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Introducing The FAIR Center – Your Wraparound Complaint Resolution Solution (Part Two)

By: Brett A. Sokolow, J.D.

FAIR stands for Fair, Affordable Investigations and Resolutions. The FAIR Center is a comprehensive wraparound solution that addresses all aspects of complaint resolution and resolves the systemic problems detailed last week in part one of this series. FAIR restores constituents’ trust and confidence while delivering the very highest quality of complaint resolutions.

When U.S. Olympic sports faced thousands of sexual abuse complaints, and the public lost confidence in the ability of sports to self-regulate, Congress authorized the U.S. Center for SafeSport to process and resolve all complaints related to the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). Over time, many people have suggested a similar model for addressing school and campus Title IX and sexual harassment complaints by setting up regional centers, collectives, or consortia.

Today, The FAIR Center meets these needs by providing a centralized independent resolution resource to schools, colleges, organizations, and employers across the U.S. In the last 18 months, our beta test of FAIR’s services has successfully addressed more than 600 complaints of discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, color, ethnicity, age, religion, and other protected characteristics for more than 150 clients. We achieved scalability without compromising quality and achieved prompt results. With this proof of concept in hand, we are now rolling out The FAIR Center access nationwide, with the staff and capacity to help you manage some or all of your complaints.

We are not suggesting that external providers are a panacea, but instead asking the field to acknowledge that what we have been doing is not working and that we need to restore the trust and confidence of our communities. How can we do that better than by being FAIR?

Most importantly, FAIR’s services are based on an annual, flat-fee subscription model that offers predictable costs. The Center’s tiered, flat-fee pricing structure can accommodate any budget. FAIR can fill each role that schools, colleges, and employers currently address internally, as well as many additional case management roles that many clients cannot or do not currently provide internally. Because FAIR operates at scale across an entire field, it harnesses synergies and efficiencies that schools, colleges, and employers — operating individually — cannot. 

FAIR offers a flexible pricing structure to meet your needs. FAIR offers four levels of pricing, the last of which is a custom option to tailor the program to your specific needs. Each level is based upon the allocation of units — 5, 10, or 20 per year — and each use of FAIR’s services consumes a unit or a partial unit. So, you only subscribe to the level you need based on the complaint volume you anticipate. This allows for flexibility, as schools and colleges can start with a lower tier and upgrade as needed if there is a higher complaint volume than expected. FAIR has conducted cost benchmarking for our services, ensuring you will not incur higher expenses when using FAIR. Our billing rates are comparable to others because we can deliver higher quality in significantly less time. However, hourly rates do not tell the whole story. FAIR could be double the rate of other providers, but the cost to our clients is the same, as we do the work in half the time without sacrificing quality. FAIR stands firmly behind the quality of our services, and our experience, efficiencies, and scale make us careful custodians of your budget.

Implement The FAIR Center as deeply as you need. Every client’s needs are different. Some need support with intake, providing supportive measures, or advocacy services. Others prefer to do that in-house but rely on FAIR for investigations, hearings, informal resolutions, or appeals. Still others rely on FAIR for party advisors and interim staffing services. FAIR can accommodate everything from light support to taking on every step of the resolution process. When we describe a wraparound solution, we really mean it. FAIR professionals can address any role or function in your process as needed.

FAIR is not intended to displace existing professionals. Some clients already like The FAIR Center services so much that they are reassessing their balance between full-time and external resources. FAIR’s approach recognizes an ongoing, acute labor shortage for many of the roles that The FAIR Center provides. Thus, rather than displacing current professionals, we hope and expect FAIR to offer a deeper bench where clients are already having trouble finding qualified candidates for internal positions and needs. More importantly, it allows for the reallocation of internal resources to other aspects of compliance or case management that often get neglected.

The FAIR Center keeps all parties’ best interests in mind. FAIR strives for balanced and equitable outcomes guided by evidence. Like you, FAIR prioritizes complainants’ rights just as much as respondents’ rights. That means deploying trauma-informed practices and applying rigorous evaluation of evidence. FAIR’s core value is upholding the equal dignity of all participants throughout the investigation and resolution of misconduct complaints.

Through its comprehensive range of support services, FAIR aims to promptly resolve individual complaints and promote a culture of fairness and accountability in institutions and organizations. By working with FAIR, clients can demonstrate their commitment to addressing discrimination and rebuilding community trust. So, let’s work together toward FAIR and inclusive outcomes for all. Let’s be FAIR.

In parts three and four of this series, we will detail case studies and success stories of The FAIR Center and what we predict will be future trends and challenges.