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Grievance Procedure

Information about the Grievance Procedure to address discrimination complaints through the City of Albuquerque.

Download a PDF of the City of Albuquerque Office of Civil Rights Complaint Packet

Descarga un PDF del Paquete de Denuncias de la Oficina de Derechos Civiles del la Ciudad de Albuquerque

Grievance Procedure

Information about the Grievance Procedure to address discrimination claims through the City of Albuquerque.

This Grievance Procedure is established to meet the requirements of the Albuquerque Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, race-related hairstyles, cultural headdress, color, religion, sex, national origin, or ancestry, source of income or physical handicap in the areas of housing, public accommodation, and employment. 

OCR has included some technical terms to understand when reading the grievance procedure:

Complainant: a person who files an OCR claim or complaint of discrimination against a respondent.

Conciliation: the act of mediating or resolving an OCR complaint following a probable cause determination.

Discrimination: the unfair or different treatment of a person or group of people based on a protected status as recognized by the Albuquerque Human Rights Ordinance.

Human Rights Board (HRB): the city board tasked with carrying out the directives set forth in the City of Albuquerque Human Rights Ordinance (HRO). The HRB is comprised of seven volunteer members recommended by the mayor’s office and appointed by the city council.

Human Rights Ordinance (HRO): the Albuquerque ordinance that prohibits discrimination in housing, public accommodation, and employment for protected classes stated in the ordinance.

Jurisdiction: the power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law.

Predetermination Settlement: a voluntary settlement of the parties to an OCR complaint conducted and resolved prior to a probable cause determination.

Probable Cause: probable cause is determined by the Albuquerque Human Rights Board when there are facts and circumstances sufficient to support a reasonable belief in the truth of the claim.

Protected Status: a group or class of people who are protected from discrimination under the Albuquerque Human Rights Ordinance.

Respondent: the party named in a complaint alleged to have discriminated against the complainant.

Claims Against the City of Albuquerque

If an individual submits an inquiry with the City of Albuquerque Office of Civil Rights (OCR) alleging discrimination by the City of Albuquerque (including but not limited to offices, departments, or divisions), OCR will forward the complaint information to the appropriate department director for further action. For all other complaints against a private entity, the process is explained further below.

City of Albuquerque Employees

The City of Albuquerque's Personnel Policy governs employment-related complaints of discrimination for city employees.

Claims Against Other Governmental Agencies

OCR does not address claims filed against other governmental agencies (such as the Albuquerque Housing Authority, the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD), staff at the Law Office of the Public Defender, a New Mexico Court, New Mexico Human Rights Bureau, Social Security Administration, etc.).


Claims Against Private Entities

Claims can be made via email, phone call, website submission, or any other mechanism available to the complainant upon request. At a minimum, the complainant should provide contact information, the date of the incident(s), and a description of the concern.

After the OCR receives an initial claim, it will review the information to ensure OCR has jurisdiction over the matter. In order for OCR to have jurisdiction over a claim, the concern must have occurred within Albuquerque city limits in the last 90 days and alleges discrimination based on a protected status as recognized by the Albuquerque Human Rights Ordinance. Additionally, OCR cannot address complaints based on the same information that has been filed with other agencies such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), or New Mexico Human Rights Bureau (NMHRB).

If OCR does not have jurisdiction, it will refer the individual to alternative offices or resources that can help to resolve the issue. If OCR does have jurisdiction, the next step is to complete an intake packet and to return it to OCR.

Based on the intake packet, OCR will review the information to ensure OCR has the authority to address the matter. Once approved, OCR will draft a complaint for the complainant to review and sign.

Next, OCR will send the respondent the complaint packet, which includes a cover letter notifying the respondent that OCR received a discrimination complaint, a copy of the filed complaint, an invitation for predetermination settlement, and a copy of the HRO sections alleged to be violated. The invitation for predetermination settlement will also include an option for the respondent to request an investigation of the matter. OCR requests that the predetermination settlement form be returned within ten (10) business days. If the form is not received within ten business days, OCR will continue with an investigation of the matter.

If the predetermination settlement was unsuccessful, or if the respondent requests an investigation, OCR will serve as the impartial, fact-finding investigator. OCR will send the respondent a questionnaire to be returned within thirty (30) calendar days as the next step in the investigative process. The questionnaire will include questions, requests for documents, and/or other evidence relevant to the complaint.

Following the investigation, OCR will write a report for the Human Rights Board (HRB) to review. During an HRB meeting, the Board will discuss the matter and vote to determine if there is probable cause that discrimination occurred. OCR will inform the parties as to which meeting the HRB will discuss their case. The complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to attend the HRB meeting and speak or provide written comments. Find more information about the HRB and its meetings.

If the HRB finds probable cause, the complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to participate in conciliation. If conciliation is not successful, OCR may file in metropolitan court to enforce criminal penalties against the respondent.

See the Albuquerque Human Rights Ordinance.

File an OCR inquiry form.

View contact information