§17-610-3 - Nondiscrimination.

§17-610-3 Nondiscrimination.

         (a) The department shall not discriminate against an applicant or recipient in any aspect of program administration:

         (1) Including but not limited to certification of households, issuance of coupons, and conduct of fair hearings or any other program service for reasons of age, race, color, disability, sex, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs; and

         (2) As prohibited by the Food Stamp Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. §§2011-2027), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (42 U.S.C. §§6101-6107), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. §794), and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000d). Enforcement action may be brought under any applicable federal law. Title VI complaints shall be processed in accordance with the nondiscrimination provisions of part 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

         (b) The following complaint procedure shall be followed by persons aggrieved by alleged discriminatory acts:

         (1) Individuals may file a complaint with the Secretary of Agriculture or the Administrator of FNS, Washington, D.C. 20250, or with the department; and

         (2) A complaint shall be filed no later than one hundred eighty days from the date of the alleged discrimination. However, the time for filing may be extended by the Secretary of USDA. The branch shall accept all complaints of discrimination, written or verbal, and shall forward them promptly to the SNAPO to be submitted to the Secretary or the Administrator, FNS.

         (c) The following information on complaints shall be provided to facilitate investigations:

         (1) Name, address, and telephone number or other means of contacting the complainant;

         (2) Location and name of the entity responsible for providing service, which is accused of discriminatory practices;

         (3) The nature of the incident, action, or the aspect of program administration which is alleged to harm an applicant, recipient, or the individual making the complaint;

         (4) The basis for which the individual alleges discrimination exists;

         (5) Names, titles, and addresses of persons who may have knowledge of the alleged discriminatory acts; and

         (6) The date or dates on which the alleged discriminatory acts occurred.

         (d) If an individual verbally alleges that a discriminatory act was committed, and the individual refuses or is reluctant to put the complaint in writing, the person receiving the complaint shall document the complaint in writing. Every effort shall be made by the person accepting the complaint to have the complainant provide the information specified above. Written complaints shall be accepted by the Secretary or the Administrator even if the above information is not complete. Persons who file written complaints shall be encouraged to provide this information to facilitate investigation. Investigations shall be conducted as long as information requested under subsection (c)(2), (3), and (4) is provided. Civil rights complaints shall be resolved by FNS civil rights staff members together with the office of equal opportunity.

         (e) Notification to the public shall include:

         (1) The USDA nondiscrimination poster, "...and Justice for All" prominently displayed in the unit offices;

         (2) Applicants, recipients, and other low income households provided access to nondiscrimination and complaint procedures within ten days of a request; and

         (3) The department staff publicizing the procedure for handling discrimination complaints and explaining the complaint system to each individual who is interested in filing a complaint. Each individual may file a complaint with either FNS, the department, or both.

        [Eff 3/19/93; am and comp 6/24/13] (Auth: HRS §346-14) (Imp: 7 C.F.R. §272.6)

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