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Grievance Policy

Any person, including a person’s legal or designated representative, may file a written grievance to contest a decision or action of Disability Rights Oregon.

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The following are key terms used in this document:

  • Protection & Advocacy agency (P&A): DRO is Oregon’s P&A agency.  We operate several different federally-funded programs, including: Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PADD), Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI), Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR), Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS), Protection and Advocacy Services Related to Assistive Technology (PAAT), Protection and Advocacy for Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI), Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA), Client Assistance Program (CAP), and Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Program (WIPA)
  • Alleged: Reported but not proven.
  • Grievance: A formal complaint filed against Disability Rights Oregon.
  • Grievant: The individual who files the grievance, or on whose behalf the grievance is filed.

About Disability Rights Oregon

As a Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency, Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) is federally mandated to provide legal and other advocacy services, including investigation of alleged abuse or neglect, on behalf of eligible people with disabilities. 

We operate several different federally-funded advocacy programs that help individuals who face problems in obtaining needed services or in being free from abuse, neglect or rights violations.  We provide:

  • Direct representation
  • Individual advice and referral
  • Public education about the rights of persons with disabilities
  • Investigation of abuse or neglect
  • Monitoring of care facilities

Disability Rights Oregon’s Goals & Priorities

We cannot take every case that we are asked to handle because our ability to provide services is restricted by limited funding and guided by our annual goals and priorities.  For our federally-funded work, we are required by law to:

  1. Develop a yearly statement of goals and priorities (a copy of the current year's statement is attached), and
  2. Give the public, including individuals with disabilities, an opportunity to comment on our goals, priorities, and activities. 

Our goals and priorities determine the kinds of cases Disability Rights Oregon will accept each year.  We only directly represent individuals whose problems are covered by our priorities.  If we cannot help directly, we make an effort to inform individuals about other agencies or individuals who can assist with the problem.

Grievance Rights

Any person, including a person’s legal or designated representative, may file a written grievance to contest a decision or action of Disability Rights Oregon.  For example, an individual or her representative may file a grievance if she believes that we:

  1. Did not provide her with respectful, fair or effective services;
  2. Wrongly denied her help; or
  3. Violated our legal obligations.

Our legal obligations include that we:

  1. Have the capacity to protect and advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities, in keeping with our current goals and priorities;
  2. Have access to records for the purpose of investigating allegations made by persons with disabilities;
  3. Maintain confidentiality of client records;
  4. Provide the public with an opportunity to comment on our statement of goals and priorities; and
  5. Do not discriminate against a person on the basis of any protected characteristic including race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, sexual identity and age.

Upon request, we will provide more detailed information about the legal requirements for any of our programs.  All information included in a grievance and the fact that a grievance has been filed are confidential and will not be disclosed to others by Disability Rights Oregon.  We encourage the use of our grievance process and will never treat a person poorly because they have filed a grievance.

Anyone who is dissatisfied with an agency decision or action is encouraged (but not required) to discuss the matter first with the Disability Rights Oregon employee directly responsible for the decision and/or with his or her supervisor.  A listing of our employees is available upon request.

How to File a Grievance

A grievance related to a decision or action of Disability Rights Oregon must be filed within 30 work days after the date the decision or action became known to the aggrieved person. 

A grievance related to a failure to comply with our legal obligations may be filed at any time.

DRO's grievance form (see links at top and bottom of this page) may be used by anyone who wants to file a grievance.  A grievance may also be filed in the form of a letter or e-mail that provides key information about the complaint, including the following:

  1. The name of the person who is not satisfied with agency services and the person’s address, telephone number and email
  2. The type of services requested and when they were requested
  3. What Disability Rights Oregon decided or did that was wrong
  4. The nature of the person’s disability and if it is related to the service requested, and
  5. The legal obligation, if any, that Disability Rights Oregon has violated.

Upon request, we will provide assistance in filing and submitting a grievance and/or in helping the individual understand his/her rights under this policy.  If the individual cannot provide a written grievance, we will help her write it or accept an oral grievance by telephone, in person, or recording.  Additional time to file the grievance may be permitted in some instances as an accommodation.

The grievant should include copies of any documents relating to the grievance (such as correspondence from our agency) with the grievance form.  The grievance form or letter should be signed, dated and mailed to:

Executive Director, Disability Rights Oregon
620 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite 500
Portland, OR 97204

Review & Decision

To determine if a grievance has merit, the Executive Director or designee will carefully review:

  1. The grievance
  2. Any other materials or evidence submitted by the grievant
  3. Any applicable law, and
  4. Disability Rights Oregon’s policies and procedures (including our statement of goals and priorities). 

If necessary for a full review, the Executive Director or designee will contact the individual who filed the grievance and other individuals, including other Disability Rights Oregon staff, with knowledge of the dispute.  Within 15 work days of receiving the grievance, the Executive Director will issue a written determination.

If the Executive Director or designee finds that the agency's denial of services or other action was inappropriate, the written determination will include this determination.  As appropriate, the Executive Director or designee will develop a plan to correct the problems identified and ensure that adequate services are provided promptly.  The determination will not include any confidential information regarding a Disability Rights Oregon employee.

Right to Appeal

The confidentiality of the grievance will be strictly protected.  Access to the grievance and related materials will be permitted only for Disability Rights Oregon staff with a need to review the complaint. 

If the grievant is dissatisfied with the written determination of the Executive Director, the grievant or representative may appeal the determination to the Grievance Committee of Disability Rights Oregon’s Board of Directors.  The individual must submit the appeal, in writing, within 30 work days of receiving the Executive Director's determination.  The appeal letter should be sent to:

Disability Rights Oregon Grievance Committee
610 SW Broadway, Suite 200
Portland, OR 97205

The appeal must specify the reasons for disagreement with the Executive Director’s determination, and must be signed by the grievant or representative.  The Grievance Committee will issue a decision within 30 work days of receipt of the appeal.  The Grievance Committee's decision is the final determination of the agency.

Annual Grievance Evaluation & Report

At the close of each year, Disability Rights Oregon reviews and evaluates all grievances received during the year and how they were resolved.  A summary of this information, which does not contain grievant names, is reported to our Board of Directors and advisory councils.

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