MDE Non-Discrimination Grievance Process

MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT
NON-DISCRIMINATION GRIEVANCE PROCESS

Purpose


As required by federal civil rights laws and regulation, the Maryland Department of the Environment (Department) has established a grievance procedure to ensure prompt and fair resolution of complaints alleging violations of state and federal civil rights laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Section 13 of Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; and Maryland law in the administration of the Department’s programs and activities.

The grievance procedure is intended to address allegations of discrimination on the basis of any of the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Income
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Gender
  • Intimidation or Retaliation​

The grievance procedure provides a process for filing a timely complaint to the proper authority and describes the time frames involved in investigating and resolving the complaint. The procedures do not apply to administrative actions that are being pursued in another forum.

Submission of a Complaint

  1. Filing of Complaint

    A person (or the authorized representative of a person) who believes that he or she or a class of persons has been discriminated against may file a complaint with the Department. The complaint should:

    1. Be in writing;
    2. Filed within 90 days of an alleged violation (except as otherwise indicated in the following paragraph);
    3. Describe with specificity the action(s) by the Department that allegedly result in discrimination on the basis of any of the following: 
      • Race
      • Color
      • National origin
      • Religion
      • Disability
      • Income
      • Age
      • Sex
      • Gender
      • Intimidation or Retaliation
    4. Describe with specificity the discrimination that allegedly has occurred or will occur as the result of such action(s); and​
    5. Identify the parties impacted or potentially impacted by the alleged discrimination.

    The Department may request additional information from the complainant if the information is needed to meet the complaint requirements described above.  The Department may waive requirement two (2) if, in its discretion, additional time is needed to address allegations of potential discrimination caused by pending actions at the earliest appropriate and feasible juncture; or, for good cause.

    All written complaints shall be addressed to the following address:

    Duane Johnson
    Maryland Department of the Environment
    Nondiscrimination Coordinator
    Office of the Secretary
    1800 Washington Boulevard
    Baltimore, Maryland 21230

    Email: duane.johnson2@maryland.gov​

    Within 10 days of receiving a written complaint. The Department will provide the complainant with written notice of receipt.  At that time, the Department may request any additional information needed to meet the complaint requirements above.  Within 10 days of receiving any additional information, the Department will provide the complainant with written notice that the complaint is complete.

  2. Determination of Jurisdiction and Investigative Merit

    The Department, based on information in the complaint and other information available, will determine if it has jurisdiction to pursue the matter and whether the complaint has sufficient merit to warrant an investigation. A complaint shall be regarded as meriting investigation unless:

    1. It clearly appears on its face to be frivolous or trivial;
    2. Within the time allotted for making the determination of jurisdiction and investigative merit, the Department voluntarily concedes noncompliance and agrees to take appropriate remedial action or reaches an informal resolution with the complainant;
    3. Within the time allotted for making the determination of jurisdiction and investigative merit, the complainant withdraws the complaint; or
    4. It is not timely and good cause does not exist for waiving the timing requirement under section A.2.

Disposition of Complaints


MDE employees shall not retaliate, intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual or group for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege granted under 40 C.F.R. parts 5 and 7, or because an individual has filed a complaint or has testified, assisted, or participated in any way in an investigation, or has opposed any practice made unlawful under 40 C.F.R. Parts 5 and 7. 

Within 120 days of accepting a written complaint, the Department will respond in writing to the complainant approving or disapproving the findings and recommendations made in the investigative report, based upon a preponderance of the evidence.  MDE will implement the recommendations approved by the (Secretary) with resolution.​

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