The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has selected Houdini ESQ, a commercially available off-the-shelf cloud based product to replace their aging Case Management Information System, On-line Appointment system and Right to Sue system.
This new integrated complaint management system based on the Houdini ESQ product will manage all housing and employment discrimination complaints in its offices throughout California. All DFEH staff will be able to securely login into the new cloud based Complaint Management System (CMS) system to create and track complaint information, schedule appointments, generate documents, view reports and collaborate with internal staff and complainants. In addition, external complainants will be able to create a complaint, and monitor their case progress securely through the web.
IMPORTANT: This document does not address any core system processes, functions or features. This document focuses on specific DFEH customizations and enhancements made on behalf of DFEH. This document details the correlation between DFEH’s workflow and the Houdini ESQ product. All additions and enhancements are created by configuration only. No source code will be created specifically for DFEH. If an enhancement is required to the product they will be made so that the customization or enhancement can be implemented by configuration only. At no time will source code be written to specifically address any feature or process mentioned in this document.
This document covers the following DFEH requirements: Jurisdiction validation, Account registration, Intake, Online complaint submission, Complaint auto assignments and general complaint management and workflow as it pertains to DFEH.
This new CMS system supports 3 types of matter:
2. Right To Sue
3. Public Records Act
A Complaint is further categorized into 5 different subtypes:
· CC54 (Civil)
These 5 subtypes of complaints share the same workflow but they do have some differences. For each complaint, there are specific data elements that must be collected before, during, and after investigation. These data elements will be collected using custom fields. Custom fields are created based on the requirements DFEH has provided and the existing data fields in the old DFEH’s CMIS system and Online Right To Sue and Appointment systems.
All 5 subtypes of complaints follow the same status and workflow. Once a complaint is submitted by a user or communication staff, the complaint is active and assigned to a staff. The complaint can go through multiple stages such as under investigation, in mediation, in legal or closed. The following diagram illustrates the different stages a complaint can have through its life cycle.
DFEH Internal Complaint Status Flow Chart
Customization can be exposed to outside public users during the Intake or PCQ (Primarily Complaint Questionnaire) process. This will eliminate any need for DFEH staff to perform double data entry. The added benefit is that most data collected prior to investigation is best answered and collected from the complainant directly beforehand and therefore exposing these fields to the complainant during Intake saves valuable DFEH staff time. There are a total of 7 PCQ/Intake defined in the system:
· Right To Sue: For public users who seeks right to sue notice only.
· Public Record Act: For public users who request specific case information or general DFEH information.
· Employment Complaint: For public users who want to file an employment complaint.
· Housing Complaint: For public users who want to file a housing complaint.
· Unruh Complaint: For public users who want to file a complaint for the Violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act
· Ralph Complaint: For public users who want to file a complaint for Violation of the Ralph Civil Rights Act.
· CC54 Complaint: For public users who want to file a complaint for the violation of Disabled Person Act, Civil Code section 54.
The following describes the overall DFEH workflow from 10,000 feet.
• Complainant visits the website to file a complaint with DFEH.
• The complainant is asked a series of questions to validate if DFEH has jurisdiction.
• If DFEH has jurisdiction the complainant is asked to create a DFEH account.
• Once the complainant has validated their email account they are presented
• with a Intake form (or PCQ) that must be filled out.
• The complainant can optionally exit Intake process and return at a later time to complete the Intake by signing back onto the system. When the complainant signs back on she is immediately presented with the incomplete Intake form and may continue the intake process.
• If the complainant isn’t able to complete the Intake process on their own, she can optionally contact the DFEH Call Center for help. DFEH Call Center staff have access to partially completed intake forms and can assist the complainant if need be.
• Once the complainant is satisfied with the information they can submit the complaint to DFEH via the Intake form (PCQ). When the complainant submits the complaint, a case is created, opened, and auto assigned to a staff member (Investigator).
• Once the Intake has been submitted the Complainant will no longer be able to edit the Intake.
• The Staff member that has been assigned to the Matter/Case/Complaint will receive an automated alert and Email informing them that a new case has been assigned to them. The Staff Member's immediate supervisor is also alerted via Email.
In the event that the Auto Assignment routine cannot find a candidate that meets all the Auto Assignment criteria then a designated group of users in “Assignment Admin” role are notified of the completed Intake. These individuals should be a member of the “Super User” group so they can assign the Matter/Case/Complaint to an available Staff Member via the Matter Dashboard in the HoudiniESQ product.
The required DFEH Notices, Emails, Alerts, etc. will be automatically generated by the product in response to Staff actions. This is accomplished by defining Automated Workflow Triggers within the Houdini ESQ product.
Automated Workflow Triggers in the Houdini ESQ product are procedural code that is automatically executed in response to actions performed by a staff member. Automated Workflow Triggers are configurable and accessible by Staff with administrative access.
Triggers can be used to schedule events, create todo items, generate documents and notices, send emails, show and hide collections of fields, and create alerts. All DFEH workflow requirements will be implemented using the Houdini ESQ product Automated Workflow Triggers feature.
• Investigator must initiate contact and complete an Intake Interview with the Complainant within 14 business days.
During the intake interview the Investigator must create an Event record and record the time spent on all task. The Investigator can optionally start the Timer to help track the time for them. During the intake interview the Investigator should enter notes into the Event record if necessary.
During this process the Investigator will make the determination if the Matter/Case/Complaint will be accepted for investigation. Assuming the Investigator has validated the information provided by the Complainant they can choose to Reject or Accept the Complaint for investigation.
Rejected: If the Matter/Case/Complaint is rejected the Investigator will create and send a Service Letter. The service letter can optionally be generated based on a template.
Like all notices for DFEH, the Service Letter is a Houdini ESQ template. These templates are managed and created from within the HoudiniESQ product. Any staff member with administrative rights may edit or create these templates.
• If the Matter/Case/Complaint is accepted the Complainant must electronically sign the complaint by signing onto the system using the account information entered during Account Registration.
• The Investigator must generate a Service Letter using the HoudiniESQ product and send a copy via certified mail to a Respondent within 3 business days. During this process DFEH staff will enter a certified mail tracking number into the system.
The Houdini ESQ product will use the certified mail tracking number to alert the Investigator when the certified mail has been received by the respondent.
The Investigator will have 30 days after confirmation of certified mail delivery to contact the Respondent to see if a PDS should be attempted.
If the Respondent is interested in PDS and the PDS ends in settlement DFEH staff will change the status of the Matter/Case/Complaint to closed.
If the PDS is unsuccessful DFEH will await a response from the Respondent.
• If no response is received from the Respondent within 30 days after DFEH has received the confirmation of delivery, the Investigator will create a second notice requesting a response within 10 business days. The notice can optionally be generated based on a predefined template.
• If the 10 days have elapsed and no response has been received from respondent, the Investigator can add an Attorney to the Matter/Case/Complaint as a Matter Member.
• At this point the Investigator will generate interrogatories. The attorney will have access to these documents and can work with the Investigator closely.
Matter Members in Houdini ESQ are staffs that have access to the case. When a Staff Member is added they are given the same privileges as the Investigator with regard to the Matter/Case/Complaint. When the Investigator was assigned to the Matter/Case/Complaint, they were added as Matter members as was their immediate supervisor if one was assigned.
After the Investigator has added an Attorney to the case the Investigator can change the status of the Matter/Case/Complaint to “Legal” or to some other designation required by DFEH.
When a response is received from the Respondent the Investigator reviews the response and assigns a case Grade. If the case is assigned Grade A, the chief of counsel and staff’s supervisor will receive a notification email about this case.
The Investigator must complete the Investigative Guide within 90 days.
• If the parties are interested in Mediation the Investigator may change the status of the case to Mediation. Once the status has been changed to this designation, only Staff Members that are members of the “Mediation” group will have access to the Matter/Case/Complaint.
• If the Mediation is successful settlement information can be optionally entered in the Houdini ESQ product for tracking purposes and the case can be closed. The Investigator changes the status of the Matter/Case/Complaint to closed and enters the reason for the closure.
• At any time during Mediation, the status of the Matter/Case/Complaint can be changed back to “In Legal” or “In Investigation”. At this point the case will be moved out of Mediation.
• It is important to note that notes entered during Mediation are not visible to staff that are not members of the Mediation group regardless what the status of the Matter/Case/Complaint is set to.
• For B Grade cases the Investigator will continue to work the case using the Investigator’s Guide.
• If the Investigator decides that there should be no investigation then the Investigator generates a Pre-closure Letter that is sent to the Complainant.
• After 30 days the Investigator creates a Final Closing Letter and sends it to the Complainant.
• If there is an Appeal request DFEH will have 30 days to either accept or reject the Appeal. If accepted the Matter/Case/Complaint will re-enter the case Grade process. If the Appeal is rejected then the Matter/Case/Complaint is closed.
If the case is resolved, the Investigator will attempt a phone call within ten business days and generate a Pre-closure Letter and mail it. After 30 days the Investigator generates the Final Closing Letter and mails it. The Investigator changes the status of the Matter/Case/Complaint to closed and enters the reason for the closure.