How to File A Complaint of Discrimination

Posted on May 18, 2018 in Main

I. PROCEDURE FOR SUBMISSION OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS

(1) This policy applies to non-employees affected by decisions made by HDOA programs. Any non-employee who in good faith believes she or he has been discriminated against by the HDOA, on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex, or any other class as protected under applicable federal or state law, or intimidated or retaliated against for exercising his or her rights, may submit a written complaint to the HDOA Acting Non-Discrimination Coordinator Morris Atta, at 1428 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96814. A Discrimination Complaint Form is available on-line at: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Non-Employee-Discrimination-Complaint-Form.docx

(2) Formal complaints shall be filed within ninety (90) calendar days of the latest incident of alleged discrimination, or the date when the alleged discrimination became known to the complainant(s), or where there has been a continuing course of conduct, the date on which the conduct was discontinued or the latest instance of the conduct.

(3) Complaints shall be in writing and signed by the complainant(s). The complaint shall identify the complainant and shall include:

a. The complainant’s contact information including first and last name, address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and e-mail address (as appropriate);
b. Whether the complainant has a representative and if so, the representative’s contact information including first and last name, address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and e-mail address (as appropriate);
c. Identification of the protected classification upon which the alleged violation is based;
d. A specific and a detailed description of conduct that the complainant perceived as discrimination;
e. The date of the alleged discriminatory activity, or the date range (including the latest date) if the alleged discriminatory activity resulted from a continuing course of conduct;
f. A specific description of any adverse impact alleged to have occurred or which will occur; and
g. Clearly identify the alleged parties who committed the alleged discriminatory activity.

(4) The complaint shall be delivered by mail or in person to the HDOA Office of the Chairperson at 1428 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96814 or email at: [email protected]. Faxed complaints should be sent to: (808) 973-9613.

(5) Allegations received by fax or email shall be followed up by a hard copy of the fax or email complaint with original signature(s). Fax or email copies of a complaint will be acknowledged but will not be processed until the original of the fax or email transmittal of the complaint with original signature(s) has been received by the HDOA Office of the Chairperson.

(6) In instances where a complainant is unable to submit a written complaint, or requires assistance filing a complaint due to limited English proficiency or disability, but requests that HDOA investigate allegedly unlawful discrimination, the complainant may submit a verbal complaint to the Non-Discrimination Coordinator by calling HDOA’s main office phone number: (808) 973-9560.

(7) Allegations received by telephone will be reduced to writing and forwarded to the complainant(s) for confirmation or revision, signature and return for processing. Telephone complaints will be acknowledged but will not be processed until the written complaint (confirmed or revised and signed by complainant) has been received by the HDOA Office of the Chairperson.

(8) Upon request, HDOA will provide translation assistance at no cost for those complainants with limited English proficiency. A complainant with limited English proficiency may also obtain assistance from another person in completing the Complaint form, but the form must be signed and confirmed by the complainant.

(9) HDOA will acknowledge receipt of a complaint within 10 days of receiving a complaint. The HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator will review the complaint form to determine jurisdiction and verify the complainant(s) intent to proceed with the complaint.

(10) Within 30 days of acknowledging receipt of the Complaint, HDOA will notify the complainant whether the facts warrant HDOA conducting a full investigation into the allegations. If warranted, HDOA will further advise the complainant if HDOA will conduct the full investigation, or if the Complaint will be forwarded to another agency for investigation.

(11) The HDOA does not intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual or group for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege guaranteed under federal anti-discrimination laws, or because an individual has filed a complaint or has testified, assisted, or participated in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing related to federal anti-discrimination laws, or has opposed any practice made unlawful by federal anti-discrimination laws. HDOA employees shall not retaliate, intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against an individual or group for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege granted by the Acts, or because an individual has filed a complaint or has testified, assisted, or participated in any way in an investigation under this policy or has opposed any practice made unlawful by the Acts, nor will HDOA tolerate such actions. Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy and law and must be reported to the HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator immediately.

(12) To request language or accessibility for completing the complaint form please contact the HDOA Office of the Chairperson at (808) 973-9560 or email: [email protected]. Please allow sufficient time for HDOA to meet accommodation requests.

(13) For Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture employee complaints, please contact: HDOA Human Resources Office at (808) 973-9481 or email: [email protected].

II. PROCEDURE FOR INVESTIGATION OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS INVOLVING HDOA

(1) At HDOA’s discretion, discrimination complaints against HDOA may be sent to the Hawai‘i Attorney General’s office (AGO) to request assistance with the investigation.

(2) The HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator has one hundred and eighty (180) days to investigate the complaint, unless it is determined that based upon the complexity of the complaint that additional time is needed. If it is determined that additional time is needed for the issuance of the written decision, the specified number of days in which the complaint evaluation will be extended will be provided in writing to the complainant.

(3) “Preponderance of the Evidence” is the standard by which non-employee discrimination complaints must be proved. This standard requires that, for a finding of discrimination, the evidence and testimony must show that it is more likely than not (that is, more than 50% likely) that HDOA caused harm due to a discriminatory action.

(4) If more information is needed to resolve the case, the HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator may contact the complainant(s). The complainant(s) has no later than thirty (30) business days from the date of contact to send any requested information to the HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator assigned to the case. If the HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator is not contacted by the complainant(s) or does not receive the additional information from the complainant(s) within thirty (30) business days, the HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator may administratively close the case. A case may also be administratively closed if the complainant(s) no longer wishes to pursue her or his case.

(5) After the investigation is completed, the HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator will draft and submit an investigative report, to include a summary of findings and recommendations, with the HDOA Office of the Chairperson, and the parties will be notified of the outcome. The HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator shall implement any recommendations approved by the Chairperson. A letter shall be issued summarizing the investigative findings, and whether or not there was a violation of the HDOA’s nondiscrimination policy. In instances where there was no finding, the parties will be informed of such and that the case is closed. In cases where there appeared to be a violation, the parties shall be informed that appropriate action shall be taken to ensure that the alleged act(s) of discrimination stops. Complainants shall be notified of her or his right to pursue other avenues of recourse.

(6) A complainant who is dissatisfied with the decision of the HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator may file a complaint with the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission at (808) 586-8636, or via email at [email protected].

III. PROCEDURE FOR INVESTIGATION OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS INVOLVING HDOA SUBRECIPIENTS

(1) The HDOA will investigate discrimination complaints against its subrecipients (i.e., consultants, vendors, and contractors).

(2) For discrimination complaints filed against the HDOA subrecipients (i.e., consultants, vendors, and contractors) the HDOA will assume jurisdiction and will investigate and determine the case.

(3) The HDOA shall follow the steps provided in Article II, PROCEDURE FOR INVESTIGATION OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS INVOLVING HDOA.

IV. PROCEDURE FOR INVESTIGATION OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS BY THE HAWAI`I ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE

(1) At HDOA’s discretion, discrimination complaints against HDOA may be sent to the Hawai‘i Attorney General’s office (AGO) for assistance with the investigation.

(2) The HDOA Non-Discrimination Coordinator will notify the AGO of the discrimination complaint being filed against HDOA within seventy-two (72) hours or three (3) calendar days of receipt of the complaint. The AGO, at its discretion, may assume jurisdiction and follow the AGO’s complaint procedures for investigating the complaint. If investigated by the AGO, the complaint will be logged with the AGO identifying its basis of discrimination, the status, and the next steps.

(3) For discrimination complaints filed against the HDOA that have been referred to and accepted by the AGO, the AGO has one hundred and eighty (180) days to investigate the complaint, unless it is determined that based upon the complexity of the complaint that additional time is needed. If it is determined that additional time is needed for the issuance of the written decision, the specified number of days in which the complaint evaluation will be extended will be provided in writing to the complainant.

(4) “Preponderance of the Evidence” is the standard by which non-employee discrimination complaints must be proved. This standard requires that, for a finding of discrimination, the evidence and testimony must show that it is more likely than not (that is, more than 50% likely) that HDOA caused harm due to a discriminatory action.

(5) If more information is needed to resolve the case, the AGO investigator may contact the complainant(s). The complainant(s) has no later than thirty (30) business days from the
date of contact to send any requested information to the AGO investigator assigned to the case. If the AGO investigator is not contacted by the complainant(s) or does not receive the additional information from the complainant(s) within thirty (30) business days, the AGO investigator may administratively close the case. A case may also be administratively closed if the complainant(s) no longer wishes to pursue her or his case.

(6) After the investigation is completed, an investigative report will be drafted, and the parties will be notified of the outcome. A letter shall be issued summarizing the investigative findings, and whether or not there was a violation of the HDOA’s nondiscrimination policy. In instances where there was no finding, the parties will be informed of such and that the case is closed. In cases where there appeared to be a violation, the parties shall be informed that appropriate action shall be taken to ensure that the alleged act(s) of discrimination stops. Complainants shall be notified of her or his right to pursue other avenues of recourse.

(7) A complainant dissatisfied with the AGO decision may file a complaint with the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission at (808) 586-8636, or via email at [email protected]

If you require special assistance or language interpretation services, please contact the HDOA Office of the Chairperson at (808) 973-9560 or email [email protected] Please allow sufficient time for HDOA to meet accommodation requests.

To request language interpretation for this document, please contact: LEP Coordinator located at 1428 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96814 (Phone: 808-973-9469 Email: [email protected]). Individuals may request oral interpretation services in order to request a written translation of this document.