708.22 Investigation of complaints.§ 708.22 Investigation of complaints.
(a) The OHA Director will appoint a person to conduct an investigation. The investigator may not participate or advise in any proceedings in the case subsequent to the investigation's completion.
(b) The investigator will determine the appropriate scope of investigation based on the circumstances of the complaint. The investigator may enter and inspect places and records; make copies of records; interview persons alleged to have been involved in retaliation and other individuals who may have relevant information; take sworn statements; and require the production of any documents or other evidence.
(c) All parties must cooperate fully with the investigator by making all pertinent evidence available. The contractor must make employees available upon request.
(d) A person being interviewed in an investigation has the right to be represented by a person of his choosing.
(e) Parties to the complaint are not entitled to be present at interviews conducted by an investigator.
(f) If a person other than the complainant requests that his identity be kept confidential, the investigator may grant confidentiality, but must advise such person that confidentiality means that the Office of Hearings and Appeals will not identify the person as a source of information to anyone outside the Office of Hearings and Appeals, except as required by statute or other law, or as determined by the OHA Director to be unavoidable.
(g) At any point during the investigation, the investigator may request that the OHA Director appoint an Administrative Judge to whom the complaint will be referred for a decision on whether dismissal is appropriate. The investigator will serve the parties with notice of the referral. The investigator will submit a written statement to the Administrative Judge outlining the reasons he believes dismissal may be appropriate and any facts supporting that belief. The Administrative Judge will then decide whether to dismiss the complaint. In making such decision, the Administrative Judge will have access to the entire investigative file. The Administrative Judge's decision, regardless of outcome, will be served on all the parties. A complaint may be dismissed prior to the completion of the investigation for:
(1) Any reason listed in § 708.18(c), or
(2) Lack of merit, provided the facts obtained by the investigator indicate there is no genuine dispute of material fact.
(h) If the Administrative Judge decides to dismiss the complaint, he will issue an initial agency decision that includes the factual and legal bases for the dismissal. The investigator's written statement will be attached to the Administrative Judge's initial agency decision and served on all the parties. No report of investigation will issue for a complaint dismissed by the Administrative Judge following a referral for dismissal by the investigator.
(i) If the Administrative Judge decides not to dismiss the complaint, he will issue a written statement to that effect which will include the factual and legal basis for his decision. The investigation will then continue. The OHA Director may, at his discretion, appoint a new investigator.
(j) Dismissals under paragraph (h) of this section may be appealed in accordance with the procedures set forth in §§ 708.32, 708.33, 708.34, and 708.35. Decisions not to dismiss under paragraph (i) of this section may not be appealed.