Filing a Complaint

The Complaint & Investigation Process

The EHRCC takes FAIR approach to processing complaints - FAIR as in Facts, Answers, Insistence, Recommendations. This approach is based on a model developed during a 1971 international ombudsman workshop and adopted by the EHRCC Commission as policy in March of 1973.

So, what happens when a citizen files a complaint with EHRCC?

How to File a Complaint

Citizens may file a complaint by:

Step 1.Writing or visiting the Ethics, Human Relations and Citizen Complaints (EHRCC) office:

415 E 12th Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64106

Step 2.Calling EHRCC at 816-881-3670

Step 3.Contacting the EHRCC through email


Step 1.EHRCC staff will listen attentively to the citizen’s problem, then evaluate and analyze the nature of the complaint to determine jurisdiction.

Step 2.If the complaint does not fall within the jurisdiction of EHRCC, the citizen is given information and referrals to connect the citizen with the appropriate agency where the problem can be properly addressed.


Complaints that fall within the jurisdiction of EHRCC are accepted and filed with the department and assigned for investigation.

Step 1.The citizen is notified that the complaint is accepted for investigation.

Step 2.The County department involved is notified that a complaint has been accepted by EHRCC. That department is informed of the nature of the complaint and a response to the complaint is requested.

Step 3.EHRCC staff will get facts and additional information from the complainant, agency/department and any relevant witnesses.

Step 4.Staff will thoroughly investigate the facts of the matter and relevant rules or regulations.

Step 5.Staff makes a judgment, based on the facts, to resolve the problem.

Step 6.If the complaint is determined Not Justified, the file is closed and the complainant is notified and advised of his/her appeal rights.

Step 7.If the complaint is determined Justified, the department is notified. Office staff will meet informally with the department director with recommendations to rectify the complaint.

Step 8.When the department corrects the problem to rectify the complaint, the citizen is notified and the file is closed.

Step 9.But, if the department and EHRCC do not agree after meeting informally, the Office may make a written recommendation.

Step 10.If the department does not agree with EHRCC, the department will state the reason in writing.

Step 11.The EHRCC director will review the complaint and consider the department’s written response and decide whether to close or submit the complaint to the Commission for review.

Step 12.Upon submission for review, the Commission makes a decision and notifies the County Executive, County Legislature or public (through news media).

Ombudsman Role

The duties of an ombudsman in the complaint process are that of a fact finder, analyst, translator, amplifier, mediator, persuader and, all else failing, a public advocate for the citizen. The director of the Ethics, Human Relations and Citizen Complaints serves in the role of an ombudsman.

Throughout the process the ombudsman seeks to be both reasonable and persistent. Authority to make enforceable decisions remain at all time with agency officials or with elected officials.

An ombudsman is a designated neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner who provides confidential and informal assistance to his/her constituents.