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Workforce Investment Act of 1998 Participant Grievances and Complaints Overview

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) administers our nation's public workforce investment system, as guided by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), and we take seriously the challenges communicated from citizens such as you seeking or participating in WIA-related services.

WIA regulations require each state to establish a procedure for grievances and complaints received from participants being served by the workforce investment system.  To seek a formal resolution, you must first file your complaint locally.  This process is intended to allow for a resolution of the issue at the most local level.

The process for filing a formal grievance or complaint will vary across states and local areas, but the required framework is generally consistent as provided by WIA.  You must start the process by submitting your complaint within your local workforce system, either through your local One-Stop Career Center or local workforce investment board.  You can locate these agencies through America's Service Locator.  Some areas may have an official form for filing a complaint or grievance, but generally your written complaint should include the following elements:

  • Your name, address and telephone number;
  • The name and address of your local One-Stop Career Center, or the local workforce agency to which you are submitting your complaint;
  • The nature of your complaint, noting all relevant parties; and
  • Your signature and date signed.

Within 60 calendar days of filing your grievance, WIA requires the local area to provide a formal hearing, if the issue is not resolved informally prior to the hearing.  If you find the local hearing decision unsatisfactory, or if the local area does not respond to you in the allotted 60 days, you will have the opportunity to file a request for review by the State.  At the State level, WIA requires an opportunity for an informal resolution and hearing to be completed within 60 calendar days of the filing. If the State does not respond within the 60 days, or either party wants to appeal, WIA allows for a formal appeal to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).  Federal appeals must be made within 60 calendar days of the receipt of the decision being appealed.  DOL will make a final decision no later than 120 days after receiving a formal appeal. DOL will only investigate grievances and complaints arising through the established procedures.  WIA does not allow for federal intervention until the formal procedure has been followed.

Discrimination Complaints
Discrimination complaints related to WIA service delivery are handled separately from non-criminal complaints from participants.  If you think that you have been subjected to discrimination under a WIA Title 1-financially assisted program or activity, you should file a complaint with DOL's Civil Rights Center.  Click here for information.

For additional assistance contact you local or state workforce agency or call ETA's toll-free helpline at 1 (877) 872-3627