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Administration and Operations Manual

2.28 Anti-Discrimination Policy and Complaint Procedure

Last Revised: February 15, 2013
Refer Questions To: Director, Equal Opportunity Programs

Scope

This policy applies to faculty, teachers, staff, students, in all offices and divisions of Gallaudet University.

Policy

It is the policy of Gallaudet University to provide an educational and working environment that provides equal opportunity to all members of the University community. Any Gallaudet employee, student, applicant for admission or employment, or other participant in Gallaudet University programs or activities, who believes that he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status or other items listed in the D.C. Human Rights Act is encouraged to use the procedures outlined below for the resolution of his or her complaint.

In accordance with Federal and District of Columbia law, the University policy prohibits retaliation of any kind against any individual who has filed a complaint regarding discrimination or has participated in procedures to redress complaints of discrimination. Gallaudet University is committed to taking appropriate action against those who violate its policy of non-discrimination.

Complaints of discrimination should be directed to:

Director of Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP)
800 Florida Avenue, NE; Washington, DC 20002
(telephone: 202-651-5462 [voice];
[videophone] 202-559-5683.


Complaints must be in writing and filed within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory action. In certain circumstances, at the discretion of EOP, complaints outside of this time limit or that are not put in writing may be investigated.

To raise complaints of discrimination and harassment, EOP offers several options:

  •  Inquiry: Individuals who feel they are being treated unfairly because of a protected category should feel free to contact the Director of EOP to talk through the situation and may do so without entering the complaint process, either formal or informal.

  •  Informal: This process may be used as a prelude to filing a formal complaint or as an alternative to filing a formal complaint. The informal process is optional and not required to file a formal complaint. This process consists of gathering information to attempt to resolve a disagreement without following a formal complaint process or to help establish a suspicion of discrimination.

  • Formal: The process of investigating a case of alleged discrimination and making a determination as to whether or not discrimination and/or policy violation occurred and, where appropriate, providing a resolution to the complaint.
Approved by: Gallaudet University Board of Trustees

Procedures

Complaint Procedure

Discrimination complaints shall be filed with the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. The written complaint must be signed by the complainant, identify the respondent(s), fully describe the alleged act(s) of discrimination along with relevant dates/times, and authorize the office of Equal Opportunity Programs to proceed with an investigation into the matter.

This complaint procedure also constitutes the grievance procedures for complaints alleging unlawful sex discrimination required under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

As used herein "complaint" is synonymous with "grievance."

Individuals filing complaints internally will be:

  1. Informed of and provided a copy of University policies on non-discrimination and/or sexual harassment;

  2. Asked if they wish to pursue the complaint through formal or informal basis, or participate in dispute resolution, and;

  3. Advised that they have the right not to be retaliated against for bringing the complaint or participating in the complaint proceedings, and that the University will not tolerate retaliation. Individuals will be further advised that they have the legal right to file a complaint with the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and any other agencies, state, federal, or local that enforce laws concerning discrimination in employment and educational opportunities.

Any supervisor who has witnessed or becomes aware of alleged discrimination (including prohibited harassment), or who receives a complaint of discrimination (including prohibited harassment) involving a person within their purview should report the matter to the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs.

Confidentiality

Complainants, respondents, witnesses and other parties involved in a complaint of discrimination shall refrain from disclosing information about a complaint of discrimination to anyone who does not have a legitimate business need or right to know. Violations of confidentiality are against University policy and may result in disciplinary action.

Timelines

Complaints must be in writing and filed within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory action.

The date in which the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs receives a written complaint shall be referred to as the Date of Complaint. The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs will make every reasonable attempt to adhere to the time limits as set forth in these procedures. However, circumstances may necessitate the need to extend the time set forth in these procedures for investigations. Therefore, the extensions of time limits are at the discretion of the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs.

In certain circumstances, at the discretion of EOP, complaints outside of this time limit or that are not put in writing may be investigated.

In the case of a currently enrolled student, specified time limitations refer to the academic year, September through May. If a student presents a grievance in June or the alleged incident allegedly occurred during the summer months, the time calculation may be suspended between the end of the academic year and the opening of the following academic year in September. In such a situation, the 45-day timeframe would begin the first day of the academic year. In addition, time limitations do not include official University holidays or other closures during the regular academic year. The term "days" refers to days when the University is open for business.

Jurisdiction Decision

The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs will determine whether issues raised in the complaint fall within the purview of these procedures within 15 working days after receiving the written complaint.

If the allegations fall within the purview of the of these procedures, the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs will meet with the complainant to discuss the investigative process and obtain additional information relevant to the investigation.

Dispute Resolution

The complainant may authorize the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs to utilize Dispute Resolution techniques such as mediation, at any stage of the complaint process. Dispute Resolution Procedures can be found in the Administration and Operations Manual 4.41. These dispute resolution attempts will focus on resolving the conflict through mediation, managing the conflict and empowering the parities to devise a settlement agreement.

Investigative Process

After a formal complaint is received and found to fall within the purview of these procedures, the Director of Equal Opportunity Program will notify the appropriate administrators of the complaint as soon as possible.

A preliminary fact-finding inquiry may be conducted to determine if allegations warrant an investigation. The complainant will be notified in writing if the Director determines that the allegations do not warrant an investigation.

The investigation of a complaint will be concluded as soon as possible after receipt of the written complaint. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs will conclude the investigation and submit an investigatory report to the Administrative Officer within 60 calendar days.

As part of the investigation process, the respondent shall be provided with a copy of the allegations and be given the opportunity to respond in writing within 10 business days of receiving the complaint.

The complainant and the respondent may present any document or information that is believed to be relevant to the complaint.

At the conclusion of its investigation, the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs shall notify the complainant whether any University policy was violated. Please note that EOP information regarding disciplinary sanctions (if any) are not shared with the complainant due to privacy rights of the respondent. Additionally, EOP will provide a summary letter of the findings of facts and conclusions to the complaining party, the responding party and others as appropriate. The Administrative Officer will receive a copy of the investigatory report and has the authority to render disciplinary action or approve, negotiate, or deny redress to resolve the complaint. This investigatory report will not be distributed to the complainant, the respondent, or the respondent's supervisor, unless the supervisor is the Administrative Officer. It will remain in the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs official file. Only those individuals with a legitimate business need to know, including those initiated through legal processes, will be permitted to review this document.

Filing a False Complaint or Retaliating Against Participants in the Complaint Process

Retaliating against participants in these proceedings are prohibited. The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs will use the same notification and process guidelines outlined in the discrimination complaint procedure for claims of retaliation.

Similarly, filing a false complaint is considered a serious act of misconduct, which is subject to disciplinary action.

Alternative Complaint Procedures

  1. Internal. The complainant shall use the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs complaint procedures for an internal claim of illegal discrimination unless another procedure is specifically required or permitted by union contract. Should the complainant elect to use any other internal grievance procedure, s/he may not use the procedure used by the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs for the same complaint.

  2. External. Any person who believes that s/he has been discriminated against may contact one of the following agencies listed below for advice, assistance, and explanation of filing deadlines:

  3. a. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    b. D.C. Human Rights Commission

    c. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Human Rights
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