DEAR DAWG: You have to file a complaint within 15 days, right? I know that’s the rule they applied to me when I filed a grievance years ago when I was a teacher. The principal had been interfering with my planning and prep time and so I exercised my rights—I filed a grievance. But the no goodniks in the administration tossed it out because they said it was “untimely.” They said that Policy DGBA requires grievances to be filed within 15 days of when I knew I’d been done wrong. I was frustrated about that, but I’m a team player, so I got over it. But now I’m on the other end of this thing. Now I’m the principal, and this teacher has come forward with this grievance way too late. I intend to deny it on the basis of being “untimely.” FAIR PLAY IS WHAT I’M ABOUT.
DEAR FAIR PLAY: Take another look at your policies. DGBA does have a 15-day timeline, but I think you will find that DGBA does not apply to complaints of sexual harassment. Most districts that use the TASB Policy service put the sexual harassment complaints by employees in DIA Local. I’m looking at one district’s DIA Local right now, and it says this:
Reports of prohibited conduct shall be made as soon as possible after the alleged act or knowledge of the alleged act. A failure to promptly report may impair the District’s ability to investigate and address the prohibited conduct.
So don’t deny the complaint on the basis of it being “untimely.” It’s not untimely. You might want to inform the teacher that it’s helpful to get these reports more promptly, but you have a duty to investigate and take appropriate action, even though the complaint involves things that happened months ago.
When you think about it for a moment, this makes sense. We don’t want to belittle your gripes about your planning and prep time, but that kind of thing is the sort of routine “labor v. management” dispute that DGBA is all about. Sexual harassment is a more serious matter. Furthermore, we know that people are often reluctant or afraid to report a complaint of such a personal nature. So there is no timeline. Now that you are one of the “no goodniks in the administration” you need to know these things.
DAWG BONE: NO 15-DAY TIMELINE FOR A SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINT
File this one under: SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Tomorrow: Does a sexual harassment complaint have to be put in writing?