The University has adopted an internal grievance procedure for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by federal regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Amendment Act of 2008. Section 504, the ADA and the ADAAA state, in part, that “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by such an entity.”
Issues that may warrant a grievance include, but are not limited to, a denial of a requested accommodation, the inadequacy of an accommodation, the inaccessibility of a program or activity due to disability, or discrimination or harassment based on disability.
All such complaints should be addressed to the attention of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, c/o Cheryl Ruffin, Institutional Equity Manager, 4415 Fifth Avenue 2nd Floor Webster Hall Pittsburgh, PA 15260, Tel: (412) 648-7292, who has been designated to coordinate the University’s Section 504 and ADA compliance efforts.
The following steps explain the procedure:
- A complaint should be filed in writing or verbally, and shall contain the name and address of the person filing it, and briefly describe the nature of the complaint and the alleged violation of the regulations.
- A complaint should be filed within thirty (30) days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation. Complaints received later than thirty (30) days after complainant became aware of the alleged violation will be dismissed as untimely.
- An investigation will follow the filing of a complaint. The investigation shall be conducted by the University’s Compliance Officer (or another University office acting at the Compliance Officer’s request). These rules contemplate a prompt and informal—but thorough—investigation which afford the complainant, the subject of the complaint, other interested persons, and their representatives, an opportunity to submit documents and information relevant to the consideration of and resolution of the complaint.
- A written determination as to the validity of the complaint and a description of the resolution, if any, shall be issued by the University’s Compliance Officer or another University office acting at the Compliance Officer’s request and a copy forwarded to the complainant no later than fifteen (15) working days after receipt of the complaint, unless the University’s Compliance Officer has good cause for an extension of time.
- The University’s Compliance Officer shall maintain the files and records of the University of Pittsburgh relating to complaints filed.
- The complainant or the affected department or business unit can request reconsideration of the resolution if he or she is dissatisfied with the resolution. Requests for reconsideration should be made as soon as possible (optimally within 7 days, and no later than 30 days from the date of the decision) to the appropriate senior officer of the University, i.e., the Provost or Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences in complaints where a faculty member is the accused, the Executive Vice Chancellor in complaints where a staff member is the accused, or the Dean Vice Provost and Dean of Students where a student is the accused. The senior officer has thirty (30) days to respond to the request for reconsideration. Decisions of the senior officer are final.
The right of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint filed hereunder shall not be impaired by the person’s pursuit of other remedies, such as the filing of a Section 504/ADA complaint with the responsible federal department or agency. Use of this grievance procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.
This procedure shall be construed to protect the substantive rights of interested persons, to meet appropriate due process standards, and to assure that the University complies with Section 504/ADA and implementing regulations.
Retaliation against any complainant under this grievance procedure or against any person who assists a complainant in his/her pursuit of a complaint under this grievance procedure is prohibited.