Code of Maine Rules
05 - DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
071 - EDUCATION - GENERAL
Chapter 4-A - PROCEDURAL RULE: EQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY
Section 071-4-A-07 - INVESTIGATION

Current through 2023-52, December 27, 2023

A. Preliminary Investigation

After a complaint has been filed, pre-screened, notarized, and assigned a case number, a Commission investigator will conduct such preliminary and impartial investigation as is necessary. An investigation may involve fact-finding meetings and interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and any other persons whose statements may provide a source of evidence. The investigator may record, by mechanical, electronic or other means, all statements by all persons involved.

B. Commission's Right of Access

The Commission's investigator shall have access at all reasonable times to the premises, records, documents, individuals, and other evidence or possible sources of evidence and may examine, record, and copy such materials and take and record the testimony or statements of such persons as are reasonably necessary for the furtherance of the investigation. The Commission's investigators are hereby delegated the authority to administer oaths.

The Commission and any representative shall have access to individual educational records, only with the permission of parents or students of majority age, in educational institutions governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, and 20-A M.R.S.A. §6001, except when a subpoena or court order has been issued.

C. Production of Evidence

Documents, records, files, or other possible sources of evidence shall be produced within the time specified by a Commission representative's written request for their production, unless the person processing them demonstrates that production within the time specified would impose an unjustifiable burden. Excessive delay or failure to produce the requested materials may result in the issuance of a subpoena by the Commission for their production.

D. Subpoena Power

(1) Form: Subpoenas shall be issued in the name of the Maine Human Rights Commission, shall designate the Commission as recipient of the material or testimony specified, and shall designate a specific time and place for the production of the documents and/or testimony.

(2) When Available: A subpoena may be used to compel testimony or the production of documents whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that those materials or the testimony of the persons are material to the complaint.

(3) Procedure: When the Commission's Executive Director or Commission Counsel determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that testimony or documents being withheld are material to investigation of the complaint, the Executive Director or Commission Counsel may issue a subpoena.

The subpoena shall include: the name and address of the respondent subject of the subpoena; if the subject of the subpoena is not an individual, the name of the senior officer or person in charge; a brief description of the documents requested and/or the name and title of the person(s) whose testimony is requested; and the date, time and place such production and/or testimony is requested.

If a subpoena is issued, notice must be given to the complainant and the respondent.

(4) Service. Subpoenas may be served by any person who is not a party to the proceeding and who is not less than eighteen (18) years of age. Service shall be made by delivering a copy of the subpoena to the person named therein and tendering to that person the fees and mileage paid to witnesses in the Superior Court of this State.

(5) Return: The person serving the subpoena shall make proof of service by filing the original of such subpoena and an affidavit of acknowledgment of service with the Commission. However, failure to make sure proof of service shall not affect the validity of such subpoena and service.

(6) Enforcement: If any person refuses to obey a subpoena, the Commission may apply to any justice of the Superior Court for an order compelling compliance with the subpoena.

(7) Opposition: Any person served with a subpoena may oppose it by applying for judicial review in Superior Court.

E. Deferral to Department of Education; Joint Investigations

Upon agreement of the complainant, or by decision of the Commission's Executive Director, and with consent of the Commissioner of Education, the complaint may be referred to the Department of Education for an investigation pursuant to that Department's procedures. The Commission's Executive Director may defer further investigation and action until completion of the investigation of the Department of Education and receipt of the Department's report and recommendations as to appropriate action.

With the consent of the Commissioner of Education and the Commission's Executive Director, a joint investigation may be pursued by the Commission and the Department.

E-1. Prior to the conclusion of an investigation, all information possessed by the Commission relating to the investigation is confidential and may not be disclosed, except that the Commission and its employees have discretion to disclose such information as is reasonably necessary to further the investigation. The complaint and evidence collected during the investigation, other than data identifying persons who are not parties, shall become a matter of public record upon issuance of a letter of dismissal or upon listing of the complaint on a published Commission meeting agenda. The complaint and evidence collected may be used as evidence in any subsequent proceeding, civil or criminal.

F. Investigator's Report

Upon completion of the investigation, the Commission's investigator will make and transmit a report of the investigation, together with recommendations concerning the disposition of the complaint (hereinafter referred to as Investigator's Report) to the complainant and respondent. The Investigator's Report shall be approved for legal sufficiency by the Commission Counsel or her/his designee before it is issued. All parties to a complaint shall be given a reasonable opportunity to review and respond to all evidence considered by the Commission before the Investigator's Report is issued, but the timing of any such review shall be subject to the investigator's discretion.

The Investigator's Report on a public school or program or private school or program approved for tuition purposes shall also be delivered in a timely manner to the Commissioner of Education.

G. Submission of Response

Upon receipt of the Investigator's Report, the complainant and respondent shall have an opportunity to make written submissions to the Commission setting forth specific items of disagreement with the report and/or recommendations. The Commissioner of Education may also make a written submission on any report concerning public schools or programs or private schools or programs approved for tuition purposes. Written submissions shall be returned to the Commission's office within seventeen (17) working days of issuance of the Investigator's Report. Written submissions must be limited to specific items of disagreement that address the following:

(1) relevant factual errors,

(2) relevant omissions of fact, and/or

(3) relevant issues and questions concerning interpretation of the governing law.

H. Transmittal to Commission

At the expiration of the seventeen (17) day period, a Commission representative will transmit the Investigator's Report and any written submissions to the Commission.

I. The Commission must conclude its investigation within 2 years after the notarized complaint is filed with the Commission. An investigation is concluded for purposes of this requirement upon issuance of a letter of dismissal or upon listing of the complaint on a published commission meeting agenda, whichever first occurs.

Disclaimer: These regulations may not be the most recent version. Maine may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.
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