Client Rights, Responsibilities and Grievance Policy

Clients’ Rights


The Spahr Center is committed to a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship with our clients and their families. Our staff and volunteers recognize and value the partnership we have with our clients and we want you to be aware of your rights and responsibilities as a client. The following Client Rights were taken from statements developed by the State Office of AIDS.

As a client of TSC, you have the following rights:

To receive services without regard to sex, sexual orientation, economic status, educational background, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status or illness;

  • To receive considerate, respectful and quality social services;
  • To participate actively in decisions regarding your services;
  • To have all communications and records pertaining to your services treated with complete confidentiality according to the California Welfare and Institution code Section 5328. No information will be released to agencies or persons outside of TSC without your written consent, except in the case of medical emergency or as permitted by law;
  • To meet with a staff member with whom you feel comfortable, including the right to request a change in staff if you wish;
  • To accept or decline TSC’s services, including contact and follow-up;
  • To follow TSC’s grievance procedures if you are dissatisfied with the services you receive, or if you believe your rights or the rights of someone else have been violated.


Clients’ Responsibilities


We ask that all clients respect the following list of responsibilities while receiving services:

  • To the best of your knowledge, report accurate and complete information regarding any matters pertaining to your care.
  • Make sure you clearly understand a proposed course of action and what is expected of you. If you do not understand, ask for clarification from the staff member or volunteer with whom you are working.
  • Keep appointments. If unable to do so, notify the person with whom you have an appointment and reschedule.
  • Treat staff, volunteers, and other clients with respect.
  • Respect the confidentiality of all who are associated with TSC.
  • Notify TSC staff of any changes in your circumstances (e.g. address, phone number, health or financial status, etc.)
  • Actively participate in the development of a care plan, if appropriate, that is specific to you and includes your agreement to work toward defined care plan needs.

Clients’ Code of Conduct


To assure a respectful, safe, and secure environment for clients, staffs, volunteers and visitors, clients are required to follow this:

     Consent to Participate

I am consenting to participate in these services and give TSC staff my permission to provide me with services including contact and follow-up.

      Code of Conduct

  1. Physical violence, threats of violence, weapons, intimidation, or harassment will not be tolerated.
  2. Verbal abuse, profanity, or remarks that are derogatory, racist, sexist or homophobic will not be tolerated.
  3. Overt sexual behavior towards another person, or in the presence of another person, will not be tolerated. Safer sex      discussions between staff and clients for educational purposes are appropriate.
  4. If you possess, consume or are under the influence of illicit drugs, alcohol, or any mood altering drugs while you are at TSC, you will be asked to leave and return when you are able to interact appropriately with staff and/or volunteers.
  5. Disruptive behavior that interferes with the ability of clients, staff or volunteers to use TSC’s facility and/or that results in damages to TSC’s property will not be tolerated.
  6. Violations of the confidentiality of any person(s) you may see at TSC will not be tolerated.


Depending upon the seriousness of a violation of any of these rules:

  1. You may be required to leave the premises immediately.
  2. You may be required to meet with the Executive Director before accessing any additional services.
  3. You may have conditions placed upon you with which you must comply in order to continue receiving services.




The Spahr Center (TSC) is committed to assisting clients in resolving their concerns or complaints in a timely manner.  The following outline identifies the steps to be taken to resolve a grievance with TSC.


A grievance may be filed if a client experiences dissatisfaction with decisions concerning the client or with services or information provided and/or if the client is making allegations of discrimination or mistreatment.


Step I                   Talk to the staff member with whom the problem occurred.

Many times a grievance or complaint can be cleared up directly with the staff member.  If the client is not satisfied with the resolution at this level, the staff member will give the client the name of his/her immediate supervisor.


Step II        Talk to the staff member’s supervisor.

In most cases, concerns or complaints can be resolved at this level.


Step III       Talk to the Executive Director.

If the client’s complaint is with the supervisor, or if the client is not satisfied with the solution proposed by the supervisor or if the Executive Director is the immediate supervisor, the client should discuss his/her problem or complaint with the Executive Director.  The Executive Director can be reached at (415) 457-2487 ext. 104. The Executive Director will propose a resolution to the grievance.


Step IV       Appeal to the Board of Directors.

If the client is still dissatisfied with the proposed resolution, s/he may make a written appeal to the Board of Directors. The appeal should outline the client’s issue(s)/concern(s), the steps the client has taken to resolve the problems (Steps I – III above) and the reason for the continued dissatisfaction with the proposed resolution.  The written appeal should be sent to the Board of Directors at the agency, 910 Irwin Street, San Rafael, CA  94901.  The envelope should be marked “Private/Confidential”.

The Board shall decide upon a process for handling the grievance, make a determination regarding the grievance, and reply to the client in writing within no more than 30 days.

In addition, at any time, the client may contact any of the resources listed on the following pages for assistance.


If you file a grievance, you have the following rights:

  • Not to be denied service or otherwise retaliated against because you have filed a grievance.
  • To have your identity kept confidential to the extent possible while allowing for an investigation.
  • To take other avenues of review or redress provided by law even though you have used this grievance procedure.
  • To be provided with copies of agency information that you request related to the grievance that is not confidential and/or legally protected from disclosure. You may be required to pay a copying charge for this service, but this charge may be waived under certain circumstances.
  • To choose a representative to be present at any time during the grievance process to act as an advocate and observer. This other person may be a friend, other client, family member, or formal advocate and must be provided at your own expense.
  • To file a grievance orally, or when necessary in another format when necessary to accommodate a disability. If the grievance is filed orally, the agency will summarize the grievance in writing.

If you feel you need assistance with the complaints the following agencies may be able to help.

The County of Marin’s HIV/AIDS Services will accept, document and monitor client complaints, asking clients to exhaust the service agency’s grievance procedure.

County of Marin Health and Human Services

HIV/AIDS Services

1600 Los Gamos Drive, Suite 350

San Rafael, CA 94903



The Marin County Human Rights Commission handles complaints alleging discrimination based on membership in a protected group based on race, religion, color, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, place of birth, creed, national origin, or AIDS/HIV.

Marin County Human Rights Commission

3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 403

San Rafael, CA  94903



The AIDS Office at the San Francisco Department of Public Health will review grievances against any CARE-funded provider in Marin:

San Francisco Department of Public Health AIDS Office

HIV Health Services

25 Van Ness, Fifth Floor

San Francisco, CA  94102



The Office for Civil Rights primarily handles complaints alleging discrimination based on membership in a protected group based on race, color, age, disability, or national origin.

Office for Civil Rights

Department of Health and Human Services

50 United Nations Plaza, Room 322

San Francisco, CA  94102



The HIV Consumer Rights Advocacy Project will assist clients in completing an agency grievance procedure as well as providing mediation and advocacy services.

HIV Consumer Rights Advocacy Project

Jeremy M. Tsuchitani-Watson, HCAP Consumer Advocate

1663 Mission St., Suite 500

San Francisco, CA 94103

P: (415) 701-1200 ext. 322