In accordance with the Judiciary Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity and Harassment as well as federal and state anti-discrimination laws, any member of the Judiciary who believes he/she has been discriminated against may file a complaint with the Judiciary Office of Fair Practices (OFP). The OFP is responsible for conducting investigations of alleged discrimination and sexual harassment complaints. Any employee or applicant at any time may contact the OFP for purposes of advice, discussion of an alleged discrimination complaint and/or assistance in undertaking a formal or informal resolution of a complaint. The Manager of OFP or his/her designee upon receipt of a written complaint will normally undertake an investigation leading to a formal determination. If there are multiple reports of alleged illegal harassment or discrimination or of a single allegation of particularly grievous harassment or discrimination, the Manager of OFP may, after consultation with the Chief Judge (or Chief Judge’s designee), initiate an investigation in the absence of receipt of a written complaint. Complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the alleged discrimination has occurred in order to permit prompt and equitable resolution. In situations that require immediate action because of safety or other concerns, the Judiciary may take any necessary action (e.g. suspension with pay) in order to facilitate the investigation.
The investigation shall be completed as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible.
Any Judiciary staff/employee in a supervisory role has the duty to report to the OFP any known alleged discriminating behavior based on sex, race or other basis that creates a hostile environment, whether or not an alleged victim has made a complaint.Complaint Procedures
The complainant must complete a Complaint of Discrimination/Retaliation form (OFP-305) The complaint should be filed within 120 days from the date the alleged act of discrimination, harassment or retaliation took place or 120 days from the time complainant had knowledge of the alleged act and must include:
- Complainant’s Name (individual making the complaint);
- Complainant’s Location;
- Complaint’s Department/Unit;
- Respondent’s Name (the individual(s) against whom the complaint is made);
- Respondent’s Location;
- Respondent’s Department;
- Statement of Facts to include:
- (Basis for the alleged discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation;
- Date(s) of occurrence(s);
- Date(s) of first knowledge of the occurrence(s);
- Nature of Complaint (Specific and definite issues of fact and the factors you believe support the complaint;
- Name of witnesses (if applicable);
- Resolution sought;
- Representative (if applicable).
The form must be signed and dated by the Complainant.
Upon receipt of a written complaint, the OFP staff will schedule an interview with the Complainant.
The OFP staff will notify and interview the person(s) named in the complaint (Respondent) to apprise them of the charges and afford them an opportunity to respond.
The investigation by the OFP staff will include interviewing witnesses, collecting documentation, and seeking any additional information necessary in conducting the investigation. The OFP shall have unrestricted access to all pertinent materials, records, reports and documents in possession of any Judiciary personnel, and shall be afforded the opportunity to interview all persons possessing relevant information.
The OFP staff may assist in the informal resolution of the complaint. With the consent of both parties involved, the OFP staff will arrange for information to be shared between the parties regarding applicable issues and appropriate remedies. Failure to reach a resolution will result in the continuation of the investigation.
The OFP staff will prepare a written report of the investigation and findings. A final written determination, setting forth the OFP’s decision will be sent to both the Complainant and the Respondent.
If disciplinary action is required as a result of a finding against the Respondent, procedures under the relevant Judiciary policies will be followed.
The Complainant has the right to file with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at any time during an investigation. Be aware that MCHR and EEOC have time limitations for filing a charge of discrimination. Any retaliatory action taken by a Judiciary employee against a complaining party as a result of that party's seeking redress under these procedures is prohibited and shall be regarded as a separate and distinct cause for complaint under these procedures. It is a violation of this policy for anyone to knowingly make false accusations of discrimination or harassment. Failure to prove a claim is not equivalent to a false allegation. Sanctions will be imposed for making false accusations of discrimination or harassment.
*Prior to filing a complaint, it is suggested that you read and familiarize yourself with the Judiciary Policy on EEO and Sexual Harassment.