In accordance with the Act of the General Assembly of 1992, O.C.G.A. 20-2-989.5 et seq, it is the policy of the Board of Education that certified personnel shall have the right to present and resolve complaints relating to certain matters affecting the employment relationship at the lowest organizational level possible. The Board of Education encourages all employees to resolve their complaints informally in a spirit of collegiality where possible.
A complaint means any claim by a certified employee of any local unit of administration who is affected in his or her employment relationship by an alleged violation, misinterpretation or misapplication of statutes, policies, rules, regulations or written agreements of the local unit of administration with which the local unit of administration is required to comply. The performance ratings contained in personnel evaluations and professional development plans pursuant to Code Section 20-2-210 and job performance shall not be subject to complaint under this bill.
The termination, nonrenewal, demotion, suspension or reprimand of any employee, as set forth in Code Section 20-2-940; and the revocation, suspension or denial of certificates of any employee, as set forth in Code Section 20-2-790, shall not be subject to complaint under the bill.
A certified employee who chooses to appeal under Code Section 20-2-1160 shall be barred from pursuing the same complaint under this policy. A certified employee who wishes to file a grievance should first get a copy of the grievance policy in his/her school district.
Pursuant to Georgia law, local board of education policy must include:
- A statement that a complaint by a certified employee at the initial level shall be in writing and shall clearly state the intent of the employee to access the complaints policy.
- A method and time frame for filing complaints and appeals which allow 10 days from incident to initial complaint and 10 days for appeal at each level and 10 days for response at each level with the total time frame not to exceed 60 days from the initiation of the complaint to notification to the complainant of the decision rendered by the local unit of administration.
- A statement setting forth the manner in which notice of the initial hearing and appeals shall be given.
- A statement that the complainant shall be entitled to an opportunity to be heard, to present relevant evidence, and to examine witnesses at each level.
- A provision whereby the complainant is entitled to the presence of an individual of his or her choice to assist in the presentation of the complaint to the central office administrator and at the local unit of administration level (board of education). The policy shall also include a provision whereby the presence of any individual other than the complainant and the administrator at any lower level is specifically prohibited.
- Provisions for keeping an accurate record of the proceedings at each level, requiring the proceedings to be recorded by mechanical means, preserving all evidence, and requiring that these be made available at all times to parties involved but which provisions do not permit the presence of a third person at any level below the central office administrator or local unit of administration level.
- A statement that the complainant may present additional evidence at each level in writing at least 5 days prior to set date for appeal hearings. All complaints shall be heard "de novo."
- Each decision must be made in writing and shall contain findings of fact and reasons for the particular resolution reached. The decision must be sent to complainant by certified mail or hand-delivered within 10 calendar days of decision.
- If the complaint is not processed within time lines established, the complaint shall be forwarded to the next level.
- Complainant shall not be the subject of any reprisal as a result of filing a complaint.
PAGE members should be thoroughly familiar with their system's complaints and grievances policy. The policy will answer in detail questions concerning rights and responsibilities.