Complaints of Discrimination
A complaint alleging discrimination may be filed with the Title VI coordinator.
All entities receiving assistance from the department will be required to have information available for public review on the procedures for filing a complaint.
The Title VI Coordinator has the responsibility for receiving, logging, acknowledging, investigating complaints, and reporting the findings. The coordinator will notify the commissioner and appropriate program director when a complaint is received.
After receiving a complaint or identifying the potential discriminating activity, the department will take the following steps.
- Within 10 days of receiving the complaint, the Title VI Coordinator will report the commencement of an investigation to the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. Within 30 calendar days of receiving the complaint, the Title VI Coordinator will conduct a fact finding investigation. The Coordinator will meet with the complainant or the staff member who identified the alleged discriminatory activity to determine the nature of the complaint and whether Title VI requirements were violated. The Coordinator will meet with the director in whose area the alleged violation occurred to ascertain the director’s perspective on the complaint. The Coordinator will notify the members of the Title VI Review Committee.
- Upon completion of the investigation, the Title VI Coordinator will submit a summary of the investigation to the Tennessee Human Rights Commission prior to notifying the complainant.
- If the Coordinator determines that discrimination did not occur, the complainant, Commissioner, and program director will be informed in writing. The complainant will then have a right to appeal the decision.
- If the investigation indicates that discrimination did occur, it will be discussed with the program director. The Title VI Coordinator will discuss ways in which to resolve the complaint and seek voluntary corrective action and will provide a report of such discussions in writing to the complainant, Commissioner, and program director.
- The complainant, applicant or program director may appeal any rulings made by the Coordinator to the Title VI Review Committee within 10 calendar days of the receipt of the written findings. The request can include relevant documentation and sworn testimony, if any, from appealing party, together with any testimony by witnesses having first-hand knowledge of the Title VI violations. The testimony may be in the form of an affidavit and shall describe in detail the circumstances and events that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a Title VI violation has occurred. The Title VI Review Committee will have broad latitude to review an appealed case and make a finding. The committee may discuss the complaint with the complainant, the alleged offender, the Title VI Coordinator or other parties to determine the facts. The committee will make a finding on the appeal within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request for appeal.
- If the discriminatory activity cannot be resolved by the Title VI Review Committee, a written report on the situation will be prepared and forwarded to the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. If a complaint involves one of the department’s federally funded programs, the federal agency sponsoring the program will also be notified. Information will also be provided to the parties involved on the procedures for appealing to the federal level.