Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Process

Type: 
Procedure
Category: 
Institutional Integrity
Department: 
Human Resources
Phone: 
(541) 463-5037
Primary Contact: 
For Students: Kerry Levett; For Staff: Dennis Carr
Contact Email: 
Narrative: 

Lane Community College prohibits discrimination based on race, age, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability or veteran status. See Board Policy BP535:Equality of Opportunity and Board Policy BP63: Harassment. College administrative policies also prohibit discrimination and harassment; see Harassment Based on Race/Ethnicity or National Origin.

If you have questions about this procedure:

Regarding student complaints, please contact Kerry Levett levettk@lanecc.edu in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, and

Regarding staff complaints, please contact Dennis Carr carrd@lanecc.edu in the Human Resources department.

If you want to report any harassment or discrimination based on sex, gender identity, sexual misconduct or sexual assault, use the Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Discrimination Complaint Process.

Purpose

This procedure explains the reporting process if you believe an employee or student has violated the College's discrimination and harassment policies based on race, age, color, ethnicity, national origin, veteran status, disability or religion or whistleblowing or retaliation against any person who participates in the complaint process. It is designed to provide all members of the College community with a process for reporting incidents of discrimination or harassment, and to provide for prompt and effective response to and resolution of reports of discrimination or harassment. It supports the College’s commitment to meaningful equal opportunity and diversity at the college.

Retaliation

Retaliation against the complainant or any person who participates in the complaint process is expressly forbidden. The College will safeguard the complainant's rights against retaliation by taking prompt and appropriate corrective action when necessary. An individual who is subjected to retaliation (e.g. threats, intimidation, reprisals, or adverse employment or educational actions) for having made a report of discrimination or harassment in good faith, for having assisted someone with a report of harassment or discrimination, or for having participated in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a report of harassment or discrimination, is encouraged to make a report of retaliation under this procedure using this procedure.

Timelines

This procedure does not waive any statutory timelines for legal remedies available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, or any other state or federal statutory timelines.

Individuals with complaints covered by this procedure have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, or Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries:

The College encourages individuals to file complaints of inappropriate conduct, discrimination and/or harassment as close in time to the event as possible. Reports of incidents more than one year old may be more difficult for the College to investigate and remediate than reports received closer in time to the events. Although the College will accept all complaints under this procedure regardless of the date of the alleged misconduct, it will not investigate events that occurred more than twelve months prior to filing the complaint unless the alleged facts, if true, constitute a violation of an Oregon or federal statute.

The written formal complaint procedure is set up to take no more than thirty (30) days from the date the complaint investigation begins. Informal procedures may take less or more time to resolve.

“Days” as described in this procedure represent college business days.

Impartial Process

Both the complainant and the accused are entitled to a thorough and impartial investigation and decision-making process. The President or his or her designée, at the President’s sole discretion, will designate a Responsible Administrator to supervise the complaint process and to decide the import and consequences, if any, of the facts confirmed. The designated Administrator may appoint an independent investigator to conduct an investigation.

Any complainant or respondent who believes that either the designated Administrator or the appointed complaint investigator cannot be impartial should immediately notify the President of his or her concerns. Allegations of bias should be based on the individual’s belief that the person alleged to be biased has had prior contact or prior significant involvement with an individual named in the complaint and that such contact or involvement prevents the person from assessing the facts impartially. Notice to the President that there is a concern regarding potential bias must be received within five (5) working days of the date the objecting participant is notified of the name of the designated Administrator and/or of the appointed investigator. If the President believes the objection has merit, the matter will be promptly re-assigned to another designated Administrator or an alternative investigator. The President may reassign complaint responsibilities as needed on his or her own initiative on the basis of subsequently discovered facts or subsequently occurring events that present a presumption of bias or incapacity by the Administrator or the investigator.

Confidentiality

The College will protect the privacy of individuals involved in a report of discrimination or harassment to the extent allowed by law and College policy. However, there may be times when disclosure of information is required. For example, when a written complaint is investigated, the accused will receive a copy of the allegations, including the name of the individual(s) who filed the complaint, except when disclosure is prohibited by law or when grades are still pending for students. In all cases, efforts will be made to protect the privacy of individuals.

An individual who has made a report of discrimination or harassment may be advised of a sanction imposed against the accused when the individual needs to be aware of the sanction in order for it to be fully effective (such as restrictions on communication or contact with the individual who made the report). However, information regarding disciplinary action taken against the accused shall not be disclosed unless it is necessary to ensure compliance with the action or the safety of individuals. Findings made pursuant to this procedure may be used as evidence in a disciplinary proceeding as permitted by the applicable labor-relations agreement. Any student sanctions will be governed by the Student Code of Conduct.

Records

The only College record that will be kept of an informal complaint for early resolution will be by type of incident, department and the relationship of those involved. All records of the formal complaint process, including the complaint form and all reports and findings as well as all documentation concerning the post-complaint review processes, will be delivered to the Human Resource Department for compliance review and placed in a secure and confidential complaint file. Records of student-to-student harassment complaints will be maintained in a secure and confidential file in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs.
A report that summarizes all informal reports and formal complaints and resolution by type of incident and the relationship of those involved is summarized and presented to the Lane Board of Education annually in the Treatment of Staff and Treatment of Learners Reports. No information that would identify the parties involved is included in these reports.

Reporting Discrimination or Harassment

All members of Lane Community College are encouraged to contact one of the persons listed below if they observe or encounter conduct that may violate the College’s Equal Opportunity or Harassment policies. Reports of discrimination or harassment may be made to any of the following persons.

Employees: Employees should contact one of the following:

  1. Chief Diversity Officer (541) 463-5307
  2. Any Executive Dean in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs (ASA) (541) 463-5037
  3. Associate Deans in Student Affairs who are the lead Judicial Advisors for ASA (541) 463-5037
  4. Chief Human Resource Officer (541) 463-5585
  5. Human Resource Manager(s) (541) 463-5586
  6. Campus Public Safety Office (541) 463-5558

Bilingual assistance in Spanish is available for by contacting Jerry DeLeon at (541) 463-5870.

Students Complaints: Students who have complaints about discrimination and harassment should contact student support staff at one of the following offices:

  1. Women's Program, Building 1, Room 202, (541) 463-5353
  2. Counseling Center, (541) 463-5178
  3. Multicultural Center, (541) 463-5144
  4. Office of Academic and Student Affairs, Executive Deans, (541) 463-5037

Complaints by students against other students that allege violations of law or College policies regarding discrimination or harassment will be handled through the Student Code of Conduct.

Designation of a responsible Administrator

Whether the complaint is resolved informally, that is, without a written statement or formal investigation, or formally, which requires a written statement of allegations and includes an investigation of facts in dispute, the President, at his or her sole discretion will designate a responsible Administrator to supervise any complaint involving a College employee and to decide the import and consequences, if any, of the facts confirmed. The President has complete discretion in choosing a responsible Administrator for a particular matter. Typically, this will be an Administrator at the Vice-President level.

Anonymous Complaints

The College will respond to the extent possible to anonymous reports of discrimination or harassment or reports made by third parties not directly involved in the discrimination or harassment. However, the response to such reports may be limited if information contained in the reports cannot be verified by independent facts.

Options for Reporting

1. Informal Reports: The responsible Administrator may enlist any help she or he chooses to resolve a complaint on an informal basis. Informal reports are intended to resolve concerns at the earliest stage possible. The use of the informal reporting process allows the responsible Administrator to work directly and confidentially with the parties involved. Resolution of informal reports may include discussions with the parties, making recommendations for resolution, and conducting a follow-up review after a period of time to assure that the resolution has been implemented effectively.

An informal report is appropriate when there is no dispute regarding the relevant facts and the parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively. Informal reports may be appropriate for responding to anonymous reports and/or third party reports. The College encourages early resolution of a complaint. However, the formal report process will be used when there is a factual dispute or if the complaint includes allegations of serious misconduct, such as reports of a pattern of inappropriate behavior, alleged criminal acts such as stalking, or physical assault, or allegations of violations of state or federal discrimination or harassment laws.

What is the informal reporting process?

Step 1: Discuss the incident with one of the contact people listed above. The contact persons identified have been trained in discrimination and harassment complaint procedures. Discussion of the incident(s) with a contact person can be arranged at a time and place on campus that is convenient for the complainant.

Step 2: Consider the informal options for early resolution that may be proposed by the appointed responsible Administrator. In some situations, it may be possible for the Administrator to resolve the concern without the direct involvement of the complainant. Early resolution of informal reports could encompass a full range of possible appropriate outcomes including but not limited to: mediating an agreement between the parties; separating the parties; referring the parties to counseling programs; conducting targeted educational and training programs; or working with appropriate administrators to provide remedies acceptable to the complainant.

Step 3: Decide on the course of action. If a complainant chooses to attempt to informally resolve the problem, the complainant and Administrator must decide how to proceed. After discussing the incident with the Administrator, the complainant may also decide to go no further with the complaint.

Step 4: Take the action decided upon. The Administrator will inform the complainant and all parties with a right to know about the complaint concerning the actions taken to resolve the complaint through the informal process.

Step 5: If a complainant is not satisfied with the results of the informal resolution, the option to use the formal complaint process remains available.

Step 6: The Administrator will review the informal complaint resolution at various post-complaint intervals of one, three and six months to confirm the effectiveness of the resolution in preventing discriminatory and/or harassing behavior and to ensure that the parties have not been subjected to any retaliatory behavior.

Step 7: The Administrator will ensure that complaint information regarding the type of incident, department and the relationship of those involved in the informal complaint process is made to the Human Resources Department or Academic and Student Services Department for inclusion in the relevant report to the Board.

2. Formal ReportsThe Formal Report process will be used when the informal report for early resolution is inappropriate (e.g., when the facts are in dispute regarding allegations of serious misconduct or there are reports of a pattern of inappropriate behavior/alleged criminal acts such as stalking or physical assault) or in cases where the informal process is unsuccessful. The formal process involves a written statement of allegations and an independent investigation of the disputed facts.

What is the formal process?

Step 1: Complainant submits a written complaint. Complete the written Formal Harassment Complaint Form. Copies of the form are also available from Human Resources. Deliver the completed Formal Harassment Complaint Form to Human Resources or to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs.

Step 2: College reviews complaint. Within five (5) working days of the date the complaint is received by Human Resources or the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, the Vice President will determine whether an investigation is necessary. Complaints will be investigated if they allege violations of the College's policies or procedures, or violations of state or federal discrimination and harassment laws.

Step 3: Notice to parties. Once it is determined that an investigation is necessary, the Vice President will send a written notice to the complainant and the accused. The notice to complainant will acknowledge receipt of the complaint; the notice to the accused will include a copy of the written complaint. Both parties will be informed of the name of the appointed responsible Administrator, the name of the assigned investigator, the time frame during which the investigation process will take place and a copy of the complaint procedure.

For any College employee named in the complaint, the Vice President will provide written notice of the complaint to the department supervisor. If the accused is a represented employee, the Vice President will also provide written notice of the complaint to the respective union that represents the accused. Accused employees who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement have a right to have a union representative present during investigatory meetings. Complainants have a right to have an advisor of their choice present during investigatory meetings.

Step 4: Investigation of disputed facts. The Vice President will ensure that a timely investigation of the complaint is completed, will determine the scope of the investigation and may conduct the investigation or appoint another College administrator or appoint an outside investigator to be the investigator. The investigator’s function is fact-finding. Decisions regarding the import and consequences, if any, of the confirmed facts will remain the responsibility of the Vice President.

During the investigation process, the complainant and the accused are not to contact each other. All parties to a complaint are expected to fully cooperate with any investigation in a timely manner. If the complainant refuses to cooperate, the complaint may be deemed withdrawn at the sole discretion of the Vice President. If the accused refuses to cooperate, the investigation will nevertheless continue as thoroughly as possible.

Step 5: Investigation Process. The investigation will include interviewing individuals having first-hand knowledge of the incident, including both the complainant and the accused. Other evidence will be reviewed as determined appropriate by the investigator and the Vice President. Disclosure of facts to parties and witnesses will include all information that is reasonably necessary to conduct a fair and thorough investigation. The accused will be given the opportunity to respond to any new allegations that emerge during the course of the investigation. Participants in an investigation will be advised that maintaining confidentiality is essential to protect the integrity of the investigation. The statements of witnesses contained in the investigator's report will be kept as confidential as possible. The investigator, if it is someone other than the Vice President, will prepare a summary of the facts for the Vice President. All persons interviewed by the investigator will be provided the opportunity to review the investigator's record of their own statements before the final report is prepared. If the Vice President determines that additional investigation is required, the Vice President will request an extension of the contractual timelines from the appropriate union; approval of such requests will not be unreasonably withheld. The Vice President will inform the parties to the complaint in writing of the extension of timelines, the names of any additional witnesses to be interviewed, and will advise the complainant and the accused concerning any other timeline changes that will be necessary as the result of this extension.

Step 6: Notice of Findings. Within thirty (30) working days of the date of receipt of the Formal Complaint Form, the Vice President will provide written notice of findings of facts to all parties to the complaint. The notice of findings will include a description of the complaint process; an explanation of the findings of fact; and whether the facts constitute a violation of any college harassment and discrimination policies or other policies. The accused will be informed of any recommended remedial actions to be taken. The complainant will be informed only of those remedial actions that are directly related to the complainant (such as an order of no contact). The complainant may generally be informed that the matter has been referred for disciplinary action, but shall not be informed of any specific disciplinary action unless such information is necessary in order to assure compliance with the findings and recommendations. Either the complainant or the accused may request a meeting with the Vice President following receipt of the Vice President's written notice of findings.

Step 7: The complaint file. After the complainant and the accused have been notified of the Vice President's findings, the Vice President will forward the official complaint file to the President's Office pending notice of appeal. If there is no notice of appeal submitted within five (5) working days of the Vice President's notification, the Vice President will confirm the findings of the official complaint file to the College President for final action.

When a violation of discrimination and harassment policies is substantiated in a final decision, the Vice President's findings will include a recommendation for appropriate remedial action. Under Board Policy BP630, whether or not the alleged behavior is sufficiently severe or pervasive to be judged a violation of the Board Harassment policy, the College may take action to address a complainant’s concerns and to ensure that Lane, as a workplace and an academic institution, maintains a respectful environment.

Step 8: Post-Complaint Review of Informal and Formal Complaints.

Following the closure of a formal or an informal complaint, the college will review the actions it has taken. When there are recommendations for remedial actions, the Vice President will review the effectiveness of any remedial actions at the following post-complaint intervals.

1) Two to four weeks after the Vice President's Written Notice of Findings or resolution of an informal complaint, the Vice President or her designee will contact the accused to confirm that the resolution, if any, has been implemented and that neither the complainant nor the accused has experienced any new problematic conduct that is of concern and that neither the accused nor any other employee has engaged in conduct towards the complainant that is motivated by retaliation.

2) Three months after a finding of fault in the Vice President's Written Notice of Findings or resolution of the informal complaint the Vice President or her designee will contact the complainant and the accused to confirm that no new problematic conduct has occurred and that neither the accused nor any other employee has engaged in conduct that is motivated by retaliation.

The Vice President will document the post-complaint review procedures and contacts with the complainant and the accused. All documentation developed by the Vice President in the post-complaint review process must be timely delivered to the Human Resources Department for inclusion in the secure, confidential official complaint file.

Procedural Appeal Process

Either the complainant or the accused may file an appeal of the Vice President's written notice of findings. An appeal on the record of the Vice President's findings is limited in scope to whether the College followed its own process. Any appeal must be submitted in writing to the President within Five (5) working days of the date of the Vide President's written notice of findings. This appeal must allege a procedural violation. The appeals process is not for the purpose of disputing the Vice President's findings. It is the President's responsibility to make sure that the process was followed and the investigation was conducted fairly for all parties involved. No new evidence may be submitted through the appeals process.

Step 1: Upon receipt of the written request for an appeal, the President or her designee will contact the chair of the Hearings Committee. In consultation with the President, the chair of the Committee will first assess whether the appeal documents procedural concerns that if substantiated would be violations of, or exceptions to, the complaint procedure. If the chair confirms that the appeal poses credible procedural concerns, the chair will convene the Committee for an administrative review hearing within ten (10) working days of receipt of the written request for appeal.

Step 2: The hearings committee conducts a confidential administrative review hearing. Normally, the official record will include the following items: the original complaint; the investigator's report (including statements of witnesses) and the Vice President's notice of findings and remedies.

Before adjourning to executive session for its deliberations, the hearings committee may invite brief written or verbal statements from the complainant and the accused. The hearings committee will not hear new witnesses or statements from other parties. Both the complainant and the accused may bring one representative or support person (e.g., a union representative if the complainant or the accused is represented by a union) to the administrative review hearing for support and advice. Confidentiality will be maintained to the greatest extent allowed by law with regard to the hearing and the complaint.

The hearings committee may develop additional procedural guidelines that are not in conflict with this procedure of which the complainant and the accused will be notified in advance.

Step 3: The hearings committee submits a written report of findings and recommendations to the College President.

The hearings committee will have up to five (5) working days from the date of the hearing to submit a written report of its findings to the President. The findings will address the Vice President's application of harassment/discrimination policies and law to the facts of the situation. The review by the hearings committee is limited to whether or not the College properly followed the complaint procedure. If the hearings committee finds that the complaint procedure was not followed, the hearings committee may recommend that the investigation be corrected. The hearings committee will not conduct this procedural correction. Procedural corrections will be implemented by the Vice President or the designated investigator.

The Vice President will consider the hearings committee's recommendation and either confirm the need for a correction or verify that the original process was completed properly. If the Vice President confirms the need for a process correction and the accused employee is a member of a represented work group then the Vice President or a designee will request an extension of the contractual complaint time lines from the appropriate union; approval of such requests will not be unreasonably withheld. The Vice President will also inform the complainant and the accused concerning the need for procedural corrections. The Vice President will notify the complainant and the accused when any such procedural corrections are completed. Before referring the decision to the College President, The Vice President may either confirm the original decision or submit an addendum for the decision to the College President within 10 days from the date the hearings committee recommends the correction.

The hearings committee’s report may include both majority and dissenting opinions.

Step 4: The College President notifies the complainant and the accused of the decision.

The President has up to 10 working days to review the hearing committee's report, review the Vice President's decision and addendum (if any), make a final decision about the complaint and send written notification of that decision to the complainant and the accused. The College President shall assure delivery of the final decision to the complainant and the accused.

Notification of the President's decision may be delivered to the complainant directly by a representative of the college or by the US Postal Service, depending upon the circumstances and the complainant's location.

If no procedural appeal is filed after the initial decision from the Vice President is delivered to the complainant and the accused, or if no further action is recommended after appeal, the College President will return the official complaint file to Human Resources to be kept in a secure, confidential file.

Date Adopted: 
Friday, October 25, 2013
Date Last Reviewed: 
Monday, May 15, 2017