EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
Revised: 1/87, 1/92,
11/94, 12/94, 3/99
Res: 91-93 3/2/93
Res: 164-94 4/12/94
This procedure establishes the standards for the submission, investigation and handling of discrimination or harassment complaints for employees, County Departments and the Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEO).
Each Appointing Authority is responsible to insure that this procedure, along with its provisions, is made know and is available to every employee within their organization through employee orientation and/or special department meetings. (An Appointing Authority may be a department head, or another person or group who has lawful power to make appointments to, or remove persons from, County positions.) The name and number of the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer will be made a part of this notice. New employees will be informed by the Personnel Department of the County's Equal Employment Opportunity/Nondiscrimination Policy regarding non-discrimination, the County's Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Policies, and this procedure's provisions, when they are processed for employment.
To provide a procedure for the effective resolution of all employee com-
plaints that are based on actual or alleged acts or practices of discrimi-
nation or harassment in employment. This procedure is separate and dis-
tinct from the grievance procedures existing under any of the collective
bargaining agreements which deal with management misapplication or misin-
terpretation of provisions of such agreements, rather than with discrimina-
tion or harassment. Issues covered by such agreements shall continue to be
dealt with through the Employee Relations Division of the Personnel Depart-
192.3. Legal Basis
For the purposes of this procedure, discrimination is defined as in Title VII, Section 703 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended); California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (Government Code Section 12900 et seq.), and in the Board of Supervisors' Equal Employment Opportunity/Nondiscrimination Policy (adopted 7/75; revised 5/90, 6/91, 1/92) - Personnel Regulations and References Section 191.
This procedure applies to all employees, both permanent and probationary,
and is intended to resolve employee discrimination or harassment complaints
that are based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry,
disability, medical condition (cancer related and genetic characteristics),
marital status, gender, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, age (over 18),
veteran status, or any other non-merit factor and applies to all personnel
actions including recruitment, selection, appointment, training, promotion,
retention, discipline, layoffs or any other aspects of employment.
If applicants for employment allege discrimination during part of the se-
lection process under the control and authority of the Personnel Depart-
ment, they will be referred immediately to the Personnel Director for reso-
lution within the existing Civil Service Rules and procedures.
A County employee has the option of filing an informal complaint of dis-
crimination or harassment with his/her supervisor or directly with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Office. The EEO Office may refer the com-
plaint, whenever appropriate, to the Appointing Authority for investigation
and resolution of the complaint, in attempt to gain informal resolution of
the issue. If the complaint is referred to the Appointing Authority by the
EEO Officer, a copy of the Appointing Authority's findings and recommenda-
tions to the complainant employee shall be forwarded to the EEO Office. If
the complainant chooses to file the complaint with the Department first, a
copy of the Appointing Authority's findings and recommendations to the
complainant employee shall be forwarded to the EEO Office. The complainant
may appeal the Appointing Authority's decision to the Equal Employment
Opportunity Officer. The complainant and/ or the Appointing Authority may
appeal the Equal Employment Opportunity Officers decision to the County
Administrative Officer. The County Administrative Officer's shall consider
the complaint and issue a decision which shall be final.
In all instances, staff from the EEO Office, at the request of either par-
ty, may participate in a consultative role.
192.5. Investigation Process & Timetables
A complaint of discrimination or harassment shall be filed no later than thirty (30) calendar days after the alleged act. Complaints not submitted within the time limitations will not be processed under this complaint resolution procedure, however, every attempt will be made to resolve any issue of discrimination or harassment brought to the attention of the Equal Employment Opportunity Office whether anonymous, informal, formal or timely.
A. Department Administrative Resolution
1. Employees are encouraged to discuss discrimination complaints with their immediate supervisor. The employee's supervisor must attempt to resolve the complaint within five (5) working days from the date of discussion. If, for any reason, the complaint is not resolved at this step, the employee may submit a formal complaint to the Appointing Authority. (An Appointing Authority may be a department head, or another person or group, who has lawful power to make appointments to, or remove persons from, County positions.) To be considered, the formal complaint must be submitted within five (5) working days of the date the supervisor's response was due.
2. If the complaint is specifically between an employee and the employee's immediate supervisor, the employee may go directly to the Appointing Authority and attempt to resolve the complaint informally. If this does not resolve the issue the employee may submit a formal, written complaint with the Appointing Authority. If a formal complaint is filed with the Appointing Authority, a copy shall be sent to the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer of the EEO Office by the Appointing Authority.
3. If the complaint is specifically between an employee and the employee's Appointing Authority, the employee may go directly to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office and submit a formal, written complaint.
4. Upon receipt of a formal, written complaint, the Appointing Authority may, at his/her discretion, discuss the complaint with all parties involved. The Appointing Authority will provide a written decision to the employee within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the formal complaint. The Appointing Authority's written decision shall inform the complainant of his/her right to appeal to the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer. The Appointing Authority shall forward a copy of the written decision to the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
5. If the complaint is specifically between an employee from one department and an employee from another department, the employee may go directly to their Appointing Authority and submit a formal, written complaint. The department receiving the complaint shall forward a copy of the written complaint to the EEO Office and contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Office for resolution of the complaint between the two departments.
6. If the complaint is specifically between an employee and the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer or a Board of Supervisor member, the employee may go directly to the County Administrative Officer and submit a formal, written complaint.
B. Formal Equal Employment Opportunity Office Resolution
1. If the employee is not satisfied with the decision of the Appointing Authority, or if the Appointing Authority fails to respond ten (10) working days, s/he may submit a written complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office. The written complaint must be submitted within thirty (30) calendar days of the alleged act of discrimination or harassment.
Complaints submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office must include a completed Discrimination or Harassment Complaint Form (PER4002).
2. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, or his/her designee, will discuss the complaint with the employee and/or all other parties involved to determine the validity of the complaint. The Equal Employment Opportunity Officer will attempt a resolution of the complaint through informal means. If an informal resolution is not possible, the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer will make a formal investigation of all allegations. A report will be made within 20 working days of the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer's receipt of the complaint.
3. After review by County Counsel the results will be sent to the complainant and the Appointing Authority. A report of findings will be sent to the complainant and the Appointing Authority within 20 working days of completion of the Equal Employment Opportunity Office report. The parties will have (5) working days to resolve this matter before the Equal Employment Opportunity Officers findings will be acted on. Should the findings require action by the Board of Supervisors, the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer will present his/her final decision and any recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for approval.
C. Appeal of Equal Employment Opportunity Officer's Decision
1. County Administrative Officer. Employees, both permanent and probationary may appeal the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer's decision to the County Administrative Officer within one (1) calendar week after receipt of the decision. This appeal right shall be included in all written decisions issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer. The County Administrative Officer shall consider the complaint and findings and within 45 calendar days from receipt, issue a decision which shall be final except as specified in paragraphs C.2. and C.3. below..
2. Arbitration. Both Complainants and Respondents who are members of SEIU’s General Representation Unit shall have the right to request arbitration of the decision of the County Administrative Officer. Such request must be submitted in writing to the Personnel Director within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the decision of the County Administrative Officer. The arbitrator shall be jointly selected from a list provided by the State Mediation and Conciliation Service. The Appellant and the County shall equally share any costs associated with arbitration. The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding.
3. Non-General Representation Unit employees, both permanent and probationary, from the Human Services Department and Department of Child Support Services who are covered by the State of California Merit System Services may appeal the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer's decision through the Personnel Director to the Civil Service Commission. Such requests must be submitted in writing within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of the decision of the County Administrative Officer. The Civil Service Commission's decision shall be final.
D. An investigation conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Office when resulting from a complaint of discrimination or harassment is to remain neutral to all parties. Information collected during the investigation of a discrimination complaint are confidential in nature. Any findings published for resolution of any matter, shall remove all references to specific individuals or the specific details of negative actions taken against any party. Any correspondence to the complainant, the Appointing Authority or any other involved party will be declared as confidential. Details of an investigation will only be released through a formal request from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); a subpoena issued by a recognized court; or in any appeal filed in accordance with the provisions set forth herein.
E. In all complaints of discrimination or harassment, the complainant shall be advised of their right of filing with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the State Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), in the complaint form information packet and with the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer's report of findings, should the complainant be dissatisfied with the final response on behalf of the County.
F. No Retaliation
No one shall be retaliated against for reporting conduct which he or she believes to be a violation of County EEO/Nondiscrimination program policies; for participating in an investigation of a possible violation of policies; or for using the County's Employment Discrimination or Harassment Procedure.
192.6. Coordination of EEOC and DFEH Investigations
The EEO Officer is responsible for responding to and maintaining files of
all requests for information received from the United States Equal Employ-
ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the State Department of Fair Employ-
ment and Housing (DFEH) or any other federal or state agency concerning
complaints of discrimination filed against the County.
Therefore, when requests are made directly with a department, the EEO Offi-
cer should be immediately informed and sent copies of all related corre-
spondence to ensure all requests are answered appropriately as to employ-
ment data, background, etc. Likewise, if the EEO Officer receives such a
request for information, the department will be immediately informed, and
the reply will be jointly developed. The coordinated effort of the EEO
Office and the department(s) is necessary to protect the County's interest
and fiscal liability as well as its reputation as an equal employment op-