Regulation – x
Adopted – 12/7/2017
Procedures for the resolution of employee complaints provide a route of appeal through administrative channels and to the Board, if necessary.
The following guidelines shall prescribe the manner in which employee complaints are handled:
1. A “complaint” shall be defined as an alleged misapplication of the District’s policies, regulations, rules or procedures.
2. For “whistleblower” complaints filed pursuant to Government Code section 53296 et seq., see Whistleblower Complaints, below.
3. Complaints alleging unlawful discrimination on any basis specified in the District’s nondiscrimination policies including complaints of sexual harassment, shall be resolved in accordance with the District’s procedures for complaints regarding discrimination in employment.
4. Complaints regarding the sufficiency of textbook materials, teacher vacancy or misassignment, or an urgent or emergency facility condition shall be resolved in accordance with the District’s Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures. (Education Code 35186)
5. Complaints regarding unlawful discrimination in District programs or the District’s failure to comply with state or federal laws regarding educational programs shall be resolved in accordance with the District’s Uniform Complaint Procedures.
6. For complaints regarding working conditions or other subjects of negotiation, the employee shall use the grievance procedure specified in the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
7. So as not to interfere with school schedules, meetings related to a complaint shall be held before or after the complainant’s regular working hours.
8. With the exception of whistleblower complaints filed pursuant to Government Code section 53296 et seq. (see Whistleblower Complaints, below), the District will investigate anonymous complaints so long as there is sufficient information to proceed and it is appropriate under the circumstances.
9. All matters related to a complaint shall be kept confidential. Only those individuals directly involved in resolving the complaint shall be informed of the complaint.
10. All documents, communications and records dealing with the complaint shall be placed in a District complaint file. No such material shall be placed in an employee’s personnel file.
11. No reprisals shall be taken against any participant in a complaint procedure by reason of such participation.
12. In all cases, the complainant is strongly encouraged to prepare the complaint in writing, but if he/she is unable or unwilling to do so, administrative staff may assist the complainant in preparing a written complaint.
13. Time limits specified in these procedures may be reduced or extended in any specific instance by written mutual agreement of the parties involved. If specified or adjusted time limits expire, the complaint may proceed to the next step.
14. Any complaint not taken to the next step within prescribed time limits shall be considered settled on the basis of the answer given at the preceding step.
Whistleblower Complaints Pursuant to Government Code § 53296 et seq.
Complaints filed pursuant to this Regulation include “whistleblower” complaints made by an employee or job applicant regarding an improper District activity including, but not limited to, an allegation of gross mismanagement a significant waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a specific danger to public health or safety. (Government Code 53296)
Complaints made pursuant to Government Code section 53296 et seq. must be filed within 60 days of the date of the act or event which is the subject of the complaint. (Government Code 53297) Whistleblower complaints shall be investigated and resolved in accordance with the timelines set forth in this Regulation.
Whistleblower complaints brought by employees may not be anonymous and shall be filed under penalty of perjury. (Government Code 53297)
Informal and Formal Complaint Procedures
Every effort should be made to resolve a complaint informally at the earliest possible stage. Whenever possible, the complainant should communicate directly to the person(s) involved in order to resolve concerns. If a complainant is unable or unwilling to resolve the complaint directly with the person(s) involved, then the complainant shall follow the process set forth below.
Formal Complaint Procedure – Step 1
If a complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved informally, the complainant may file a written complaint with his/her immediate supervisor or principal. The written complaint should include a description of efforts to resolve the complaint informally and should specify the nature of the problem, including names, locations, witnesses, and the remedy sought by the employee.
Within five working days of receiving the complaint, the immediate supervisor or principal shall conduct any necessary investigation and meet with the complainant in an effort to resolve the complaint.
The immediate supervisor or principal shall present all concerned parties with a written answer to the complaint within ten working days after the meeting.
Formal Complaint Procedure – Step 2
If a complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved at Step 1, the complainant may file the written complaint with the Superintendent or designee within five working days of receiving the answer at Step 1. All information presented at Step 1 shall be included with the complaint, and the immediate supervisor or principal shall submit to the Superintendent or designee a report describing attempts to resolve the complaint at Step 1.
Within five working days of receiving the complaint, the Superintendent or designee shall conduct any necessary investigation and meet with the complainant in an effort to resolve the complaint.
The Superintendent or designee shall present all concerned parties with a written answer to the complaint within ten working days after the meeting.
Formal Complaint Procedure – Step 3
If a complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved at Step 2, the complainant may file a written appeal to the Governing Board within five working days of receiving the answer at Step 2. All information presented at Steps 1 and 2 shall be included with the appeal, and the Superintendent or designee shall submit to the Board a report describing attempts to resolve the complaint at Step 2.
An appeal hearing shall be held at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting after the appeal is filed.
All parties to a complaint may be asked to attend a Board meeting in order to clarify the issue and present all available information.
Complaints concerning an employee shall be heard in closed session of the Board unless the employee requests that the issue be addressed in open session. 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 in closed session.
Following the hearing of a complaint, the Board may choose to uphold the Superintendent or designee’s decision and take no further action, adopt the Superintendent or designee’s decision as its own, or modify the Superintendent’s or designee’s decision as it determines.
The decision of the Board shall be final. A copy of the Board’s written decision will be provided to all concerned parties within 30 working days following the meeting at which the Board heard the complaint.