Grievance Procedure

 

A. PURPOSE
The Disability Law Center of Alaska (DLC) is the official Protection and Advocacy System for the State of Alaska. DLC strives to provide the highest quality legal assistance to Alaskans with disabilities and treat all who contact DLC with professionalism, respect, and fully comply with all applicable federal requirements. This Grievance Policy is established to assure that any person, including a person’s representative, has the ability to file a complaint when they believe DLC is not meeting these standards of practice. The Grievance Policy is part of DLC’s quality assurance process and provides an opportunity for the Executive Director and, when appropriate, the Grievance Committee of the Board of Directors, to review complaints and correct problems as soon as they are identified.

At least once a year, DLC’s Board of Directors will receive a report describing all grievances received and processed and their resolution. DLC’s Mental Health Rights Advisory Council will at least annually receive a report describing mental health-related grievances.


B. CONFIDENTIALITY
The confidentiality of your grievance will be strictly protected. Access to your grievance and related materials will be permitted only for DLC staff with a need to review the complaint or individuals you authorize to review those materials.


C. WHO CAN FILE
Any person, including a person’s legal representative, designated representative or family member, may file a grievance to contest a decision, action, or inaction of DLC. Matters that can be grieved include, but are not limited to:

  • A denial of a request for assistance;
  • Assistance that was disrespectful, unfair or ineffective;
  • A belief that DLC is not complying with its federal requirements.

 

D. POSTING AND DISTRIBUTION OF PROCEDURE
A copy of this procedure and/or a statement that a copy of this procedure will be given to any person who requests it shall be clearly posted in each DLC office.

Staff members shall have the responsibility to inform clients, potential clients and family members of the grievance procedures when asked or when those persons' statements indicate the desire to pursue some type of grievance procedure.

Notice of the grievance procedures will be included in all case closing and service denial letters.

This grievance procedure and associate forms will be posted on DLC’s website and any social media site, if appropriate.


E. DEADLINES
A grievance that is related to a decision, action or inaction of DLC must be filed within 30 calendar days after the decision, action or inaction became known, or reasonably should have become known, to the aggrieved person, but not more than 1 year from the decision, action or inaction.

A grievance addressing a failure to comply with DLC’s federal requirements must be filed within 90 calendar days after the alleged failure to comply with DLC’s federal requirements became known, or reasonably should have become known, to the person filing the grievance, but not more than 1 year from the alleged failure to comply.

Additional time to file a grievance will only be permitted as a reasonable accommodation where the failure to file timely was directly related to a person’s disability.


F. HOW TO FILE A GRIEVANCE

Step 1.
DLC encourages you to work out your concern in an informal manner with the employee or employees involved and to use this formal process only if those informal methods have been tried and fail. Discuss your concern with the DLC employee with whom you have been working. It is typically better and more productive to proactively work directly with the DLC employee about your grievance. If you are not satisfied with the response, you may continue to appeal your request to Step 2. You do not have to try Step 1 before moving to Step 2.

Step 2.
Your grievance can be submitted on DLC’s grievance form, in a letter, orally, or by any other reasonably accommodated means of communication. Assistance in completing and submitting a grievance will be provided upon request.

To help the review, the following information should be included with your grievance:

  • Your name and contact information or, if you are assisting someone with their grievance, the name and contact information of the person complaining about DLC;
  • Whether you, or the person you are assisting, are a client, someone who was denied services, or a member of the public;
  • What you are complaining about and when did it occur; and/or,
  • The federal requirement with which you believe DLC did not comply.

You should also include copies of any documents you believe support your grievance. The grievance and any supporting documentation should be signed, dated and mailed to:

Executive Director - Confidential
Disability Law Center of Alaska
3330 Arctic Blvd., Suite 103
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

Emailed grievances can be sent by email to: akpa@dlcak.org. Please note “Grievance – Confidential” in the subject line.

A grievance can also be submitted electronically by completing the online form:  click here to go to the online form.

Step 3.
The Executive Director will carefully review your grievance and any documentation submitted with it, any relevant materials in possession of DLC, any applicable law, and DLC’s policies and procedures. If necessary, the Executive Director will interview you and other individuals, including DLC staff with knowledge of the matter. The Executive Director will issue a written decision within 15 work days of receiving your grievance.

If the Executive Director finds that the agency's denial of services or other action was inappropriate, the written decision will include this determination. As appropriate, the Executive Director will develop a plan to correct the problems identified and ensure that adequate services are provided promptly. The decision will not include any confidential information regarding a DLC employee. If the Executive Director’s decision upholds the agency’s action, you will be informed of your appeal rights.


G. YOUR RIGHT TO APPEAL
If you are not satisfied with the written decision of the Executive Director, and the matter is not a personnel policy issue, you or your representative may appeal the decision to DLC’s Board of Directors, Committee for Corporate Compliance. The appeal must be filed within 30 calendar days of receiving the Executive Director's decision.

The Committee’s review of the Executive Director’s decision will focus solely on whether the decision was made in accordance with DLC’s policies and priorities or in compliance with federal requirements.

Your appeal to the Committee for Corporate Compliance can be in letter form, orally, or by any other reasonable means of communication. Your appeal will authorize the disclosure to the Committee of information from your file and waive the attorney-client privilege for purposes of the grievance appeal. Your confidentiality will be protected throughout the grievance appeal.

The appeal letter should be sent to:

Committee for Corporate Compliance - Confidential
Disability Law Center of Alaska
3330 Arctic Blvd., Suite 103
Anchorage, Alaska 99503

The appeal must specify the reasons for disagreement with the Executive Director’s decision, and must be signed or otherwise acknowledged by you or your representative. The Committee Chair may contact you or your representative with additional questions or to obtain more information about your appeal. The Committee for Corporate Compliance will issue a decision within 30 calendar days of receipt of the appeal. The Committee's decision is the final determination of the agency. Without breaking confidentiality, the Committee for Corporate Compliance will report to the full DLC Board about the grievance at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.