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Procedures for Responding to Complaints of Unlawful Discrimination

Policy Effective Date: 07/2018

  1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set forth the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Service's (CCVS) procedures for responding to complaints of unlawful discrimination from employees, applicants for employment and beneficiaries of CCVS or the CCVS 's subrecipients of funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and funding from the state of Vermont.

  1. Policy

All eligible beneficiaries will be treated equally in all programs and activities operated by the CCVS or the CCVS's subrecipients, irrespective of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18 United States code), sexual orientation, national origin, age, ancestry, place of birth, or disability, or based on any other characteristic protected under State or Federal law. All employees and applicants for employment will be treated equally by the CCVS and the CCVS's subrecipients, irrespective of actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18 United States code), sexual orientation, national origin, age, ancestry, place of birth, or disability, or based on any other characteristic protected under State or Federal law.

CCVS will comply and will ensure that its subrecipients comply with the following federal statutes:

  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in the delivery of services (42 U.S.C. § 2000d), and the DOJ implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart C; This law prohibits discrimination in services based on race, color or national origin in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. See also Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons, 67 Fed. Reg. 41, 455 (June 18, 2002), which addresses the obligation of recipients to take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to funded programs and activities to those persons who may be limited in their English proficiency (LEP) because of their national origin; and
    • The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex in the delivery of services and employment practices (34 U.S.C. §10228(c) and §10221(a)) and the DOJ implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart D. This law prohibits recipients of funding under this statute from discriminating in services or employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, or sex in any program or activity; and
    • The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, as amended which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity in the delivery of services and employment practices (34 U.S.C.§12291(b) (13)); and
  • The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) of 1984, as amended: (34 U.S.C. § 20110(e)); which states that no person shall on the ground of race, color, religion, national origin, handicap, or sex be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, subjected to discrimination under, or denied employment in connection with, any undertaking funded in whole or in part with sums made available under this subchapter; and
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination based on disability in the delivery of services and employment practices (29 U.S.C. § 794); and the DOJ, implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart G; and
  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which prohibits discrimination based on disability in the delivery of services and employment practices (42 U.S.C. § 12132), and the DOJ implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 35; and
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibit discrimination based on sex in educational programs (20 U.S.C. § 1681), and the DOJ implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 54; and
  • The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, which prohibits discrimination based on age in the delivery of services (42 U.S.C. § 6102), and the DOJ implementing regulations at 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart 1; and
  • The DOJ regulations 28 C.F.R. 38 on Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations, which prohibits discrimination based on religion in the delivery of services and prohibits organizations from using Department of Justice funding on explicitly religious activities; and
  • The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, as amended, (38 U.S.C. § 4301 – 4335) this law prohibits discrimination against persons because of their service in the uniformed services; and
  • The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974, as amended: (34 U.S.C. § 11182(b)) which adopts by reference the civil rights obligations of the Safe Streets Act. This means that recipients of funding must not discriminate in the delivery of services or in employment based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. It also means that JJDP funding recipients must comply with the EEOP requirements of the Safe Streets Act; and

 

CCVS will comply and ensure that its subrecipients comply with the following state statutes:

  • 9 V.S.A. Chapter 139, §4500: VT Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act which prohibits discrimination in providing public accommodations to its clients, consumers and program participants based on race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and the legal standards, duties and requirements with respect to persons with disabilities in places of public accommodation.
  • 21 V.S.A. Chapter 5, §495: VT Fair Employment Practices relating to fair employment practices, to the full extent applicable, that it will not discriminate in employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ancestry, place of birth, age, or physical or mental condition; and
  • 21 V.S.A. Chapter 5, §470: The Parental and Family Leave Act which recognizes that strong families are the foundation of a productive and competitive state. The provisions of this law are enacted in recognition of the fact that both employers and employees benefit from the establishment of parental and family leave as a condition of employment.
  • 21 V.S.A. Chapter 5, §495h: Sexual Harassment states that all employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations have an obligation to ensure a workplace free of sexual harassment.
  1. Definitions

Beneficiary: A beneficiary is an individual who ultimately receives a service or benefit from a recipient or subrecipient of federal and state financial assistance.

Subrecipient: A subrecipient is an entity to whom federal and state financial assistance is extended through the CCVS.

Complaint Coordinator: The Complaint Coordinator is the CCVS Deputy Director.

Discrimination: This occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of the individual’s membership in a group or class.

Class: A group that shares common attributes.

Harassment: The act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. 

  1. Complaint Procedures

Timing of Complaints: Complaints must be filed within either 180 days or one year of the alleged discrimination, depending on the relevant statute.

  1. Complaints against CCVS alleging discrimination in services:

Individuals who believe that the CCVS has discriminated against them in the provision of services may submit a complaint verbally or in writing to the CCVS Deputy Director, who is the designated complaint coordinator at Elaine.Boyce@ccvs.vermont.gov. A complaint should contain, at a minimum, a summary of the allegations with the relevant dates.

The Deputy Director will begin an internal investigation within five (5) business days of receiving the complaint, taking appropriate measures to prevent retaliation. If the internal investigation reveals impermissible discrimination, the CCVS will take appropriate corrective action to remedy the violation and to prevent future violations. If the internal investigation reveals a violation of state or federal law, the Complaint Coordinator will notify the appropriate state or federal agency with jurisdiction over the matter.

The complainant will be notified of each action taken in the matter, including the date the matter is referred to another agency, if applicable. The complainant will also be notified of his or her right to file a complaint directly with any other state or federal agency having jurisdiction over the matter, without necessarily using or exhausting the CCVS complaint process.

  1. Complaints against CCVS alleging employment discrimination:

Individuals who believe that the CCVS has discriminated against them in employment may submit a complaint to the CCVS’s Executive Director. If the complaint is against the Executive Director, the complaint may be directed to the Chair of the CCVS's governing board. A complaint should contain, at a minimum, a summary of the allegations with the relevant dates.

The Executive Director or Board Chair will initiate an internal investigation taking appropriate measures to prevent retaliation. If the internal investigation reveals impermissible discrimination, appropriate corrective action will be taken to remedy the violation and to prevent future violations.

If the internal investigation reveals insufficient evidence of impermissible discrimination, the complaint will be closed and the employee will be notified. The employee will also be notified of his or her right to file a complaint directly with any other state or federal agency having jurisdiction over the matter.

  1. Complaints against subrecipients of the CCVS in employment or services:

Individuals who believe that they have been subjected to impermissible discrimination by a subrecipient of CCVS funds, through the subrecipients services or as an employee of the subrecipient, may submit a complaint verbally or in writing to CCVS, by contacting the CCVS Deputy Director at Elaine.Boyce@ccvs.vermont.gov. A complaint should contain, at minimum, a summary of the allegations with the relevant dates.

The Deputy Director, who is the designated complaint coordinator, will refer the matter to an appropriate state or federal agency with jurisdiction over the matter.

The complainant will also be notified of his or her right to file a complaint directly with any other state or federal agency having jurisdiction over the matter, without necessarily, using or exhausting the CCVS complaint process.

  1. Referrals to other State and Federal Agencies:

A complaint may be referred to one of the following state or federal agencies with jurisdiction over the matter.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

1 Congress Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
(617) 565-3200 (voice)
(617) 565-3204 (TDD)

https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm

 

Vermont Attorney General's Office
Civil Right Division
109 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 828-3171

ago.civilrights@vermont.gov

Office for Civil Rights
Office of Justice Programs
U.S. Department of Justice
810 7th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20531
(202) 307-0690
(202) 307-2027 (TDD/TTY)

https://ojp.gov/about/ocr/complaint.htm

 

State of Vermont Human Rights Commission
135 State Street
Drawer 33
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(800) 416-2010

http://hrc.vermont.gov/how-to-file

 

Complainants will be notified of their right to file with one or more of these agencies directly, without using or exhausting the CCVS complaint process.

  1. Notice

 

This policy will be disseminated in the following ways:

  • Subrecipients will be given a copy of this policy in their award package and reminded of this policy during onsite monitoring visits.
  • CCVS employees will be given a copy of this policy when they are hired.
  • A copy of the policy will be maintained as an addendum to the CCVS Personnel Policies.
  • A notice of nondiscrimination will be posted in an area of the CCVS offices open to the public, with a reference to this policy.
  • Subrecipients will be asked to post a notice of nondiscrimination in public areas, which references a beneficiary’s right to file a complaint with the CCVS.
  • Beneficiaries of CCVS will be given a copy of this policy at the time of service.