Title VI Complaint Process
Notifying the Public of Rights Under Title VI
• The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, and national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any person who believes she or he has been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a complaint with SORTA.
• For more information on SORTA’s civil rights program and the procedures to file a complaint, contact 513-632-7614, fill out the online form, or visit the SORTA office located at 525 Vine Street, 5th floor, Cincinnati OH.
• A complaint may be filed directly with the Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights, Attention: Civil Rights Coordinator, East Building, 5th Floor-TCR, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington DC 20590.
This procedure covers all formal complaints and informal complaints filed by an individual or group of individuals under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987.
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, or national origin as noted below may file a written complaint with the SORTA's Title VI Coordinator at 525 Vine St, Suite 500, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45202. Complainants have the right to complain directly to the appropriate federal agency. Every effort will be made to obtain early resolution of complaints. The option of informal meeting(s) between the affected parties and the Title VI Coordinator may be utilized for resolutions. The Title VI Coordinator will notify SORTA's General Manager/CEO of all Title VI related complaints as well as all resolutions.
This procedure does not preclude the right of any Complainant to file complaints directly with the Federal Transportation Administration(FTA), or to seek private legal representation. The time required to process investigations will vary depending on the complexity of the issue; however, every effort will be made to ensure a speedy resolution of all complaints at the lowest possible level within 90 business days. The option of informal mediation meeting(s) between the affected parties may be utilized for resolution.
The Title VI Coordinator is responsible for intake of Title VI complaints and ensuring that the complaints follow procedures listed herein to ensure resolution. The Title VI Coordinator is also responsible for reporting trends, action plans, and non-compliance to the executive management team and board of directors.
Intake of Complaints
The complaint shall either be in writing or electronically submitted by the Complainant(s). In cases where the Complainant is unable or incapable of providing a written statement, a verbal complaint may be made. The Title VI Coordinator will interview the Complainant and, if necessary, assist the person in converting verbal complaints to writing. Written complaints must be signed by the Complainant or his/her representative.
The complaint shall include the following as applicable: date of the alleged act of discrimination; the date when the Complainants became aware of the alleged act of discrimination; the date on which that conduct was discontinued; and/or the latest instance of conduct. The complaint shall present a detailed description of the issues, including names and job titles of those individuals perceived as parties in the complaint.
Investigation, Determination, and Recommendation
The Complainant will be provided with a written acknowledgment that SORTA has either accepted or rejected the complaint. A complaint must meet the following criteria for acceptance:
· The complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged occurrence.
· The allegation must involve a covered basis such as race, color, or national origin.
· The allegation must involve a SORTA service of a Federal-aid recipient, sub-recipient, or contractor.
A complaint may be dismissed for the following reasons:
· The Complainant requests the withdrawal of the complaint.
· The Complainant fails to respond to repeated requests for additional information needed to process the complaint.
· The Complainant cannot be located after three attempts.
Once SORTA's Title VI Coordinator decides to accept the complaint for investigation, the Complainant will be notified in writing of such determination. The complaint will receive a case number and will then be logged in a database identifying: Complainant's name, basis, alleged harm, and the race, color, and national origin of the Complainant. They will then be forwarded to outside legal counsel for further investigation and determination of substantiation.
Communication of Findings and Complaint Resolution
A determination on the disposition of the complaint will be made after acceptance and investigation is completed and will be provided to the complainant via written communication. Dispositions will be stated as follows:
· In the event SORTA is in noncompliance with Title VI regulations, remedial actions will be listed.
· In the event SORTA is found to be in compliance, the reasons for this finding will be clearly described.
Within 90 calendar days of the acceptance of the complaint, an investigative report will be prepared. The report will include a narrative description of the incident, identification of persons interviewed, findings and recommendations for disposition. The investigative report and its findings may be reviewed by the General Manager/CEO, and in some cases by SORTA's Legal Counsel. The report will be modified as needed.
Within the notice of determination that will be mailed to the Complainant, information regarding appeal rights of Complainant and instructions for initiating such an appeal will be provided. SORTA will reconsider the determination if new facts come to light. If Complainant is dissatisfied with the determination and/or resolution set forth by SORTA, the same complaint may be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration at:
Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights
Attention: Title VI Program Coordinator East Building, 5th Floor-TCR
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590