(1) A party who is dissatisfied with a department decision to dismiss a complaint or to refuse to dismiss a complaint pursuant to 49-2-509 , MCA, may seek commission review of the decision by filing a written objection within 14 days after the decision is served. Briefs are not required. A party who makes an objection and wishes to file a supporting brief must file and serve an original and six copies of the brief within five days of filing the objection. Any opposing party who wishes to file an answer brief must file and serve an original and six copies of the brief within ten days of service of the initial brief. A party making an objection who wishes to file a reply brief must file and serve an original and six copies of the brief within ten days of service of an answer brief. If a party making an objection does not file a supporting brief, any opposing party may request permission from the commission to file a brief in opposition to the objection.
(2) Briefs on objections to the dismissal of or refusal to dismiss a complaint may not exceed ten pages in length. Each party's brief should provide copies of any specific exhibits from the record which the party believes are essential for the commission to read. Requests for oral argument must be made in writing at the time of filing the first brief of each party. If the request is contained in a brief, the caption should indicate that oral argument is requested. If a request for oral argument is timely made, ten minutes for each party will be reserved for oral argument during the commission meeting at which the objection will be considered.
(3) The objection will be considered at the next commission meeting after conclusion of the briefing schedule. Consideration of the objection will be based upon the written record unless oral argument is requested by a party and authorized by the commission. The commission may request that the parties present oral argument. The commission will review an objection under an abuse of discretion standard.
(4) If the commission sustains the objections to the dismissal of a complaint, it will reopen the case by remanding it to the department.
(a) If the complaint has not yet been informally investigated, and not more than 90 days (housing cases) or 120 days (non-housing cases) have passed since the date of filing, it will be remanded to the human rights bureau for investigation.
(b) If the complaint has been informally investigated, or if more than 90 days (housing cases) or 120 days (non-housing cases) have passed since the date of filing, it will be remanded to the hearings bureau to give notice of a hearing.
(5) If the commission affirms the dismissal of a complaint or sustains the objections to a refusal of the department to dismiss a complaint, it will notify the parties of its decision in writing within seven days. The charging party will have 90 days after receipt of the commission's order affirming the dismissal of a complaint to petition the district court for appropriate relief.
(6) If the commission affirms the refusal of the department to dismiss a complaint, it will remand the case to the department for further proceedings.
(7) A party may ask the district court to review a decision of the commission to remand a contested case to the department or to affirm or order the dismissal of the complaint.
(8) If the court later finds that it does not have jurisdiction over a contested case in which the complaint was improperly dismissed, then the charging party may apply to the department to reopen the complaint.