Title VI Plan & Code of Conduct

Download Title VI Complaint Form

Agency Name:  Easter Seals Southwest Florida, Inc. (ESSWFL)

I. Plan Statement

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. Specifically, Title VI provides that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (42 U.S.C. Section 2000d).

Easter Seals Southwest Florida is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of its transit services on the basis of race, color, or national origin, as protected by Title VI in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Circular 4702.1.A.

This plan was developed to guide the ESSWFL in its administration and management of Title VI-related activities.

Title VI Coordinator Contact Information:

Linda Poteat – Brown
Human Resources and Safety Director
Easter Seals Southwest Florida
350 Braden Avenue
Sarasota, Florida 34243
Ph. 941-355-7637.

II. Title VI Information Dissemination

Title VI information posters shall be prominently and publicly displayed in the ESSWFL facility and on their vehicles.  The name of the Title VI coordinator is available on the ESSWFL website, at www.Easterseals-SWFL.org.    Additional information relating to nondiscrimination obligation can be obtained from the ESSWFL Title VI Coordinator.

Title VI information shall be disseminated to ESSWFL employees annually via email. This email reminds employees of the ESSWFL policy statement, and of their Title VI responsibilities in their daily work and duties.

During New Employee Orientation, new employees shall be informed of the provisions of Title VI, and the ESSWFL expectations to perform their duties accordingly.

All employees shall be provided a copy of the Title VI Plan and are required to sign the Acknowledgement of Receipt.

III. Subcontracts and Vendors

All subcontractors and vendors who receive payments from ESSWFL where funding originates from any federal assistance are subject to the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended.

Written contracts shall contain non-discrimination language, either directly or through the bid specification package which becomes an associated component of the contract.

IV. Record Keeping:

The Title VI Coordinator will maintain permanent records, which include, but are not limited  to,  signed  acknowledgements  of  receipt  from  the  employees  indicating  the receipt of the of ESSWFL Title VI Plan, copies of Title VI complaints or lawsuits and related documentation, and records of correspondence to and from complainants, and Title VI investigations.

V. Title VI Complaint Procedures

How to file a Title VI Complaint?

Verbal and non-verbal written complaints shall be resolved informally by the ESSWFL Title VI/Nondiscrimination administrator, Erin Greenhalgh. The complainant may file a complaint up to one hundred and eighty (180) days from the date of the alleged discrimination.  If written, the complaint should include the following information:

  • Your name, mailing address, and how to contact you (i.e., telephone number, email address, etc.)
  • How, when, where and why you believe you were discriminated against. Include the location, names and contact information of any witnesses.
  • Other information that you deem significant

The Title VI Complaint Form may be used to submit the complaint information.  The complaint may be filed in writing with ESSWFL at the following address:

Easter Seals Southwest Florida
350 Braden Ave.
Sarasota, Florida 34243

What happens to the complaint after it is submitted?

All complaints alleging discrimination based on race, color or national origin in a service or benefit provided by ESSWFL will be directly addressed by the ESSWFL.  ESSWFL shall also provide appropriate assistance to complainants, including those persons with disabilities, or who are limited in their ability to communicate in English.  Additionally, ESSWFL shall make every effort to address all complaints in an expeditious and thorough manner.

A letter of acknowledging receipt of complaint will be mailed within seven days. Please note that in responding to any requests for additional information, a complainant’s   failure   to   provide   the   requested   information   may   result   in   the administrative closure of the complaint.

How will the complainant be notified of the outcome of the complaint?

ESSWFL will send a final written response letter to the complainant and/or their authorized representative. In the letter notifying complainant that the complaint is not substantiated, the complainant is also advised of his or her right to 1) appeal within seven calendar days of receipt of the final written decision from ESSWFL, and/or 2) file a complaint externally with the U.S. Department of Transportation and/or the FTA.  Every effort will be made to respond to Title VI complaints within 60 working days of receipt of such complaints, if not sooner.

Once sufficient information for investigating the complaint is received by ESSWFL, a written response will be drafted subject to review by the Easter Seals’ attorney.   If appropriate, the ESSWFL attorney may administratively close the complaint.  In this case, ESSWFL will notify the complainant of the action as soon as possible.

In addition to the complaint process described above, a complainant may file a Title VI Complaint with the following offices:

Local Coordinating Board (LCB)
7632 15th Street E
Sarasota, Florida 34243

Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights
Attention: Title VI Program Coordinator
East Building, 5th Floor – TCR
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, DC   20590

VI. Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Plan

The number of LEP clients using the ESSWFL buses is very low or at times non-existent because the stability of our client population.  The majority of language issues are due to developmental delay. ESSWFL plan presently is to discuss any incidents with parent/caretakers and social workers should a Title VI violation become an issue.

VII. Community Outreach

Community Outreach is a requirement of Title VI.  ESSWFL seeks out and considers the viewpoints of minority and low-income populations in the course of conducting its business. ESSWFL discusses busing plans and program options when service is commenced and at regular review of IEP with its Service Coordinator Jeanine Buzbee. ESSWFL buses are not open to the general public.

Appendix A – Employee Annual Education Form

Title VI Policy

No person shall, on the grounds of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

All employees of the ESSWFL are expected to consider, respect, and observe this policy in their daily work and duties. If a citizen approaches you with a question or complaint, direct him or her to  Linda Poteat-Brown.

In all dealings with citizens, use courtesy titles (i.e. Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss) to address them without regard to race, color or national origin.

Appendix B – Acknowledgement of Receipt of Title VI Plan

I hereby acknowledge the receipt of the ESSWFL’s Title VI Plan.  I have read the plan and am committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of its transit services on the basis of race, color, or national origin, as protected by Title VI in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Circular 4702.1

Your signature
Print your name
Date

Appendix C – TITLE VI COMPLAINT FORM

Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act requires that “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” If you feel you have been discriminated against in transit services, please provide the following information in order to assist us in processing your complaint and sent it to:

Easter Seals Southwest Florida
350 Braden Avenue
Sarasota, Florida 34243

Please print clearly: Name:

Address:

City, State, Zip Code:

Telephone Number:

(home)
(cell)
(message)

Person discriminated against:

Address of person discriminated against:

City, State, Zip Code:

Please indicate why you believe the discrimination occurred:

race or color national origin income

other

What was the date of the alleged discrimination?                                                                           

Where did the alleged discrimination take place?                                                                             

Please describe the circumstances as you saw it:                                                                          

Please list any and all witnesses’ names and phone numbers:

What type of corrective action would you like to see taken?

Please attach any documents you have which support the allegation. Then date and sign this form and send to the Title VI Coordinator at:

Linda Poteat -Brown
Easter Seals Southwest Florida
355 Braden Ave.
Sarasota, Florida 34243
or via email to egreenhalgh@easterseals-swfl.org
Ph. 941-355-7637

Your signature
Print your name
Date

APPENDIX D – Letter Acknowledging Receipt of Complaint

Today’s Date

Ms. Jo Doe
1234 Main St.
Clarksville, Tennessee 37040

Dear Ms. Doe:

This letter is to acknowledge receipt of your complaint against the ESSWFL alleging                                                     .

An investigation will begin shortly. If you have additional information you wish to convey or questions concerning this matter, please feel free to contact this office by telephoning 269.273.7808, or write to me at this address.

Easter Seals Southwest Florida
350 Braden Avenue
Sarasota, Florida 34234

Sincerely,

Linda Poteat -Brown
Title VI Coordinator

APPENDIX E – Letter Notifying Complainant that the Complaint Is Substantiated

Today’s Date

Ms. Jo Doe
1234 Main St.
Clarksville, Tennessee 37040

Dear Ms. Doe:

The matter referenced in your letter of alleging Title VI violation has been investigated.

(date) against the ESSWFL

(An/Several) apparent violation(s) of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including those mentioned in your letter (was/were) identified. Efforts are underway to correct these deficiencies.

Thank you for calling this important matter to our attention. You were extremely helpful during our review of the program. (If a hearing is requested, the following sentence may be appropriate.) You may be hearing from this office, or from federal authorities, if your services should be needed during the administrative hearing process.

Sincerely,

Title VI Coordinator

APPENDIX F – Letter Notifying Complainant that the Complaint Is Not Substantiated

Today’s Date

Ms. Jo Doe
1234 Main St.
Clarksville, Tennessee 37040

Dear Ms. Doe:

The matter referenced in your complaint of alleging (date) against the ESSWFL has been investigated.

The results of the investigation did not indicate that the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, had in fact been violated. As you know, Title VI prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in any program receiving federal financial assistance.

The ESSWFL has analyzed the materials and facts pertaining to your case for evidence of the city’s failure to comply with any of the civil rights laws. There was no evidence found that any of these laws have been violated.

I therefore advise you that your complaint has not been substantiated, and that I am closing this matter in our files.

You have the right to 1) appeal within seven calendar days of receipt of this final written decision from ESSWFL, and/or 2) file a complaint externally with the U.S. Department of Transportation and/or the Federal Transit Administration at

Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights
Attention: Title VI Program Coordinator
East Building, 5th Floor – TCR
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, DC   20590

Thank you for taking the time to contact us.  If I can be of assistance to you in the future, do not hesitate to call me.

Sincerely,

Title VI Coordinator

APPENDIX G – Samples of Narrative to be included in Posters to be Displayed in Vehicles and Facilities

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. Specifically, Title VI provides that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (42 U.S.C. Section 2000d).

Easter Seals Southwest Florida  is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of its transit services on the basis of race, color, or national origin, as protected by Title VI in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Circular 4702.1.A.  If you feel you are being denied participation in or being denied benefits of the transit services provided by ESSWFL, or otherwise being discriminated against because of your race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability, you may contact our office at 350 Braden Ave. Sarasota, FL 34243; 941-355-7637 

 

Notifying the Pubic of Rights Under Title VI

Easter Seals operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, and national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any person who believes she or he has been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a complaint with Easter Seals.

For more information on Easter Seals’ civil rights program, and the procedures to file a complaint, contact 941-355-7637, (TTY 800-807-7899);

Email: lpoteat-brown@easterseals-swfl.org; or visit our administrative office at: 350 Braden Ave., Sarasota, FL 34243

For more information, visit www.easterseals-swfl.org

If information is needed in another language, contact 941-355-7637

Linda Poteat-Brown
Human Resources and Title VI Director
Easter Seals Southwest Florida
350 Braden Avenue
Sarasota, Florida 34243
Ph. 941.355.7637


Code of Conduct

(adapted from the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida and Principles of

Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida)

  1. Easter Seals SWFL values the worth and dignity of every person, the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, acquisition of knowledge, and the nurture of democratic citizenship. Essential to the achievement of these standards are the freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all.
  2. Our primary concern is the student and the development of the student’s potential. Employees will therefore strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity.
  3. Concern for the student requires that our instructional personnel:
    1. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning and/or to the student’s mental and/or physical health and/or safety.
    2. Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of learning.
    3. Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view.
    4. Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student’s academic program.
    5. Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement.
    6. Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student’s legal rights.
    7. Shall not harass or discriminate against any student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition, sexual orientation, or social and family background and shall make reasonable effort to assure that each student is protected from harassment or discrimination.
    8. Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage.
    9. Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.
  4. Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of colleagues, of students, of parents, and of the community, employees of our school must display the highest degree of ethical conduct. This commitment requires that our employees:
    1. Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings.
    2. Shall not on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition if otherwise qualified, or social and family background deny to a colleague professional benefits or advantages or participation in any professional organization.
    3. Shall not interfere with a colleague’s exercise of political or civil rights and responsibilities.
    4. Shall not engage in harassment or discriminatory conduct which unreasonably interferes with an individual’s performance of professional or work responsibilities or with the orderly processes of education or which creates a hostile, intimidating, abusive, offensive, or oppressive environment; and, further, shall make reasonable effort to assure that each individual is protected from such harassment or discrimination.
    5. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague.
  5. Easter Seals SWFL disqualifies from employment any instructional personnel or school administrator who is convicted of an act listed under s.1012.315, F.S.
  6. Easter Seals SWFL conducts an employment history check before employing instructional personnel or school administrators in any position that requires direct contact with students and documents the findings.
  7. Easter Seals SWFL prohibits confidentiality agreements with instructional personnel or school administrators who are dismissed, terminated, or resign in lieu of termination due to misconduct that affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.
  8. Our teachers and staff are highly respected professionals and members of our communities; Easter Seals SWFL works hard to hold employees to a high standard of ethics and principles. Unfortunately, employees’ misconduct occurs and is a serious concern for communities and schools across the country.
  9. Easter Seals SWFL employees are required to attend complete training on the adopted standards of ethical conduct.
  10. Easter Seals SWFL employees have a duty to report misconduct by instructional personnel. This report is required to be done immediately.
  11. Consequences for failing to report misconduct may include: written reprimand, suspension with or without pay, termination of employment, and discipline/sanctions on an educator’s certificate.

Training Requirement:  All instructional personnel and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct.

Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators: All employees and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.  Examples of misconduct include obscene language, drug and alcohol use, disparaging comments, prejudice or bigotry, sexual innuendo, cheating or testing violations, physical aggression, and accepting or offering favors.  Reports of misconduct of employees should be made to the Human Resources Director.  Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to the Administrator.  Legally sufficient allegations of misconduct by Florida certified educators will -be reported to the Office of Professional Practices Services.  Policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student are posted in the school office and on our Web site.

Reporting Child Abuse, Abandonment or Neglect:  All employees and agents have an affirmative duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect.  Call 1-800-96-ABUSE or report online at: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/abuse/report/.

Liability Protections:  An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee to a prospective employer of the former or current employee upon the request of the prospective employer or of the former or current employee is immune from civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the current or former employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current employee protected under F.S. Chapter 760. (F.S. 768.095)

It is important to document the details of the event and to secure evidence, if available. Employees reporting misconduct will be sheltered under the liability protections provided under ss.39.203 and 768.095, F.S.

Misconduct can be reported to the Human Resources Director, principal or administrator.

Report to:

Name: Linda Poteat-Brown                                                         Jannon Pierce

Title: Human Resources Director                                               Vice President

Phone: 941-355-7637 x401                                                           941-355-7637 x404

Email: lpoteat-brown@easterseals-swfl.org                         jpierce@easterseals-swfl.org

 

Name: Don Herndon

Title: Principal

Phone: 941-355-7637 x425

Email: dherndon@easterseals-swfl.org