Processing a Charge

How to work with the South Bend Human Rights Commission

"It is the public policy of the City of South Bend to provide all of its citizens equal opportunity for education, employment, access to public conveniences and accommodations, and acquisition through purchase or rental of real property including, but not limited to, housing, and to eliminate segregation or separation based solely on race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, national origin, or ancestry."  

In South Bend, Indiana, DISCRIMINATION IS ILLEGAL. It is against the law to deny employment, housing, education, or public services because of a person's race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, national origin, or ancestry, and in housing, familial status. The local anti-discrimination law is enforced by the South Bend Human Rights Commission


The jurisdictional requirements of the SBHRC are:

  • Charge clearly must be discriminatory treatment based on race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, national origin, or ancestry.
  • Charge must be filed within 90 days of the date of the alleged violation.
  • Respondents (person or organization filed against) must be within the city limits of South Bend, Indiana.
  • In employment charges, Respondent must have at least six (6) employees.
  • Respondents include: employers (private or public), employment agencies, labor organizations. educational institutions, places of public accommodation, landlords, real estate agencies, lending institutions, or insurance companies.
  • The Commission's procedure to adjudicate a charge is an administrative procedure, not a criminal one.
  • For employment charges, if the person filing or the Respondent are outside of our Jurisdiction, the charge may be taken and forwarded to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for investigation. (see EEOC for Jurisdiction)

A commission staff member will hear the complaint, determine whether it is within the Commission's jurisdiction, draft the wording of the charge, and prepare it in legal form for Charging Party's review, approval and notarized signature.

The Charge will receive a docket number and will be investigated by an assigned staff member who will keep the parties advised of the progress of the case.

The Investigation

The Staff Investigator:

  1. May interview both Charging Party, Respondent, and other witnesses;
  2. Must have access to pertinent records or documents;
  3. May make an on-site investigation of Respondent's facilities and operations
  4. Must have cooperation and know Charging Party's whereabouts at all times.

The investigator recommends a finding, based on the facts obtained, to the Commission members at a regular Commission meeting. The Commissioners make the final decision and may find:

  • No Probable Cause...and move to dismiss the charge; or,
  • Probable cause...and act to correct the discriminatory practice and its effects.   

The Conciliation

If the investigation substantiates the charges, then the Respondent is asked to:

  1. Cease and desist from the specific discriminatory act or practice
  2. Implement whatever actions, programs, or compensation the Commission deems necessary to end discrimination.

The Public Hearing

When the charges are not successfully resolved during the conciliation, the Commission may convene a public hearing, at which testimony under oath is heard, a decision rendered and a legally enforceable order is issued. Respondent and Charging Party have the right to appeal this Order to the Circuit or Superior Court.

Additional Information and Resources


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