The purpose of this policy is to provide a procedure for the filing and resolution of grievance complaints alleging any action prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the US Department of Health and Human Services regulations (45, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 84) implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended (29 United States Code, 794).
It is a high priority for the City that complaints be reviewed in a thoughtful and sensitive manner. The City desires that this process help it meet its legal obligations and become aware of opportunities for improving access in the City of Bend. The City of Bend Employee Handbook governs employment related complaints of disability discrimination.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 202, states, in part, that “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subject to discrimination by any such entity.” Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act states, in part, that “no otherwise qualified handicapped individual … shall solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
This grievance procedure may be used by anyone who wishes to file a complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of services, activities, or programs operated by the City of Bend.
I. ACCESSIBILITY MANAGER
1.1 The Accessibility Manager will coordinate the efforts of the City of Bend in order to comply with the ADA and/or Section 504 and shall receive all ADA grievances, communications, concerns and/or complaints regarding access issues.
II. COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
2.1 A complaint should be in writing, contain the name and address of the person filing it, and briefly describe the action alleged to be prohibited by the ADA and/or Section 504 (45 CFR Part 84).
2.2 A complaint should be filed with the City within a reasonable time (60 days) after the person filing the complaint becomes aware of the action alleged to be prohibited by the ADA and/or Section 504. The form should be in writing but alternative methods of filing, such as personal interviews or audio recordings of the issue, will be made available for persons with disabilities upon request.
2.3 The Accessibility Manager will contact the person filing the complaint form within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt of the form to discuss the issue.
2.4 The Accessibility Manager, or that person’s designee, shall conduct an investigation of the complaint as appropriate to determine its validity. This policy contemplates informal but thorough investigations, affording all interested persons and their representatives, if any, an opportunity to tell their story, candidly discuss their concerns, and submit evidence if they choose relevant to the complaint. Investigations will be kept confidential to the extent allow by law and the City determines confidentiality can be maintained while allowing us to fulfill our obligations. The Accessibility Manager may assist persons with the preparation and filing of the complaints and participate in the investigation of complaints. He or she will advise in writing his/her supervisor of the resolution of the complaint, including: the date the complaint was received, nature of the complaint, and the actual/projected date of resolution. Copies will be sent to the appropriate department head and City Manager.
2.5 The Accessibility Manager, or that person’s designee, shall issue a response in writing or in a format accessible to the person filing the form, such as large print, Braille, or audio recordings determining the validity of the complaint no later than 30 days after its filing offering the City’s position on the issue and options for substantive resolution of the issue.
2.6 If the resolution issued by the Accessibility Manager or his/her designee does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, the resolution may be appealed within fifteen (15) calendar days after receipt of the resolution. The City Manager or his/her designee will meet with the persons filing the appeal to discuss the issue and possible resolutions. Within fifteen (15) calendar days of the meeting to resolve the appeal, the City Manager or designee will provide (by email or first class mail) a written resolution of the appeal. Alternative formats of the written resolution, such as personal interviews or audio recordings of the issue, will be made available for persons with disabilities upon request. The City Manager or designee’s decision is final and binding.
2.7 The Accessibility Manager shall maintain the files and records of the City of Bend relating to complaints for at least ten (10) years from the resolution of the grievance complaint.
2.8 This policy shall be liberally constructed to protect the substantial rights of interested persons, to meet appropriate due process standards, and to assure the City of Bend’s compliance with the ADA and Section 504 as stated above.