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Elk Grove USD  |  AR  1312.1  Community Relations

Complaints Concerning District Employees   

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This regulation shall apply to complaints against district employees by members of the public or district employees when the alleged act or omission is unrelated to a complaint of unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment. The Associate Superintendent of Human Resources or designee shall have the final say in determining which district policy and/or procedure should be utilized to resolve a complaint concerning a district employee. Complaints involving allegations of unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment shall be processed in accordance with the procedures set forth in Board Policy/Administrative Regulation ("BP/AR") 4030 - Nondiscrimination in Employment or BP/AR 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint procedures.

(cf. 4030 - Nondiscrimination in Employment)

(cf. 1312.3 - Uniform Complaint Procedures)

The Board prohibits retaliation against complainants or against any individual who participates in the complaint or investigation process. Administrators responsible for conducting an investigation into a complaint may, at their discretion, keep a complainant's identity confidential, except to the extent necessary to investigate the complaint. The District will not investigate anonymous complaints unless the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources or designee deems such an investigation to be necessary and appropriate.

Any complaint filed against a district employee shall also be processed in accordance with any applicable and relevant complaint procedures contained in the collective bargaining agreements between the District and the certificated and classified bargaining units.

The following procedures shall by followed to resolve complaints concerning district employees that do not concern allegations of unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment.

Informal Resolution

Every effort should be made to resolve a complaint at the earliest possible stage. Whenever possible and except as stated below, parties involved in a dispute or complaint should endeavor to address issues of concern with one another and/or, as the District deems appropriate, with assistance from an employee's immediate supervisor. However, nothing in this policy shall be interpreted or construed as requiring a complaining party to meet with the employee before the District processes a complaint in accordance with this policy. Meetings related to a complaint shall be held at times least likely to interfere with school schedules and operations.

Written Complaint Requirements

If the complaint is not resolved informally or, in the opinion of the complainant, is unlikely to be resolved in an informal manner, the complainant may submit a written complaint.

District forms regarding complaints are available at individual school sites and the District Office, Human Resources Department. Notwithstanding the above, while complainants may be encouraged to put their concerns in writing, nothing in this policy prohibits the District from investigating claims not placed in writing.

If the complainant is unable to prepare the complaint in writing and wishes to do so, administrative staff shall help the complainant to do so. If the complaint is against the complainant's immediate supervisor, the written complaint may be submitted to the site principal or another district administrator. Complaints related to a principal or any other District administrator shall be initially filed in writing with the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources or designee(s). Complaints related to a Board member or the Superintendent shall be initially filed in writing with the Board.

A written complaint must include the following information:

1. The name of each employee and any other persons involved,

2. A brief but specific summary of the complaint and the facts surrounding it, including:

a. A description of the act or omission forming the basis of the complaint;

b. Circumstances, including time, place, and persons present;

c. Name of and contact information for person making the complaint;

d. A specific description of any prior attempts to informally resolve the matter, the outcome of the attempt, and the reason for the failed outcome;

e. The remedy requested or desired, and

f. The signature of the complainant attesting that all information is true and correct to the best of the complainant's personal knowledge; and

g. The date the complaint is filed.

The written complaint must be submitted no later than six (6) months following the date the complainant knew or should have known of the act or omission giving rise to the complaint. However, if good cause exists, the District may, in its discretion, process complaints submitted outside this timeline.

Processing Complaints

Upon receipt of a written complaint, the supervisor or designee shall:

1. Acknowledge receipt of written complaints.

2. Schedule conference(s) as soon as reasonably practicable to discuss the complaint with the complainant and employee, unless the supervisor or designee determines that such a conference would be inappropriate or non-beneficial under the circumstances.

3. During the initial conference(s) with the complainant and employee, the supervisor or designee should assess whether the complaint is likely to be resolved informally. In such instances, the supervisor or designee may meet with the parties to the extent necessary to informally resolve the complaint without an investigation or to determine that the matter is unlikely to be resolved without an investigation or does not require an investigation.

4. If the written complaint is not resolved informally, the supervisor or designee must:

a. Provide the parties to the complaint with written notice of the complaint in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements; and

b. Initiate a neutral, fact-finding investigation.

The person against whom the written complaint was filed may request a copy of the written complaint. In appropriate situations, as determined by the District, the person against whom the written complaint was filed may be provided a copy of the written complaint, with names and identifying information redacted.

Investigation and Response to Complaint

1. During the investigation of the written complaint, the supervisor or designee shall, as appropriate, interview witnesses, obtain witness statements, obtain and review documents, and obtain other evidence relevant to the complaint.

2. The parties to the complaint shall cooperate during the investigation.

a. In the event the complainant refuses to appear at a scheduled conference or interview appointment, the complaint may be dismissed.

3. The supervisor or designee shall make factual findings, and upon the conclusion of the investigation, shall provide the complainant with a written decision and response to the complaint ("Written Decision"). The Written Decision shall include a summary of the complaint, the investigation procedure, the factual findings, and any recommended corrective action(s) which do not contain confidential or privileged information.

Appeal Rights

Within 10 working days of receiving the Written Decision, the complainant may appeal the supervisor or designee's Written Decision to the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources or designee, if the complainant believes the Written Decision fails to adequately address the complaint. The appeal to the Associate Superintendent or designee must be in writing and indicate the reason(s) for the appeal, including any specific error(s) allegedly associated with the Written Decision. The Associate Superintendent of Human Resources or designee shall review the appeal and investigation findings for thoroughness and completeness and notify the complainant in writing of the result of his/her appeal review. The complainant should consider and accept the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources' or designee's decision as final.

However, if the complainant is still not satisfied, the complainant may submit a written appeal to the Board within 10 working days from the date of the Associate Superintendent's or designee's appeal review letter. The appeal to the Board must be in writing and indicate the reason(s) for the appeal including any specific error(s) allegedly associated with the Written Decision. Once the written request has been made to the Board, the Board will decide whether or not to address the complaint further. If the Board decides not to address the complaint, or if there has been no request to appeal the decision to the Board, the decision of the last appropriate administrator shall be the final decision of the district. The Board may also expressly uphold the Associate Superintendent's or designee's decision without addressing the complaint further.

Prior to any Board meeting in which the Board chooses to address the complaint further, the Superintendent or designee shall provide the Board with appropriate documentation regarding the complaint. The Board may examine evidence obtained during the district's investigation and ask questions of such persons as the Board deems appropriate including, but not limited to, the complainant, the employee against whom the complaint is made, and any witnesses. The complainant shall be informed of the Board's disposition of the matter in writing. Any decision of the Board shall be the final decision of the district.

Before the Board holds a closed session to hear complaints or charges brought against an employee, the employee shall receive written notice of his/her right to have the complaints or charges heard in open session rather than closed session in accordance with the law. Complaints concerning Board members shall be addressed in open session unless a closed session is legally permissible.

(cf. 9321 - Closed Session Purposes and Agendas)

(cf. 9323 - Meeting Conduct)

Regulation ELK GROVE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

approved: October 1, 1984 Elk Grove, California

revised: February 20, 1990

revised: October 3, 1994

revised: April 6, 1998

revised: August 19, 2019