Human Resources

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Discrimination Complaint Procedure

Complaints Alleging Violation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Regulations (Title 5, Section 53026).  SBCC has established the following procedure permitting persons to file a complaint alleging that the requirements of the equal employment opportunity regulations have been violated (the equal employment opportunity regulations are found in California Code of Regulations, Title 5, section 53000 et seq.).

 Complaint Procedure

(Excerpted from Administrative Procedure 3420 Equal Employment Opportunity)

The Chief Human Resources Officer (Vice President – Human Resources) has been appointed the EEO Officer. Informal charges of unlawful discrimination should be brought to the attention of the EEO Officer. The EEO Officer shall oversee the informal resolution process. The actual investigation of complaints may be assigned to other staff or to outside persons or organizations under contract. An outside investigator must be used when the EEO Officer is named in the complaint or implicated by the allegations in the complaint. 

When a person brings charges of unlawful discrimination the EEO Officer must:

  • Undertake efforts to resolve the charge informally;
  • Advise the complainant that the complainant need not participate in an informal resolution of the complaint;
  • Notify the complainant of the procedures for filing a formal complaint;
  • Notify the complainant that the complainant may file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.
  • If the complainant, a student or an employee, files a formal complaint, the EEO Officer must also forward a copy of the complaint to the State Chancellor’s Office.

Link to our Discrimination Complaint Form

A formal complaint alleging discrimination in employment must be filed within 180 calendar days of the date of the alleged unlawful discrimination, unless the complainant first obtained knowledge of the facts of the alleged violation after the expiration of the initial 180 calendar days.

The complaint must be filed by persons who allege they have personally suffered unlawful discrimination, or by persons who have learned about unlawful discrimination in their official capacity.

When a proper complaint is received, the college will begin an impartial fact-finding investigation, and notify the complainant and the Chancellor’s Office that it is doing so.

When the investigation is done, the results must be set forth in a written report. The written report must include a description of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, a summary of the testimony of each witness, an analysis of any relevant data or other evidence collected during the investigation, a specific finding as to whether discrimination did or did not occur with respect to each allegation in the complaint, and any other appropriate information.

 In any case that involves employment discrimination, the college must provide the complainant with a copy or summary of the report, and with written notice setting forth the determination of the EEO Officer as to whether discrimination did or did not occur with respect to each allegation in the complaint; a description of action taken, if any, to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future; the proposed resolution of the complaint; and the complainant’s right to appeal to the Board of Trustees and to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

 If the complainant is not satisfied with the results of the administrative determination, the complainant must be given the opportunity to submit a written appeal to the Board of Trustees within 15 working days from the date of the notice of the administrative determination. The Board must review the original complaint, the investigative report, the administrative determination, and the appeal and must issue a final District decision within 45 calendar days of receiving the appeal.

 Where the Board does not act within 45 calendar days the administrative determination must be deemed approved and must become the final decision. The college shall promptly notify the complainant and in cases not involving employment discrimination, the Chancellor’s Office, that the Board took no action and the administrative determination becomes the final District decision. In cases not involving employment discrimination, the complainant must be informed of the complainant’s right to appeal the college’s decision to the Chancellor’s Office. In cases involving employment discrimination, the complainant shall be notified of the complainant’s right to file a complaint with the DFEH.

 The District should retain and make available the original complaint, and copies of the final decision or a statement indicating the date on which the administrative determination became final, the notice given to complainant, the complainant’s appeal of the District’s administrative determination, the investigative report and any other information the State Chancellor’s Office may require.

 Complaints Alleging Unlawful Discrimination or Harassment (Title 5, Section 59300 et seq.)

The District has adopted procedures for complaints alleging unlawful discrimination or harassment (AP 3435 Discrimination and Harassment Complaints and Investigations).  The Vice President-Human Resources is responsible for receiving such complaints and for coordinating the investigation. Excerpted from Administrative Procedure 3435 Discrimination and Harassment Complaints and Investigations:

 Employment-Related Complaints:

Complainants filing employment-related complaints shall be notified that they may file employment discrimination complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Complaints filed with the EEOC or the DFEH should be forwarded to the State Chancellor’s Office. Any District employee who unofficially receives a harassment or discrimination complaint shall notify the Chief Human Resources Officer or another District administrator immediately.

Communicating that the Conduct is Unwelcome:

The District encourages students and staff to let the offending person know immediately and firmly that the conduct or behavior is unwelcome, offensive, in poor taste, or inappropriate.

 Intake and Processing of the Complaint:

Upon receiving notification of a harassment or discrimination complaint, the Chief Human Resources Officer shall:

  • Undertake efforts to informally resolve the charges, including but not limited to mediation, rearrangement of work/academic schedules; obtaining apologies; providing informal counseling, training, etc.
  • Advise the complainant that the complainant need not participate in an informal resolution of the complaint, as described above, and has the right to end the informal resolution process at any time. Mediation is not appropriate for resolving incidents involving sexual violence.
  • Advice a student complainant that the student may file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and employee complainants may file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. All complainants should be advised that they have a right to file a complaint with local law enforcement, if the act complained of is also a criminal act. The District must investigate even if the complainant files a complaint with local law enforcement. In addition, the District should ensure that complainants are aware of any available resources, such as counseling, health, and mental health services. The Chief Human Resources Officer shall also notify the State Chancellor’s Office of the complaint.
  • Take interim steps to protect a complainant from coming into contact with an accused individual, especially if the complainant is a victim of sexual violence. The Chief Human Resources Officer should notify the complainant of the complainant’s options to avoid contact with the accused individual and allow students to change academic situations as appropriate. For instance, the District may prohibit the accused individual from having any contact with the complainant pending the results of the investigation. When taking steps to separate the complainant and accused individual, the District shall minimize the burden on the complainant. Example, it is not appropriate to remove complainants from classes or housing while allowing accused individuals to remain.

 Investigation:

The Chief Human Resources Officer shall:

  • Authorize the investigation of the complaint, and supervise or conduct a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation of the complaint, as set forth below.
  • Review the factual information gathered through the investigation to determine whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment, or other unlawful discriminatory conduct, giving consideration to all factual information and the totality of the circumstances, including the nature of the verbal, physical, visual or sexual conduct, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

Investigation of the Complaint:

The District shall promptly investigate every complaint of harassment or discrimination. No claim of workplace or academic harassment or discrimination shall remain unexamined. This includes complaints involving activities that occur off campus and in connection with all the academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs of the District, whether those programs take place in the District’s facilities, on a District bus, or at a class or training program sponsored by the District at another location. The District will investigate complaints involving acts that occur off campus if they are related to an academic or work activity.

Confidentiality of the Process:

Investigations are best conducted within a confidential climate. Therefore, the District does not reveal information about ongoing investigations except as necessary to fulfill its legal obligations. The District shall take reasonable steps to ensure the confidentiality of the investigation and to protect the privacy of all parties to the extent possible without impeding the District’s ability to investigate and respond effectively to the complaint. The District will keep the investigation confidential to the extent possible to protect the rights of accused students and employees during the investigation process and any ensuing discipline, but cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality because release of some information on a “need-to-know-basis” is essential to a thorough investigation. When determining whether to maintain confidentiality, the District may weigh the request for confidentiality against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged harassment; the complainant’s age; whether there have been other harassment complaints about the same individual; and the accused individual’s rights to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by the District as an “education record” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S. Code Section 1232g; 34 Code Federal Regulations Part 99.15. The District will inform the complainant if it cannot maintain confidentiality.

Investigation Steps:

The District will fairly and objectively investigate harassment and discrimination complaints. Employees designated to serve as investigators under this policy shall have adequate training on what constitutes sexual harassment, including sexual violence, and that they understand how the District’s grievance procedures operate. The investigator shall not have any real or perceived conflicts of interest and must be able to investigate the allegations impartially. Investigators will use the following steps: interviewing the complainant(s); interviewing the accused individual(s); identifying and interviewing witnesses and evidence identified by each party; identifying and interviewing any other witnesses, if needed; reminding all individuals interviewed of the District’s no-retaliation policy; considering whether any involved person should be removed from the campus pending completion of the investigation; reviewing personnel/academic files of all involved parties; reaching a conclusion as to the allegations and any appropriate disciplinary and remedial action; and seeing that all recommended action is carried out in a timely fashion. When the District evaluates the complaint, it shall do so using a preponderance of the evidence standard. Thus, after considering all the evidence it has gathered, the District will decide whether it is more likely than not that discrimination or harassment has occurred.

 Timeline for Completion:

The District will undertake its investigation as promptly and swiftly as possible. To that end, the investigator shall complete the above steps and prepare a written report within 90 days of the District receiving the complaint.

 Cooperation Encouraged:

All employees are expected to cooperate with a District investigation into allegations of harassment or discrimination. Lack of cooperation impedes the ability of the District to investigate thoroughly and respond effectively. However, lack of cooperation by a complainant or witnesses does not relieve the District of its obligation to investigate. The District will conduct an investigation if it is discovered that harassment is, or may be occurring, with or without the cooperation of the alleged victim(s) and regardless of whether a complaint is filed.

Written Report:

The results of the investigation of a complaint shall be set forth in a written report that will include at least all of the following information:

  • A description of the circumstances giving rise to the formal complaint;
  • A summary of the testimony provided by each witness interviewed by the investigator;
  • An analysis of relevant evidence collected during the course of the investigation;
  • A specific finding as to whether there is probable cause to believe that discrimination, harassment, or retaliation occurred with respect to each allegation in the complaint; and
  • Any other information deemed appropriate by the District.

 Administrative Determination:

In any case not involving employment discrimination, within 90 days of receiving a complaint, the district shall complete its investigation and forward a copy of the investigative report to the State Chancellor, a copy or summary of the report to the complainant, and written notice setting forth all of the following to both the complainant and the Chancellor:

  • The determination of the Chief Human Resources Officer as to whether there is probable cause to believe discrimination occurred with respect to each allegation in the complaint;
  • A description of actions taken, if any, to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future;
  • The proposed resolution of the complaint; and
  • The complainant's right to appeal to the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor.

In any case involving employment discrimination, within 90 days of receiving a complaint, the district shall complete its investigation and forward a copy or summary of the report to the complainant, and written notice setting forth all the following to the complainant:

  • The determination of the Chief Human Resources Officer as to whether there is probable cause to believe discrimination occurred with respect to each allegation in the complaint;
  • A description of actions taken, if any, to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future;
  • The proposed resolution of the complaint; and
  • The complainant's right to appeal to the Board of Trustees and to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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