4.161 Human Resources
SEX DISCRIMINATION AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Date Adopted/Most Recent Revision: 08/04/2006

A.     Policy Statement It is the policy of Midwestern State University to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment. Sex discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex constitute violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Any faculty, staff, or student will be subject to disciplinary action for violation of this policy.

B.     Definition

1.     Sex discrimination is defined as conduct directed at a specific individual or group of identifiable individuals that subjects the individual or group to treatment that adversely affects their employment or education on account of sex.

2.     Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

a.     submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or education, or

b.     submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual, or

c.     such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, educational or living environment.

C.    Confidentiality
Cases involving sexual harassment will be considered sensitive, and special attention to issues of confidentiality will be given. Dissemination of information relating to the complaint will be limited, in order that the privacy of all individuals involved is safeguarded as fully as possible. Every effort will be made to protect the complainant from retaliatory action by the respondent or other individuals.

D.    Informal Disposition of Complaint
A person who believes he/she is the victim of sex discrimination or sexual harassment is encouraged to seek an informal resolution. All complaints will be considered informal until they are filed in writing through the prescribed formal process.

1.     Any member of the MSU community (faculty, staff, or student) having a complaint of sex discrimination or sexual harassment should notify his/her immediate supervisor within ten (10) calendar days of knowledge of the alleged conduct. If the complaint is against the immediate supervisor, the complainant should contact the next higher administrative level. The immediate supervisor for an employee is the university official to whom the employee reports. The immediate supervisor for a student is the chairperson of the academic department where the alleged incident occurred, for incidents that occur within an academic setting, and the dean of students for incidents that occur in a non-academic setting.

2.     The complainant’s supervisor, dean of students, or department chairperson, receiving the complaint, hereinafter referred to as the administrator, will counsel with the complainant to determine the extent of the alleged sex discrimination or sexual harassment.

3.     The administrator will verbally inform the EEO coordinator (director of human resources) that an informal complaint of sex discrimination or sexual harassment has been filed.

4.     The administrator will review the evidence presented by the complainant and will determine if there is cause to believe that a sex discrimination or sexual harassment violation occurred.

5.     If in the judgment of the administrator a violation did not occur, the complainant will be so advised and given a verbal explanation of the reason for the determination.

6.     If it is determined by the administrator that there is sufficient justification to believe that sex discrimination or sexual harassment did occur, the administrator will notify the respondent that an informal complaint has been filed against him/her and that the complainant wishes to seek an informal resolution. The administrator will inform the respondent that retaliation against the complainant is prohibited and offer the respondent an opportunity to confirm or rebut the charge. Both parties will meet with the administrator, together or separately, and try to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. No formal investigation is involved in the informal resolution process.

7.     The administrator shall document the informal process and any informal resolution. Such documentation shall be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law, and shall be retained by the administrator and the EEO coordinator.

 

E.     Formal Disposition of Complaint
A complaint may be taken through the formal process. An informal resolution meeting shall not be considered a precondition for the filing of a formal written complaint. A formal complaint must be submitted in writing within ninety (90) calendar days of the occurrence of the alleged violation. A complainant shall send a formal written complaint to the appropriate person, hereinafter designated as the investigator.

1.     The designated investigator will be:

a.     the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management for a student’s complaint arising from incidents which occurred in a non- academic setting,

b.     the relevant dean of the college for a student’s complaint arising from incidents which occurred in an academic setting, or

c.     the relevant dean of the college or department director (equivalent budgetary unit head), as appropriate, for an employee other than a student.

2.     The written complaint must contain the following information:

a.     complainant’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address,

b.     name of respondent,

c.     date(s), place(s), and time(s) of alleged violation,

d.     detailed description of specific conduct in violation of policy,

e.     copies of any documents pertaining to the incident(s),

f.      names of any witnesses to the violation,

g.     resolution action requested by complainant,

h.     other relevant information, and

i.      signature of complainant and date of filing.

3.     The investigator will inform the EEO coordinator (director of human resources) that a formal complaint has been filed and provide the EEO coordinator with a copy of the complaint.

4.     Within five (5) working days of receipt of a formal written complaint, the appropriate investigator receiving the complaint will send the complainant a written acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint.

5.     An investigation will be initiated if it is determined that the formal complaint is complete, timely, and within the scope of the policy. If it is determined that the complaint does not meet the requirements of this policy and the university will not proceed with an investigation, the complainant will be notified in writing by the investigator. The complainant may appeal the determination to not proceed with the investigation to the complainant’s senior administrator, in writing, within ten (10) working days of the notification. If the decision to dismiss is upheld, the decision is final. If the decision is overturned, the investigation will continue.

6.     If it is determined that the university will proceed to investigate the complaint, the investigator will give the respondent written notification of the investigation. The investigator will inform the respondent that retaliation against the complainant is prohibited and offer the respondent an opportunity to file a written response within ten (10) working days.

7.     The investigator will interview both the complainant and the respondent and persons who are considered to have pertinent factual information relevant to the complaint. Findings will be based on the totality of circumstances related to the incident or conduct and will be considered on the basis of severity, frequency, and nature of the offense. The investigation will be kept confidential and on a need-to-know basis.

8.     The investigator will provide a written statement of findings with supporting documentation and a decision for disposition of the complaint to the EEO coordinator and to the senior administrator representing the department of the complainant.

9.     The investigator will provide written notification of the decision to the complainant and to the respondent within fifteen (15) working days after the conclusion of the investigation.

10.   Decisions involving disciplinary action will be administered in accordance with university disciplinary policies. The supervisor of the respondent will be notified by the EEO coordinator if disciplinary sanctions are imposed upon an employee of the university.

F.     Right of Appeal
If the complainant or respondent is not satisfied with the disposition of the formal complaint, either party may appeal to the president for a grievance hearing.

1.     The grievant must send a formal written request for a hearing to the president within ten (10) working days of receipt of the written notification of the disposition of the formal complaint. The request for a hearing must be signed by the grievant. Within ten (10) working days of the date filed, a hearing date shall be set.

2.     The president shall appoint an ad hoc committee to review the formal complaint, hear the appeal, and render a decision. The hearing committee shall consist of five (5) persons who are employees of the university, two (2) persons from each classification (faculty, staff, or student) of the principals involved and a chairperson designated by the president. Each principal involved shall have one (1) preemptive challenge.

3.     The complainant, respondent, administrator, investigator, and EEO coordinator shall, in advance of the hearing, receive a copy of the written appeal filed with the president. All affected parties shall receive a written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing. A copy of the written complaint and the appeal will be furnished to the hearing committee.

4.     All formal hearings shall be closed to the public except as otherwise required by law. The president’s designee shall preside and conduct the business of the hearing. The principals shall have the opportunity to present their cases through testimony, relevant evidence, and witnesses.

5.     The chair of the grievance committee shall within five (5) working days of the conclusion of the hearing submit a written report of the committee’s decision to the complainant, the respondent, the EEO coordinator, and to the president of the university.

G.    Disposition of Hearing Committee’s Decision
The president of the university will receive the committee’s report and may review the matter on the record only. Unless the president acts within ten (10) working days following receipt of the committee’s written report, the grievance committee’s decision is upheld. The decision of the president is final.

H.    Retaliation
Retaliation in any form against individuals who report cases of sexual harassment or sex discrimination, whether those individuals are directly or indirectly involved, is strictly prohibited and will result in appropriate disciplinary action up to and including possible suspensions or termination.

I.      False Charges
False charges of sexual harassment/discrimination, if proven, may result in disciplinary action against the complainant by the university or civil action against the complainant by the respondent if the charges were known to have been false at the time they were made.

J.     Sexual Harassment/Discrimination Awareness Training
Within thirty (30) calendar days of their respective dates of employment, all new employees must receive appropriate training in sexual harassment/discrimination awareness and be given a copy of the university's sexual harassment policy. Such training, which will be conducted by the Human Resources Department, must include the definitions of sexual harassment/discrimination, instruction in how to recognize and report instances of sexual harassment/discrimination, and the penalties for violating the university's sexual harassment/discrimination policies. All university employees must receive this training at least once every two (2) years and there must be a statement signed by the employee acknowledging completion in his or her personnel file

Monitoring
A copy of a sexual harassment/discrimination complaint and a report on the final disposition to remedy the complaint will be filed with the EEO coordinator. It will be the responsibility of the EEO coordinator to conduct appropriate follow-up and monitoring of all sex discrimination and sexual harassment complaints to ensure that recommended corrective actions have been taken and that the offensive behavior has not been repeated