I. Notification to Clients and Applicants
A. An explanation of the grievance procedure shall be posted in each CLASI office in English and Spanish. At the initial interview, information about the procedure shall be given to each client or applicant in writing or another format, if necessary.
B. A client or prospective client may express dissatisfaction to a CLASI employee about:
1. The decision to reject that individual as a client based on income;
2. The decision to reject that individual based on the kind of case that he/she has;
3. The manner in which his/her case is being handled; or
4. A violation of the requirements of any CLASI funding source.
If a complaint is made, the employee’s supervisor shall attempt to resolve the problem by informal discussion with the individual after investigating the nature of the complaint. If a client or prospective client still is not satisfied after the informal attempt to resolve the complaint, the individual shall be informed in a letter of his or her right to use the grievance procedure. The client or prospective client shall also be informed that he or she must initiate the grievance procedure within sixty (60) days of receiving the letter.
C. An employee shall be appointed in each CLASI office as the Grievance Officer to assist clients and prospective clients in processing grievances and the name of employees will be posted in each office.
II. Procedure for Handling Client Grievances
A. Initial Action: Instituting the Procedure
If a CLASI client or prospective client is still dissatisfied for any of the above reasons, after attempts at informal resolution, this grievance may be started by telephoning or writing the Grievance Officer of the CLASI office where the dissatisfaction arose. The Grievance Officer shall assist in initiating this procedure, if requested by a client or prospective client.
B. Initial Review
The client or prospective client shall be given an informal hearing within five (5) business days before a Reviewing Attorney who shall be a Managing Attorney, Senior Attorney or Project Director Attorney who did not participate in the decision and is not the subject of the complaint. The person whose conduct is being questioned shall attend and present his or her position after the client or prospective client has been interviewed. (If the question involved is merely one of eligibility or whether CLASI will handle a particular matter, the staff member involved need not be present). The Reviewing Attorney will conduct a de nova review of the matter. The Attorney shall:
1. Inform the client or prospective client of any applicable funding source requirements, CLASI policy/guidelines, etc.;
2. Afford the client or prospective client and staff member involved an opportunity to state their positions and to provide whatever documentation exists to support their contentions:
3. Reduce the statements in writing and shall make a written disposition of the matter setting forth what he/she finds to be the facts and setting forth the rationale for his or her disposition of the matter;
4. Within five (5) business days send the client or prospective client a copy of the document referred to in #3 and give the client or prospective client an opportunity to respond in writing, and inform the client or prospective client of his/her right to appeal this decision to the Executive Director by request made within ten (10) business days after receiving the written decision, if still unsatisfied;
5. Provide the Executive Director with a copy of the document in #3 and #4. The document shall be retained for ten (10) years.
C. Review by the Executive Director
If requested by the aggrieved client or prospective client within ten (10) business days of receiving the written decision, the Executive Director shall hold a hearing to review the decision. The hearing shall be held within ten (10) business days of receiving the request for review. The Executive Director may afford the client or prospective client, the Reviewing Attorney, and the employee against whom the complaint was made, the opportunity to submit further written statements.
The Executive Director shall make his or her decision in writing within five (5) business days, setting forth his or her rationale. The Director shall also inform the client or prospective client of his or her right, by request made within ten (10) business days of receiving the written decision, to appear before a grievance committee of the CLASI Board of Directors. All documents relating to grievances shall be retained for ten (10) years.
D. Review by the Board
A committee of the Board composed of three (3) members (2 attorneys and 1 client) shall hear the grievance of a client or prospective client who has exhausted the remedies set forth in B and C, if the individual requests the hearing within ten (10) business days of receiving the written decision. The grievance committee shall conduct a hearing within ten (10) business days of receiving a request. The employee being complained of shall appear and any other person who participated in the grievance process may appear. The committee shall review the record and hear the statements of the client or prospective client and the employee, and shall set forth its decision and rationale in writing within five (5) business days. All documents relating to such dispositions shall be retained for ten (10) years.
E. Every attempt will be made to expedite this grievance procedure, if the client or prospective client has an impending court or administrative hearing date.