7.13 Discrimination and Harassment Policy

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I. Definitions

Discrimination is any adverse action taken or impact imposed on any employee or student based upon any classification protected in 1.00 The Equal Opportunity Program Policy including race/color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, age, genetic information, political affiliation, or any other legally protected classification. Discrimination includes access by employees and students to any applicable facilities, benefits, and services offered by the College. Discrimination also includes any actions deemed to violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended.

Harassment is any behavior by an individual which improperly singles out, stigmatizes, or victimizes an employee or student to the employee's or student's detriment because of any protected classification under Policy 1.00 Equal Opportunity Program Policy. Harassment may include any of the following:

(1) actions by any employee, including a supervisor, that result in the creation of a hostile or offensive working environment;

(2) certain improper actions between an employee and a student at any time;

(3) certain improper actions between students while such students are on College property or participating in College-sponsored activities. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, sexual and verbal harassment. Similar conduct that is directed toward a student shall also violate this policy. Sexual harassment has been defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as follows:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Verbal expression constitutes harassment when it (1) is intended to insult or stigmatize an individual or a small number of individuals on the basis of any protected classification; (2) is addressed directly to the individual or individuals whom it insults or stigmatizes; (3) makes use of "fighting" words ("fighting" words are those commonly understood to convey direct and visceral hatred or contempt for human beings on the basis of any protected classification); and (4) conveys a threat of violence or is likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation.

*The definition of harassment incorporated herein is not intended to and does not limit employees and students from reasonably and legally speaking to, discussing, presenting, teaching, assigning, and/or testing upon any material and subject that may or may not be considered controversial, including, but certainly not limited to, for example, racism, evolution, and humanism, and it does not proscribe reasonable and relevant criticism pertaining to the performance of employees or students.

II. Policy

It is the policy of Central Piedmont Community College to treat employees equitably in the terms and conditions of their employment. It is also the policy of Central Piedmont Community College to treat students fairly. Discrimination against or harassment of any employee or student is contrary to College policy and will be justification for disciplinary action.

III. Procedures for Reporting Discrimination or Harassment or Suspected Discrimination or Harassment

It is each employee's or student's responsibility to ensure that his or her conduct does not include or imply discrimination or harassment in any form. If, however, such discrimination or harassment or suspected discrimination or harassment has taken place, is taking place, or is alleged to have taken place, the following will apply:

A. An administrator who receives a harassment complaint or has knowledge of harassment will inform his/her immediate supervisor and the Director Institutional Equity.

B. A College employee can report discrimination or harassment or an allegation of discrimination or harassment to his/her immediate administrator. If the allegations of discrimination or harassment involve the immediate administrator or supervisor or if the employee prefers, he/she may contact the next level of management or the Director Institutional Equity.

C. A student of the College can report discrimination or harassment or suspected discrimination or harassment to the appropriate administrator or supervisor. If the allegations of discrimination or harassment involve the administrator or supervisor or if the student prefers, the student may contact the next level of management or the Director Institutional Equity.

D. In the event that a discrimination or harassment complaint is made directly to the Director Institutional Equity, the Director will report the complaint to the immediate administrator or supervisor of the employee against whom the complaint is filed. The Director Institutional Equity will determine if the complainant wishes to initiate a formal discrimination or harassment complaint and take appropriate action.

E. Any employee in an administrative or supervisory position who fails to act promptly and in accordance with established procedures in response to a discrimination or harassment complaint is in violation of the policy and subject to disciplinary action.

IV. Procedures for Investigating Discrimination or Harassment or Suspected Discrimination or Harassment

Once the Director Institutional Equity receives a referral of discrimination or harassment, a determination of whether the complainant wishes to initiate a waiver of complaint or a formal complaint will be made.

A. Initiating a Waiver of Complaint

In the event that an employee or student elects to file a Waiver of Complaint, Form H-1 Discrimination or Harassment Waiver of Formal Complaint will be completed. A brief statement of the issues involved will be attached.

1. The Director Institutional Equity will notify the administrator or supervisor of the employee against whom a waiver has been filed. The Director Institutional Equity will provide the administrator or supervisor with a copy of the H-1 Discrimination or Harassment Waiver of Formal Complaint and a brief statement of the issues.

2. The administrator or supervisor of an employee who is charged with an allegation of discrimination or harassment is responsible for informing the employee of the allegation and with reviewing this policy with the employee. The Director Institutional Equity will provide assistance as needed.

3. The administrator or supervisor will inform the Director Institutional Equity by memo that he/she has discussed the allegations with the employee against whom the allegations were made.

4. Employees and students may participate in the College's mediation program as described in Policy 4.65 Mediation Program in situations regarding alleged discrimination or harassment after filing a Discrimination or Harassment Waiver of Formal Complaint.

5. The Director Institutional Equity will maintain Waiver of Formal Complaint forms in a confidential file. The Director Institutional Equity will purge the Waiver of Formal Complaint form file after 24 months. If within a 24-month period multiple Waiver of Formal Complaint forms have been filed on an individual, the Director Institutional Equity has the discretion to initiate a formal investigation regardless of the individual waivers.

B. Initiating a Formal Complaint

In the event of a formal discrimination or harassment complaint, the following procedure will be followed:

1. The administrator or supervisor receiving the discrimination or harassment complaint will direct the employee or student to the Director Institutional Equity.

2. A Discrimination or Harassment Complaint Form (H2) will be completed in detail and signed by both the complainant and the Director of Equal Opportunity.

3. Each complaint will be fully and objectively investigated by the Director Institutional Equity, who will determine the facts on a case-by-case basis. The complainant and the respondent may expect a response to a complaint within thirty working days following the filing of a formal discrimination or harassment complaint. The President or his designee may extend the response period if an investigation requires additional time to gather facts.

4. The Director Institutional Equity will investigate the complaint by separately interviewing the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed and potential witnesses. The appropriate forms should be completed during each interview. Copies of the completed forms will be retained by the Director Institutional Equity upon completion of the investigation. While an effective investigation cannot promise complete confidentiality of information provided by a complainant and witnesses, the Director Institutional Equity will keep such information and identities confidential to the extent possible.

5. Any employee involved in the investigation of a discrimination or harassment complaint must treat all information gained from the complainant(s) or witness(es) during the investigation with confidentiality and on a need-to-know basis.

6. In extraordinary circumstances, the President or his designee may at any time during or after an investigation place an employee against whom a complaint has been filed on administrative leave per Policy 4.28 Administrative Leave.

7. Following the investigation of the complaint, the immediate administrator or supervisor of the accused, the unit vice president (or designee), the Vice President of Human Resources, and the Director Institutional Equity will determine the validity of the complaint and recommend appropriate action to the President.

8. No retaliatory action will be taken or tolerated against any employee or student who complains or who serves as a witness under these procedures.

V. Disciplinary Action

A. Central Piedmont Community College will not tolerate discrimination or harassment, nor will it tolerate any form of retaliation against any employee or student who has brought legitimate concerns to management or to regulatory agencies or who has properly participated in the investigation or resolution of such concerns.

B. Disciplinary action will be taken according to the College's disciplinary procedures. While disciplinary action taken against an employee subject to a complaint of discrimination or harassment may be the subject of a grievance under Policy 4.32 Conflict Resolution and Grievance Process Policy, the Director Institutional Equity's investigation conclusions, or alleged lack of conclusions, shall not be subject to the grievance process.

Changes approved by Cabinet on January 24, 2005; June 5, 2006; August 30, 2010