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Client Discrimination Complaint Procedure

There Are Four Different Types of Complaints

A complainant can file a complaint verbally or in writing

  • Informal: You can ask to speak to a supervisor to talk about problems with a worker or to go over the rules and the proposed action on your aid or services.

  • Client Concerns: You can file a complaint with the Agency's Client Concerns Rep. if you are not receiving the service you believe you are entitled. This does not protect your benefits in the way that asking for a state hearing does. For more information regarding Client Concerns (click here).

  • State Hearing: Ask for a state hearing if there is a problem with your aid or services. You must ask for a hearing within 90 days of the county's action. You may be able to file after 90 days if you have a good reason, like illness or a disability. For more information regarding a State Hearing/Appeal (click here).

  • Discrimination Complaint: If you feel that the county has discriminated against you, you can make a discrimination complaint to the County's Clients' Civil Rights Officer.
    • If the discrimination also affects your benefits or services, you must also ask for a state hearing (Appeal) or resolve through Client Concerns if you wish to challenge the County's decision on your benefits or services.

Role and Purpose of the Angecy's Clients' Civil Right Office

The Social Services Agency Civil Rights Officer investigates complaints of discrimination or retaliation filed by Agency's clients and applicants of public assistance. The authority to investigate is governed by The California Department of Social Services and Division 21. The role of the Civil Rights Officer is to objectively investigate allegations of discrimination and render findings on complaints. All investigations are handled in a manner that maintains confidentially to the extent reasonably possible.

What Kind of Complaints Can be Filed?

Discrimination complaints submitted for investigation must be based on one or more of the following:

  • Age
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Gender Expression
  • Gender Identity
  • Marital Status
  • National Origin
  • Political Affiliation
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Retaliation
  • Sex
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Other

    If you think there is discrimination that does not fit any of the factors above but you believe it should be, please state it

How to File a Discrimination Complaint?

A Complainant can file a complaint verbally or in writing

  • A complainant can email or call direct:
    Stephanie Barnes
    Clients' Civil Rights Officer
    2000 San Pablo Avenue, 4th Floor - Suite 420
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Office: (510) 907-0642
    Fax: (510) 645-9318

The information that the Civil Rights Officer will likely need includes the following:

  1. Client/Applicant name and contact information
  2. The basis of the complaint (e.g. race, gender, religion)
  3. The discriminatory action(s) taken against the complainant (e.g. denial of benefits, no reasonable accommodation made, etc.)
  4. The actual date(s) the incident(s) took place.
  5. The names, job title, division, location of the individual(s) accused of discrimination.
  6. A detailed explanation of the sequence of events which you believe to be discriminatory.
  7. The specific action or corrective measure the complainant is seeking.

A complainant can complete the Discrimination Complaint Form below:

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What is the Filing Deadline?

A complainant must be filed the discrimination complaint with the Agency within 180 days from the date the alleged discriminatory action occurred unless the time for filing is extended by the Civil Rights Officer for good cause.

How is the Complaint Investigated?

Upon receipt of the complaint, the Clients' Civil Rights Officer will send a letter to the complainant acknowledging receipt of the complaint within 20 calendar days. The Officer may either contact the person in writing or over the phone to schedule an interview. The interview affords the Officer the opportunity to clarify the issues involved and also allows the person filing the complaint the opportunity to present the complaint in more detail.

The investigation may include reviewing and obtaining copies of relevant documents (Notice of Action, information from files, etc.), interviewing witnesses (workers, supervisors, etc.), and any other actions considered necessary in order to obtain relevant information.

It is important to remember that the complainant is expected to participate and cooperate with the investigation by providing any written material, names of individuals to interview, or any other information, which would assist in the investigation.

Are there Other Agencies Where a Complaint Can be Filed?

A Complainant can file his/her complaint of discrimination with the:

California Department of Social Services Civil Rights Bureau
744 P Street, M.S. 8-16-70
Sacramento, CA 95814
Telephone: (866) 741-6241 TTY: (800) 688-4486

U.S. Department of Agriculture - Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
Telephone: (866) 632-9992

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Centralized Case Management Operations
200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 509F HHH Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Telephone: (800) 368-1019 TTY: (800) 537-7697

NOTE: The State and Federal agencies have specific time limits in which a complaint must be filed. Please contact these agencies for the applicable time limitations.

Filing a discrimination complaint with the Social Services Agency Civil Rights Officer does not preclude the Complainant from filing a discrimination complaint with any of the agencies listed above.

The Clients' Civil Right Officer will investigate all discrimination complaints received from all agencies above.

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