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NEBRASKA EQUAL OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION: Eliminating Discrimination in Nebraska

 

 

The Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission will hold its regularly scheduled Commission meeting on Friday, December 15, 2017.  The meeting will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m. and it will be held at the State Capitol, Room 1113, Lincoln, Nebraska. 

View Agenda (pdf)

Meetings & Hearings


The Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission meets once a month. During the meetings, the Commission hears public comment; rules on cases dealing with age, public accommodations, and housing; votes on administrative closures, and handles agency business. The meetings are open to the public and follow the rules of the Public Meetings Act.

The public is invited to attend Commission meetings and may address the Commissioners on non-case related matters during the public input portion of the meeting. Comments are limited to five minutes per person.

 

Meeting Minutes


Past recordings:

The NEOC is responsible for enforcing the Fair Employment Practice Act and the Nebraska Civil Rights Act of 1969. Both provide for Public Hearings after conciliation has failed. Public Hearings held pursuant to those statutes are governed by the statutes themselves and the accompanying Rules and Regulations of the NEOC. Those sources should be reviewed in detail prior to any Public Hearing.

Public Hearing Information

The following is pursuant to the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act (Section 48-1101 to 48-1126), and the Nebraska Civil Rights Act of 1969 (Public Accommodations, Section 20-132 to 20-143).

Introduction

The Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission (NEOC) is responsible for enforcing the Fair Employment Practice Act and the Nebraska Civil Rights Act of 1969. Both provide for Public Hearings after conciliation has failed. Public Hearings held pursuant to those statutes are governed by the statutes themselves and the accompanying Rules and Regulations of the NEOC. Those sources should be reviewed in detail prior to any Public Hearing. Copies of all Rules and Regulations can be obtained from the office of the NEOC.

The Process

If conciliation between the parties fails, the Director of Conciliation will advise the parties and inform them that the case may be processed for Public Hearing. The parties will receive a Letter of Determination advising them that action was taken and that the Commission ordered a Public Hearing. This Letter of Determination is not a hearing notice, but does state that a hearing notice will be received by the parties at a later date. The Complainant will receive a drafted formal complaint and an accompanying letter. The Complainant must sign and return the complaint within a stated period of time if he/she wishes to proceed to the Public Hearing.

The Respondent is given an opportunity to file an Answer. The parties will receive a Notice of Public Hearing containing the name of the Hearing Examiner. The Hearing Examiner will then notify the parties of the date and place of a pre-hearing conference, and the date and place of the Public Hearing. The parties can review the NEOC case file by directing a request, in writing, to the Executive Director.

The Public Hearing process is an entirely new proceeding and the designated Hearing Examiner does not have access to the prior investigative file. Hence, the only evidence considered by the Hearing Examiner is evidence that is introduced at the Public Hearing. For this reason, it is advisable for the parties to be represented by attorneys at the Public Hearing, as an attorney is trained in methods used to introduce the proper evidence.

Pre-Hearing Conference

Generally, the Pre-Hearing Conference follows the Rules used in the District Court. Pre-Hearing Conference procedure is left to the discretion of the Hearing Examiner, although the parties should appear prepared to consider:

  • The simplification of issues

  • The necessity of desirability of amendments to the pleadings

  • The possibility of obtaining admissions of facts and of documents which will avoid unnecessary proof

  • The limitation of the number of witnesses with a view of avoiding improper cumulative testimony

  • Such other matters as in the Hearing Examiner's discretion may aid in the disposition of the action

  • Settlement of the case. Although parties had an opportunity to settle the case during conciliation, settlement can always be discussed by the parties during the Public Hearing process

If settlement is reached, the case will be dismissed once the settlement is approved by the NEOC.

Discovery, Subpoenas

The discovery rules used when practicing in the District Court are applied. Applications for subpoenas are available from the NEOC, Lincoln office. Pleadings

The form of complaints, answers, motions, amendments, and stipulations is not dictated by the rules, but it is recommended that the form of pleadings be patterned after those commonly used in the District Court.

The Rules and Regulations provide for the deadlines and procedures for filing all pleadings.

The Hearing

The Public Hearing must be held in the county where the alleged discriminatory action took place. While the hearings are often held in county or city buildings, it is sometimes necessary to hold hearings in whatever space is convenient and necessary. The Rules and Regulations provide that the same rules and evidence and procedure that govern in the District Courts of Nebraska will also apply at the NEOC Public Hearings. Any questions regarding the hearing process should be directed to the individual Hearing Examiner.

The Hearing Examiner

The Hearing Examiner is appointed by the Commission and acts as an Administrative Law Judge in conducting the Public Hearing. The Hearing Examiner is responsible for ruling on evidentiary issues, weighing the evidence, and issuing a Recommended Order.

Final Orders

The Hearing Examiner's Recommended Order will be reviewed by the Commission. The Commission may accept the order in full, modify the Order, or take any other action deemed necessary. The parties will receive a Commission Final Order indicating what action was taken. After the decision becomes final, a petition for judicial review, if desired, must be filed within 30 days in District court in the district where the Public Hearing was held. Otherwise, the Final Order of the Commission becomes binding and enforceable by the applicable District Court.