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Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia
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Chapter 186-1 ADMINISTRATION

Rule 186-1-.01 Organization

(1) Administrator. The Administrator is appointed by the Governor and serves at his pleasure. The Administrator's duties, power and authority are those enumerated in the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978 as amended, codified as O.C.G.A. Section 45-19-20, et seq., and include rule making authority specified in O.C.G.A. Section 45-19-27(14). The Commission on Equal Opportunity is attached to the Office of the Governor for administrative purposes only.
(2) Board of Commissioners of the Commission on Equal Opportunity. The Board of Commissioners of the Commission on Equal Opportunity consists of nine (9) members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate; the Board's duties, power and authority are those enumerated in the Fair Employment Practices Act, as amended, codified as O.C.G.A. Section 45-19-20, et seq.
(a) Of the Governor's initial appointments, three shall be for one-year terms, three shall be for two-year terms, and three shall be for three-year terms. In the event of a vacancy during the term of any member appointed by the Governor whether by reason of death, resignation, or otherwise, the appointment of the successor by the Governor shall be only for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(b) The Board shall be representative of a fair and reasonable cross section of the population of the state; one-third of the members shall have experience in labor or Title VII law enforcement, or other legal human rights experience; provided, however, that after July 1, 1993, at least three members of the board shall be representative of or have a background in realty, apartment management, or the building and contracting industry.
(c) The Chair and other Officers shall be elected as it is deemed appropriate by the Board.
(d) The board shall meet at least three times a year at the time and place specified in writing by the Administrator and may also meet from time to time upon its own motion, as deemed necessary by the majority of the members thereof, for the purposes of conducting routine or specific business.
(e) Each member of the Board shall serve without pay, but members who are not otherwise state officials or employees shall receive the same expense allowance and travel cost reimbursement which members of certain boards and commissions receive pursuant to Code Section 45-7-21.

Rule 186-1-.02 Definitions

The following definitions shall apply generally to all Rules and Regulations of the Commission on Equal Opportunity:

(a) "Commission on Equal Opportunity" means the Commission on Equal Opportunity as created by O.C.G.A. Section 45-19-24.
(b) "Administrator" means the Administrator of the Commission on Equal Opportunity as provided for by O.C.G.A. Section 45-19-24.
(c) "Board" means the Board of Commissioners of the Commission on Equal Opportunity as created by O.C.G.A. Section 45-19-23.
(d) "Discrimination" means any direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or any other act or practice of differentiation or preference in the treatment of a person or persons because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or age, or aiding, abetting, inciting, coercing, or compelling of such an act or practice. This term shall not include any direct or indirect act or practice of exclusion, distinction, restriction, segregation, limitation, refusal, denial, or any other act or practice of differentiation or preference in the treatment of a person or persons because of religion if an employer demonstrates that the employer is unable to accommodate reasonably an employee's or prospective employee's religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's operation.
(e) "Handicap" means a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities, unless an employer demonstrates that the employer is unable to accommodate reasonably to an employee's handicap without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer's operation.
(f) "Public Employer" or "Employer" means any department, board, bureau, commission, authority, or other agency of the state which employs 15 or more employees within the state for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. A person elected to public office in this state is a public employer with respect to persons holding positions or individuals applying for positions which are subject to the State Merit System of Personnel Administration or any personnel merit system of any agency or authority of this state. A person elected to public office in this state is not a public employer with respect to persons holding positions or individuals applying for positions on such officer's personal staff or on the policy-making level or as immediate advisors with respect to the exercise of the constitutional or legal powers of the office held by such officer. The term "Public Employer" shall include the State Merit System of Personnel Administration whether or not such agency is the immediate employer of the party or parties claiming to be aggrieved.
(g) "Public Employment" means employment by any department, board, bureau, commission, authority, or other agency of the State of Georgia.
(h) "Religion" means all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief.

Rule 186-1-.03 Unlawful Practices

(1) It shall be unlawful for an employer to:
(a) fail or refuse to hire, to discharge, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to that individual's compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or age;
(b) limit, segregate, or classify their employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive an individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect an individual's status as an employee because of such individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or age;
(c) hire, promote, advance, segregate, or affirmatively hire an individual solely because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or age, but this paragraph shall not prohibit an employer from voluntarily adopting and carrying out a plan to fill vacancies or hire new employees in a manner to eliminate or reduce imbalance in employment with respect to race, color, handicap, religion, sex, national origin, or age if the plan has first been filed with the Administrator for review and comment for a period not less than 30 days;
(d) apply different standards of compensation or different terms, conditions or privileges of employment pursuant to a bona fide seniority or merit system, or a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or to employees who work in different locations, if such differences are the result of an intention to discriminate because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or age;
(e) give and to act upon the results of any professionally developed ability test, if such test, its administration, or action upon the results thereof, is designed, intended, or used to discriminate because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or age;
(f) hire and employ employees or to select an individual in any training program on the basis of religion or national origin where religion or national origin is not a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal functions of that particular employee's responsibilities.
(2) It shall be unlawful for an employer controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining including on-the-job training programs to discriminate against an individual because of such individual's race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or age in admission to or employment in any program established to provide apprenticeship or other training or to discriminate by allowing admission or promotion to an apprenticeship or training program solely because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or age.
(3) It shall be unlawful for a party to a conciliation agreement made pursuant to the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, to violate the terms of the agreement.
(4) It shall be an unlawful practice for a person willfully to:
(a) make public with respect to a particular employer or person without the employer's or person's consent information obtained by the Administrator or the Administrator's employees pursuant to its authority under the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, except as shall be reasonably necessary to carry out the provisions of said Act;
(b) retaliate or discriminate in any manner against a person because the person has opposed a practice declared unlawful by this article or because the person has made a charge, filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing concerning an unlawful practice;
(c) aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce a person to engage in any of the acts or practices declared unlawful by the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended;
(d) obstruct or prevent a person from complying with the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, or any orders issued under said Act;
(e) resist, prevent, impede, or interfere with the Administrator or any of its representatives, employees, or with the Special Master in the lawful performance of duty; provided, however, that it shall not be a violation for anyone to challenge or resist any action by the Administrator or any of its employees, or by a Special Master when there is a good faith belief that the Administrator is, or its employees are, or the Special Master is acting unlawfully or acting in excess of statutory authority;
(f) initiate frivolous and unwarranted charges of discrimination against a public employer.
(5) It shall be an unlawful practice for a person or for two or more persons to conspire:
(a) to retaliate or discriminate in any manner against a person because the person has opposed a practice declared unlawful by the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, or because the person has made a charge, filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing concerning an unlawful practice under said Act;
(b) to aid, abet, incite, compel, or coerce a person to engage in any of the acts or practices declared unlawful by the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, or to obstruct or prevent a person from complying with the Act or any orders issued thereunder;
(c) to resist, prevent, impede, or interfere with the Administrator or any of its employees, or a Special Master in the lawful performance of duty; provided, however, that it shall not be a violation for anyone to challenge or resist any action by the Administrator or any of its employees, or Special Master when there is good faith belief that the Administrator or its employees or Special Master is acting unlawfully or acting in excess of their statutory authority;
(d) to willfully initiate frivolous and unwarranted charges of discrimination against a public employer.

Rule 186-1-.04 Complaints of Unlawful Discrimination

(1) Who May File: Any individual claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful practice or another person on behalf of an individual claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful practice may file a complaint with the Administrator.
(2) Time of Filing: The Complaint shall be filed within one hundred and eighty days after the occurrence of the alleged unlawful practice.
(3) Complaint Form: An Official complaint shall be in writing and signed by the complainant or designee.
(4) Contents of a Complaint: A complaint shall be detailed to identify time, place and facts with respect to the alleged discriminatory practice or act. It should contain the following:
(a) the full name, address and telephone number of the charging party;
(b) the full name, address and telephone number of the Respondent;
(c) a statement of specific harm or injury that the charging party has suffered as a consequence of the alleged unlawful practice identified in the act;
(d) a statement of response from the Respondent;
(e) a statement indicating the basis or bases for which race, color, sex, religion, national origin, handicap, age or retaliation constitutes the unlawful practice;
(f) statements describing any other actions or practices supporting the charging party's allegation of unlawful discrimination.

Rule 186-1-.05 Complaint Processing

(1) The Administrator's staff shall promptly investigate the allegations of unlawful practice set forth in the complaint, and within 15 days of filing, shall serve the Respondent with a copy of the complaint. The complaint shall be barred unless filed within 180 days after the alleged unlawful practice occurs.
(2) Within 90 days after the complaint has been filed, the Administrator shall determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe the Respondent has engaged in an unlawful practice. If it is determined that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the Respondent has engaged in an unlawful practice, the Administrator shall issue an order dismissing the complaint.
(3) Within ten days after receiving a copy of the order dismissing the complaint, the charging party may file with the Administrator an application for reconsideration of the order. Upon such application, the Administrator shall determine within 15 days whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the Respondent has engaged in an unlawful practice. If it is again determined that there is not reasonable cause to believe that the Respondent has engaged in an unlawful practice, the Administrator shall issue an order dismissing the complaint and notifying the Complainant that such Complainant has the right to request a right to sue letter from the appropriate federal agency or petition for review in the appropriate Superior Court as provided for in the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended.
(4) After investigation or after review provided for in section (3), above, if the Administrator determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Respondent has engaged in an unlawful practice, then the Administrator's staff shall first endeavor to eliminate the unlawful practice by conference, conciliation, and persuasion. The terms of the conciliation agreement reached with the Respondent may require the Respondent to refrain from the commission of unlawful discriminatory practices in the future and make such further provisions as may he agreed upon between the Administrator and Respondent. If a conciliation agreement is entered into, the Administrator shall issue and serve on the Complainant a final order stating the terms.
(5) In the event the Administrator determines that there is reasonable cause to believe an agency or authority has engaged in an unlawful practice as defined in the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, and the Administrator's staff is unable to eliminate the alleged unlawful practice by conference, conciliation, and persuasion, the Administrator shall refer the complaint to a Special Master.

Rule 186-1-.06 Special Master

In addition to those powers and duties enumerated in the Fair Employment Practices Act, codified as O.C.G.A. Section 45-19-20, et seq., the Special Master shall have all of the power and authority granted to agencies in conducting hearings and rendering final orders under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedures Act'.

Rule 186-1-.07 Appeals

Any party to a hearing before a Special Master or a complainant whose complaint has been dismissed by the Administrator may appeal any adverse final order of a Special Master by filing a petition for review in the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged unlawful practice occurred or in the Superior Court of the residence of the Respondent within 30 days of the issuance of the final order. Neither the Administrator nor the Special Master shall be a named party; however, the Administrator must be served with a copy of the petition for review. Within 30 days after the petition is served on the Administrator, the Administrator shall forward to the court a certified copy of the record of the hearing before the Special Master, including the transcript of the hearing before the Special Master, and all evidence, administrative pleadings, and orders, or the entire record if no hearing has been held. For good cause shown, the court may require or permit subsequent corrections or additions to the record. All appeals for judicial review shall be in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the 'Georgia Administrative Procedure Act'; provided, however, that if any provisions of the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, that Act controls.

Rule 186-1-.08 Relief from Application of an Order

An employer or other person who believes that the application to them of an order issued under this article would result in undue hardship may apply to the Administrator for relief from the application of this order. If the Administrator finds that the application of the regulation or order to the employer or person in question would impose an undue hardship, the Administrator may grant appropriate relief.

Rule 186-1-.09 Records, Reports

(1) Each person subject to the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, who controls an apprenticeship or other training program shall keep all records reasonably necessary to carry out the purposes of said Act including, but not limited to, a list of applicants who wish to participate in such program, including the chronological order in which such applications were received. Such records shall be furnished to the Administrator upon the Administrator's request. The Administrator may also request and receive a detailed description of the manner in which persons are selected to participate in the apprenticeship or other training program.
(2) Any person subject to this article shall make and keep such records as may be reasonably necessary and relevant to the determination of whether an unlawful practice has been or is being committed, and shall make such reports therefrom as are reasonably necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, or orders or regulations under that Act.
(3) Records and reports required by the Administrator shall conform as closely as practicable to similar records and reports required by federal law and to customary recordkeeping practices.

Rule 186-1-.10 Posting of Notices

Every public employer or other covered entity shall post and keep posted in conspicuous places upon its premises where notices to employees and applicants are customarily posted a notice to be prepared and distributed by the Commission on Equal Opportunity. This notice shall set forth excerpts of the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1978, as amended, and relevant information necessary to explain the Act. Notices shall conform as closely as practicable to similar notices required by federal law. Such notices may be obtained from the Commission on Equal Opportunity.