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As used in this sub-chapter, the following definitions apply:

(1) "Contested case" means a proceeding before the commission to determine the legal rights, duties, or privileges of a party following an opportunity for hearing. Contested case proceedings commence only following the completion of investigation by the department and, in cases in which the department finds that the allegations of the complaint are supported by substantial evidence ("reasonable cause") , following the conclusion of the department's efforts to resolve the complaint and eliminate the discriminatory practice through conference, conciliation, and persuasion.

(2) "Ex parte consultation" means the act of a party to a contested case, any employee of the department, any person having an interest in the outcome of a contested case or any other person not authorized by law, communicating with a hearing examiner or member of the commission regarding the merits of any contested case. Communications which do not constitute discussions or information regarding an issue of fact or law in a contested case, such as discussions of enlargements of time, scheduling, administrative matters or questions of procedure do not constitute ex parte communications.

(3) "Hearing examiner" means an individual appointed by the hearings bureau of the department of labor and industry to preside over contested case hearings and to make proposed orders for consideration by the commission. That individual may be either a person assigned with due regard for his or her expertise or a member of the commission acting in that capacity. When the term is used in these rules, it also refers to the chair of the commission or a presiding officer for purposes of contested case hearings conducted before the commission, sitting as a body.

(4) "Person" includes natural persons, individuals, labor unions, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, mutual companies, joint-stock companies, trusts, unincorporated entities, employers, employees, employment agencies, labor organizations, and such other natural persons or entities, including artificial persons, possessing such status as a matter of law. The definition includes any group, organization, entity or natural person who is "aggrieved" within the meaning of ARM 24.9.204.

History: 49-2-204 and 49-3-106, MCA; IMP, 2-4-611, 2-15-1706, 49-2-101, 49-2-201, 49-2-505, 49-3-101, and 49-3-308, MCA; NEW, 1988 MAR p. 1194, Eff. 6/10/88; AMD, 1998 MAR p. 3201, Eff. 12/4/98.

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