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(1) Enforcement of the provisions of this Chapter will primarily depend on charges of noncompliance filed by Covered Employees who will have been informed of their rights through posting of the notice of such rights and such other educational efforts as may be undertaken by the FEWB. Such charges will result in investigations by the Applicable department, as described below.
(2) The Applicable Department shall have authority to conduct random audits to determine compliance with this Chapter. Failure to cooperate with an audit or the investigation of a complaint may result in sanction as outlined in subsection (i) below.
(b) Any person including a Covered Employee who alleges that his or her employer is not complying with the requirements of this Chapter, may allege that a violation of this section has occurred by filing a charge of noncompliance with the Applicable Department within 180 days of the alleged violation or knowledge thereof. Such charge shall state, in writing and under oath, the name and address of the person making the charge, the name and address of the employer(s) alleged to have committed violation of this Chapter and the particular facts thereof and such other information as may be required. Upon the filing of a charge of noncompliance, the Applicable Department shall acknowledge the receipt of the charge, and shall forward the charge to the FEWB.
(c) Investigations. The Applicable Department shall initiate an investigation to determine whether a violation of this Chapter has occurred under any of the following circumstances:
(1) Upon receiving a charge of noncompliance;
(2) If the Department’s review of information maintained or reported by a Covered Employer indicates that the Covered Employer may have violated this Chapter;
(3) The Department has other reason to believe that a Covered Employer may have violated this Chapter.
(d) Any investigation shall be completed within thirty (30) days of the occurrence triggering the investigation. To the extent permitted by law, the City shall not make public in any manner and shall retain as confidential all information obtained as a result of the preliminary investigation. At the completion of the investigation, the Director of the Applicable Department shall take one of the following actions:
(1) Notify the charging party, if any, the FEWB and the Covered Employer that it is not probable that a violation of this Chapter has been or is being engaged in and that a complaint will not issue in the matter; or
(2) Notify the charging party, if any, the FEWB and the Covered Employer that it is probable that a violation of this Chapter has occurred, initiate a complaint against the Covered Employer and schedule it for informal methods of conciliation pursuant to Division (e) of this section.
(e) Conciliation. If the investigation leads to a finding by the Director of the Applicable Department of probable cause to believe that a Covered Employer is in noncompliance with this Chapter, the Director shall attempt to conciliate the matter. The Director shall send out notice to the Covered Employer(s), the affected Covered Employee(s) and to the FEWB with a time and date set for the conciliation meeting. The conciliation meeting must be scheduled to occur within fifteen (15) working days of completion of the investigation, though for good cause shown it can be rescheduled. If the investigation resulted from a filed charge of noncompliance, a conciliation agreement may not be entered without the consent of both the Covered Employer and the charging party. If the investigation was initiated by the Applicable Department on its own, the Director has authority to enter into a conciliation agreement.
(f) Hearing. If conciliation does not result in a settlement of the complaint, the Director of the Applicable Department shall appoint a Hearing Officer to conduct a hearing on the complaint. Any Hearing Officer shall be either a member of Ohio’s Judiciary or an attorney licensed to practice law in Ohio. The Hearing Officer shall schedule a hearing with a 30-day notice of the hearing provided to the Covered Employer, Covered Employee(s) or other charging parties, if any, and the FEWB. In conducting such hearings, the Hearing Officer shall be empowered to subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, administer oaths, take sworn testimony and require the production for examination of any documents relating to the complaint.
(g) After the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall report his or her findings to the Director within fifteen (15) days. The Director may adopt, reject or modify the findings of the Hearing Officer. Within seven (7) days after receipt of the findings of the Hearing Officer, the Director shall render a decision in the form of a written order which shall include findings of fact, a statement as to whether the Covered Employer has violated this Chapter and such remedial actions as the Director may order. The order shall be served upon the parties by certified mail within fifteen (15) days of the date of the decision. A copy of the decision shall be provided to the FEWB.
(h) Appeals. Any Covered Employer or Employee who objects to any decision of the Director of the Applicable Department relative to enforcement of this Chapter may appeal such decision to the Common Pleas Court or as otherwise permitted by law.
(i) Sanctions. Any Covered Employer found not to be in compliance with the provisions of this Chapter, who has submitted false or fraudulent information, or who fails to cooperate in an investigation or an audit pursuant to this section, may be subject to one or more of the following sanctions imposed by the City of Lakewood:
(1) Withholding of payments, either in whole or in part, until the Covered Employer cures the default or is in full compliance with this chapter.
(2) Termination, suspension or cancellation of the contract in whole or in part.
(3) Denial of the right of the Covered Employer to bid on future contracts for no more than five (5) years after the violation is found.
(4) In the case of Assistance, to refund any sums disbursed by the City.
(5) The filing of a complaint with any pertinent federal agency.
No remedy set forth in this Chapter is intended to be exclusive or a prerequisite for asserting a claim for relief to enforce any rights granted under this chapter in a court of law.
(j) Retaliation and Discrimination Barred. During the term of the contract, a Covered Employer shall not discharge, reduce the compensation or otherwise discriminate against any employee for making a complaint to the City or otherwise asserting his or her rights under this chapter, participating in any of its proceedings or using any remedies to enforce his or her rights under this Chapter. A person who believes he or she has been retaliated against in violation of this section may file a charge of noncompliance with the Applicable Department. Such charge shall be processed, investigated and, if necessary, conciliated and heard according to the procedure set forth in this Chapter. If, after a hearing, the allegations of retaliation are found to be true, the Director of the Applicable Department shall order appropriate sanctions, including the denial of the right to bid on future City contracts for a specified time period, as provided in subsection (i) in this section.
(k) This Chapter shall not prevent the City or any person from exercising any right or seeking any remedy to which that person might otherwise be entitled, or from filing any complaint with any other agency or court of law or equity.
(Ord. 30-03. Passed 7-21-03.)