Nondiscrimination at INDOT
INDOT values each individual’s civil rights and wishes to provide equal opportunity and equitable service for the citizens of this state. As a recipient of federal funds, INDOT is required to conform to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and all related statutes, regulations, and directives, which provide that no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on the grounds of race, color or national origin.
Title VI seeks to prevent and eliminate existing discrimination and ensure that public funds are used for public benefit. Federal funds stem from tax dollars paid by all people and the programs and facilities developed from them must benefit everyone equally. This is Title VI in a nutshell. The Assurances2017 Assurances Signed.pdf must be signed by those who receive federal funds to create a mechanism for accountability to ensure these funds are equitably spent.
The Title VI obligation to not discriminate and to assess, address, and eliminate discrimination stems from the fact that we are recipients or subrecipients of federal funds designing, building and implementing programs and facilities for the beneficiaries (the general public) of these program and facilities. It does not matter if a particular program or facility we are developing uses federal funds or not. Once they receive even $1 of federal funds, a city, town or other entity must continually comply with Title VI. (See the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987).
The full text of Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Since Title VI was passed, additional regulations and executive orders have extended that list to also include prohibitions for discrimination against others on the basis of: Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Age, Disability, Religion, Income Status, or Limited English Proficiency.
Recipients of federal funds are required to have a Title VI Program Manager, grievance procedure & complaint log, evidence of regular Title VI training, signed Assurances of nondiscrimination, evidence of subrecipient monitoring, and an Annual Title VI Implementation Plan demonstrating that they have integrated Title VI requirements into their programs to remain eligible to receive federal funds.
INDOT has outlined its Title VI Program in its Title VI Implementation Plan. The most recent plan(s) are posted online below in our Policies, Practices & Program Documents subsection. In addition to our Title VI Implementation Plan, INDOT now posts separately its Annual Goals & Accomplishments Report. This document addresses specifically what INDOT has accomplished the previous program year and what INDOT plans to accomplish during the upcoming year.
INDOT is a large transportation agency. To effectively implement Title VI requirements, INDOT employs the following strategy: Title VI liaisons are identified for each Program Area (e.g. maintenance, design, communication, contracts) and for each District Office. These liaisons are the key point of contact for the Title VI Program Manager. The liaisons ensure data collection and tasks for their program area or District office remain on track and that the Title VI Program Manager receives the information required for recordkeeping and reporting.
In addition, Program Area Representatives (PARs) are identified within a program area as subject matter experts for each area where data is being collected or a policy is being implemented or revised. For example, INDOT has a liaison for its Real Estate Division and a PAR for the areas of Appraising, Buying, Condemnation, and Relocation within that Division. This puts branches on the tree and limbs on the branches to ensure Title VI is fully implemented at INDOT and that there are enough people to effectively monitor all of our diverse program areas for discrimination. It spreads the workload across a broader network of individuals and ensures that subject matter experts are involved in analyzing our programs.
Our Title VI Requirements can be summarized as ensuring that we:
- Have a Title VI Coordinator / Program Manager
- Develop and post a nondiscrimination policy
- Sign the Assurances of Nondiscrimination
- Obtain Title VI Training and Train Staff regularly
- Have a Grievance Procedure and a Complaint Log
- Have an Annual Title VI Implementation Plan
- Develop and Annuals Goals & Accomplishments Report
- Monitor Subrecipients for Compliance
- Have a Public Involvement Plan (including EJ & LEP segments of our community)
- Review and Monitor our own Compliance
You can read more about INDOT’s Title VI implementation in our Implementation Plan and Annual Goals & Accomplishments Report. You may also contact our Title VI & ADA Program Manager with any questions or concerns related to our nondiscrimination & accessibility programs.
INDOT’s Title VI & ADA Program Manager is:
Erin L. Hall
Attorney, Title VI & ADA Program Manager (Coordinator)
Indiana Government Center North, Room 750
100 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204
A short list of relevant authorities includes (but is not limited to):
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI)
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (The ADA)
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) (29 USC 790)
- The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987
- Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice (EJ) Low Income & Minorities
- Executive Order 13166 on Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Linguistic Minorities
- Executive Orders 11246 on job discrimination
- The 1970 Uniform Act (42 USC 4601)
- The 1973 Federal-aid Highway Act (23 USC 324)
- The 1975 Age Discrimination Act (42 USC 6101)
- Implementing Regulations (49 CFR 21 & 23 CFR 200)
INDOT’s Non-Discrimination Mission Statement
The Indiana Department of Transportation will implement compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI); 49 CFR § 26; and related statutes and regulations to ensure that no person is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on the grounds of religion, race, color, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, low income status or limited English proficiency .
INDOT'S Non-Discrimination Policy Statement
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) values each individual’s civil rights and wishes to provide equal opportunity and equitable service for the citizens of this state. As a recipient of federal funds, INDOT is required to conform to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and all related statutes, regulations, and directives; which provide that no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on the grounds of religion, race, color, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, low income status or limited English proficiency.
INDOT’s Title VI Implementation Plan
As a recipient of Federal Funds, INDOT is required to develop and implement a Title VI Implementation Plan each year and submit it to FHWA (The Federal Highway Administration) on or before October 1 annually. Our Title VI Implementation Plan describes how we monitor and implement Title VI, how our agency is organized, and how we monitor subrecipients of federal funds. The following elements are included in our Implementation Plan:
- Policy Statement
- Standard USDOT Assurances
- Organization & Staffing
- Program Area Review Procedures
- Special Emphasis Program Areas
- Subrecipient Review Procedures
- Data Collection
- Complaint Procedures
- Dissemination of Title VI information
- Limited English Proficiency
- Environmental Justice
- Review of directives for Title VI Compliance
- Compliance and enforcement procedures
Our current Title VI plan can be found by following the link below. For historical documents, please contact our Title VI Program Manager.
INDOT’s Annual Goals & Accomplishment Report
In addition to our annual Title VI Implementation Plan, INDOT prepares and submits and annual goals and accomplishments report. This includes specific information about the programs we have evaluated, the complaints received, and what action INDOT is taking to address Title VI concerns and ensure compliance. Our Goals & Accomplishments Report includes information about:
- The number of program areas reviewed during the previous year and those which will be reviewed during the upcoming year.
- The number and type of subrecipient reviews conducted during the previous year and a discussion of the outcomes, as well as the number planned for the upcoming year.
- Title VI training conducted, including the type of training, number and type of individuals trained and materials. Identifies training goals and opportunities for the upcoming year also.
- Aa summary disposition of all complaints received and identify any changes made to programs as a result or further action required.
- Discussion of the data collected and analyzed for all program areas generally and for special emphasis program areas with particularity. Identifies what data will be collected and how it will be analyzed during the upcoming program year.
Our most recent Goals & Accomplishments Report can be found below. For historical documents, please contact our Title VI Program Manager.
INDOT Strives to Provide an opportunity for public involvement and access to the transportation decision making process in every stage of the planning and development of transportation projects to everyone, including minority or low‐income communities and populations who are not proficient in English. Comments may be submitted at any time to our Title VI Program Manager, Erin Hall, at Ehall2@INDOT.IN.gov.
Our Public Involvement Plan addresses further how we ensure all persons can have equal access to our programs and how participation opportunities are made available. More information about public involvement opportunities can be found at www.in.gov/indot/2366.htm .
INDOT utilizes a public involvement survey to collect, analyze and report demographic data related to whom we are engaging with on a yearly basis. These surveys are voluntary and data collected is used to determine how we can continually improve our public involvement practices. Our Title VI Public Involvement Survey can be found at www.in.gov/indot/files/PI_TitleVIPISurvey_2015.pdf .
One of INDOT’s program goals in implementing and adhering to its Title VI obligations is to improve the accessibility of its programs and activities to eligible Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons, e.g. those persons who have a limited ability to read, write, speak or understand English.
INDOT continues to strive to improve its data collection efforts to better track the actual number of LEP individuals encountered in the delivery of services so that INDOT may continue to evaluate the effectiveness of its LEP Implementation Plan. Training provided to INDOT employees in person or via the online module contains information about LEP requirements and tools INDOT uses to gather information on an ongoing basis about LEP needs. INDOT has also aligned itself with the safe harbor provisions pursuant to FTA Circular 4702.1B and maintains a separate Title VI Plan addendum specific to FTA’s Title VI Program requirements. The safe harbor provisions implemented by INDOT comply with the following FTA requirement:
Translations (of vital documents) must be in each LEP language group that is 5% or 1,000 people (whichever is less) of the total population eligible to be served. Providing these translations shows compliance and provides a “safe harbor” for transit providers that receive federal funding.
INDOT’s LEP information gathering tools include the use of the following:
- Internal LEP Report Form
- “I Speak” Cards
- Ability of the public to request language services and translation services as appropriate.
- Use of demographic information, not limited to but including census information to determine whether LEP resources and / or alternative advertising measures should be considered as part of public involvement activities. (This information can be found in our LEP Plan)
- Employee language questionnaires
LEP information is included in INDOT’s internal training and customer service staff will track, record, and monitor the number of LEP requests and individuals encountered.
INDOT’s LEP Plan
This information can also be found in Appendix E of our Title VI Implementation Plan
The scope of this analysis is limited to a county level evaluation of the 92 counties in Indiana and a review of the proportion of persons who have a limited ability to speak English using the American Community Survey measure of individuals who self-reported that they “speak English less than very well.”
INDOT based its four-factor analysis on the U.S. Census Bureau 2007-2011 American Community Survey (ACS) data.
Factor 1: The number or proportion of LEP persons served or encountered in the eligible service population
Using the American FactFinder website to locate census data, INDOT downloaded information from the table “B16001- Languages Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak English for the Populations 5 Years and Over” and calculated the total percentage of individuals for each county who reported that they spoke English less than very well. INDOT elected to use the information contained in this table for its LEP analysis because it gives the most detailed information available. The ACS uses continuous data collection methods to provide free updates regarding population demographics.
In communities where the 5% /1,000 threshold has been met or exceeded, INDOT identifies which languages are spoken to determine if that segment of the population who does not speak English very well also speak a specific language. In any case where 5% / 1,000 persons of the population who does not speak English very well ALSO speaks a specific language (e.g. Spanish or German), INDOT will translate all vital documents into this language within reason. INDOT also maintains a translation request form that may be used to request translation of larger documents. In Indiana, six (6) counties currently meet or come close to meeting this safe harbor threshold. Those counties are highlighted in yellow in the table below.
Also, In any case, where INDOT has reason to believe a specific population who does not speak English very well will be impacted by its activities, programs or projects, pursuant to INDOT’s ongoing environmental justice, Title VI and LEP commitment, INDOT will provide a translation request form, which has been translated into the requisite language, during, and in many cases, prior to public meetings in order to ensure INDOT’s vital documents are made available and members of the public may make any reasonable request for language services.
Factor 2: The frequency with which LEP individuals encounter INDOT’s programs, activities or services
In 2010, INDOT began conducting annual reviews of its core programs, which include an LEP component. INDOT has since included LEP training as part of its employee training materials and has a PAR in every district and subdistrict, as well as INDOT’s customer service division, who will be trained in procedures for tracking and monitoring LEP requests and encounters with LEP individuals. “I Speak Cards” have been made available together with an LEP Report Form used to collect and track LEP requests and needs. In 2016 INDOT also developed a form to request translation of any of its documents into a language other than English. While the requests must be reasonable, these translations are not limited to vital documents. Vital documents will be translated into languages spoken when the safe harbor requirements have been met. In 2016-17, INDOT will translate vital documents into Spanish and review whether translation into one Germanic language would be beneficial to our Amish community in order to meet the safe harbor requirements.
INDOT’s goal is to improve its data collection efforts to better track the actual number of LEP individuals encountered in the delivery of services so that INDOT may continue to evaluate the effectiveness of its LEP Implementation Plan and provide effective communication and meaningful access to its programs and opportunities for LEP populations so they may fully engage in the transportation planning process.
Factor 3: Nature and importance of the programs, activities or services provided by INDOT
The services provided by INDOT are important service that can have great impact on LEP persons. Indiana citizens play a substantial role in shaping the transportation decisions that will affect their communities. Residents rely on the transportation system to move around their communities and through the state for work and pleasure. Visitors rely on the system to reach their destinations and return safely home. Businesses rely on the system to move products and materials. A solid transportation system is one of the top three drivers for economic development. In addition to their reliance on the system to meet transportation needs, all of these users have a stake in transportation decisions because they are taxpayers.
Factor 4: Agency Available Resources
INDOT has the following resources available to provide language services as the need arises in the delivery of its services and programs.
- An LEP plan, which is included in INDOT’s Title VI Implementation Plan that outlines how INDOT is to provide language assistance to the LEP population including when translation of vital documents will occur and may occur when a reasonable language services request is made.
- Quantity Purchase Agreements (QPAs) for interpretation services Face-to-Face. QPAs are contracts between the State of Indiana and vendors in which commodities are supplied to Indiana State Agencies on an on-going, as-needed basis. QPAs benefit the state by enabling the state to aggregate its purchases to achieve bulk pricing. INDOT awards QPAs via the competitive bid process. INDOT does not have a QPA for documentation translations. Instead, INDOT obtains document translations on an as needed basis via its traditional procurement process.
- A listing of multilingual employees who have agreed to provide volunteer translation and interpretation services on an as needed basis as determined by an employee questionnaire provided upon hire.
INDOT's Six Point LEP Plan
Some notification ideas include:
- Posting signs in areas where the public is likely to read them.
- Stating in outreach documents (brochures, booklets, pamphlets, flyers) that language services are available.
- Working with community-based organizations to inform LEP persons of the language assistance available.
- Using a telephone voice mail menu in the most common languages encountered.
- Including notices in local newspapers in languages other than English for important events.
- Providing notices on non-English language radio and television stations about the availability of language assistance services for important events.
- Providing presentations and notices at schools and religious organizations for important events or where community involvement is critical.
- Providing a document translation (and / or interpretation services ) request form / notice translated into other languages when INDOT is aware that a significant number of persons will be impacted by INDOT programs or activities who speak a language other than English, regardless of county-wide census data.
2 - Translate Vital Documents
A document is considered vital if it contains critical information for obtaining services or benefit or is required by law. To further assist INDOT employees in determining whether or not a document should be considered vital INDOT employees should consider whether or not the document’s core purpose is related public engagement activities. Public engagement activities may include:
- Solicitation of public comments
- Circulation of pre-decisional document for public inspection
- Circulation of public notices
- Public information related to key INDOT procedures, projects, or activities which may be reasonably likely to have a significant impact on an LEP population.
INDOT program areas requiring interaction with the public as a daily part of their delivery of services should assess the LEP population and the frequency and importance of contact with LEP persons to ascertain the necessity for translating vital documents. Examples of vital documents that require consideration for translation into Spanish (Indiana’s largest LEP population) include the following:
- Emergency transportation information, such as road closures;
- Notices of proposed public hearings regarding proposed transportation plans, projects or changes;
- Notices of reduction, denial or termination of services or benefits;
- Signs in reception areas and other points of initial entry;
- Notices advising LEP persons of free language assistance;
- Statements about the services available and the right to free language assistance services in brochures, booklets, outreach and recruitment information, and other materials routinely disseminated to the public;
- Applications or instructions regarding participating in a program or activity or to receive benefits or services; and
- Consent forms.
Whether or not a document (or the information it solicits) is “vital” will depend on the importance of the program, information, encounter or service involved, and the consequence to the LEP person if the information in question is not accurate or received in a timely manner. Where appropriate, program managers are encouraged to create a plan for consistently determining what documents are “vital” to the meaningful access of the LEP populations they serve.
Where program managers are engaged in community outreach efforts as part of their programs and activities, they should regularly assess the needs of the populations frequently encountered or affected by the program to determine whether certain critical outreach materials should be translated.
3- Interpretation Services
INDOT recognizes the need for greater oral and written communication with limited and non-English speaking persons located within the state. Central Office and each District office attempt to identify the language needs within its jurisdiction and current bilingual staff resources to meet those needs. Where communication of key or vital information is involved, INDOT employs the use of interpretation and translation services to ensure effective communication can be achieved. Best practices suggest that:
- INDOT should develop a listing of local Community-Based Organizations (CBO’s) and other stakeholders that includes the specific language skills available among each CBO's staff and volunteers. This often occurs as part of our EJ analysis during the environmental stage of project planning.
- When INDOT bilingual staff resources are insufficient to meet language assistance needs, INDOT staff should assist LEP persons in securing volunteer interpretive services from advocacy groups. In addition, INDOT employs the use of interpretation services when a request is made or when the threshold is met for the safe harbor requirement.
- Translations of commonly requested documents, bilingual staff and telephone interpreter services should be made available at locations that are readily accessible to the public, such as information desks, security checkpoints, and on public information telephone lines.
- Programs should not rely on family members or friends to translate or interpret for LEP persons. If the LEP customer insists upon using a friend or family member, it should be allowed only after language services have been offered and refused. Minor children should not be used to interpret, except in emergencies. Our LEP report form tracks whether or not this practice is occurring, when and how often.
- Each INDOT component, program or activity identified as warranting language assistance measures should budget for language services to ensure that adequate resources exist for interpreters, translation and review of documents, and outreach. Notwithstanding any limitations of the current budget, programs should include language assistance resources as items in their future budget requests. Programs should be prepared to justify any failure to request funding for language assistance where the data indicates a need for such assistance.
4 - Staff Training
INDOT staff should be properly trained so they know and understand their obligations to provide meaningful access to information and services for LEP persons. INDOT’s current in-person and online training materials for employees include LEP requirements and policies. Training will be updated as these policies change. In 2017 INDOT staff will receive targeted training on recognizing vital documents.
5 - Multilingual Staffing
In-house multilingual staffing is a cost-effective way to provide language services to LEP individuals. When needs dictate, bilingual ability should be considered. The challenge with this approach is that very few individuals self-identify as both bilingual and willing to provide translation services.
Best practices suggest that:
- INDOT create a directory of multilingual staff willing to volunteer their language skills on an as needed basis.
- Bilingual staff should be trained and versed in the standards of the interpreting profession.
- Bilingual staff or contractors should be assessed for bilingual proficiency, interpretation skills and sensitivity to the special confidentiality issues raised by interpreting for others. Individuals providing interpretative services should possess a level of fluency and comprehension appropriate to the specific nature, type and purpose of information at issue. Bilingual staff should be encouraged and enabled to access interpreter and translation training.
Complaints may be filed by any person who believes that they have been excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under any INDOT service, program, or activity whether federally funded or not, based on their race, color, national origin, gender, age, disability, ancestry, income status or Limited English Proficiency. A complaint may also be filed by a representative on behalf of such a person. The signed complaint must be filed within 180 days of the date of the alleged discrimination. INDOT will promptly investigate all properly submitted complaints of alleged discrimination.
INDOT will also attempt to resolve such complaints and will take corrective action upon a finding of a substantiated complaint. Within 60 days of the date a complaint is received, INDOT will submit its final investigative report to FHWA. INDOT's complaint process provides a procedure for appeal of all unsubstantiated claims of discrimination.
Complaints may be filed using any one of the following methods:
- Print a Title VI Complaint Form, complete, sign, date and return the form to Erin Hall, Title VI/ADA Program Manager, Economic Opportunity Division, INDOT, 100 N. Senate N750, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
- Complete the online Complaint Form.
- Write out the complaint in your own words and include:
- Your name, address and telephone number. If you are filing a complaint on behalf of another person, include their name, address, telephone number and your relationship to that person.
- The name and address of the person, company, agency, institution, or department you believe discriminated against you.
- A description of how, why and when you believe you were discriminated again. Include as much detail and information as possible about the alleged acts of discrimination.
- The names of any persons that can be contacted for additional information to support or clarify your allegations.
A complainant's identity shall be kept confidential except to the extent necessary for carrying out an investigation. If INDOT determines that it is necessary to disclose the complainant's identity to the alleged person who discriminated or a third-party, then INDOT must first obtain the written consent of the complainant. Furthermore, a complainant's written consent must be obtained before a copy of the complaint may be provided to the person alleged to have discriminated against the complainant or any third-party.
INDOT’s Complaint Policy
INDOT has a complaint policy for complaints of discrimination related to Title VI and will promptly investigate all properly submitted complaints of alleged discrimination. Note that ALL COMPLAINTS AGAINST INDOT will be referred to the Federal Highway Division (FHWA) or the appropriate Federal Agency for investigation while INDOT will investigate complaints filed against subrecipients over whom INDOT has oversight authority.
INDOT will promptly investigate all properly submitted complaints of alleged discrimination. INDOT will also attempt to resolve such complaints and take corrective action upon a finding of a substantiated complaint. Within 60 days of receiving a complete complaint, INDOT will submit its final confidential investigative report to FHWA. INDOT’s complaint process provides a procedure for appeal of all unsubstantiated claims of discrimination.
A. Complaints Investigation Procedures
The Title VI/ADA Program Manager will make a determination to accept, reject or refer to the appropriate federal/state agency a complaint within ten (10) calendar days of its receipt. Complaints are not considered received until they are submitted to INDOT as complete complaints, both signed and in writing.
INDOT will determine whether the person or entity purportedly engaged in the alleged discriminatory act is an INDOT sub-recipient (the legal entity to which INDOT made a sub-award and which is accountable to the recipient for the use of the funds provided). If the complaint does not specifically mention that the alleged discriminatory actor is an INDOT sub-recipient, INDOT may presume so in deciding whether to accept the complaint for further processing.
These procedures apply to all complaints filed under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its related statutes, regulations and directives; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These procedures do not affect the right of the Complainant to file formal complaints with other state or federal agencies or to seek private counsel for complaints alleging discrimination. These procedures are part of an administrative process that does not provide for remedies that include punitive damages or compensatory remuneration for the Complainant.
INDOT will make every effort to facilitate a voluntary early resolution of complaints at the lowest level possible. INDOT may exercise the option of informal resolution at any stage of the process. The Title VI/ADA Program Manager will make every effort to pursue a resolution of the complaint.
The Title VI/ADA Program Manager will refer all complaints against INDOT to the FHWA or the appropriate Federal agency.
B. Who May File a Complaint
Any person who believes that he or she has been excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of or otherwise subjected to discrimination under any INDOT service, program or activity whether federally funded or not, based on their race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, religion, income status or Limited English Proficiency may file a complaint. A complainant's representative may also file a complaint on behalf of such a person.
C. Timeliness of Complaints
For a complaint against INDOT or a sub-recipient to be considered timely, it must be filed within 180 calendar days after the alleged incident has occurred. INDOT may waive the 180-day time limit for good cause at its discretion. The file date of a complaint is the earlier of the postmark or date a signed, written complaint is received by INDOT.
INDOT will determine on a case-by-case basis whether to waive the 180 calendar day time limit for good cause. Good cause for a waiver shall include, but is not limited to, the following instances:
Lack of Knowledge
INDOT may waive the time limit in situations where the person on whose behalf the complaint was filed did not know of and could not have reasonably known of the violation during the 180-day time limit. The complaint must file his or her complaint within 60 days of becoming knowledgeable of the violation.
INDOT may also waive the time limit in situations where the person on whose behalf the complaint was filed was incapacitated because of illness or other incapacitating circumstances. The Complainant must provide independent documentation of the purported incapacitation. The complainant must file his or her complaint within 60 days after the period of incapacity ends.
Location/Availability of Complaint Forms
INDOT will make its complaint forms available online via the INDOT website. Additionally, persons may contact the Title VI/ADA Program Manager to request a copy of the complaint form via email, facsimile or United States mail. INDOT’s Title VI/ADA Program Manager shall provide copies of its complaint form in alternative formats upon request. Complainants are encouraged, but not required, to use the complaint form when filing a complaint.
How to File A Complaint
While a Complainant may preliminarily submit his or her complaint by online form submission, mail, facsimile, or email to the Title VI / ADA Program Manager, a signed, original copy of the complaint must be mailed to the Title VI / ADA Program Manager to officially begin the complaint process. Any person with a disability may request to file his or her complaint using an alternative format. INDOT does not require a Complainant to use the INDOT complaint form when submitting his or her complaint. A copy INDOT’s Complaint Form and related Notices are included in Appendix C.
Direct all complaints of discrimination pursuant to Title VI to:
Erin L. Hall
Attorney, Title VI & ADA Program Manager (Coordinator)
Indiana Government Center North, Room 750
100 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 234-6142 (Phone)
(317) 233-0891 (Facsimile)
Elements of Complete Complaints
A complaint must be both written and signed to be complete. Verbal complaints must be reduced to writing and provided to the Complainant for confirmation, review and signature before processing.
Additionally, a complaint must include the following information:
- The full name and address of the Complainant;
- The full name and address of the Respondent, the individual, agency, department or program that allegedly discriminated against Complainant; and
- A description of the alleged discriminatory act(s) that violated Title VI (i.e., an act of intentional discrimination or one that has the effect of discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability) and the date of occurrence.
The following items are not acceptable as a complete complaint unless accompanied by a signed cover letter that specifically requests INDOT take action concerning the allegations:
- Anonymous complaints
- Inquiries seeking advice or information
- Newspaper articles
- Courtesy copies of court pleadings
- Courtesy copies of complaints addressed to other agencies
- Courtesy copies of internal grievances
- Oral complaints
The Title VI/ADA Program Manager shall notify the Complainant in writing if his or her complaint is incomplete and allot 15 calendar days for the Complainant to respond and provide the supplemental information needed to complete the complaint.
The Title VI/ADA Program Manager will process all complaints. The Title VI/ADA Program Manager is responsible for:
- Maintaining a log of all complaints. The Title VI/ADA Program Manager will note the complaint in the log by sequential case number based on the year, month and order in which INDOT received the complaint. For example, if INDOT received its first complaint on March 4, 2011, the case number would be 2011-03-04.
- Acknowledging receipt of the complaint and informing the Complainant of the action taken or proposed action to be taken to process the complaint in the form of an acknowledgement letter. The acknowledgement letter shall include a restatement of the complaint, brief statement of INDOT’s jurisdiction over the sub-recipient, and contact information for the investigator assigned to conduct the investigation.
- Providing written notice of the complaint to the FHWA within 10 working days of receipt of the complaint.
- Forwarding a notice via certified mail to the Respondent informing them of the allegations, requesting a position statement and providing the name and telephone number of the Title VI Program staff person assigned to investigate the complaint.
- Informing the Complainant that he or she has a right: (1) to have a witness or representative present during any interviews and (2) to submit any documentation he or she perceives as relevant to proving the allegations contained in the complaint.
- Providing the Respondent an opportunity to respond to all aspects of the Complainant’s allegations.
- Determining which witnesses will be contacted and interviewed.
- Contacting the Complainant to provide the Complainant an opportunity to provide additional information before INDOT prepares its final report to be forwarded to FHWA.
- Writing a confidential investigative report (IR) and forwarding a copy of the same to the FHWA within 180 calendars days following the receipt of the complaint by INDOT. The report shall not be disclosed to the Complainant or Respondent. The report shall include the following:
- A summary of the written complaint;
- A brief description of the standard of review/methodology used to investigate the complaint;
- Summarized statements taken from witnesses;
- Findings of fact and an analysis of the evidence gathered. The analysis should address each allegation in the complaint and Respondent’s position;
- A determination, based on the preponderance of evidence presented, of whether the complaint is substantiated or unsubstantiated; and
- Proposed corrective action for substantiated cases.
- Drafting a Letter of Findings (LOF) and mailing the LOF to the FHWA, Respondent and Complainant within 180 calendar days of the date the complaint was received by INDOT. The LOF will include the following:
- A summary of the written complaint;
- A brief description of the standard of review/methodology used to investigate the complaint;
- Findings of fact and an analysis of the evidence gathered. The analysis should address each allegation in the complaint and Respondent’s position;
- A determination, based on the preponderance of evidence presented, of whether the complaint is substantiated or unsubstantiated;
- Proposed corrective action for substantiated cases; and
- A notice of the right to appeal to the FHWA with an outline of the procedures for appeal.
If INDOT recommends corrective action, INDOT will give the Respondent 30 calendar days to inform INDOT of the actions taken for compliance. The Title VI/ADA Program Manager shall monitor Respondent’s corrective action compliance.
Corrective action may include actions that the Respondent will complete at a future date after the initial 30 days and must include projected time in which the Respondent will complete the action.
If the Respondent has not taken the recommended corrective action within the 30-day period allowed, INDOT will find the Respondent to be in noncompliance with Title VI and its implementing regulations. Noncompliance not corrected by informal means as described above may be subject to sanctions as per 49 CFR § 21.13.
It is the general practice of INDOT to investigate all complete complaints not referred to other agencies for investigation; however, INDOT may administratively close a complaint at its discretion. The types of complaints that may be administratively closed and will not be investigated include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Incomplete Complaints
- Complaints that fail to state a claim or provide any substantial or coherent claim;
- Complaints that are outside the scope of INDOT’s Title VI jurisdiction;
- Untimely complaints filed more than 180 days after the alleged discriminatory acts;
- Complaints voluntarily withdrawn by the Complainant;
- Complaints in which the investigation has been impaired by INDOT’s inability to locate the Complainant;
- Complaints that are a continuation of a pattern of previously filed complaints involving the same or similar allegations against the same recipient or other recipients that repeatedly have been found factually or legally unsubstantiated by INDOT;
- Complaints containing the same allegations and issues that have been addressed in a recently closed complaint or compliance review conducted by INDOT;
- Complaints containing allegations that are foreclosed by previous decisions by the Federal courts, Department of Justice or INDOT policy determinations;
- Complaints filed for complainants or parties who refuse to cooperate with the investigation and whose lack of cooperation substantially impairs the completion of the investigation. In such circumstances, the Complainant should be contacted and advised that their lack of cooperation has hindered the investigation. Furthermore, the Complainant must be advised that continued failure to cooperate may result in an administrative closure of the complaint without further investigation;
- Complaints transferred to another agency for investigation; and
- Complaints where the death of a Complainant makes it impossible to investigate the allegations fully or the death of the Complainant forecloses the possibility of relief because the complaint involved potential relief solely for the Complainant or injured party.
INDOT shall notify Complainants in writing via certified mail when a determination is made to administratively close a case without further investigation. The notification shall include an explanation of the basis for the administrative closure.
The Complainant has the right to appeal to the FHWA any determination that results in an unsubstantiated claim. INDOT will convey to the Complainant the procedures for filing the appeal to the FHWA along with the Letter of Findings. The procedure for filing an appeal with FHWA is:
- Complainant must submit the appeal in writing to the Title VI/ADA Program Manager within 14 calendar days of receipt of INDOT’s Letter of Findings.
- Complainant must cite in the appeal the specific portion(s) of the finding with which the Complainant disagrees and the reason(s) for the disagreement.
- INDOT will forward the appeal and the record within seven calendar days to FHWA for review.
- FHWA has 30 calendar days after the receipt of the appeal to complete its review.
- Written findings of FHWA are then sent to the Complainant and the INDOT Commissioner.
In accordance with DOT Order 1000.12, INDOT shall keep all complainants' identities confidential except to the extent necessary for carrying out an investigation. If an investigator determines that it is necessary to disclose the Complainant’s identity to the Respondent or a third party the investigator must first obtain Complainant’s written permission. INDOT may refer complaints to the appropriate agency or entity (typically FHWA) without obtaining permission as referral may be required. INDOT will notify Complainant of the referral at the time the referral is made. Otherwise, INDOT shall obtain a Complainant’s written consent before providing a copy of the complaint to the Respondent or a third party.
INDOT’s Title VI Program Manager shall maintain all records of an investigation in a confidential area for three years after the completion of the investigation