Informal Complaint Process
Informal complaints are intended to resolve concerns at the earliest stage possible. The use of the informal reporting process serves the dual purpose of educating the District community about discrimination and harassment while working directly and confidentially with the parties involved. Resolution of informal reports may include discussions with the parties, making recommendations for resolution, and conducting a follow-up review after a period of time to assure that the resolution has been implemented effectively. See below for more details regarding this process.
What is the informal complaint process?
Step 1: If an individual believes they have been the victim of discrimination or harassment, it is important to discuss the incident with the Director of Staff & Student Diversity, who has been trained in discrimination and harassment complaint procedures.
Step 2: The Complainant should carefully consider the informal options for early resolution that may be proposed by the Director of Staff & Student Diversity. In some situations, it may be possible for the Director to resolve the concern without the direct involvement of the Complainant. Early resolution of informal reports could encompass a full range of possible appropriate outcomes including, but not limited to, mediating an agreement between the parties; separating the parties; interviewing the parties and any relevant witnesses; referring the parties to counseling programs; conducting targeted educational and training programs; or working with appropriate administrators to provide remedies acceptable to the Complainant.
Step 3: Decide on the course of action. If a Complainant chooses to attempt to informally resolve the problem, the Complainant and Director must decide how to proceed (see Step 2 for examples). After discussing the incident with the Director, the Complainant may also decide to go no further with the complaint. However, the Director has the discretion to elevate an informal complaint to formal status depending on the severity of the incident alleged.
Step 4: Take the action decided upon with the assistance of the Director of Staff & Student Diversity.
Step 5: If a Complainant is not satisfied with the results of the informal resolution and decides to file a formal complaint, the Director of Staff & Student Diversity may explain the formal complaint process to the Complainant and may assist with the formal process. The Director of Staff & Student Diversity will provide guidance to the Complainant, including guidance about the importance of compliance with time lines.
When is the informal complaint process appropriate? An informal report is appropriate when the parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively. Informal reports may be appropriate for responding to anonymous reports and/or third party reports. The District encourages early resolution of a complaint. However, the formal report process will be used when the informal process for early resolution is inappropriate (e.g. allegations of serious misconduct, reports of a pattern of inappropriate behavior, alleged criminal acts such as stalking, sexual assault or physical assault). The Director of Staff & Student Diversity may enlist any help she or he chooses to resolve a complaint on an informal basis.