Title VII Equal Employment Opportunity/Civil Rights Compliance

Title VII Equal Employment Opportunity/Civil Rights Compliance

The Agency provides all individuals with equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. No employment-related practice, including any term or condition of employment, shall be based, in whole or in part, on discrimination or harassment or on any employee’s opposition to such conduct or participation in an investigation of such conduct.

Any employee who feels s/he has been discriminated against by the Agency on the basis of any of the aforementioned items should file a complaint in accordance with the procedures outlined in Section III of this Chapter. Complaints should be filed as soon as possible after the occurrence of the alleged discrimination or harassment.

In addition to internal complaint procedures, employees also have the right to appeal to the State Personnel Board under Chapter 670-X-4, Prohibition of Discrimination, Rules of the State Personnel Board (ALEA Exhibit 2-1).

Furthermore, complaints of unlawful employment discrimination may be filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In general, the anti-discrimination laws require complaints to be filed within one-hundred-eighty (180) calendar days from the day the discrimination took place. Addresses for filing a complaint with the EEOC are listed below:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Birmingham District Office

Ridge Park Place

1130 22nd Street South, Suite 2000

Birmingham, Alabama 35205

TEL: (800) 669-4000

FAX: (205) 212-2105

TTY: (800) 669-6820

 

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Mobile District Office

63 South Royal Street, Suite 504

Mobile, Alabama 36602

TEL: (800) 669-4000

Fax: (251) 690-2581

TTY: (800) 669-6820

Note: The complaint procedures in this chapter only refer to EEO-related matters. Employees who believe they have been aggrieved in a non-EEO matter that affects his/her employment or work environment should seek resolution through their supervisory chain of command.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, "prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, pay, fringe benefits, job training, classification, referral, and other aspects of employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."

It is the policy of the Agency that the work environment be free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. Harassing behavior, either physical or verbal, will not be tolerated within the Agency. The Agency will take all reasonable steps to discourage unlawful discrimination and harassing behavior from occurring and will impose appropriate corrective action where it identifies any such discrimination or harassment.

(1) Harassment - Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law or that of his/her relatives, friends, or associates, and that:

• has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment;

• has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance; or

• otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment opportunities.

Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to:

• slurs or negative stereotyping;

• threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts;

• denigrating jokes and display or circulation in the workplace of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group (including through electronic media).

(2) Sexual Harassment – Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexually oriented conduct that is sufficiently pervasive or severe to unreasonably interfere with an employee's job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

While sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of conduct, some examples of specifically prohibited conduct include but are not limited to:

• promising, directly or indirectly, to give an employee special treatment or benefits for complying with a sexually oriented request;

• threatening, directly or indirectly, to retaliate against an employee if the employee refuses to comply with a sexually oriented request;

• denying, directly or indirectly, an employee an employment-related opportunity if the employee refuses to comply with a sexually oriented request;

• engaging in sexually suggestive physical contact or touching another employee in a way that is unwelcome;

• displaying, storing, or transmitting pornographic or sexually oriented materials using Agency equipment or facilities;

• commenting about an individual's body, sexual prowess, or sexual deficiencies;

• making insulting or obscene comments or sexual gestures;

• engaging in indecent exposure; or

• making sexual or romantic advances toward an employee and persisting despite the employee’s rejection of the advances.

In addition to the types of sexual harassment which are described above, another variety of sexual harassment exists. In this variant, the conduct is not necessarily of a sexual nature. Instead, the harassment includes negative hazing, intimidation, or offensive remarks about members of a particular sex. This type of harassment is also impermissible.

Sexual harassment can be physical and/or psychological in nature. The combination of a series of incidents can constitute sexual harassment even if one of the incidents considered on its own would not be harassing.

Sexual harassment can involve harassment by members of either sex or the same sex. Although sexual harassment typically involves a person in a greater position of authority as the harasser (the victim’s supervisor), it could also be a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, a subordinate, or someone who is not even an employee of the Agency. Consensual sexual or romantic relationships between employees, consumers, vendors and/or contractors are deemed unwise and are strongly discouraged especially if one employee has supervisory authority over the other employee.

(1) The Agency will not terminate, demote, harass, or otherwise retaliate against anyone who makes a complaint about discrimination or harassment on the job or because they participate in any investigation or other proceeding relating to an allegation of discrimination or retaliation.

The Agency strongly urges the reporting of all incidents that employees perceive as being discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory, regardless of the alleged harasser’s identity or classification/position. Individuals who believe they have experienced conduct that amounts to illegal discrimination, harassment, or retaliation or who have concerns about workplace conduct they have observed should:

• promptly report the incident to his/her immediate supervisor through the use of the EEO/Civil Rights Compliance Complaint Form (Exhibit 2-2);

• in the event the alleged harasser is the employee’s supervisor, the employee should report the conduct to his/her next level supervisor;

• if the employee is uncomfortable reporting the complaint to any member of his/her supervisory chain of command, the employee should report the conduct to the ALEA Personnel Director or the ALEA Chief Legal Counsel;

• in the event the alleged harasser is the ALEA Personnel Director, or if the employee is uncomfortable reporting the matter to the ALEA Personnel Director, the employee should report the conduct to the ALEA Chief Legal Counsel.

• any allegations regarding the ALEA Chief Legal Counsel should be reported to the Deputy Secretary/Secretary; or

• if an employee feels he or she has been subjected to unlawful discrimination or harassment by the Deputy Secretary/Secretary, the employee should report the allegations to the ALEA Chief Legal Counsel.

In no event shall the employee’s complaint of harassment or discrimination be filed with or appealed to the alleged harasser.

Individuals should not feel obligated to file their complaints with their immediate supervisor before bringing the matter to the attention of one of the Agency-designated representatives identified above. Individuals can contact Agency-designated representatives as follows:

ALEA Personnel Director ALEA Chief Legal Counsel
Thomas S. Goolsby Meridith Barnes
201 S Union Street, Suite 300 201 S Union Street, Suite 300
Montgomery, AL 36130 Montgomery, AL 36130
334.517.2828 334.517.2889
stan.goolsby@alea.gov meridith.barnes@alea.gov
   
ALEA Deputy Secretary ALEA Secretary
Scottie Chandler Hal Taylor
201 S Union Street, Suite 300 201 S Union Street, Suite 300
Montgomery, AL 36130 Montgomery, AL 36130
334.517.2887 334.517.2675
scott.chandler@alea.gov hal.taylor@alea.gov

(2) Remaining Anonymous – An individual may file an anonymous complaint with the Agency. Should an individual wish to remain anonymous, he or she should file a complaint with the ALEA Personnel Director or the ALEA Chief Legal Counsel (or the Deputy Secretary/Secretary, if the complaint involves the ALEA Personnel Director or the ALEA Chief Legal Counsel). While the Agency will seek to honor an individual’s request for anonymity, it may be difficult to hide a complainant’s identity in investigating a complaint, even though a name is never released, because of the circumstances of the complaint.

Early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of discrimination and harassment. Therefore, employees are encouraged to report any incidents of unlawful discrimination and/or harassment to the appropriate member of management as soon as possible in order to aid in the investigation and attain a prompt resolution.

The recipient of an allegation of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation must immediately notify the ALEA Personnel Director, or the ALEA Chief Legal Counsel if the complaint involves the ALEA Personnel Director. It is essential that a plan of action be formulated that ensures all complaints are investigated in a prompt, thorough, and impartial manner. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and, where necessary, with individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent possible.

The Agency will complete its investigation of the complaint within sixty (60) days of receiving the complaint, reserving the right to extend the time required to complete the investigation should the Office of the Secretary deem such an extension to be necessary.

Misconduct constituting harassment, discrimination, or retaliation will be dealt with promptly and appropriately. Corrective action may include, for example, training, referral to counseling, monitoring of the offender, and/or disciplinary action such as warning, reprimand, suspension without pay, demotion, and/or termination. It may be necessary, for the good of the Agency or to improve the effectiveness of the supervisor, to reassign and/or transfer the employee engaging in the prohibited conduct.

The Agency prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or harassment or participates in an investigation of such reports. The same corrective action as in "V" above will be considered when faced with a violation of this section.

United States Supreme Court decisions (and EEOC Guidance) place the burden on employers to take action to prevent and remedy harassment in the workplace in order to avoid liability. Accordingly, it is the responsibility of the Agency to ensure that employees have effective avenues to bring complaints forward (not just through their supervisor); widely disseminate the policy throughout the workplace to make sure all employees know of its existence and understand the complaint procedures; respond to complaints brought under the policy by promptly and thoroughly investigating them in good faith to determine if violations of the policy have occurred; take prompt, appropriate remedial action to enforce the policy; and ensure that the designated "complaint-recipients" are well-prepared to handle the complaints they may receive.

All employees are responsible and accountable for avoiding any behavior which might violate any provision of these policies or laws of the United States or State of Alabama, for reporting any violations, and for cooperating in the investigation or any remedial action.

These policies apply to all applicants and employees and prohibit harassment, discrimination, and retaliation whether engaged in by fellow employees, by a supervisor or manager, or by someone not directly connected to the Agency (e.g., outside vendor or consultant).

Conduct prohibited by these policies is unacceptable in the workplace and in any work-related setting outside the workplace, such as during business trips, business meetings, and business-related social events. These policies may not be used as a basis for excluding or separating individuals of a particular gender, or any other protected characteristic, from participating in business or work-related social activities or discussions in order to avoid allegations of harassment.

(1) Policy – The Agency assures that no person shall, on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability, including low-income and limited English proficiency (LEP), as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and all related nondiscrimination authorities, including Executive Order 13166 (Improving Access to Services for Persons with LEP), be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity administered by the agency.2

(2) Purpose – The purpose of the Civil Rights Compliance Program is to educate individuals associated with the Agency of its nondiscrimination provisions regarding employment and the provision of services and benefits. The program establishes written procedures for individuals to follow when a complaint alleging discrimination or retaliation in the delivery of services is made against the Agency or its sub-recipients, consultants, contractors, or other individuals associated with the Agency.

The ALEA Personnel Director, or his/her designee, serves as the Agency’s EEO/Civil Rights Compliance Program Coordinator and has responsibility for developing and implementing an employee training program, monitoring Agency activities for program compliance, and investigating and responding to complaints received under this program. Agency bureaus/departments have representatives who are responsible for assisting with the program’s compliance efforts.

(3) Complaint Procedures – The intent of the complaint procedures process is to provide individuals a mechanism for bringing forth complaints of discrimination regarding federally assisted programs, activities, and/or services administered by the Agency or its sub-recipients, consultants, and/or contractors. This process does not preclude the Agency from attempting to informally resolve complaints nor does it deny the right of an individual to file a formal complaint with other federal agencies or to seek private counsel for complaints alleging discrimination.

(a) Filing a Complaint - Any individual who believes s/he has been subjected to discriminatory treatment in violation of this policy is encouraged to file a complaint following these procedures:

1. Allegations of discrimination must be based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, low income, limited English proficiency, or disability.

2. The complaint generally may be filed by the complainant or a legal representative on his/her behalf in writing no later than one-hundred-eighty (180) days after the date of (a) the alleged act of discrimination, (b) knowledge of the alleged discrimination, or (c) the latest instance of a course of discriminatory conduct, whether it was discontinued or is ongoing.3

3. Program complaints must be submitted in writing and signed by the aggrieved person or representative using the EEO/Civil Rights Compliance Complaint Form (Exhibit 2-2). The complaint should include the complainant’s name, address, and contact number; the basis/details of the complaint, including the name of the individual or entity that is the subject of the complaint, and the location of the incident. Complaints may be submitted by mail or fax.

Mailing Address: Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA)

ALEA Personnel Division – EEO/Civil Rights Compliance Program Coordinator

P.O. Box 304115

Montgomery, AL 36130-4115

Fax Number: (334) 353-0900

4. Within ten (10) work days of the receipt of the complaint, the EEO/Civil Rights Compliance Program Coordinator will acknowledge receipt of the complaint and provide relevant information.

5. Within sixty (60) days of receiving the complaint, the Agency will complete the investigation while reserving the right to extend the time required to complete the investigation, should the Office of the Secretary deem such an extension to be necessary.

6. Upon completion of the investigation, an Investigative Report will be completed and forwarded to the ALEA Personnel Director and Chief Legal Counsel or his/her designee(s) for review (requests for additional information may be deemed necessary). Once finalized, the information will then be presented to the Secretary and a remedy will be proposed for implementation.

7. The complainant will be provided written notification of the results of the investigation and, if applicable, the associated remedy.

8. The ALEA Personnel Division will maintain a complaint log documenting each complaint filed under this program and such log will be available to authorized federal officials upon request.

(b) Dismissals – The Agency will make all reasonable attempts to investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination and/or retaliation filed under this program. However, the Agency may dismiss a complaint for the following reasons:

1. The complaint is not timely filed;

2. The complaint does not allege any adverse action with regard to covered programs or statutes;

3. The complainant submits a request to withdraw the complaint;

4. The complainant fails to respond to requests for information necessary to investigate a complaint;

5. Contact cannot be made with the complainant after reasonable attempts have been made;

6. The complainant refuses to accept what the Agency perceives as a reasonable solution to his/her complaint;

7. The complainant has filed legal action in federal district court and/or with another federal, state, or local entity with the same basis and issue addressed in the complaint under review.

(4) Dissemination of Program Information to Beneficiaries/Participants – The Agency website provides public notification of the Agency’s Civil Rights Compliance Program. The procedures for requesting information, filing a discrimination complaint against the Agency or its sub-recipients, consultants, contractors, or other individuals associated with the Agency, and the contact information for the EEO/Civil Rights Compliance Program Coordinator are provided on the website.

(5) Training – The EEO/Civil Rights Compliance Program Coordinator is responsible for providing annual training regarding the nondiscrimination and retaliation provisions of this program and related issues. Training methods include but are not limited to one-on-one sessions, webinars, teleconferences, or onsite training. Training efforts are completed in coordination with the Bureau/Department Designees.

(6) Filing a Complaint with an External Agency – The Agency encourages individuals to file complaints following procedures established within this policy. However, this policy does not impair or limit the rights of anyone to seek a remedy available under state or federal law. Complaints against the Agency or its sub-recipients, consultants, contractors, or other individuals associated with the Agency implementing funding from the U.S. Department of Justice can be submitted to the following:

Federal Coordination and Compliance Section – NWB Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20530

(202) 307-2222

-OR-

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

 

2 As a condition for receiving and administering federal funds, the Agency must comply with applicable federal civil rights laws, including but not limited to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Justice Department’s regulation for Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations, and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and its implementing regulations.

3 An individual may file a complain under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 within one (1) year of the date of the alleged discrimination (28 C.F.R. § 42.205(b) (2016)).

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The Title VII complaint form is currently under development. If you are needing to file a complaint contact the ALEA Personnel Department.