~Human Relations Commission | How to File a Complaint
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How to File a Complaint

(Spanish translation here | En Espanol aqui)

If you believe that you have been a victim of discrimination, we encourage you to contact the Human Relations Commission Office to file a complaint. The charges must be filed within six months (180 Days) from the alleged unlawful act. If the Commission has jurisdiction in the matter, you will be asked to complete an application and the case will be assigned to an investigator.

Complaint Overview

Any person aggrieved by an unlawful practice in violation of federal and state law covered under the city's anti-discrimination ordinance may contact the Providence Human Relations Commission (PHRC) to file a petition. The Commission will commence an investigation after a petition has been completed and signed.

  • When a complainant contacts the PHRC about an alleged discrimination, an intake form is completed by the administrative assistant.
  • The intake form is then submitted to the PHRC investigator. The investigator calls and meets with the complainant to discuss the case, get information, and explain the investigation & complaint process.
  • The investigator then determines whether the case meets all of the requirements of the city's anti-discrimination ordinance. (Chapter 16, Article II Discrimination)
  • If the case does not meet all of the requirements, the investigator may offer a mediation option or refer the complainant to another agency.
  • If the case meets all requirements, a petition form is completed and signed by the complainant. Then the petition will be assigned a case number.
  • The investigator notifies the respondent of the charge and respondent is asked for a written response.
  • Thereafter, an investigation takes place, which includes site visits and interviewing of all relevant parties/witnesses. Subpoenas may be issued by city council if necessary.
  • At the conclusion of an investigation, the commission will determine whether it is probable that an unlawful practice has been or is being engaged in by respondent. If so, the commission must attempt to encourage voluntary compliance with the city's anti-discrimination ordinance.
  • If the commission determines that probable cause does not exist to credit a charge of discrimination a notice will be sent to the complainant closing the case against respondent. The complainant may present additional evidence for reconsideration.
  • If the commission fails to effect the elimination of unlawful practice and to obtain voluntary compliance with the city's anti-discrimination ordinance the Commission may file a complaint and schedule a formal hearing.

Download: An Application to File a Complaint

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