In the event that a resolution converence is not approrpiate, Commission staff may conduct an alternative investigation. The alternative investigation may include:
- Interviewing the parties involved
- Gathering information and evidence
- Writing a report
- Commissioners’ decision
Talking to the Parties
A human rights officer will interview everyone involved. This can be a lengthy process.
Gathering Information and Evidence
The investigating human rights officer will need you to supply written evidence to support your position, including Records of Employment, company policies, e-mails, letters, and so on.
It is important to note that too much written evidence can be as bad as not enough. Too much information for the officer to review slows the investigation and delays the outcome, or your extra materials may not be used. Talk with your investigating officer before you send or bring in extra information.
It is important to get the information in to the officer on time for it to be included in the investigation report.
Writing an Investigation Report
Once all the necessary information is collected, the officer writes an investigation report. This report compares the information gathered to what the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act says, and then makes a recommendation. The recommendation is usually one of two things:
- That the matter be dismissed because there is insufficient (not enough) evidence to support the allegations.
- That the matter be referred to a Board of Inquiry to determine whether discrimination has occurred.
A report does not decide whether discrimination has occurred; it simply suggests that a more formal investigation, called a Board of Inquiry, should be held to fully explore the problem.
Comments on the Investigation Report
Once the report is prepared, it is sent to the parties for their comments. These comments are attached to the officer’s report when it goes to the Commissioners.
A completed investigation report is given to the Commissioners of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. Commissioners are not Nova Scotia Human Rights staff: they are appointed by government. Commissioners meet approximately every two months.
Commissioners carefully review the report, then make a decision whether to approve it. They may dismiss the complaint or refer it to a Board of Inquiry. They also decide on Commission policies, and whether to approve any settlement agreements made to resolve human rights complaints.
A decision by the Commissioners is final.