as needed. Complainant and Respondent witnesses may be interviewed. The investigator will share with both parties the information given by the other, for the purpose of clarification/verification. Each party will be given a chance to respond to the information provided by the other party and to give the investigator evidence to support their position. The Commission determines the appropriate level of investigation in each case.

During the investigation, investigators endeavor to resolve the charge through settlement discussions. The housing law mandates that the parties engage in settlement discussions throughout the investigation.

Following completion of the investigation, the case will be forwarded for a determination. For cases filed under the Fair Employment Practice Act, the Executive Director will make the final decision. The Commissioners make the final decision under the Nebraska Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Act Providing Equal Enjoyment of Public Accommodations and the Equal Pay Act. The Commissioners make the decision by majority vote and meet once a month. It is important to know that the investigator does not make the actual decision on the case. Only the Commissioners or the Executive Director can render such a decision.

Both parties will receive a Formal Determination letter from the Commission which explains the decision that has been rendered and what subsequent actions, if any, will be or should be taken. If the decision is No Reasonable Cause, that is the end of the Commission's processing of the case. There is no appeal process. If the decision if Reasonable Cause, employment and public accommodation cases will go to the Director of Conciliation to work with the parties to resolve the case. Housing cases will go to the Director of Housing to work with the parties to resolve the case. In all Reasonable Cause cases the appropriate Unit Director will explain to parties the process and what happens next.

Conciliation is a voluntary process for the parties to reach an agreement following a Reasonable Cause determination. If a Reasonable Cause decision is made in an employment or public accommodation case, a proposed conciliation agreement is sent with the determination to indicate what would make the Complainant whole had the discriminatory act not occurred. The proposed agreement does not contain specific relief, as that is negotiated by the parties during the process. Conciliation can be conducted via telephone, similar to the PDS process, or through a conciliation conference, which is an in-person meeting similar to mediation. If the parties are able to reach an agreement, it will be formalized into a conciliation Agreement and the case will be considered resolved, with no further action taken by the Commission or either party.

If the parties are unable to reach a mutual agreement, the commission may order a public hearing, or forward the case to the EEOC, if there was a federal employment charge filed.

If conciliation is unsuccessful under the Nebraska Fair Housing Act, the case may move forward to court action if the Complainant or Respondent elect to pursue litigation in district court. If either party decides on this course, the Attorney General has taken the option to decide whether the case will proceed to district court, and if so, the Attorney General will represent the Complainant in court. If the Complainant and Respondent do not elect to pursue litigation, the Commission will provide the Complainant with an opportunity for a Public Hearing. The Complainant also has an option to pursue the case in private litigation in state in federal court if the housing case was filed under state and federal laws.

If conciliation is unsuccessful for cases filed under the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act, the Act Providing Equal Enjoyment of Public Accommodations or the Equal Pay Act of Nebraska, the Complainant may request a public hearing. Although a public hearing is requested, there is no guarantee it will be referred. If the case is not sent to public hearing, the NEOC will issue its Determination which allows a Complainant to pursue his or her claim in state court. If conciliation is unsuccessful for cases filed under the Nebraska Fair Housing Act, the Complainant may request a public hearing or the Commission will provide an opportunity for a public hearing.

A public hearing is an administrative proceeding in which the same rules that govern the district courts of Nebraska apply. During a public hearing, the Commission does not represent the Complainant. Rather, both parties will be required to present their case to the hearing officer, which is provided by the Commission. Following the public hearing, the hearing officer will issue an order for relief if the decision supports the Complainant, and will ask for dismissal of the case if the decision supports the Respondent.