The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or LA Metro, operates public transportation for one of the largest, most populous and ethnically diverse counties in the US. Formed in 1993 out of a merger of the Southern California Rapid Transit District and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, LA Metro operates bus, freeway, highway, light rail and heavy rail services, moving more than a million riders per day.
The Office of Civil Rights at LA Metro handles discrimination and harassment cases filed by employees and members of the public who use the transportation system. In a county as large and diverse as Los Angeles, this is an important function that comes with a great deal of responsibility and risk. The Office also handles affirmative action cases, reviewing and concurring on hiring to ensure the process is fair to people from historically disenfranchised groups, and investigating any red flags.
With a large volume of cases and the need to respond quickly to requests for information related to lawsuits, the Office of Civil Rights was struggling to operate efficiently. Case documentation was inefficient and often inaccessible.
“It was being handled through an Excel spreadsheet, and with Excel, it’s very limited to what you can add,” says Jonaura Wisdom, Director, EEO & Civil Rights Compliance. “So each investigator had their own set of notes and reports.”
The spreadsheet contained only the basic case information: the title, the case number, the protected category, state, and whether the case was substantiated or not. Investigators were saving their notes, interviews, photos, evidence and all other information related to their cases on their computers.
With so much information siloed, the civil rights team couldn’t operate efficiently. “When there’s a disciplinary action that needs to take place we have to refer back to certain notes or the investigative report and if it was on an individual’s computer we might not have access if they were not there,” says Wisdom. “Also, it would take a long time to get the information and search for it and find it, depending on each individual’s organizational skills.”
Physical space was becoming an issue as well. Filing cabinets filled with paper files were taking up valuable office space. Eventually, case storage was outsourced to a storage facility, bringing a whole new set of problems.
“Whenever we needed those cases we had to request them from storage by box number,” says Wisdom. “Once we requested the box, we had to wait a day or so for the box to be delivered. And it wasn’t just the case, it was the whole box that that case was included in. So we’d have to sort through a box of maybe 100 cases just to look for that one. Once we were done with the case we’d have to call the storage facility and arrange a pickup for them to bring it back to the storage facility. So it was a pretty inefficient process. And it affected our time management.”
LA Metro’s Office of Civil Rights needed a case management system that:
- housed all aspects of cases in one place
- included the ability to upload documents to case files
- provided a workflow to guide investigators
- was intuitive and easy to learn
- could be customized to match their needs
- allowed different people to access cases simultaneously
- captured the required information efficiently
- enabled timely responses to complaints
- enabled quick turnaround for court requests for information
LA Metro chose i-Sight for its efficient workflow, easy-to-use interface, customization and exceptional customer service. The centralized case files allow the team to collaborate and respond quickly.
“It’s a one-stop shop,” says Wisdom. “We don’t have to rely on bodies to provide information. We can just look up the information regardless of who has ownership of the case. And we can do it whether we are at our desks or we are at home.”
Wisdom also appreciates the responsiveness and caring of the i-Sight build team. “i-Sight was with us along the way,” she says. “As glitches arose during the testing of the system, i-Sight was very responsive. They would explain why it occurred and the turnaround time to fix the glitch was very quick. If there was an issue that was an inherent part of the system, they would explain and provide alternative solutions… There’s never been an issue that they couldn’t remedy.”
The team’s efficiency and reliability helps other functions, such as attorneys working as county counsel. “They’re always requesting information for lawsuits that they have to handle,” says Wisdom. “And so they’re very happy with how organized we are and how quickly we are able to respond.”
Since implementing i-Sight, the Office of Civil Rights at LA Metro has streamlined processes, saved time and gained a reputation for efficiency.
- Investigators are able to organize information in half the time it took to create paper files.
- Responding to report requests was reduced from one hour to 15 minutes.
- Responding to court requests for case information was reduced from several days to anywhere between 10 minutes and two hours.
- Requests that were previously too difficult and time-consuming to carry out can now be fulfilled.
- Detailed reporting provides information on the numbers and types of cases to help with training and prevention.
- The ability to analyze cases by cost center has provided insight into trends and put the data into context.
- LA Metro has been able to identify certain divisions with more civil rights cases than others and target training to those divisions.
- LA Metro has reduced their risk of lawsuits through timely and thorough complaint response and resolution.
- The Office of Civil Rights has earned a reputation for speed, efficiency and great customer service.