U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 22, 2024

§ 658.411 - Action on complaints.

(a) Filing complaints.

(1) Whenever an individual indicates an interest in filing a complaint under this subpart with an ES office, the SWA, or outreach staff, the individual receiving the complaint must offer to explain the operation of the Complaint System and must offer to take the complaint in writing.

(2) During the initial discussion with the complainant, the staff taking the complaint must:

(i) Make every effort to obtain all the information they perceive to be necessary to investigate the complaint;

(ii) Request that the complainant indicate all of the physical addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, and any other helpful means by which they might be contacted during the investigation of the complaint; and

(iii) Request that the complainant contact the Complaint System Representative before leaving the area if possible, and explain the need to maintain contact during the investigation.

(3) The staff must ensure the complainant (or their representative) submits the complaint on the Complaint/Referral Form or another complaint form prescribed or approved by the Department or submits complaint information which satisfies paragraph (a)(4) of this section. The Complaint/Referral Form must be used for all complaints, including complaints about unlawful discrimination, except as provided in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. The staff must offer to assist the complainant in filling out the form and submitting all necessary information and must do so if the complainant desires such assistance. If the complainant also represents several other complainants, all such complainants must be named. The complainant, or their representative, must sign the completed form in writing or electronically. The identity of the complainant(s) and any persons who furnish information relating to, or assisting in, an investigation of a complaint must be kept confidential to the maximum extent possible, consistent with applicable law and a fair determination of the complaint. A copy of the completed complaint submission must be given to the complainant(s), and the complaint form must be given to the appropriate Complaint System Representative described in § 658.410(g).

(4) Any complaint in a reasonable form (letter or email) which is signed by the complainant, or their representative, and includes sufficient information to initiate an investigation must be treated as if it were a properly completed Complaint/Referral Form filed in person. A letter (via hard copy or email) confirming the complaint was received must be sent to the complainant and the document must be sent to the appropriate Complaint System Representative. The Complaint System Representative must request additional information from the complainant if the complainant has not provided sufficient information to investigate the matter expeditiously.

(b) Complaints regarding an employment-related law. (1) When a complaint is filed regarding an employment-related law with an ES office or a SWA, and paragraph (c) of this section does not apply, the office must determine if the complainant is an MSFW.

(i) If the complainant is a non-MSFW, the office must immediately refer the complainant to the appropriate enforcement agency, another public agency, a legal aid organization, and/or a consumer advocate organization, as appropriate, for assistance. Upon completing the referral, the local or State representative is not required to follow up with the complainant.

(ii) If the complainant is a MSFW, the ES office or SWA Complaint System Representative must:

(A) Take from the MSFW or their representative, in writing (hard copy or electronic), the complaint(s) describing the alleged violation(s) of the employment-related law(s); and

(B) Attempt to resolve the issue informally at the local level, except in cases where the complaint was submitted to the SWA and the Complaint System Representative determines that they must take immediate action or in cases where informal resolution at the local level would be detrimental to the complainant(s). In cases where informal resolution at the local level would be detrimental to the complainant(s), the Complaint System Representative must immediately refer the complaint to the appropriate enforcement agency. Concurrently, the Complaint System Representative must offer to refer the MSFW to other ES services should the MSFW be interested.

(C) If the issue is not resolved within 5 business days, the Complaint System Representative must refer the complaint to the appropriate enforcement agency (or another public agency, a legal aid organization, or a consumer advocate organization, as appropriate) for further assistance.

(D) If the ES office or SWA Complaint System Representative determines that the complaint must be referred to a State or Federal agency, they must refer the complaint immediately to the appropriate enforcement agency for prompt action.

(E) If the complaint was referred under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(D) of this section, the representative must notify the complainant of the enforcement agency to which the complaint was referred.

(F) When a complaint alleges an employer in a different State from where the complaint is filed has violated an employment-related law:

(1) The ES office or SWA receiving the complaint must ensure the Complaint/Referral Form is adequately completed and then immediately send a copy of the Complaint/Referral Form and copies of any relevant documents to the SWA in the other State. Copies of the referral letter must be sent to the complainant, and copies of the complaint and referral letter must be sent to the ETA Regional Office(s) with jurisdiction over the transferring and receiving State agencies. All such copies must be sent via hard copy or electronic mail.

(2) The SWA receiving the complaint must process the complaint as if it had been initially filed with that SWA.

(3) The ETA Regional Office with jurisdiction over the receiving SWA must follow up with it to ensure the complaint is processed in accordance with these regulations.

(2) If an enforcement agency makes a final determination that the employer violated an employment-related law and the complaint is connected to a job order, the SWA must initiate procedures for discontinuation of services immediately in accordance with subpart F of this part. If this occurs, the SWA must notify the complainant and the employer of this action.

(c) Complaints alleging unlawful discrimination or reprisal for protected activity. All complaints received under this subpart by an ES office or a SWA alleging unlawful discrimination or reprisal for protected activity in violation of nondiscrimination laws, such as those enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Department of Labor's Civil Rights Center (CRC), or in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision found at 8 U.S.C. 1324b,must.O. Officer. The Complaint System Representative must notify the complainant of the referral in writing.

(2) Any complaints received either at the local and State level or at the ETA regional office, that allege violations of civil rights laws and regulations such as those under title VI of the Civil Rights Act or sec. 188 of WIOA, including for beneficiaries (as defined in 29 CFR 38.4) only, on the basis of citizenship status or participant status, as well as reprisal for protected activity, must immediately be logged and directed or forwarded to the recipient's Equal Opportunity Officer or the CRC.

(d) Complaints regarding the ES regulations (ES complaints). (1) When an ES complaint is filed with an ES office or a SWA, and paragraph (c) of this section does not apply, the following procedures apply:

(i) When an ES complaint is filed against an employer, the proper office to process the complaint is the ES office serving the area in which the employer is located.

(ii) When a complaint is against an employer in another State or against another SWA:

(A) The ES office or SWA receiving the complaint must ensure the Complaint/Referral Form is adequately completed, and then immediately send a copy of the Complaint/Referral Form and copies of any relevant documents to the SWA in the other State. Copies of the referral letter must be sent to the complainant, and copies of the complaint and referral letter must be sent to the ETA Regional Office(s) with jurisdiction over the transferring and receiving State agencies. All such copies must be sent via hard copy or electronic mail.

(B) The SWA receiving the complaint must process the complaint as if it had been initially filed with that SWA.

(C) The ETA Regional Office with jurisdiction over the receiving SWA must follow up with it to ensure the complaint is processed in accordance with these regulations.

(D) If the complaint is against more than one SWA, the complaint must so clearly state. Additionally, the complaints must be processed as separate complaints and must be processed according to procedures in this paragraph (d).

(iii) When an ES complaint is filed against an ES office, the proper office to process the complaint is the ES office serving the area in which the alleged violation occurred.

(iv) When an ES complaint is filed against more than one ES offices and is in regard to an alleged agency-wide violation, the SWA representative or their designee must process the complaint.

(v) When a complaint is filed alleging a violation that occurred in the same State but through a different ES office, the ES office where the complaint is filed must ensure that the Complaint/Referral Form is adequately completed and send the form to the appropriate local ES office for tracking, further referral if necessary, and follow-up. A copy of the referral letter must be sent to the complainant via hard copy or electronic mail.

(2)(i) If a complaint regarding an alleged violation of the ES regulations is filed in a ES office by either a non-MSFW or MSFW, or their representative(s) (or if all necessary information has been submitted to the office pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) of this section), the appropriate ES office Complaint System Representative must investigate and attempt to resolve the complaint immediately upon receipt.

(ii) If resolution has not been achieved to the satisfaction of the complainant within 15 working days after receipt of the complaint, or 5 working days with respect to complaints filed by or on behalf of MSFWs, (or after all necessary information has been submitted to the ES office pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) of this section), the Complaint System Representative must send the complaint to the SWA for resolution or further action.

(iii) The ES office must notify the complainant and the respondent, in writing (via hard copy or electronic mail), of the determination (pursuant to paragraph (d)(5) of this section) of its investigation under paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section, or of the referral to the SWA (if referred).

(3) When a non-MSFW or their representative files a complaint regarding the ES regulations with a SWA, or when a non-MSFW complaint is referred from an ES office the following procedures apply:

(i) If the complaint is not transferred to an enforcement agency under paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section the Complaint System Representative must investigate and attempt to resolve the complaint immediately upon receipt.

(ii) If resolution at the SWA level has not been accomplished within 30 working days after the complaint was received by the SWA (or after all necessary information has been submitted to the SWA pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) of this section), whether the complaint was received directly or from an ES office pursuant to paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section, the SWA official must make a written determination regarding the complaint and must send electronic copies to the complainant and the respondent. The determination must follow the procedures set forth in paragraph (d)(5) of this section.

(4)(i) When a MSFW or their representative files a complaint regarding the ES regulations directly with a SWA, or when a MSFW complaint is referred from an ES office, the Complaint System Representative must investigate and attempt to resolve the complaint immediately upon receipt and may, if necessary, conduct a further investigation.

(ii) If resolution at the SWA level has not been accomplished within 20 business days after the complaint was received by the SWA (or after all necessary information has been submitted to the SWA pursuant to paragraph (a)(4) of this section), the Complaint System Representative must make a written determination regarding the complaint and must send electronic copies to the complainant and the respondent. The determination must follow the procedures set forth in paragraph (d)(5) of this section.

(5)(i) All written determinations by the SWA on complaints under the ES regulations must be sent by certified mail (or another legally viable method) and a copy of the determination may be sent via electronic mail. The determination must include all the following:

(A) The results of any SWA investigation;

(B) The conclusions reached on the allegations of the complaint;

(C) If a resolution was not reached, an explanation of why the complaint was not resolved; and

(D) If the complaint is against the SWA, an offer to the complainant of the opportunity to request, in writing, a hearing within 20 business days after the certified date of receipt of the notification.

(ii) If the SWA determines that the employer has not violated the ES regulations, the SWA must offer to the complainant the opportunity to request, in writing, a hearing within 20 business days after the certified date of receipt of the notification.

(iii) If the SWA, within 20 business days from the certified date of receipt of the notification provided for in paragraph (d)(5) of this section, receives a written request (via hard copy or electronic mail) for a hearing, the SWA must refer the complaint to a State hearing official for hearing. The SWA must, in writing (via hard copy or electronic mail), notify the respective parties to whom the determination was sent that:

(A) The parties will be notified of the date, time, and place of the hearing;

(B) The parties may be represented at the hearing by an attorney or other representative;

(C) The parties may bring witnesses and/or documentary evidence to the hearing;

(D) The parties may cross-examine opposing witnesses at the hearing;

(E) The decision on the complaint will be based on the evidence presented at the hearing;

(F) The State hearing official may reschedule the hearing at the request of a party or its representative; and

(G) With the consent of the SWA and of the State hearing official, the party who requested the hearing may withdraw the request for the hearing in writing before the hearing.

(iv) If the State agency makes a final determination that the employer who has or is currently using the ES has violated the ES regulations, the determination, pursuant to paragraph (d)(5) of this section, must state that the State will initiate procedures for discontinuation of services to the employer in accordance with subpart F of this part.

(6) A complaint regarding the ES regulations must be processed to resolution by these regulations only if it is made within 2 years of the alleged occurrence.

(e) Resolution of complaints. A complaint is considered resolved when:

(1) The complainant indicates satisfaction with the outcome via written correspondence;

(2) The complainant chooses not to elevate the complaint to the next level of review;

(3) The complainant or the complainant's authorized representative fails to respond to a request for information under paragraph (a)(4) of this section within 20 working days or, in cases where the complainant is an MSFW, 40 working days of a written request by the appropriate ES office or State agency;

(4) The complainant exhausts all available options for review; or

(5) A final determination has been made by the enforcement agency to which the complaint was referred.

(f) Reopening of case after resolution. If the complainant or the complainant's authorized representative fails to respond pursuant to paragraph (e)(3) of this section, the complainant or the complainant's authorized representative may reopen the case within 1 year after the SWA has closed the case.

[81 FR 56352, Aug. 19, 2016, as amended at 85 FR 629, Jan. 6, 2020; 88 FR 82731, Nov. 24, 2023]