Discrimination Complaint Procedures
University of Louisville employees, students, applicants for admission or employment or other participants in the university's programs or activities who believes he or she has been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of age, color, disability, gender (whether or not sexual in nature) national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status may file a formal complaint with the Staff Development and Employee Relations office in accordance with the procedures described below.
Complaints should be directed to the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office, Human Resources, 1980 Arthur Street, Louisville, KY 40208-2770, (502) 852-6536 and 852-6538; fax (502) 852-5665. Upon receipt of a written complaint an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation, including the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence will be initiated. The Staff Development and Employee Relations Office shall maintain all files and records relating to all complaints.
Federal and state law and university policy prohibit any form of retaliation against a person who files a discrimination complaint in good faith. Disciplinary action may be taken against any person who files a discrimination complaint in bad faith, or who maliciously or knowingly files false spurious, or frivolous claims charges. In cases in which allegations of discrimination are not substantiated, the university may, if appropriate, take reasonable steps, such as expungement of records or notification to persons who participated in the investigation of the charge, to restore the reputation of the respondent.
Employees and students are encouraged, where appropriate, to attempt initially to resolve complaints through the administrative structure of the employment unit or academic department. The Staff Development and Employee Relations Office is available to provide assistance to the employment unit or academic department in order to resolve the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved through the appropriate administrative channel, the following complaint procedures applies:
Complaints must be in writing and be filed with the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office within 180 days of the most recent alleged discriminatory act. At the discretion of the Director of Staff Development and Employee Relations, in certain circumstances complaints filed outside of this time limit or that are not in writing may be investigated informally. All time limits contained in these procedures may be extended for good cause. In addition to or instead of filing with the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office, the complainant may file a formal charge of discrimination with a state or federal agency authorized by law to receive such claims.
The complaint should include the complainant's name and signature, a description of the alleged incident or incidents, identity of the person or persons purportedly responsible, and an indication of the date or approximate date on which the act or acts occurred.
If the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office determines that the allegations of the complaint, if true, do not violate federal or state law or university policies, the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office shall notify the complainant in writing normally within five (5) working days of the filing of the complaint. That notice shall explain why the complaint does not violate federal/state law or university policy and may inform the complainant of other possible avenues to seek redress, such as the Staff, Faculty or Student Grievance Procedures, if appropriate.
Either at the time of filing the written complaint or normally no later than ten (10) working days thereafter, the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office will meet with the complainant individually to determine the factual allegations on which the complaint is based and to discuss the complaint procedures. If the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office determines that the complaint is suitable for negotiated resolution, that option will be discussed and offered to the complainant, who will be given five (5) working days to decide. The respondent must also agree to mediate resolution. If the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office deems the complaint is unsuitable for negotiated resolution, or if either party declines to participate in or to make a decision regarding negotiated resolution, the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office will conduct an investigation.
Within ten (10) working days of the complainant's decision on how to proceed, or of the interview with the complainant if negotiated resolution was not deemed a suitable option, the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office will notify the respondent that he or she has been named in a complaint and the nature of the charges. That notification will also discuss the complaint procedures, and if appropriate, offer the negotiated resolution option to the respondent, who will have five (5) working days after notification to accept or decline.
The Staff Development and Employee Relations Office reserves the right to refer student complaints to other university offices that may exist to investigate and/or adjudicate complaints.
Negotiated resolution is a process by which the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office attempts to resolve complaints quickly and to the satisfaction of all parties without reaching formal findings, while protecting confidentiality to the extent possible. At any time during the negotiated resolution process, either party may elect to terminate the process and the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office will then investigate the complaint. The Staff Development and Employee Relations Office reserves the right not to proceed with an investigation if it determines that during the negotiated resolution process a complainant was offered and refused all of the relief to which he or she would be entitled.
Generally, the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office will not involve any person other than the complainant and respondent in the negotiated resolution process, except, as it may be necessary to consult with appropriate university officials regarding university policies and procedures. Both parties will be asked to respect the confidentiality of the process. Negotiated resolution should be completed no later than thirty (30) days after the respondent has agreed to this process.
If the complaint is successfully resolved, each party will sign a "Negotiated Resolution Form," prepared by the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office, which describes fully the agreed-upon terms. A copy of the complaint and the completed Negotiated Resolution Form will be available to the complainant and respondent upon request.
If the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office determines that negotiated resolution is not appropriate, or if it is not agreed to by both parties, or it is unsuccessful, an investigation will be conducted in accordance with the following procedures.
The investigation will be conducted by the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office and may include, but not be limited to:
- Interviews with both the complainant and respondent
- Individual meetings with witnesses or material persons who may have relevant information;
- Reviewing relevant files and records such as personnel files, departmental and/or unit files, and others;
- Comparing the treatment of complainant to that of others similarly situated in the department or unit; and
- Reviewing applicable policies and practices as outlined in the Staff Handbook, Redbook, or Student Handbook
The investigative process is an internal university process and therefore is not open to persons, including counsel from outside the university. The complainant and respondent are free however, to meet with internal and/or external advisors, including counsel from outside the university community, throughout the process. These advisors may not address or question the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office or any investigator, the complainant, respondent and/or any witness regarding the allegation(s)
The investigation shall normally be concluded within sixty (60) working days of its inception, and the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office shall issue a written report. The report will document the scope of the investigation and result in a factual determination as to whether the evidence supports the allegation(s) of the complaint. These confidential findings will be submitted to the appropriate administrator(s) to render any disciplinary action (as appropriate) that is deemed necessary. In cases that involve faculty members a copy of these findings will be submitted to the university Provost. The complainant as well as the respondent will receive a copy of the findings.
If the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office concludes that the complainant's allegations are substantiated, the report will recommend that a directive be issued to stop the discriminatory practice. If it is ongoing, recommend disciplinary or other corrective action against the respondent and others; and, if appropriate, recommend provisions for the complainant, such as reinstatement, hiring, reassignment, promotion, training, back pay, or other compensation or benefits.
If the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office concludes that the complainant's allegations are not substantiated, the report may suggest other avenues, both internal and external, for the complainant should he or she wish to pursue the matter and, if appropriate, recommend reasonable steps to restore the reputation of the respondent.
The Vice President/Dean to whom the report is sent may take appropriate action, as deemed necessary. The Vice President's/Dean's decision on the action, and the reasons therefore will be communicated in writing to the complainant, respondent, and the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office within ten (10) working days after the Vice President/Dean receives the report from the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office, unless the Vice President/Dean requires additional time for further investigation or other good cause. The Vice President/Dean may provide the report to other university officials, as he or she deems appropriate. The Vice President's/Dean's decision is final under these procedures unless another appeal is provided by university policy.