Statutes provide that, on a claim of employment discrimination, a claimant must first file the claim with the Missouri Human Rights Commission. The Commission then investigates the claim by means within its discretion, which need not include employer’s response, and may conclude without pursuing legal action on the claim. If the Commission does not pursue legal action on the claim, it issues claimant a right-to-sue letter. No formal hearing is required before the Commission determines whether to issue the right-to-sue letter, so that determination is a non-contested case, in which no formal hearing need occur until an appeal in circuit court. If 180 days pass without completion of the investigation, and claimant requests, a right-to-sue letter must issue. The mandatory issuance is not a determination on the merits of a claim and, even if it were, a determination on a discrimination theory does not require the same determination on a retaliation theory. Adherence to statutory procedure leaves only constitutional challenges to the statute itself, on the theory that due process required a contested case, which claimant did not pursue. On a petition for writ of mandamus, seeking to mandate further investigation by the Commission, circuit court did not err in granting a motion to dismiss.
State of Missouri ex rel. Stephanie Dalton vs. Missouri Commission on Human Rights, et al
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD83336
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