Chapter 2: Complaints against a BEI Certificate Holder

2.1 Introduction

This section contains policies for resolving a complaint against a BEI certificate holder.

2.1.1 Filing a Complaint

A complaint against a person certified by DARS DHHS should be submitted to DARS DHHS, detailing any alleged violations or objectionable actions. Form 3950, Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) General Complaints, may also be used to file a complaint. The complaint and any supporting documentation must be mailed to DARS DHHS within 90 days of the alleged incidents. Acceptable methods of submitting a complaint include through email, facsimile, or such media as YouTube that can capture sign-language messages.

Please note that the DARS DHHS interpreter complaint process applies only to DARS DHHS certified interpreters. DARS DHHS does not have legal authority regarding the actions of interpreters who are not certified by DARS DHHS (with the possible exception of non-court-certified interpreters performing court interpreter services for the hearing impaired). However, when appropriate and to the extent possible, DARS DHHS attempts to assist in the resolution of any complaints filed against a non-DARS DHHS-certificate holder.

2.1.2 Receipt of Complaint

When DARS DHHS receives a complaint against a DARS DHHS-certificate holder, a DARS DHHS staff member sends a letter to the person or entity filing the complaint (the complainant) to

  • acknowledge receipt of the complaint, and
  • notify the complainant that a copy of the complaint and all associated documents will be forwarded to the appropriate certificate holder in order to get the certificate holder's response.

2.1.3 Notification of Complaint

The certificate holder is notified that a complaint has been filed against him or her. The notification letter to the certificate holder includes

  • copy of the complaint from the complainant;
  • a request for a written response to the allegations;
  • a notice of the time frame in which to submit the response to the DARS DHHS office; and
  • a copy of the
    • DARS rules pertaining to grounds for denial, suspension, or revocation of an interpreter certificate, and
    • Interpreter's Code of Professional Conduct.

2.1.4 Fact-Finding Search

To determine whether there are sufficient grounds to support the allegations that a certificate holder violated DARS rules, the DARS DHHS staff member

  • conducts a fact-finding search, and
  • reviews
    • the complaint,
    • the response by the certificate holder, and
    • any supporting documentation.

2.1.5 Witnesses

DARS DHHS may contact a person identified as a witness by regular mail, facsimile, email, or telephone and ask him or her to provide statements or responses to questions about the complaint.

2.1.6 Fact-Finding Results

After information has been compiled and reviewed, DARS DHHS staff members make a determination about the substance of the complaint. DARS DHHS staff members may also consult with DARS Legal Services and the BEI Advisory Board.

If DARS DHHS determines that insufficient information exists to substantiate the allegations, DARS DHHS closes the case as unsubstantiated. The certificate holder and complainant are notified of DARS DHHS' finding and the closure of the complaint.

If DARS DHHS determines that there is sufficient information to show that DARS rules have been violated, DARS DHHS may resolve the situation

  • without further administrative action by
    • a letter of reprimand, or
    • the certificate holder's voluntary agreement to accept a disciplinary action (an Agreed Final Order);

or

  • by initiating an administrative disciplinary action against the certificate holder.

If DARS DHHS determines that the information gathered supports a proposal for revocation, suspension, or probation of a certification, the certificate holder is entitled to an administrative hearing in accordance with Texas Administrative Procedure Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001 and the DARS rules, 40 TAC Chapter 101, Subchapter E, Division 4. A DARS DHHS staff member sends the certificate holder a certified letter that

  • provides the certificate holder with notice of the proposed disciplinary action,
  • informs the certificate holder that he or she is entitled to an administrative hearing and has the opportunity to request one,
  • provides the relevant information about the administrative hearing process,
  • informs the certificate holder that he or she has 30 days to submit a written request to the DARS hearing coordinator requesting an administrative hearing on the proposed action or DARS DHHS will impose the administrative action, and
  • provides the contact information for the DARS hearing coordinator.

2.1.7 Complaint Resolution

DARS DHHS attempts to resolve complaints within 90 days. However, because some complaints require a more in-depth inquiry, including information exchanges with persons and entities outside the agency, some complaints may take longer to resolve. If an administrative hearing is requested, however, the timeline for resolution usually surpasses 90 days.

2.1.8 Coordination of Hearing

All requests for an administrative hearing must be submitted to the DARS hearing coordinator. When DARS receives the hearing request, all communications relating to the hearing and the hearing process are handled by the DARS hearing coordinator including the assignment of an impartial hearing officer to preside over the administrative hearing, scheduling, and dissemination of information to the parties involved.

2.1.9 Impartial Hearing Officer Decision

The randomly assigned impartial hearing officer presides over the administrative hearing proceedings for the proposed disciplinary action. After the conclusion of the administrative hearing, the impartial hearing officer analyzes and considers evidence presented and issues a decision.