Formal Complaint Process

Formal Complaint Process

The formal complaint process can be used where you believe that an MIT employment policy was violated or misapplied. 

The formal process cannot be used to address a general complaint of unfair treatment nor where more specific procedures exist for particular groups of employees or specific issues. In most cases, an attempt at informal complaint resolution is required before the formal complaint process begins.

How to Request a Formal Review

To pursue a formal complaint, you must file a Request for a Formal Review. Note that the form requires you to specify which employment policy or policies you think were violated.  Complaints can be filed as follows:

  • Complaints against employees: Submit the Request for a Formal Review form. The form asks you to select the Human Resources Officer in MIT Human Resources who is assigned to your department, lab, or center. Once you hit Submit, the form will go to your HRO. (You can find your HRO here.) If you are an employee at Lincoln Laboratory, the form will be sent to a human resources professional there. If you cannot access the form, contact your HRO and that person will ensure that you get the form. Complaints against employees are described in more depth below.


  • Complaints against students: Submit your complaint to the Office of Student Conduct.

Complaints involving a possibly criminal matter may be brought to the MIT Police. See information under Resources.

The Formal Review Process

For employees, the complaint will be reviewed and a decision will be made as to whether an informal attempt at resolution might be appropriate and successful, and whether there is sufficient evidence in the complaint to support a conclusion that a policy was violated or misapplied.

Investigations are done by an impartial investigator, giving notice to the person who allegedly violated a policy and providing a reasonable opportunity for that person to respond to the major elements of the complaint. An investigation and decision on a complaint can lead to disciplinary action; depending on the seriousness of the violation, discipline for employees may include termination of employment.

The conclusions in an investigation report of a policy violation (or no violation) are generally final and can only be appealed for specific reasons and within specified timeframes. See Policies & Procedures Section on Appeal.

MIT may choose to investigate any complaint, even if it is not in writing or signed, and if the alleged conduct is egregious, MIT will normally decide to conduct a formal investigation. See Policies & Procedures Section 9.8.3 for more details on the process and timelines for formal reviews for complaints involving employees.

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