Grievance Procedure

35.107 Designation of responsible employee and adoption of grievance procedures:

(a) Designation of responsible employee. A public entity that employs 50 or more persons shall designate at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under this part, including any investigation of any complaint communicated to it alleging its noncompliance with this part or alleging any actions that would be prohibited by this part.  The   public entity shall make available to all interested individuals the name, office address, and telephone number of the employee or employees designated pursuant to this paragraph.

(b) Complaint procedure. A public entity that employs 50 or more persons shall adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action that would be prohibited by this part.

The grievance procedure should include:

  • a description of how and where a complaint under Title II may be filed with the government entity;
  • if a written complaint is required, a statement notifying potential complainants that alternative means of filing will be available to people with disabilities who require such an alternative;
  • a description of the time frames and processes to be followed by the complainant and the government entity;
  • information on how to appeal an adverse decision; and
  • a statement of how long complaint files will be retained.

Once a state or local government establishes a grievance procedure under the ADA, it should be distributed to all agency heads. Post copies in public spaces of public building and on the government’s website. Update the procedure and the contact information as necessary.

In addition, the procedure must be available in alternative formats so that it is accessible to all people with disabilities.

3 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(b).

Sample Grievance

[Name of public entity]
Grievance Procedure under The Americans with Disabilities Act
 

This Grievance Procedure is established to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"). It may be used by anyone who wishes to file a complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of services, activities, programs, or benefits by the [name of public entity]. The [e.g. State, City, County, Town]'s Personnel Policy governs employment-related complaints of disability discrimination.

The complaint should be in writing and contain information about the alleged discrimination such as name, address, phone number of complainant and location, date, and description of the problem. Alternative means of filing complaints, such as personal interviews or a tape recording of the complaint, will be made available for persons with disabilities upon request.

The complaint should be submitted by the grievant and/or his/her designee as soon as possible but no later than 60 calendar days after the alleged violation to:

[Insert ADA Coordinator’s name]
ADA Coordinator [and other title if appropriate]
[Insert ADA Coordinator’s mailing address]

Within 15 calendar days after receipt of the complaint, [ADA Coordinator's name] or [his/her] designee will meet with the complainant to discuss the complaint and the possible resolutions. Within 15 calendar days of the meeting, [ADA Coordinator's name]or [his/her] designee will respond in writing, and where appropriate, in a format accessible to the complainant, such as large print, Braille, or audio tape. The response will explain the position of the[name of public entity]and offer options for substantive resolution of the complaint.

If the response by [ADA Coordinator's name]or [his/her] designee does not satisfactorily resolve the issue, the complainant and/or his/her designee may appeal the decision within 15 calendar days after receipt of the response to the [City Manager/County Commissioner/ other appropriate high-level official] or [his/her] designee.

Within 15 calendar days after receipt of the appeal, the [City Manager/County Commissioner/other appropriate high-level official] or [his/her] designee will meet with the complainant to discuss the complaint and possible resolutions. Within 15 calendar days after the meeting, the [City Manager/County Commissioner/ other appropriate high-level official] or [his/her] designee will respond in writing, and, where appropriate, in a format accessible to the complainant, with a final resolution of the complaint.

All written complaints received by [name of ADA Coordinator]or [his/her] designee, appeals to the [City Manager/County Commissioner/ other appropriate high-level official] or [his/her] designee, and responses from these two offices will be retained by the [public entity] for at least three years.

Designation of responsible employee and adoption of grievance procedures. 35.107

Consistent with 35.105, Self-evaluation, the final rule requires that public entities with 50 or more employees designate a responsible employee and adopt grievance procedures. Most of the commenters who suggested that the requirement that self-evaluation be maintained on file for three years not be limited to those employing 50 or more persons made a similar suggestion concerning 35.107. Commenters recommended either that all public entities be subject to section 35.107, or that "50 or more persons" be changed to "15 or more persons." As explained in the discussion of 35.105, the Department has not adopted this suggestion.

The requirement for designation of an employee responsible for coordination of efforts to carry out responsibilities under this part is derived from the HEW regulation implementing section 504 in federally assisted programs. The requirement for designation of a particular employee and dissemination of information about how to locate that employee helps to ensure that individuals dealing with large agencies are able to easily find a responsible person who is familiar with the requirements of the Act and this part and can communicate those requirements to other individuals in the agency who may be unaware of their responsibilities. This paragraph in no way limits a public entity's obligation to ensure that all of its employees comply with the requirements of this part, but it ensures that any failure by individual employees can be promptly corrected by the designated employee.

Section 35.107(b) requires public entities with 50 or more employees to establish grievance procedures for resolving complaints of violations of this part. Similar requirements are found in the section 504 regulations for federally assisted programs (see, e.g., 45 CFR 84.7(b)). The rule, like the regulations for federally assisted programs, provides for investigation and resolution of complaints by a Federal enforcement agency. It is the view of the Department that public entities subject to this part should be required to establish a mechanism for resolution of complaints at the local level without requiring the complainant to resort to the Federal complaint procedures established under subpart F. Complainants would not, however, be required to exhaust the public entity's grievance procedures before filing a complaint under subpart F. Delay in filing the complaint at the Federal level caused by pursuit of the remedies available under the grievance procedure would generally be considered good cause for extending the time allowed for filing under 35.170(b).

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