After we receive your complaint
Internal workforce-oriented complaints will be managed and investigated by Ecology's Human Resources office. For discrimination complaints from members of the public, the process is outlined below.
First, we will confirm that we received your complaint within three business days. We will contact you within 10 business days to determine:
- If Ecology has the power to make decisions and judgements over the complaint.
- If the complaint will be investigated.
- What other follow-up action Ecology will take.
- What other follow-up action may be required on your part.
If we find that Ecology does have jurisdiction over the complaint, the Civil Rights Coordinator will begin an investigation.
During the investigation, we may:
- Review physical or written evidence.
- Interview the complainant.
- Interview any other participants or witnesses to the alleged discrimination including contractors, subcontractors, or recipients of funding from Ecology.
As we investigate the complaint, we will use a preponderance of the evidence standard. This is a common legal standard, meaning that if the investigator believes there is more than a 50% chance that a claim is true, they will decide in favor of the claimant.
The investigator or a person they designate may attempt to resolve the complaint informally through a mutually agreeable solution. Any informal resolutions must be described in writing and signed by the complainant and the subject of the complaint.
If the investigator finds that discrimination violating civil rights laws has occurred and an informal resolution is not reached, the investigator will recommend a course of action to agency leaders. They or their designee will accept, revise, or reject the investigator’s recommendations and, if appropriate, order the subject of the complaint to implement the action(s).
The investigator will send a written response to the complainant once the investigation is over. This response will contain one of three types of content:
- A closure letter that describes the allegations, states that a violation did not occur, and closes the investigation; or
- A resolution letter that describes the allegations, the informal resolution that the complainant and subject of the complaint agreed to, or;
- A letter of finding that describes the allegations, the investigation of the complaint, and any actions that Ecology will take to remedy the violation.