Employee Discrimination & Harassment Complaint Procedure


Maine School Administrative District No. 31

EMPLOYEE & THIRD PARTY DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT

COMPLAINT PROCEDURE


This procedure has been adopted by the Board in order to provide a method of prompt and equitable resolution of employee and third party complaints of discrimination, including harassment, and retaliation as described in policies AC – Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, AC-R – Grievance and Complaint Procedures, and ACAB – Harassment and Sexual Harassment of School Employees.


Definitions


For purposes of this procedure:


A. “Complaint” is defined as an allegation that an individual has been subject to discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability, or retaliation.


B. References to “discrimination” or “harassment” mean discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, ancestry, national origin, or disability.


C. “Retaliation” means retaliation for participating in an investigation concerning or for opposing suspected discrimination, including harassment or retaliation, on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, ancestry, national origin, or disability.


How to Make a Complaint


A. Any employee who believes he/she has been subject to discrimination, including harassment, or retaliation is encouraged to try to resolve the problem by informing the individual(s) that the behavior is unwelcome or offensive and by requesting that the behavior stop. This shall not prevent the employee, however, from making an immediate formal complaint.


B. Any individual who believes he/she has been subject to discrimination, including harassment or retaliation should report their concern promptly to the building principal. If the individual is uncomfortable reporting concerns to the building principal, he/she may report the concern to the Affirmative Action Officer (the SAD 31 Director of Special Services, telephone 207-732-8307). Concerns may be reported orally or in writing, and concerns reported orally will be recorded in writing by school personnel authorized to receive complaints or reports.


Individuals who are unsure as to whether unlawful discrimination, including harassment, or retaliation has occurred, or who need assistance in preparing a written complaint, are encouraged to discuss their concerns with the building principal or the Affirmative Action Officer. Individuals will not be retaliated against for reporting or participating in an investigation concerning possible discrimination or harassment or retaliation.


C. Any individual who believes he/she has been subject to discrimination, including harassment, or retaliation is encouraged to utilize the school unit’s complaint procedure. However, individuals are hereby notified that they also have the right to report incidents of discrimination, including harassment, or retaliation to the Maine Human Rights Commission, 51 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333 (telephone: 207-624-6050) and/or to the federal Office for Civil Rights, Regional Director, U.S. Department of Education, Boston Office, 8th Floor, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA 02109-3921 (telephone: 617-289-0111) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, John F. Kennedy Federal Building, 475 Government Center, Boston, MA 02203 (telephone 800- 669-4000).


Complaint Handling and Investigation


A. Building principal or Affirmative Action Officer will promptly inform the Superintendent and the person who is the subject of the complaint that a complaint has been received.


B. Building principal or Affirmative Action Officer may pursue a prompt and equitable informal resolution of the complaint with the agreement of the parties involved. Any party to the complaint may decide to end an informal resolution process and pursue the formal process described below, at any point. The informal resolution is subject to the approval of the Superintendent, who shall consider whether the informal resolution is in the best interest of the school unit in light of applicable policies and law, unless the complaint was filed by, on behalf of, or against the Superintendent, in which case the informal resolution is subject to the approval of the Chair of the Board, who should consult with legal counsel concerning the handling of the complaint.


C. The complaint will be investigated by the Affirmative Action Officer, unless the Superintendent chooses to investigate the complaint or designates another person to investigate it on his/her behalf. If the complaint was filed by, on behalf of, or against the Affirmative Action Officer, the Superintendent or his/her designee shall investigate the complaint. Any complaint about an employee who holds a supervisory position shall be investigated by a person who is not subject to that supervisor’s authority. Any complaint about the Superintendent should be submitted to the Chair of the Board, who should consult with legal counsel concerning the handling and investigation of the complaint.


1. The Complainant and the person who is the subject of the complaint will be provided with an opportunity to be heard and to present witnesses and other evidence as part of the investigation.


2. If the complaint is against an employee of the school unit, any rights conferred under an applicable collective bargaining agreement shall be applied, unless inconsistent with this policy or applicable law.


3. The Affirmative Action Officer shall respect the confidentiality of the Complainant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed to the extent possible, consistent with the school unit’s legal obligations, including the necessity to investigate allegations of discrimination, to take appropriate disciplinary action, and to ensure the safety of the school community.


4. The Affirmative Action Officer or individual designated to investigate the complaint shall keep a written record of the investigation process.


5. The Affirmative Action Officer or individual designated to investigate the complaint may take interim remedial measures (consistent with the civil rights laws referenced below and any applicable collective bargaining agreement provisions) to reduce the risk of further discrimination or harassment while the investigation is pending.


6. The Affirmative Action Officer or individual designated to investigate the complaint shall consult with the Superintendent concerning the investigation, conclusions, and any remedial and/or disciplinary actions. If the complaint was filed by, on behalf of, or against the Superintendent, the Affirmative Action Officer or individual designated to investigate the complaint shall consult with the Chair of the Board, who should consult with legal counsel concerning the handling of the complaint.


7. The investigation shall be completed within 20 business days of receiving the complaint if practicable.


D. If the Affirmative Action Officer or individual designated to investigate the complaint determines that discrimination, including harassment, or retaliation, occurred, he/she shall, in consultation with the Superintendent (or the Board Chair if the complaint involves the Superintendent):


1. Determine what remedial action is required, if any, to end the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, remedy its effects, and prevent it from recurring; and


2. Determine what disciplinary action should be taken against the person(s) who engaged in discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, if any.

E. Regardless of whether the Affirmative Action Officer or individual designated to investigate the complaint determines that discrimination, harassment or retaliation occurred, he/she shall inform the parties in writing of the results of the investigation and its resolution (in accordance with applicable state and federal privacy laws).


F. If either party is dissatisfied with the resolution, he/she may appeal to the Superintendent (or the Board Chair if the complaint involves the Superintendent) within 14 business days after receiving notice of the resolution. The Superintendent (or Board Chair if the complaint involves the Superintendent) shall review the investigation report and may conduct further investigation if deemed appropriate. The decision on the appeal shall be provided in writing to the parties within 14 business days, if practicable. The decision on the appeal shall be final.




Legal Reference: Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., as amended; 28 CFR § 35.107)

Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq., as amended;

34 CFR § 104.7)

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (20 USC § 1681 et seq.; 34 CFR § 106.8(b))

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (34 CFR § 110.25)

Maine Human Rights Act (5 MRSA § 4571 et seq., 4681 et seq.)


Cross Reference: AC - Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

AC-R – Grievance and Complaint Procedures

ACAB - Harassment and Sexual Harassment of School Employees



First Reading: 05/21/2003

Adopted: 06/18/2003

Reviewed: 08/19/2009

First Reading: 08/13/2014

First Reading: 12/19/2018

Second Reading: 01/16/2019


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