Oklahoma ABLE Tech abides by the following policies:
Oklahoma ABLE Tech values professionalism among its staff, students, and contracted instructional personnel in carrying out the mission of improving access to and acquisition of assistive technology for across the state. Professionalism includes demonstrating excellence, integrity, respect, compassion, accountability, and a commitment to altruism in all our work interactions and responsibilities.
It is the policy and expectation of Oklahoma ABLE Tech that staff, students, and instructional personnel will conduct themselves in a professional manner in all of their interactions with consumers, participants, members of the public and Oklahoma State University’s community, and each other. The purposes of this policy are to promote excellence, integrity and altruism in all of our activities; to assure that all persons are treated with respect, dignity and courtesy; and to promote constructive communication and collaborative teamwork.
It is the policy of Oklahoma ABLE Tech to provide services to those in Oklahoma regardless of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, qualified disability, or veteran’s status. Any participant of an Oklahoma ABLE Tech training/course has the right, without retaliation, to discuss with staff of Oklahoma ABLE Tech or Oklahoma State University, the terms of any complaints or conditions that are deemed discriminatory in nature.
Excellence represents a dedication to the continuous improvement of the quality of care, research inquiry, and teaching effectiveness. Pursuit of excellence should be accompanied by integrity, empathy, compassion, and respect for the diversity of values and opinions of others.
Accountability refers to taking responsibility for ones’ behavior and activity.
Altruism reflects a commitment to advocate for the interests of others over ones’ own interests.
Unprofessional behavior means behavior that: violates laws or rules regarding discrimination and harassment; violates rules of professional ethics, including professionalism in clinical, educational, research or business practices; or is disrespectful, retaliatory or disruptive.
Discrimination and harassment means discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or military status.
Rules of professional ethics means ethical standards that have been established by external professional societies or associations.
Professionalism in education includes, but is not limited to a commitment to the highest standards of scholarship, innovation in teaching methods, respect for the student-teacher relationship, and leadership through modeling of life-long learning.
Ethical business practices means the wise use of resources and practices that are compliant with and appropriate under laws and regulations governing conflicts of interest, sponsored research, or the delivery of and reimbursement for healthcare services.
Disrespectful, retaliatory, or disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to behaviors that in the view of reasonable people impact the integrity of the health care team, the care of patients, the education of trainees, or the conduct of research such as:
- Shouting or using profane or otherwise offensive language;
- Degrading or demeaning comments;
- Physical assault or other uninvited or inappropriate physical contact;
- Threats or similar intimidating behavior, as reasonably perceived by the recipient;
- Unreasonable refusal to cooperate with others in carrying out assigned responsibilities; and
- Obstruction of established operational goals, beyond what would be considered respectful dissent.
Incorporating the principles of professionalism into applicable documents. This policy is intended to provide a common definition and set of principles regarding professionalism throughout Oklahoma ABLE Tech. Oklahoma ABLE Tech staff, students, and instructional personnel should incorporate these principles of professionalism as appropriate in their policies, procedures, and practices.
Mechanisms for addressing unprofessional behavior. The Oklahoma ABLE Tech Policy on Professional Conduct, Complaints Policy, and Complaint form are listed in full at this site and also available upon request via email or mail.
Instructors, whether Oklahoma ABLE Tech employees or contracted, are advised to read the policies. Where individuals have complaints against employees or regarding trainings/courses, including complaints alleging violation of Oklahoma ABLE Tech and Oklahoma State University non-discrimination policies, individuals may address these through local investigation and resolution. Complaints may be submitted electronically, by fax, or by mail and may be anonymous.
Adapted from the Physician Ethics and Integrity in the Workplace Task Force Implementation at the University of Washington
Description of Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s System to Ensure the Privacy and Security of Participants’ Records
What information is collected?
When participants register for a course, the following information is requested:
- First and Last Name
- School District (if applicable)
- Email Address
How is the information collected?
Information is primarily collected through an online registration process. Alternative methods of collection are via fax, regular mail, email, face-to-face, and phone conversations.
Where is the information kept?
The information is kept in a spreadsheet on a shared drive with which the CE Unit has access.
How long is the information kept?
The information is kept for 7 years and then deleted from the shared drive.
How is the information used?
First and Last Name, Title, and School District information is printed to produce name tags and sign-in sheets for on-site registration purposes.
Is the information shared?
First and Last Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers, and Email addresses are not shared under any circumstances with anyone outside of the CE Unit. School District names and Titles are shared with the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) for reporting purposes as Oklahoma ABLE Tech holds a contract for Assistive Technology and Information Services with OSDE. School District names are also shared with those who inquire about which school districts are participating in trainings.
Oklahoma ABLE Tech views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organization that has made the complaint.
Our policy is:
- To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
- To publicize the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
- To make sure everyone at Oklahoma ABLE Tech knows what to do if a complaint is received
- To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
- To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired
- To gather information which helps us to improve what we do
Definition of a Complaint
A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of Oklahoma ABLE Tech.
Where Complaints Come From
Complaints may come from those who attend workshops and trainings organized by Oklahoma ABLE Tech. A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing.
All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.
Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with Oklahoma ABLE Tech.
This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.
Complaints Procedure of Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Publicized Contact Details for Complaints:
The complaint policy can be found on this page of the Oklahoma ABLE Tech website. Copies of this complaint policy can be requested and will be sent to those who request it.
Written complaints may be sent to Oklahoma ABLE Tech at 1514 W Hall of Fame, Stillwater, OK 74078 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
800.257.1705 or in person to any of Oklahoma ABLE Tech’s staff at 1514 W Hall of Fame, Stillwater, OK 74078 or at any of our events or activities.
Complaints may arrive through channels publicized for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have. Complaints received by telephone or in person need to be recorded.
The person who receives a phone or in person complaint should:
- Write down the facts of the complaint
- Take the complainant's name, address and telephone number
- Note down the relationship of the complainant to Oklahoma ABLE Tech (for example: client, member)
- Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure
- Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take
- Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.
What to Include with the Complaint Form
- a written statement of complaint (created using a word processing software application) that contains the information and facts on which the complaint is based;
- any additional documents and evidence that corroborates and supports the allegations, if any;
- if additional documentation contains confidential information such as client/patient/employment records, redact all identifying information (e.g., name, SSN, etc.) and replace it with a letter or number code, if necessary;
- if a complaint containing the same allegations in this complaint was filed with another agency (e.g., state licensure board; academic institution; federal, state, or local official, etc.) attach copies of all related correspondence showing to whom it was submitted, date of filing, and whether/how the matter was resolved;
- signature(s) of the individual(s) filing the complaint.
What to Include in the Statement of Complaint
- date(s) of incident(s);
- your relationship to the Respondent (e.g., employer, employee, colleague, clinical fellowship supervisor, client/patient or caregiver);
- location/occasion of incident;
- how and when you observed/discovered the alleged violation;
- the Respondent's actions, practices, and/or behavior you think were violations of the Code of Ethics;
- descriptions and copies of any communications with others regarding this incident;
- descriptions and dates of actions taken, if any, to try to rectify the situation prior to submitting this complaint;
- descriptions and dates of any communications with the Respondent regarding your concerns and any responses received;
- signed and dated witness statements;
- copies of all other materials and evidence that corroborate and support the allegations;
- information about facts and circumstances in your complaint that are also the subject of any complaints to other regulatory entities (e.g., licensure board), or a legal cause of action.
In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue being complained about. If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate.Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information should be passed to the Program Manager of Oklahoma ABLE Tech at Oklahoma State University within one week.On receiving the complaint, ABLE Tech staff records it in the complaints log. If it has not already been resolved, they delegate an appropriate person to investigate it and to take appropriate action. If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond. Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within one week. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached. Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within two weeks. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given. Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved at Stage One, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at Board level. At this stage, the complaint will be passed to the Associate Director of Sponsored Programs at Oklahoma State University. The request for Board level review should be acknowledged within one week of receiving it. The acknowledgement should say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply. The Associate Director of Sponsored Programs at Oklahoma State University may investigate the facts of the case themselves or delegate a suitably senior person to do so. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with the person who dealt with the complaint at Stage One. If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a further opportunity to respond.The person who dealt with the original complaint at Stage One should be kept informed of what is happening. Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within two weeks. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given. Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint. The decision taken at this stage is final, unless it is decided appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution.
Variation of the Complaints Procedure
Oklahoma ABLE Tech may vary the procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about the Associate Director should not also have the Associate Director as the person leading a Stage Two review.
Monitoring and Learning from Complaints
Complaints are reviewed annually to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action.
Appendix 1 - Practical Guidance for Handling Verbal Complaints
- Remain calm and respectful throughout the conversation
- Listen - allow the person to talk about the complaint in their own words. Sometimes a person just wants to "let off steam"
- Don't debate the facts in the first instance, especially if the person is angry
- Show an interest in what is being said
- Obtain details about the complaint before any personal details
- Ask for clarification wherever necessary
- Show that you have understood the complaint by reflecting back what you have noted down
- Acknowledge the person's feelings (even if you feel that they are being unreasonable) - you can do this without making a comment on the complaint itself or making any admission of fault on behalf of the organization e.g "I understand that this situation is frustrating for you"
- If you feel that an apology is deserved for something that was the responsibility of your organization, then apologize
- Ask the person what they would like done to resolve the issue
- Be clear about what you can do, how long it will take and what it will involve.
- Don’t promise things you can’t deliver
- Give clear and valid reasons why requests cannot be met
- Make sure that the person understands what they have been told
- Wherever appropriate, inform the person about the available avenues of review or appeal
Adapted from the Code of Good Governance for Smaller Organisations: Useful Resources