The authority to investigate complaints of employment discrimination stems from the San Francisco Charter, Section 10.103, and Civil Service Commission Rules (Volume 1, Rule 103; Volume II, Rule 203; Volume III, Rule 303; Volume IV, Rule 403). The Human Resources Director is responsible for the review and resolution of complaints. The Director may designate personnel to investigate complaints and make recommendations for resolution. The role of the Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") investigator is that of an objective third party, representing neither the complainant (employee/applicant), nor the respondent (department).
Complaint ProcessBasis: Discrimination complaints submitted for investigation must be based on a violation of civil rights on account of one or more of the following: Race, Color, Religion, Creed, Sex, National Origin, Ethnicity, Age, Disability or Medical Condition, Acquired Immune Deficiency (Aids/Hiv) or Aids Related Conditions, Political Affiliation, Sexual Orientation, Ancestry, Marital or Domestic Partner Status, Gender Identity, Parental Status, Other Non-Merit Factors.
Retaliation against any employee or applicant for having made a good faith complaint or report of discrimination, or for participating or aiding in an investigation of employment discrimination is also prohibited.
Issues: Actions complained of may include the following: Denial of Employment, Denial of Training, Denial of Promotion, Denial of Reasonable Accommodation (for disability or religion), Termination, Lay-Off, Constructive Discharge, Disciplinary Action, Harassment, Work Assignment, Sexual Harassment and Compensation. Other issues, such as a disagreement regarding Department rules or regulations affecting working conditions, may be subject to review through the Employee Grievance procedure.
Filing: Submit a letter or other document that describes your complaint of discrimination. You may wish to contact the EEO Office in your department or in the Department of Human Resources, or your employee representative, to assist you in submitting a complaint. The number for the Department of Human Resources is 415-557-4800. All complaints must be signed by the person making the complaint and sent to:
Director, Department of Human Resources
Attention: EEO Division
One South Van Ness, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
The letter of complaint should include the following:
- Name, address and daytime phone number;
- The basis for the complaint: i.e. race, religion, etc.;
- The discriminatory action: i.e., denial of employment or reasonable accommodation, termination, etc.;
- The date(s) the alleged discriminatory action(s) took place;
- The City and County department and work unit accused of discrimination;
- The names of the individuals accused of discrimination;
- The names and daytime phone numbers of any witnesses to the alleged discriminatory action;
- A detailed explanation of the sequence of events which you believe to be discriminatory; and
- The specific action you are seeking to correct the alleged discrimination.
If you are a current City and County employee, please also include your current Civil Service classification and the department where you are employed.
Complaints of sexual harassment may also be made by calling the Department of Human Resources Harassment Helpline at (415) 557-4900.
Filing DeadlineLetters of complaint must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) calendar days of the date the discriminatory action or the alleged harassment took place, or the date the employee/applicant should have first become aware of the violation. A complaint is considered filed on the date it is received by the Department of Human Resources. Therefore, time is an important factor when filing a complaint.
InvestigationThe Human Resources Director may refer the complaint to an EEO investigator to review for timeliness and jurisdiction. The investigator will then contact the person filing the complaint, either by mail or phone, to schedule an intake interview. Intake interviews afford the investigator an opportunity to clarify the issues involved and also allow the person filing the complaint an opportunity to present the complaint in more detail. The investigation may include reviewing and obtaining copies of relevant documents such as personnel files, attendance reports and performance evaluations; interviewing co-workers and supervisors; and other actions considered necessary in order to obtain relevant information.
It is important to remember that the individual who brings the complaint is responsible for substantiating the charges. Therefore, it is necessary to cooperate with the investigator by providing any written material, names of individuals to interview or any other information that would assist the investigation. Note: During the intake interview, the entire complaint process will be explained in more detail by the assigned investigator. Any questions regarding the process can be asked during the intake interview.
Alternative Dispute ResolutionComplainants may be asked to consider resolving their complaint through an alternative dispute resolution process facilitated by trained staff.
Human Resources Director's Action and Appeal ProceduresThe Human Resources Director will review the complaint and investigative report, and shall make a finding on the charges. The Director's determination will be sent to the complainant and respondent department and shall be final, unless it is appealed to the Civil Service Commission and is reversed or modified.