Comments and Complaints
General: No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, disability, or age, be excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any project, program, or activity funded in whole or in part through federal assistance under Section 19 of the 1964 Urban Mass Transportation Act (UMTA).
While Section 19 prohibits discrimination on the basis of “race, color, creed, national origin, sex, or age”, this program primarily addresses and prescribes specific affirmative programmatic components to assure nondiscrimination by HART and its qualifying contractors on the basis of race, national origin, and sex. Circular UMTA C 4704.1 requires recipients and contractors to comply with prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of age established in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, and prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of creed, as set out in EEOC guidelines interpreting Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also incorporates by reference requirements for compliance with prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of disability established in DOT regulations implementing the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 49 CFR Part 27.
Any person who believes that he or she, individually, or as a member of any specific class of persons, has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, disability, or age may file a written complaint with the FTA or the Secretary of Transportation. A complaint must be filed within 180 days after the date of the alleged discrimination, unless the time for filing is extended by the Secretary. FTA recommends that EEO complaints be initially filed with HART for resolution. In the case where the complainant is dissatisfied with the resolution by HART, or the case is not being resolved in a timely manner, the same complaint may be submitted to the FTA, the Secretary, EEOC, or a State agency for investigation.
Unless otherwise permitted, the final determination of all EEO complaints affecting programs administered by the FTA will be made by the Office of the Secretary, DOT.
SUBMISSION OF COMPLAINTS
Section A: Filing Complaints of Discrimination.
- Complainants may submit written complaints to the HART EEO Office, the City and County of Honolulu’s Equal Opportunity Office, the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Federal Transit Administration’s Office of Civil Rights.
- In cases where the complainant is unable or incapable of providing a written statement, but prefers HART to investigate alleged discrimination, a verbal complaint of discrimination may be made to the HART EEO Office. The complainant will be interviewed by a civil rights official authorized to receive complaints. If necessary, the civil rights official may assist the person in converting verbal complaints to writing.
Section B: Complaint Format.
- All complaints must be in writing and signed by the complainant or his/her representative before action can be taken. Complaints shall state, as fully as possible, the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged discrimination. HART has developed a Discrimination Complaint Form for this purpose to assist in the process. It can be obtained at the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation offices located at 1099 Alakea Street, 17th Floor, Honolulu 96813, downloaded from HART’s website and by contacting HART’s EEO Officer.
- The EEO Office will provide the complainant or his/her representative with a written acknowledgement that the complaint was received, within ten (10) working days from the date it was received.
Section C: Request for Additional Information from Complainant.
- In the event that the complainant or respondent has not submitted sufficient information to make a determination of jurisdiction or investigative merit, HART may request additional information from either party.
- This request shall be made by registered mail within 15-working days of the receipt of the complaint by HART and will require that the party submit the information within 60-working days from the date of the original request.
- Failure of the complainant to submit additional information within the designated timeframe may be considered good cause for a determination of no investigative merit.
Section D: Notification of Disposition. The EEO Officer shall notify the party charged and primary recipient (if not the respondent) of the disposition within five (5) days by registered letter the decision to investigate or not investigate the complaint:
- If the decision is to investigate, the notification shall state the jurisdiction, inform the parties that an investigation will take place, and request any additional information needed to assist the investigator in preparing for the investigation.
- If the decision is to not investigate, the notification shall specifically state the reason for the decision.
Section E: Complaint Investigation.
- Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Investigation. HART will conduct an investigation that is appropriate to the complaint.
- Priority Complaints. All incoming complaints shall be examined to determine if the discrimination alleged would be irremediable if not dealt with promptly. If such a determination is made, the complaint shall be given priority status. The processing, investigation, and determination of such complaints shall be accelerated to significantly advance the normal completion date of the process.
- Investigator’s Preparation. Before beginning the investigation, the investigator shall send a letter of introduction, establishing the times and dates for the investigation and interviews. This preparation shall be completed within 30 working days after the assignment has been given to the investigator, contingent upon the investigator’s workload and resources.
Section F: Investigative Report. A written report will be prepared by the responsible investigator at the conclusion of the investigation. This report will be reviewed by the EEO Officer for thoroughness. The investigative report will include the following:
- Summary of the complaint, including a statement of the issues raised by the complainant and the named accused and/or responsible official reply to each of the allegations;
- Citations of relevant Federal, State, and local laws, rules, regulations, and guidelines, etc,
- Description of the investigation, including a list of the persons contacted by the investigator and a summary of the interviews conducted; and,
- A statement of the investigator’s findings and recommendations.
Section G: Disposition of Complaints.
- Approval and Notice of Disposition: HART will approve or disapprove the findings and recommendations made by the investigator in the investigative report. The consequent disposition of the complaint will be communicated to the complainant and recipient by letter. In addition, a rationale supporting the disposition made and any recommendations to any party will be included in the letter.
- Informal Resolution: If the Notice of Disposition is issued and finds HART in noncompliance, HART is required to initiate voluntary remedial actions agreeable to the Office of Civil Rights.
- Enforcement Procedure: In cases in which all required means of remedial action have failed to bring the recipient into compliance, enforcement procedures will be initiated by the Departmental Office of Civil Rights in conjunction with the FTA.
- Request for Reconsideration: HART may request reconsideration findings within 30 days of the Notice of Disposition. This request should include any additional information or analysis HART considers relevant. The Office of Civil Rights will inform the recipient of its decision to accept or reject the request within 30 days after its receipt. In cases in which a request for reconsideration is approved, the responsible investigator will reopen the investigation and proceed to process the complaint in the same manner described above.
Any violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. All applicants and employees should follow the above procedures in dealing with possible discrimination. Applicants and employees also have other legal rights, established by law, for investigation of any discriminatory allegations through the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and/or U.S. Department of Transportation.
Section H: Directory of Contacts for filing complaints:
Charles L. Bayne, EEO Officer 808-768-6223
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation 808-768-1360 (F)
1099 Alakea Street, 17th Floor
Honolulu, HI 96813
Hawaii Civil Rights Commission 808-586-8636
830 Punchbowl Street, Room 411 808-586-8655 (F)
Honolulu, HI 96813 808-586-8692 (TTY)
Equal Opportunity Officer 808-768-8505
City and County of Honolulu 808-768-8490 (F)
Department of Human Resources, Equal Opportunity Office
650 South King Street, 10th Floor
Honolulu, HI 96813
US Department of Health & Human Services 415-437-8310
Office for Civil Rights 415-437-8329 (F)
90 7th Street, Suite 4-100 415-437-8311 (TDD)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Federal Transit Administration, Region 9 415-744-3133
Office of Civil Rights 415-744-2726 (F)
201 Mission Street, Suite 1650
San Francisco, CA 94105-1839