Complaint Harassment Discrimination Policy Part II

Complaint Harassment Discrimination Policy Part II

Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program

Nondiscrimination, Harassment, Retaliation and Complaint Policy (continued)

 
 
 
Part II
NONDISCRIMINATION IN IVROP PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES 
(BP 0410)
 
The Governing Board is committed to providing equal opportunity for all individuals in education.  IVROP programs, activities, and practices shall be free from unlawful discrimination,  including discrimination against an individual or group based on race, color,  ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital,  pregnancy, or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, or genetic information; a perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.
 
IVROP programs and activities shall also be free of any racially derogatory or discriminatory program or team names, mascots, or nicknames.
 
Annually, the Superintendent or designee shall review IVROP programs and activities to ensure the removal of any derogatory or discriminatory name, image, practice, or other barrier that may unlawfully prevent an individual or group in any of the protected categories stated above from accessing IVROP programs and activities. He/she shall take prompt, reasonable actions to remove any identified barrier. The Superintendent or designee shall report his/her findings and recommendations to the Board after each review.
 
All allegations of unlawful discrimination in IVROP programs and activities shall be investigated and resolved in accordance with the procedures specified in IVROP’s Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP).
 
Pursuant to 34 CFR 104.8 and 34 CFR 106.9, the Superintendent or designee shall notify students, participants, parents/guardians, employees, employee organizations, applicants for admission and employment, and sources of referral for applicants about IVROP's policy on nondiscrimination and related complaint procedures. Such notification shall be included in each announcement, bulletin, catalog, handbook, application form, or other materials distributed to these groups and, as applicable, to the public. As appropriate, such notification shall be posted in IVROP facilities and offices, including staff lounges, student/participant meeting rooms, and other prominent locations and shall be posted on IVROP's web site and, when available, IVROP-supported social media.
 
IVROP's nondiscrimination policy and related informational materials shall be published in a format that parents/guardians can understand. In addition, when 15 percent or more of a IVROP's students speak a single primary language other than English, those materials shall be translated into that other language.
 
Access for Individuals with Disabilities
 
IVROP programs and facilities, viewed in their entirety, shall be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and any implementing standards and/or regulations. When structural changes to existing IVROP facilities are needed to provide individuals with disabilities access to programs, services, activities, or facilities, the Superintendent or designee shall develop a transition plan that sets forth the steps for completing the changes.
 
The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that IVROP provides auxiliary aids and services when necessary to afford individuals with disabilities equal opportunity to participate in or enjoy the benefits of a service, program or activity.  These aids and services may include, but are not limited to, qualified interpreters or readers, assistive listening devices, notetakers, written materials, taped text, and Braille or large print materials. Individuals with disabilities shall notify the Superintendent or administrator if they have a disability that requires special assistance or services.  Reasonable notification should be given prior to the IVROP-sponsored function, program or meeting.
 
The Superintendent or designee shall notify students, participants, parents/guardians, employees, employee organizations and applicants for admission and employment, and sources of referral for applicants about IVROP’s policy on nondiscrimination.  Such notification shall be included in each announcement, bulletin, catalog, application form or other recruitment materials distributed to these groups.  (34 CFR 104.8, 106.9)
 
The individual identified in the UPC as the employee responsible for coordinating IVROP's response to complaints and for complying with state and federal civil rights laws is hereby designated as IVROP's ADA coordinator. He/she shall receive and address requests for accommodation submitted by individuals with disabilities, and shall investigate and resolve complaints regarding their access to IVROP programs, services, activities, or facilities.
 
Director of Human Services
687 State Street
El Centro, CA  92243
(760) 482-2600
complaint@ivrop.org
 
SEXUAL HARASSMENT – STUDENTS / PARTICIPANTS 
(BP 5145.7)
 
The Governing Board is committed to maintaining a safe environment that is free from harassment and discrimination. The Board prohibits, at IVROP-sponsored or IVROP-related activities, sexual harassment targeted at any student or participant by anyone. The Board also prohibits retaliatory behavior or action against any person who reports, files a complaint or testifies about, or otherwise supports a complainant in alleging sexual harassment.
 
IVROP strongly encourages any student or participant who feels that he/she is being or has been sexually harassed on IVROP grounds or at a IVROP-sponsored or IVROP-related activity by another student, participant or an adult who has experienced off-premise sexual harassment that has a continuing effect on IVROP premises to immediately contact his/her teacher, a supervisor, or any other available IVROP employee. Any employee who receives a report or observes an incident of sexual harassment shall notify a supervisor or a IVROP compliance officer. Once notified, the supervisor or compliance officer shall take the steps to investigate and address the allegation, as specified in the accompanying administrative regulation.
 
The Superintendent or designee shall take appropriate actions to reinforce IVROP's sexual harassment policy.
 
Information
 
The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that all IVROP students and participants receive age-appropriate information on sexual harassment. Such information shall include:
 
1. What acts and behavior constitute sexual harassment, including the fact that sexual harassment could occur between people of the same sex and could involve sexual violence
 
2. A clear message that students and participants do not have to endure sexual harassment under any circumstance
 
3. Encouragement to report observed incidents of sexual harassment even where the alleged victim of the harassment has not complained
 
4. A clear message that student and participant safety is IVROP's primary concern, and that any separate rule violation involving an alleged victim or any other person reporting a sexual harassment incident will be addressed separately and will not affect the manner in which the sexual harassment complaint will be received, investigated, or resolved
 
5. A clear message that, regardless of a complainant's noncompliance with the writing, timeline, or other formal filing requirements, every sexual harassment allegation that involves a student or participant, whether as the complainant, respondent, or victim of the harassment, shall be investigated and prompt action shall be taken to stop any harassment, prevent recurrence, and address any continuing effect on students or participants
 
6. Information about IVROP's procedure for investigating complaints and the person(s) to whom a report of sexual harassment should be made
 
7. Information about the rights of students, participants and parents/guardians to file a civil or criminal complaint, as applicable, including the right to file a civil or criminal complaint while IVROP investigation of a sexual harassment complaint continues
 
8. A clear message that, when needed, IVROP will take interim measures to ensure a safe environment for a student or participant who is the complainant or victim of sexual harassment and/or other students or participants during an investigation and that, to the extent possible, when such interim measures are taken, they shall not disadvantage the complainant or victim of the alleged harassment
Complaint Process and Disciplinary Actions
 
Sexual harassment complaints by and against students or participants shall be investigated and resolved in accordance with law and IVROP’s UPC. Supervisors are responsible for notifying students, participants and parents/guardians that complaints of sexual harassment can be filed under AR 1312.3 and where to obtain a copy of the procedures.
 
Upon investigation of a sexual harassment complaint, any student or participant found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual violence in violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action. 
 
Upon investigation of a sexual harassment complaint, any employee found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual violence toward any student or participant shall have his/her employment terminated in accordance with law.
 
Record-Keeping
 
The Superintendent or designee shall maintain a record of all reported cases of sexual harassment to enable IVROP to monitor, address, and prevent repetitive harassing behavior on IVROP premises.
 
IVROP designates the following individual(s) as the responsible employee(s) to coordinate its efforts to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and California Education Code 234.1, as well as to investigate and resolve sexual harassment complaints IVROP’s UPC. The coordinator/compliance officer(s) may be contacted at:
 
Director of Human Services
687 State Street
El Centro, CA  92243
(760) 482-2600
complaint@ivrop.org
 
Prohibited sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, unwanted requests for sexual favors, or other unwanted verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature made against another person of the same or opposite sex in the educational setting, under any of the following conditions:  (Education Code 212.5; 5 CCR 4916)
 
1. Submission to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of a student's or participant’s academic or program status or progress.
 
2. Submission to or rejection of the conduct by a student or participant is used as the basis for academic or program decisions affecting the student or participant.
 
3. The conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact on the student's or participant’s academic or program performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.
 
4. Submission to or rejection of the conduct by the student or participant is used as the basis for any decision affecting the student or participant regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through any IVROP program or activity.
 
Examples of types of conduct which are prohibited in IVROP and which may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
 
1. Unwelcome leering, sexual flirtations, or propositions
 
2. Unwelcome sexual slurs, epithets, threats, verbal abuse, derogatory comments, or sexually degrading descriptions
 
3. Graphic verbal comments about an individual's body or overly personal conversation
 
4. Sexual jokes, derogatory posters, notes, stories, cartoons, drawings, pictures, obscene gestures, or computer-generated images of a sexual nature
 
5. Spreading sexual rumors
 
6. Teasing or sexual remarks about students or participants enrolled in a predominantly single-sex class or program
 
7. Massaging, grabbing, fondling, stroking, or brushing the body
 
8. Touching an individual's body or clothes in a sexual way
 
9. Impeding or blocking movements or any physical interference with IVROP activities when directed at an individual on the basis of sex
 
10. Displaying sexually suggestive objects
 
11. Sexual assault, sexual battery, or sexual coercion
 
12. Electronic communications containing comments, words, or images described above
 
Any prohibited conduct that occurs off premises or outside of IVROP-related or IVROP-sponsored programs or activities will be regarded as sexual harassment in violation of IVROP policy if it has a continuing effect on or creates a hostile IVROP environment for the complainant or victim of the conduct.
 
Reporting Process and Complaint Investigation and Resolution
 
Any student or participant who believes that he/she has been subjected to sexual harassment by another student, participant, an employee, or a third party or who has witnessed sexual harassment is strongly encouraged to report the incident to his/her teacher, a supervisor, or any other available IVROP employee. Within one business day of receiving such a report, the IVROP employee shall forward the report to their supervisor or IVROP's compliance officer identified in  IVROP’s UCP. In addition, any IVROP employee who observes an incident of sexual harassment involving a student or participant shall, within one business day, report his/her observation to their supervisor or the IVROP compliance officer. The employee shall take these actions, whether or not the alleged victim files a complaint.
When a report or complaint of sexual harassment involves off-premises conduct, the supervisor shall assess whether the conduct may create or contribute to the creation of a hostile IVROP environment. If he/she determines that a hostile environment may be created, the complaint shall be investigated and resolved in the same manner as if the prohibited conduct occurred at IVROP.
 
When a verbal or informal report of sexual harassment is submitted, the supervisor or compliance officer shall inform the student, participant or parent/guardian of the right to file a formal written complaint in accordance with IVROP's UCP. Regardless of whether a formal complaint is filed, the supervisor or compliance officer shall take steps to investigate the allegations and, if sexual harassment is found, shall take prompt action to stop it, prevent recurrence, and address any continuing effects.
 
If a complaint of sexual harassment is initially submitted to the supervisor, he/she shall, within two business days, forward the report to the compliance officer to initiate investigation of the complaint.  The compliance officer shall contact the complainant and investigate and resolve the complaint in accordance with law and IVROP procedures specified in IVROP’s UCP.
 
In investigating a sexual harassment complaint, evidence of past sexual relationships of the victim shall not be considered, except to the extent that such evidence may relate to the victim's prior relationship with the respondent.
 
In any case of sexual harassment involving the supervisor, compliance officer, or any other person to whom the incident would ordinarily be reported or filed, the report may instead be submitted to the Superintendent or designee who shall determine who will investigate the complaint.
 
Confidentiality
 
All complaints and allegations of sexual harassment shall be kept confidential except as necessary to carry out the investigation or take other subsequent necessary action.  (5 CCR 4964)
 
However, when a complainant or victim of sexual harassment notifies IVROP of the harassment but requests confidentiality, the compliance officer shall inform him/her that the request may limit IVROP's ability to investigate the harassment or take other necessary action. When honoring a request for confidentiality, IVROP will nevertheless take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request.
 
When a complainant or victim of sexual harassment notifies IVROP of the harassment but requests that IVROP not pursue an investigation, IVROP will determine whether or not it can honor such a request while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students and participants.
 
Response Pending Investigation
 
When an incident of sexual harassment is reported, the supervisor or designee, in consultation with the compliance officer, shall determine whether interim measures are necessary pending the results of the investigation. The supervisor/designee or compliance officer shall take immediate measures necessary to stop the harassment and protect students and participants and/or ensure their access to the educational program. To the extent possible, such interim measures shall not disadvantage the complainant or victim of the alleged harassment. Interim measures may include placing the individuals involved in separate classes or project activities, or transferring a student or participant to a class or project facilitated by a different employee, in accordance with law and Board policy. IVROP should notify the individual who was harassed of his/her options to avoid contact with the alleged harasser and allow the complainant to change academic and extracurricular arrangements as appropriate. IVROP should also ensure that the complainant is aware of the resources and assistance, such as counseling, that are available to him/her.  As appropriate, such actions shall be considered even when a student or participant chooses to not file a formal complaint or the sexual harassment occurs off IVROP grounds or outside IVROP-sponsored or IVROP-related programs or activities.
 
Notifications
 
A copy of IVROP's sexual harassment policy and regulation shall:
 
1. Be included in the notifications that are sent to parents/guardians at the beginning of each program  (Education Code 48980; 5 CCR 4917)
 
2. Be displayed in a prominent location in the main administrative building or other area where notices of IVROP rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct are posted  (Education Code 231.5)
 
A copy of IVROP's sexual harassment policy and regulation shall be posted on IVROP web sites and, when available, on IVROP-supported social media
 
3. Be provided as part of any orientation program conducted for new students or participants at the beginning of each program 
 
4. Appear in any IVROP publication that sets forth the IVROP's comprehensive rules, regulations, procedures, and standards of conduct (Education Code 231.5)
 
5. Be included in student or participant handbooks
 
UNIFORM COMPLAINT PROCEDURES 
(BP/AR 1312.3)
 
The Governing Board recognizes that IVROP has the primary responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs. The Board encourages early resolution of complaints whenever possible. To resolve complaints which may require a more formal process, the Board adopts the uniform system of complaint processes specified in 5 CCR 4600-4670 and the accompanying administrative regulation.
 
IVROP's uniform complaint procedures (UCP) shall be used to investigate and resolve the following complaints:
 
1. Any complaint alleging IVROP violation of applicable state or federal law or regulations governing career technical and technical education and training programs, special education programs, and any other IVROP-implemented program which is listed in Education Code 64000(a) (5 CCR 4610)
 
2. Any complaint alleging the occurrence of unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) against any student, participant, employee, or other person participating in IVROP programs and activities, including, but not limited to, those programs or activities funded directly by or that receive or benefit from any state financial assistance, based on the person's actual or perceived characteristics of race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital, pregnancy, or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information, or any other characteristic identified in Education Code 200 or 220, Government Code 11135, or Penal Code 422.55, or based on his/her association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics  (5 CCR 4610)
 
3. Any complaint alleging IVROP noncompliance with the requirement to provide reasonable accommodation to a lactating student or participant on IVROP premises to express breast milk, breastfeed an infant child, or address other breastfeeding-related needs of the student or participant  (Education Code 222)
 
4. Any complaint alleging retaliation against a complainant or other participant in the complaint process or anyone who has acted to uncover or report a violation subject to this policy
 
5. Any other complaint as specified in an IVROP policy
 
The Board recognizes that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can, depending on the nature of the allegations, offer a process to reach a resolution to the complaint that is acceptable to all parties. ADR such as mediation may be offered to resolve complaints that involve more than one student and no adult.  However, mediation shall not be offered or used to resolve any complaint involving sexual assault or where there is a reasonable risk that a party to the mediation would feel compelled to participate.  The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that the use of ADR is consistent with state and federal laws and regulations.
 
IVROP shall protect all complainants from retaliation. In investigating complaints, the confidentiality of the parties involved shall be protected as required by law. As appropriate for any complaint alleging retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the Superintendent or designee shall keep confidential the identity of the complainant and/or the subject of the complaint if he/she is different from the complainant, as long as the integrity of the complaint process is maintained.
 
When an allegation that is not subject to the UCP is included in a UCP complaint, IVROP shall refer the non-UCP allegation to the appropriate staff or agency and shall investigate and, if appropriate, resolve the UCP-related allegation(s) through IVROP's UCP.
 
The Superintendent or designee shall provide training to IVROP staff to ensure awareness and knowledge of current law and related requirements, including the steps and timelines specified in this policy and the accompanying administrative regulation.
 
The Superintendent or designee shall maintain records of all UCP complaints and the investigations of those complaints in accordance with applicable law and IVROP policy.
 
Non-UCP Complaints
 
The following complaints shall not be subject to IVROP's UCP but shall be referred to the specified agency:  (5 CCR 4611)
 
1. Any complaint alleging child abuse or neglect shall be referred to the County Department of Social Services, the County Protective Services Division, and the appropriate law enforcement agency.
 
2. Any complaint alleging health and safety violations by a child development program shall, for licensed facilities, be referred to Department of Social Services and shall, for licensing-exempt facilities, be referred to the appropriate Child Development regional administrator.
 
3. Any complaint alleging employment discrimination shall be sent to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the compliance officer shall notify the complainant by first class mail of the transfer.
 
4. Any complaint alleging fraud shall be referred to the California Department of Education.
 
Except as the Governing Board may otherwise specifically provide in other IVROP policies, these uniform complaint procedures (UCP) shall be used to investigate and resolve only the complaints specified in BP 1312.3.
 
Compliance Officers
 
IVROP designates the individual(s) identified below as the employee(s) responsible for coordinating IVROP's response to complaints and for complying with state and federal civil rights laws. The individual(s) also serve as the compliance officer(s) specified in AR 5145.3 - Nondiscrimination/Harassment as the responsible employee to handle complaints regarding unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying). The individual(s) shall receive and coordinate the investigation of complaints and shall ensure IVROP compliance with law.
 
Director of Human Services
687 State Street
El Centro, CA  92243
(760) 482-2600
complaint@ivrop.org
 
The compliance officer who receives a complaint may assign another compliance officer to investigate and resolve the complaint. The compliance officer shall promptly notify the complainant and respondent, if applicable, if another compliance officer is assigned to the complaint.
 
In no instance shall a compliance officer be assigned to a complaint in which he/she has a bias or conflict of interest that would prohibit him/her from fairly investigating or resolving the complaint. Any complaint against a compliance officer or that raises a concern about the compliance officer's ability to investigate the complaint fairly and without bias shall be filed with the Superintendent or designee who shall determine how the complaint will be investigated.
 
The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that employees assigned to investigate and resolve complaints receive training and are knowledgeable about the laws and programs at issue in the complaints to which they are assigned. Training provided to such employees shall include current state and federal laws and regulations governing the program, applicable processes for investigating and resolving complaints, including those alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), applicable standards for reaching decisions on complaints, and appropriate corrective measures.  Assigned employees may have access to legal counsel as determined by the Superintendent or designee.
 
The compliance officer or, if necessary, any appropriate administrator shall determine whether interim measures are necessary during and pending the result of an investigation. If interim measures are determined to be necessary, the compliance officer or the administrator shall consult with the Superintendent, the Superintendent's designee, or, if appropriate, the site principal to implement one or more interim measures. The interim measures shall remain in place until the compliance officer determines that they are no longer necessary or until IVROP issues its final written decision, whichever occurs first.
 
Notifications
 
IVROP's UCP policy and administrative regulation shall be posted in all IVROP offices, including staff lounges.  (Education Code 234.1)
 
The Superintendent or designee shall annually provide written notification of IVROP's UCP, to students, participants, employees, parents/guardians, IVROP advisory committees, and other interested parties.  (Education Code 262.3, 48853, 48853.5, 49013, 49069.5, 51225.1, 51225.2, 52075; 5 CCR 4622)
 
The annual notification and complete contact information of the compliance officer(s) may be posted on IVROP web site and, if available, provided through IVROP-supported social media.
 
The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that all students, participants and parents/guardians, including students, participants and parents/guardians with limited English proficiency, have access to the relevant information provided in IVROP's policy, regulation, forms, and notices concerning the UCP.
 
If 15 percent or more of students or participants enrolled in IVROP programs speak a single primary language other than English, IVROP's policy, regulation, forms, and notices concerning the UCP shall be translated into that language, in accordance with Education Code 234.1 and 48985. In all other instances, IVROP shall ensure meaningful access to all relevant UCP information for parents/guardians with limited English proficiency.
 
The notice shall:
 
1. Identify the person(s), position(s), or unit(s) responsible for receiving complaints
 
2. Advise the complainant of any civil law remedies that may be available to him/her under state or federal antidiscrimination laws, if applicable
 
3. Advise the complainant of the appeal process, including, if applicable, the complainant's right to take a complaint directly to the California Department of Education (CDE) or to pursue remedies before civil courts or other public agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in cases involving unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying).
 
4. Include statements that:
 
a. IVROP has the primary responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing educational programs.
 
b. The complaint review shall be completed within 60 calendar days from the date of receipt of the complaint unless the complainant agrees in writing to an extension of the timeline.
 
c. A complaint alleging retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) must be filed not later than six months from the date it occurred, or six months from the date the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged unlawful discrimination. The time for filing may be extended for up to 90 days by the Superintendent or designee for good cause upon written request by the complainant setting forth the reasons for the extension.
 
d. Complaints should be filed in writing and signed by the complainant. If a complainant is unable to put his/her complaint in writing, for example, due to conditions such as a disability or illiteracy, IVROP staff shall assist him/her in the filing of the complaint.
 
e. If a complaint is not filed in writing but IVROP receives notice of any allegation that is subject to the UCP, IVROP shall take affirmative steps to investigate and address the allegations, in a manner appropriate to the particular circumstances.
 
If the allegation involves retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) and the investigation reveals that discrimination has occurred, IVROP will take steps to prevent recurrence of discrimination and correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant, and on others, if appropriate.
 
f. The complainant has a right to appeal IVROP's decision to the CDE by filing a written appeal within 15 calendar days of receiving IVROP's decision.
 
In any complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the respondent also shall have the right to file an appeal with the CDE in the same manner as the complainant, if he/she is dissatisfied with IVROP's decision.
 
g. The appeal to the CDE must include a copy of the complaint filed with IVROP and a copy of IVROP's decision.
 
h. Copies of IVROP's UCP are available free of charge.
 
IVROP Responsibilities
 
All UCP-related complaints shall be investigated and resolved within 60 calendar days of IVROP's receipt of the complaint unless the complainant agrees in writing to an extension of the timeline.  (5 CCR 4631)
 
For complaints alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), IVROP shall inform the respondent when the complainant agrees to an extension of the timeline for investigating and resolving the complaint.
 
The compliance officer shall maintain a record of each complaint and subsequent related actions, including steps taken during the investigation and all information required for compliance with 5 CCR 4631 and 4633.
 
All parties involved in the allegations shall be notified when a complaint is filed and when a decision or ruling is made. However, the compliance officer shall keep all complaints or allegations of retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) confidential except when disclosure is necessary to carry out the investigation, take subsequent corrective action, conduct ongoing monitoring, or maintain the integrity of the process.  (5 CCR 4630, 4964)
 
Filing of Complaints
 
The complaint shall be presented to the compliance officer who shall maintain a log of complaints received, providing each with a code number and a date stamp.
 
All complaints shall be filed in writing and signed by the complainant.  If a complainant is unable to put a complaint in writing due to conditions such as a disability or illiteracy, IVROP staff shall assist him/her in the filing of the complaint.  (5 CCR 4600)
 
Complaints shall also be filed in accordance with the following rules, as applicable:
 
1. A complaint alleging IVROP violation of applicable state or federal law or regulations governing adult education programs, migrant education, career technical and technical education and training programs, child care and development programs, and special education programs may be filed by any individual, public agency, or organization.  (5 CCR 4630)
 
2. A complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) may be filed only by a person who alleges that he/she personally suffered the unlawful discrimination or by a person who believes that an individual or any specific class of individuals has been subjected to it. The complaint shall be initiated no later than six months from the date when the alleged unlawful discrimination occurred, or six months from the date when the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged unlawful discrimination. The time for filing may be extended for up to 90 days by the Superintendent or designee for good cause upon written request by the complainant setting forth the reasons for the extension.  (5 CCR 4630)
 
3. When a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) is filed anonymously, the compliance officer shall pursue an investigation or other response as appropriate, depending on the specificity and reliability of the information provided and the seriousness of the allegation.
 
4. When the complainant of unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying) or the alleged victim, when he/she is not the complainant, requests confidentiality, the compliance officer shall inform him/her that the request may limit IVROP's ability to investigate the conduct or take other necessary action. When honoring a request for confidentiality, IVROP shall nevertheless take all reasonable steps to investigate and resolve/respond to the complaint consistent with the request.
 
Mediation
 
Within three business days after the compliance officer receives the complaint, he/she may informally discuss with all the parties the possibility of using mediation. Mediation shall be offered to resolve complaints that involve more than one student or participant and no adult. However, mediation shall not be offered or used to resolve any complaint involving an allegation of sexual assault or where there is a reasonable risk that a party to the mediation would feel compelled to participate. If the parties agree to mediation, the compliance officer shall make all arrangements for this process.
 
Before initiating the mediation of a complaint alleging retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the compliance officer shall ensure that all parties agree to make the mediator a party to relevant confidential information.  The compliance officer shall also notify all parties of the right to end the informal process at any time.
 
If the mediation process does not resolve the problem within the parameters of law, the compliance officer shall proceed with his/her investigation of the complaint.
 
The use of mediation shall not extend IVROP's timelines for investigating and resolving the complaint unless the complainant agrees in writing to such an extension of time. If mediation is successful and the complaint is withdrawn, then IVROP shall take only the actions agreed to through the mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, IVROP shall then continue with subsequent steps specified in this administrative regulation.
 
Investigation of Complaint
 
Within 10 business days after the compliance officer receives the complaint, the compliance officer shall begin an investigation into the complaint.
 
Within one business day of initiating the investigation, the compliance officer shall provide the complainant and/or his/her representative with the opportunity to present the information contained in the complaint to the compliance officer and shall notify the complainant and/or his/her representative of the opportunity to present the compliance officer with any evidence, or information leading to evidence, to support the allegations in the complaint. Such evidence or information may be presented at any time during the investigation.
 
In conducting the investigation, the compliance officer shall collect all available documents and review all available records, notes, or statements related to the complaint, including any additional evidence or information received from the parties during the course of the investigation. He/she shall individually interview all available witnesses with information pertinent to the complaint, and may visit any reasonably accessible location where the relevant actions are alleged to have taken place. At appropriate intervals, the compliance officer shall inform both parties of the status of the investigation.
 
To investigate a complaint alleging retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the compliance officer shall interview the alleged victim(s), any alleged offenders, and other relevant witnesses privately, separately, and in a confidential manner. As necessary, additional staff or legal counsel may conduct or support the investigation.
 
A complainant's refusal to provide IVROP's investigator with documents or other evidence related to the allegations in the complaint, failure or refusal to cooperate in the investigation, or engagement in any other obstruction of the investigation may result in the dismissal of the complaint because of a lack of evidence to support the allegation. Similarly, a respondent's refusal to provide IVROP's investigator with documents or other evidence related to the allegations in the complaint, failure or refusal to cooperate in the investigation, or engagement in any other obstruction of the investigation may result in a finding, based on evidence collected, that a violation has occurred and in the imposition of a remedy in favor of the complainant.  (5 CCR 4631)
 
In accordance with law, IVROP shall provide the investigator with access to records and other information related to the allegation in the complaint and shall not in any way obstruct the investigation. Failure or refusal of IVROP to cooperate in the investigation may result in a finding based on evidence collected that a violation has occurred and in the imposition of a remedy in favor of the complainant.  (5 CCR 4631)
 
The compliance officer shall apply a "preponderance of the evidence" standard in determining the veracity of the factual allegations in a complaint. This standard is met if the allegation is more likely to be true than not.
 
Report of Findings
 
Unless extended by written agreement with the complainant, a final decision shall be sent to the complainant within 60 calendar days of IVROP's receipt of the complaint. Within 30 calendar days of receiving the complaint, the compliance officer shall prepare and send to the complainant a written report, as described in the section "Final Written Decision" below. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the compliance officer's decision, he/she may, within five business days, file his/her complaint in writing with the Board.
 
The Board may consider the matter at its next regular Board meeting or at a special Board meeting convened in order to meet the 60-day time limit within which the complaint must be answered. The Board may decide not to hear the complaint, in which case the compliance officer's decision shall be final.
 
If the Board hears the complaint, the compliance officer shall send the Board's decision to the complainant within 60 calendar days of IVROP's initial receipt of the complaint or within the time period that has been specified in a written agreement with the complainant. (5 CCR 4631)
 
In resolving any complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying), the respondent also shall be sent IVROP's decision.
 
Final Written Decision
 
IVROP's decision on how it will resolve the complaint shall be in writing and shall be sent to the complainant and respondent.  (5 CCR 4631)
 
In consultation with IVROP legal counsel, information about the relevant part of a decision may be communicated to a victim who is not the complainant and to other parties who may be involved in implementing the decision or are affected by the complaint, as long as the privacy of the parties is protected. In a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying), notice of IVROP's decision to the alleged victim shall include information about any sanction to be imposed upon the respondent that relates directly to the alleged victim.
 
If the complaint involves a limited-English-proficient student, participant or parent/guardian and the student or participant involved attends IVROP programs at which 15 percent or more of the students or participants speak a single primary language other than English, then the decision shall also be translated into that language.  In all other instances, IVROP shall ensure meaningful access to all relevant information for parents/guardians with limited English proficiency.
 
For all complaints, the decision shall include:  (5 CCR 4631)
 
1. The findings of fact based on the evidence gathered. In reaching a factual determination, the following factors may be taken into account: 
 
a. Statements made by any witnesses
 
b. The relative credibility of the individuals involved
 
c. How the complaining individual reacted to the incident
 
d. Any documentary or other evidence relating to the alleged conduct
 
e. Past instances of similar conduct by any alleged offenders
 
f. Past false allegations made by the complainant
 
2. The conclusion(s) of law
 
3. Disposition of the complaint
 
4. Rationale for such disposition
 
For complaints of retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the disposition of the complaint shall include a determination for each allegation as to whether retaliation or unlawful discrimination has occurred.
 
The determination of whether a hostile environment exists may involve consideration of the following:
 
a. How the misconduct affected one or more students' or participants’ education
 
b. The type, frequency, and duration of the misconduct
 
c. The relationship between the alleged victim(s) and offender(s)
 
d. The number of persons engaged in the conduct and at whom the conduct was directed
 
e. The location of the incidents, and context in which they occurred
 
f. Other incidents involving different individuals
 
5. Corrective action(s), including any actions that have been taken or will be taken to address the allegations in the complaint and including, with respect to a student fees complaint, a remedy that comports with Education Code 49013 and 5 CCR 4600
 
For complaints of unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), the decision may, as required by law, include:
 
a. The corrective actions imposed on the respondent
 
b. Individual remedies offered or provided to the complainant or another person who was the subject of the complaint, but this information should not be shared with the respondent.
 
c. Systemic measures taken to eliminate a hostile environment and prevent recurrence
 
6. Notice of the complainant's and respondent's right to appeal IVROP's decision to the CDE within 15 calendar days, and procedures to be followed for initiating such an appeal
 
The decision may also include follow-up procedures to prevent recurrence or retaliation and for reporting any subsequent problems.
 
For complaints alleging unlawful discrimination based on state law (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying), the decision shall also include a notice to the complainant that:
 
1. He/she may pursue available civil law remedies outside of IVROP's complaint procedures, including seeking assistance from mediation centers or public/private interest attorneys, 60 calendar days after the filing of an appeal with the CDE. (Education Code 262.3)
 
2. The 60 days moratorium does not apply to complaints seeking injunctive relief in state courts or to discrimination complaints based on federal law.  (Education Code 262.3)
 
3. Complaints alleging discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender, disability, or age may also be filed with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights at www.ed.gov/ocr within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
 
Corrective Actions
 
When a complaint is found to have merit, the compliance officer shall adopt any appropriate corrective action permitted by law. Appropriate corrective actions that focus on the IVROP environment may include, but are not limited to, actions to reinforce IVROP policies; training for faculty, staff, and students; updates to IVROP policies; or IVROP climate surveys.
 
For complaints involving retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), appropriate remedies that may be offered to the victim but not communicated to the respondent may include, but are not limited to, the following:
 
1. Counseling
 
2. Academic support
 
3. Health services
 
4. Assignment of an escort to allow the victim to move safely about campus
 
5. Information regarding available resources and how to report similar incidents or retaliation
 
6. Separation of the victim from any other individuals involved, provided the separation does not penalize the victim
 
7. Restorative justice
 
8. Follow-up inquiries to ensure that the conduct has stopped and there has been no retaliation
 
9. Determination of whether any past actions of the victim that resulted in discipline were related to the treatment the victim received and described in the complaint
 
For complaints involving retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), appropriate corrective actions that focus on a student offender may include, but are not limited to, the following:
 
1. Transfer from a program as permitted by law
 
2. Parent/guardian conference
 
3. Education regarding the impact of the conduct on others
 
4. Positive behavior support
 
5. Referral to a student success team
 
6. Denial of participation in extracurricular or co-curricular activities or other privileges as permitted by law
 
7. Disciplinary action, such as suspension or expulsion, as permitted by law
 
When an employee is found to have committed retaliation or unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), IVROP shall take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, in accordance with applicable law and collective bargaining agreement.
 
IVROP may also consider training and other interventions to ensure that students, staff, and parents/guardians understand the types of behavior that constitute unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, or bullying), that IVROP does not tolerate it, and how to report and respond to it.
Appeals to the California Department of Education
 
Any complainant who is dissatisfied with IVROP's final written decision may file an appeal in writing with the CDE within 15 calendar days of receiving IVROP's decision.  (Education Code 222, 48853, 48853.5, 49013, 49069.5, 51223, 51225.1, 51225.2, 51228.3, 52075; 5 CCR 4632)
 
When a respondent in any complaint alleging unlawful discrimination (such as discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying) is dissatisfied with IVROP's final written decision, he/she, in the same manner as the complainant, may file an appeal with the CDE.
 
The complainant or respondent shall specify the basis for the appeal of the decision and whether the facts are incorrect and/or the law has been misapplied. The appeal shall be accompanied by a copy of the locally filed complaint and a copy of IVROP's decision.  (5 CCR 4632)
 
Upon notification by the CDE that the complainant or respondent has appealed IVROP's decision, the Superintendent or designee shall forward the following documents to the CDE:  (5 CCR 4633)
 
1. A copy of the original complaint
 
2. A copy of the written decision
 
3. A summary of the nature and extent of the investigation conducted by IVROP, if not covered by the decision
 
4. A copy of the investigation file including, but not limited to, all notes, interviews, and documents submitted by the parties and gathered by the investigator
 
5. A report of any action taken to resolve the complaint
 
6. A copy of IVROP’s uniform complaint procedures
 
7. Other relevant information requested by the CDE
 
 

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