A. The following terms will be used in the discussions on filing, investigating, and resolving complaints of discrimination.
Investigator: Special Assistant-Complaint Investigator, Office of the Provost who on behalf of OED determines whether to accept the complaint, conducts the investigation, and makes the OED finding. These actions are taken in consultation with the OED director..
B. Who may file a complaint with OED?
Applicants for employment
Applicants for admission
Recipients of university services including visitors to campus
The OED director, based on information received, may also open a complaint at his or her discretion or at the request of the Chancellor or the Provost.
C. What information must be included in a discrimination complaint?
A complainant must provide OED with a written, signed, and dated statement that includes contact information (for example, a street address, telephone number, or email address.) The complaint must also contain:
1. The grounds on which the alleged discrimination occurred. It must be one of the bases listed in numbers I. A. or B. or C. depending on whether the allegations involve employment, access to educational programs, or access to a university activity open to the public. The grounds listed in I. A., B., and C. are the only bases on which OED can accept a complaint.
2. The name, title, and address of the person who allegedly discriminated. OED recognizes that all of this information may not be available to a complainant. Before a complaint can be accepted, OED must be able to confirm that the alleged discrimination involved a university sponsored program or activity or was committed by a person acting in his or her capacity as a member of the university.
3. The complaint must be filed with OED within 300 days of the alleged act of discrimination. The 300 days is counted from the date of the most recent alleged discrimination to the date the complaint is signed and dated. This timeframe will only be extended in unusual circumstances by the OED director, primarily when personal or family illness prevented an individual from filing in a timely manner or when the complainant could not reasonably be expected to know that he or she was being discriminated against within the 300 days. (Note: The timeframes for filing under federal law may differ. See below Part VII. For example, individuals wishing to file with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, generally need to file complaints within 180 days from the alleged act of discrimination. To ensure that you do not loose any of your rights, you should contact the federal and state agencies at the addresses in Part VII below to discuss their filing procedures.)
4. The complaint must include a statement of the alleged discriminatory events which will contain the following:
(a.) The grounds or bases for the discriminatory treatment.
(b.) The actions or incidents believed to be discriminatory including the names and titles of the university-based individuals involved.
(c.) The dates, time period, and the location of the actions or incidents believed to be discriminatory.
(d.) The effect that the treatment or actions have had on the complainant’s work, instructional, or study environment, or the complainant’s ability to take part in university programs or activities.
(e.) The name, address or phone number of persons who have information relevant to the allegations, and the names of any persons who might have experienced similar treatment.
(f.) Any material supporting the allegations.
(g.) A statement of an outcome or resolution the complainant believes would be an appropriate remedy for the complaint.
IV. What will OED do when it receives a complaint?
A. The investigator will review the submission.
The purpose of the review is to ensure that the complaint is signed, dated, timely filed, and contains at least one allegation, which if true, would represent a discriminatory action within the jurisdiction of OED.
B. What happens if the complaint does not contain sufficient information to permit OED to proceed?
If the review indicates that the allegation is not timely filed, the complaint will be closed. If the review indicates that the complaint is timely filed, but does not meet other requirements listed in III. C., OED will determine if it is necessary to contact the complainant to obtain additional information. If the complainant cannot or does not provide the required information, OED may close the complaint without an investigation.
C. Why else would OED not proceed with a complaint?
OED will not proceed with a complaint when a federal or State of Wisconsin court or federal or state regulatory agency or the university has previously dealt with the specific complaint, or identical issues, and has determined that such allegations are not discriminatory.
D. What happens if OED determines not to proceed with an investigation?
If, based on the evaluation of the materials supplied by the complainant, OED determines not to conduct an investigation, the complainant will be informed, by letter if an address is available, of OED’s decision and the basis for the decision. If appropriate, the letter will contain the names and addresses of appropriate State of Wisconsin and federal agencies the complainant may wish to contact to discuss their allegations.
E. Will OED continue with an investigation when a complainant has also filed a similar complaint with other agencies?
Yes. A complainant who has filed with federal or State of Wisconsin agencies may also file with OED. The complaint will be investigated providing it meets OED’s requirements. A list of agencies with concurrent jurisdiction is contained in Part VII.
V. How does OED conduct investigations of the complaints it accepts?
A. Letters are sent to the complainant, the university official, and the respondent.
1. Complainant. Within ten calendar days of accepting the complaint, OED will send a letter to the complainant containing: the allegations that will be investigated; a list of federal, state, and university, authorities covering the allegations; a statement that retaliation for filing a complaint is forbidden; and, the name and contact information for the OED investigator. If OED has determined not to proceed with all the allegations raised by the complainant, an explanation will be provided for that decision. The letter will also contain the names and addresses of state and federal agencies, which may also have jurisdiction over the complaint, and the complainant will be informed that he or she may contact them with their concerns. The letter will not contain the name of the complainant.
2. University official. On a case by case basis, OED will determine which university official will receive the letter from OED indicating that a complaint has been filed and that an investigation is being initiated. The letter will discuss the allegations. It will not contain the name of the complainant. The university official will receive verbal notification of the individual or individuals involved only if it is necessary for the university official to respond to the allegations. A letter to a university official will contain only the allegations accepted by OED. No reference will be made to allegations not accepted for investigation. Additionally, the letter will contain a list of the authorities under which the allegations will be investigated; a statement that retaliation for filing a complaint is forbidden; and the name and contact information for the investigator. In most cases, the letter will also contain a request for information and indicate that OED expects the information to be submitted within 14 calendar days of the date of the letter.
3. Respondent. Respondents have due process rights to know the nature of the allegations made against them. In all cases, OED will send a letter to the respondent notifying respondent that OED is investigating allegations that he or she has engaged in discrimination. The letter sent to the respondent will contain the information cited in V. A. 2. , but will not contain the data request nor the name of the complainant, which will be provided either by the university official or the investigator, but only if such information is needed to conduct the investigation.
B. Can OED guarantee confidentiality to complainants?
No. OED cannot guarantee confidentiality.
Generally, OED will not release the name of the complainant, and will not identify the complainant in letters sent to the complainant, the university official or the respondent. OED will verbally inform the university official and the respondent of the name of the complainant only in those situations where it is necessary to conduct the investigation.
C. What are the responsibilities of a complainant?
A complainant is expected to cooperate with OED during the investigation. This includes identifying a preferred method for communicating with the complainant, and responding to questions and providing requested information in a timely manner. OED expects that the information will be as accurate as the complainant can provide based on his or her understanding of the issues and will be responsive to OED’s requests.
D. What are the responsibilities of the university official?
OED expects that the university official will designate an appropriate contact person; ensure the cooperation of the respondent; make witnesses available; and, provide requested materials in a timely manner.
E. What are the responsibilities of the respondent?
A respondent will cooperate with OED during the course of the investigation including responding to questions and supplying requested materials.
F. What type of information will OED collect and analyze during the investigation?
The specific information needed to resolve a complaint will depend on the allegations. Generally, OED will review the university polices and procedures related to the allegations; conduct interviews with witnesses, the complainant, and the respondent; and collect and review written materials, including: any written statements provided by the respondent or the respondent’s employing unit, department or division; personnel or academic files; letters, electronic mail, and any other documents relevant to the investigation.
G. How long will it take to conduct the investigation?
Investigations will be conducted as promptly as possible. When the matter is
a student complaint that is covered by Wis. Stats. § 36.12, www.oed.wisc.edu/eqempoco2b.html, the investigation shall be completed within ninety days from the date the complainant was notified that OED had accepted the complaint. Investigations may be impacted by the availability of the complainant, the respondent, and witnesses and timeliness in providing materials needed to resolve the investigation. If OED is unable to meet the 90-day timeframe, it will notify the complainant and will provide an expected completion date. OED will complete investigations involving allegations of employment discrimination, within 120 days from the date that the complainant was notified that OED had accepted the complaint. If OED is unable to meet the 120-day timeframe, it will inform the complainant and will provide an expected completion date.
H. How will OED evaluate the information it collects during the investigation?
OED will evaluate whether the information collected supports the conclusion that it is likely that the alleged discriminatory conduct occurred, and if so whether it represented a violation of the relevant statutes, regulations, or policies. In making a decision OED may use federal and State of Wisconsin court decisions, federal and Wisconsin state statutes and regulations, federal and Wisconsin state agency guidance and decisions, university policies, and previous decisions by the university on similar issues.
I. Can OED close the complaint during the investigation without making a finding?
Yes. Under the following circumstances, OED will close a complaint during the investigation.
The complainant withdraws the complaint. OED prefers that the request for a withdrawal be contained in a signed document or in a statement that OED will prepare for the complainant. OED will accept a request for a withdrawal in a telephone call or in an e-mail or in a written document. Once OED is apprised of the complainant’s desire to withdraw the complaint, OED will send a letter (or e-mail if a street address is not available) to the complainant stating that unless OED is informed otherwise by the complainant, the complaint will be closed within 10 calendar days of the date of the letter. After the 10-day period, the university official and the respondent will be sent a letter stating that the complainant has withdrawn the complaint and the OED has closed the matter. After a withdrawal, the complainant may file a new complaint on the same issues providing that it is still timely, e.g., the allegations remain within the 300-day time period.
2. The allegations become moot, which can occur if:
(a) A federal or a State of Wisconsin court or agency issues a decision on the same issues and determines that these issues are not discriminatory;
(b) The complainant is deceased, becomes unreachable, or there is no longer an appropriate remedy because the complainant has left the area;
(c) The complainant is offered a settlement by the university that OED believes remedies the alleged discrimination. The complainant does not have to accept the proposal, but OED will close the complaint if the proposal is substantially identical to any remedies that would be provided if the investigation supported the complainant’s allegations of discrimination.
If a complaint is closed during the investigation for reasons specified in number I., letters will be provided to the complainant, the university official, and the respondent indicating that OED is closing the complaint and the basis for the closure.
J. What are the possible outcomes of an OED investigation?
Based on the preponderance of evidence, OED will determine that there is either sufficient or insufficient evidence to support the complaint’s allegations. In either case, the letters to the complainant, the university official, and the respondent will include a summary of the allegations, and a listing of authorities under which the complainant’s allegation is based. If OED issues a letter of insufficient evidence, the letter to the complainant will also contain a description of any appeal process available and a list of other agencies with concurrent jurisdiction.
If OED determines that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that there is possible discrimination, OED will contact the university official to discuss implementing appropriate remedies. OED will then issue the final letters.
K. What remedies may OED recommend when it concludes that there is sufficient evidence to support the complainant's allegations?
Among the remedies that OED can propose are: back pay; rehiring if terminated; agreement by the respondent to stop the behavior; a formal apology; training, counseling, and coaching regarding employment expectations in the academic work environment; disciplinary action, which could include a written reprimand placed in the Respondent's employment or academic file; disciplinary transfer to another job location; loss of merit pay; employment or academic suspension; discharge or expulsion.
L. Can I appeal the results of an OED investigation?
A student complainant dissatisfied with a finding of insufficient evidence has a right under Wis. Stats. § 36.12 to appeal the finding to the chancellor and ultimately to the Board of Regents. The appeal should be filed within 10 days.
An employee or applicant for employment or visitor to campus, dissatisfied with a finding of insufficient evidence may appeal the finding to the provost. This appeal should be filed within 10 days.
In filing the appeal, complainants should be as specific as possible in their objections to the OED finding, focusing on factual or legal questions that could change the disposition of the case.
M. Does OED take informal complaints or do informal investigations?
No. However, based on the issues presented, OED may at its discretion, and with the permission of the complainant, attempt to remedy the problems raised by the complainant without filing a formal complaint or conducting a formal investigation
VI. What other university personnel can be contacted on specific discrimination issues?
1. ADA Coordinator.
Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), as amended, provide that no qualified person with a disability shall, on the basis of their disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity by a public entity or a recipient of federal financial assistance. The university is both a public entity and a recipient of federal financial assistance and is, therefore, covered by both the ADA and Section 504. These statutes apply to virtually all aspects of campus activities, including employment, student programming, and services provided to the community at large.
Individuals who have gone through the accommodations process and believe that the university has not provided reasonable accommodations must contact the ADA Coordinator at: http://adac.wisc.edu/
2. OED’s Disability Coordinator/Employment.
A university employee who has a question concerning a disability-related employment matter should contact his or her Divisional Disability Representative: www.oed.wisc.edu/disability/dlrdiv.html. Information on employment-related disability matters can also be found on OED’s Web site at: www.oed.wisc.edu/disability/.
University policy covering disability and employment matters can be found at: www.oed.wisc.edu/disability/policies.html.
Additional questions should be addressed to Barbara Lanser, OED’s Disability Coordinator/Employment, at or 608-263-2378 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. McBurney Center
Students with disability-related questions involving access to university programs or activities should initially contact the McBurney Disability Resource Center at: www.mcburney.wisc.edu/.
B. Title IX Coordinator.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities. This statute applies to virtually all aspects of campus activities, including employment, student programming, and services provided to the community at large.
Assistant Vice Provost Luis Piñero is the university’s Title IX Coordinator. If you have any questions concerning Title IX, or wish to file a complaint based on Title IX, you can contact him through OED at 608-263-2378, WTRS: 7-1-1 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
VII. Are there other agencies where discrimination complaints against the university can be filed?
A. Employment discrimination.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces several federal laws which prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of age, disability, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, and sex including sexual harassment. To file a complaint contact:
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Milwaukee District Office
Reuss Federal Plaza
310 West Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 800
Milwaukee, WI 53203-2292
Phone: 414-297-1111 or 1-800-669-4000
TTY: 414-297-1115 or 1-800-669-6820
Office Hours: Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 pm.
Information concerning EEOC’s procedures and coverage can be found at:
The Equal Rights Division (ERD) of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development prohibits discrimination in employment based on age, ancestry, arrest or conviction record, color, creed, handicap, marital status, military status, national origin, race, sex, and sexual orientation. It prohibits unfair honesty testing and genetic testing. It also prohibits discrimination because of filing or assisting with a Labor Standards complaint or because of use or non-use of lawful products. ERD also prohibits discrimination because of physical condition or developmental disability in post-secondary education.
To file a complaint, contact ERD at:
Equal Rights Division
201 E. Washington Avenue, Room A300
P.O. Box 8928
Madison, WI 53708-8928
Information concerning ERD’s procedures and coverage can be found at:
B. Access to federally assisted programs.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights enforces several federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, and sex in programs or activities by recipients of federal financial assistance, such as the university, from the Department of Education. These laws primarily cover student access to educational programs or activities, but they also cover employment and visitors taking part in university programs or activities.
To file a complaint involving access to university programs or activities contact the:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661
Information concerning OCR’s procedure and coverage can be found at: www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
In addition to the Department of Education, allegations of discrimination in the university’s federally assisted programs can be filed with the federal agency that provides the financial assistance to the program where the alleged discrimination occurred, for example, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codee/documents/nondiscrimination.pdf), the National Science Foundation (www.nsf.gov/od/oeo/forms.jsp), the U.S. Department of Energy (http://www.netl.doe.gov/business/Financial%20Assistance/fed-assist/disciminat.pdf) or the US Department of Agriculture (www.ascr.usda.gov). OED will help you determine which agency or agencies might be involved, and provide information on how to contact them.