DHS Policies and Procedures Manual
To establish and implement within the Department of Human Services (DHS) an internal complaints procedure for personnel actions.
2.0 REFERENCES AND DEFINITIONS:
Chapter 76, HRS, Civil Service Law
Section 89-9(d), HRS, Matters Excluded from Collective Bargaining
Section 831-3.1, HRS, as amended, Relating to Criminal History Record Checks
Section 14-1-15, HAR, Definitions
Section 14-13.01-1, et seq., Internal Complaint Procedure
Section 14-21.1-1, et seq., State Merit Appeals Board
Section 352-5.5, HRS as amended, Relating to Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility Criminal History Record Checks
Adverse Action means an involuntary separation from service, an involuntary demotion, involuntary transfer, a suspension without pay, a reduction in pay, or a denial or delay of a standard pay adjustment. Adverse Action does not include notice to improve performance, a performance improvement period, or a return to the employee’s former position or comparable position as required by law because of failure to successfully complete a new probationary period.
Department – Department of Human Services
Personnel Office – Department of Human Services’ Personnel Office
Members of the general public and employees shall be afforded an opportunity to lodge internal complaints on personnel actions affecting them and have them addressed in an informal and timely manner.
The procedure applies to departmental employees who wish to file complaints concerning employment actions (as described below) taken by either the DHS or the Department of Human Resources Development (HRD). The procedure also applies to members of the general public who are responding to recruitment announcements generated by the DHS. This procedure is not applicable to matters covered by collective bargaining grievance procedures or other established appeal procedures, such as the DHS Discrimination Complaint Procedure or the Premium Conversion Plan appeal process.
The following types of employment actions are covered by this procedure:
a. Recruitment: Actions taken in locating applicants for employment, in receiving applications, or in referring eligible applicants to programs for employment consideration.
b. Examination: Actions taken in testing an applicant, including the initial probationary period. These may include but are not limited to: written tests, oral tests, interviews, essays, tests of physical fitness or ability, medical examinations, performance tests, training and experience evaluations, background and suitability determinations, in-basket assessment, biodata assessments, personality measures and assessment centers, terminations for failure to satisfactorily complete the initial probationary period.
c. Classification/Reclassification: Actions taken in assigning a civil service position to a class based on the kind and level of work performed and knowledge, skills, competencies and qualification required.
d. Initial Pricing of Classes: Actions taken in assigning a new class to a pay grade.
e. Other Employment Actions Adversely Affecting Civil Service Employees who are excluded from participation in collective bargaining: This includes discharge, demotion, suspension, failing to meet performance requirements, and any other action if the employee suffers an alleged legal wrong.
f. Other Adverse Employment Actions Affecting Included Employees That Cannot Be Addressed Through the Collective Bargaining Process and which are under the jurisdiction of the Merit Appeals Board.
5.1 Department Head (Director, DHS)
The department head is responsible for the establishment, modification, and implementation of the departmental internal complaint policy and procedure. The department head may delegate these functions to others.
5.2 Personnel Officer
The Personnel Officer shall monitor and oversee the application of this policy and procedure and provide staff services to the Department Head. The Personnel Officer shall be responsible for receiving, acknowledging, reviewing and responding to all internal complaints. The Personnel Officer may refer and forward the complaint to Department of Human Resources Development or the appropriate agency that has the authority to act upon the complaint. Any coordination with the Department of Human Resources Development or other agencies shall be the responsibility of the Personnel Officer or designee.
5.3 Management Personnel
Management personnel, in consultation with the Personnel Office, shall be responsible for reviewing and resolving complaints from employees and the general public. Management personnel shall provide all relevant information and documentation relative to the complaint to the Personnel Office.
Complainant shall adhere to the provisions of this policy and procedure contained herein.
This internal complaint policy and procedure shall be effective as of the date of the approval and shall remain in effect until cancelled or superseded by order of the Director.
Patricia McManaman, Director
7.1 Persons who may file a complaint and time periods for filing complaints
The following persons shall be entitled to file an internal complaint within the specified period.
a. Recruitment: Any person who has filed an application for a vacant civil service position or a recruitment program and who alleges an improper recruitment action. The complaint shall be filed within seven (7) working days after the date of the notice of the recruitment action.
1. Any applicant who receives notification of an unsatisfactory examination score;
2. Any applicant who receives notification of non-selection for a civil service position;
3. Any applicant who receives notification of unsuitability for public employment and/or a specific class of work applied for; or
4. An included or excluded employee serving an initial probationary appointment in a civil service position who is subject to disciplinary action or who is terminated for failure to successfully complete the initial probationary period.
The complaint shall be filed within seven (7) working days after the date of the notice of the examination action.
c. Classification/Reclassification: The civil service employee occupying the position as of the effective date of the classification action and any subsequent civil service employee in the position up to the date of the notice of final action who believes the classification action was improper. The complaint shall be filed within twenty (20) working days after the date of the notice of the classification or reclassification action issued by the office taking the action.
d. Initial Pricing of Classes: The civil service incumbent of a position in a new class as of the effective date of the initial pricing action who alleges an improper pricing action. The complaint shall be filed within twenty (20) working days after the date of the notice of the pricing action issued by HRD.
e. Other Employment Actions Adversely Affecting Excluded Civil Service Employees: Any civil service employee who is excluded from collective bargaining coverage under §89‑6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, who alleges improper discharge, demotion, suspension, performance evaluation action, or any other employment action that the employee believes is a legal wrong. The complaint shall be filed within ten (10) working days after the date of the notice of the final adverse action.
f. Other adverse employment actions taken on an included employee that cannot be grieved through the collective bargaining grievance process if such action is under the jurisdiction of the Merit Appeals Board: Any employee who believes that his/her rights have been violated who cannot grieve the action through the collective bargaining process or who is ineligible to file a grievance through the collective bargaining process. The complaint shall be filed within ten (10) working days after the date of the notice of the final adverse action.
g. The department may, at its discretion, extend the time frames and/or waive other requirements noted above for good cause.
7.2 General Requirements for Filing an Internal Complaint
a. All internal complaints shall be typed or legibly hand-written on the Department of Human Services Internal Complaint Form, DHS 9005. The complaint shall be filed with the Departmental Personnel Office. For the following specific complaints, DHS 9005 shall be supplemented with:
1. Classification/Reclassification: HRD Form 259; or,
2. Initial Pricing: HRD Form 276
b. Upon receipt, the Departmental Personnel Office shall review the complaint and take appropriate action:
1. Refer and forward the complaint to HRD if the matter is within the authority of the Director of HRD, and notify the complainant accordingly; or
2. If the complaint is not within the authority of HRD or DHS, refer and forward the complaint to the appropriate agency, if known, and notify the complainant accordingly. If the complaint is covered by another DHS complaint process, refer and forward the complaint and notify the complainant accordingly.
3. Accept the complaint for appropriate action and notify the complainant accordingly; or
4. Return the complaint to the complainant if the matters are clearly subject to the collective bargaining grievance procedure and not within the jurisdiction of the Merit Appeals Board and/or if the employee has already filed a grievance on the matter.
c. The appropriate individual who has the authority to act shall, within 30 days of receipt, notify the complainant of the progress of the processing of the internal complaint. As soon as practicable thereafter, the internal complaint procedure shall culminate in a written decision by the Departmental Personnel Officer or other appropriate authority who is assigned responsibility for making the final decision on the complaint.
d. If the complaint is denied and the issues involve matters within the jurisdiction of the Merit Appeals Board, information on filing a formal appeal with the Merit Appeals Board shall accompany the written decision.
e. If the internal complaint is denied and the issues do not involve matters within the jurisdiction of the Merit Appeals Board, the decision on the complaint shall be final and binding, unless the matter will be within the proper jurisdiction of another body or agency.
7.3 General Principles
a. Departmental internal complaint proceedings shall be conducted during an employees work hours as practicable and, for a complainant who is not an employee, during office hours at times convenient to the complainant. Employees shall not receive overtime compensation for participation in their internal complaint proceedings. Employees whose complaint is being addressed by HRD concerning an employment action not related to DHS shall take leave time.
b. There shall be no retaliation against an employee because he/she filed a complaint.
c. A complainant shall have the right to be represented by a person or persons of the complainant’s own choosing at any stage in the presentation of the complaint.
d. The specific time limits and procedures shall be followed in processing all complaints. Any complaint not filed in accordance with this procedure or within the specified time limits shall not be considered. By mutual consent of both the complainant and the Department, the time limits may be extended.
e. This internal complaint process includes any other informal process including those called administrative review.
f. The department may waive any requirements.
7.4. Appeals to the Merit Appeals Board (MAB)
The internal complaint procedure shall be exhausted before an appeal is filed with the Merit Appeals Board. Upon notification that the internal complaint appeal is denied, the Personnel Office will inform the Complainant of the Merit Appeals Board process.
7.5. Administrative Requirements
A copy of this procedure shall be easily accessible to all Departmental employees and the general public at the Office of the Director of the DHS, the Departmental Personnel Office, and at offices listed in the Personnel Office.