Non-Discrimination and Harassment

Date of original implementation: 9/13/2004

Date of Revision: August 2012

Reason for this Policy:

Cambridge College (CC) is committed to an educational and work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to study and work in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal opportunities and prohibits unlawful discriminatory practices, including harassment. Therefore, CC expects that all relationships among persons in the educational setting and the workplace will be business-like and free of bias, prejudice and harassment.

Equal Opportunity

It is the policy of CC to ensure equal opportunity without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetics, or any other characteristic protected by law. CC prohibits any such discrimination or harassment.

Retaliation Is Also Prohibited

CC encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination or harassment. It is the policy of CC to promptly and thoroughly investigate such reports. CC prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or harassment or participates in an investigation of such reports.

Definitions

1. Discrimination is defined as conduct directed at a specific individual or a group of identifiable individuals that subjects the individual or group to treatment that adversely affects their employment or education because of their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetics, or any other characteristic protected by law.

2. Harassment as a form of discrimination is defined as verbal or physical conduct that is directed at an individual or group because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetics, or any other characteristic protected by law when such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to have the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s or group’s academic or work performance; or of creating a hostile academic or work environment. This conduct can include technology-based communications such as texting, online classroom chats, or social networking sites.

3. Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is described as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to technology-based communications such as texting, online classroom chats, or social networking chats, even if carried out under the guise of humor, and constitutes sexual harassment when:

  • submission to or tolerance of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or education; or
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions (including admissions and hiring) affecting that individual; or
  • 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.

Physical conduct that, depending on the totality of circumstances present, including frequency and severity, may constitute sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to,

  • unwelcome intentional touching;
  • deliberate physical interference with or restriction of movement or;
  • sexual violence.

Verbal conduct, defined as oral, written, or symbolic expressions, that, depending on the totality of circumstances present, may constitute sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to,

  • explicit or implicit propositions to engage in sexual activity;
  • gratuitous comments, jokes, questions, anecdotes, or remarks of a sexual nature about clothing or bodies;
  • gratuitous remarks about sexual activities or speculation about sexual experiences;
  • persistent, unwanted sexual or romantic attention;
  • subtle or overt pressure for sexual favors;
  • exposure to sexually suggestive visual displays such as photographs, graffiti, posters, calendars, or other materials;
  • deliberate, repeated humiliation or intimidation based upon sex.

Individuals and Conduct Covered

These policies apply to all applicants, students and employees, whether related to conduct engaged in by fellow employees or students or someone not directly connected to CC (e.g., an outside vendor, consultant or customer).
Conduct prohibited by these policies is unacceptable in the educational environment and workplace and in any work-related or education related setting outside the College, such as

during business trips, business meetings and business-related social events or field trips, internships or other academic or College related functions.

Reporting an Incident of Harassment, Discrimination or Retaliation

CC encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, regardless of the offender's identity or position. Individuals who believe that they have been the victim of such conduct should discuss their concerns with their immediate supervisor, Academic Dean, the Director of Human Resources (Title IX Coordinator), Dean of Student Affairs (Assistant Title IX Coordinator for Students) or any member of the Executive Leadership Council. See the Complaint Procedure described below. Any other faculty member or employee who receives reported information of potential incidents of harassment, discrimination or retaliation has an obligation to appropriately follow-through and report the information to one of these listed authorities for proper investigation.

Employees can also call the Ethics Point Hotline at 1-866-885-6872 to report anonymous issues. Please note that anonymous reporting may limit the ability for CC to fully investigate and follow-through.

In addition, CC encourages individuals who believe they are being subjected to such conduct promptly to advise the offender that his or her behavior is unwelcome and request that it be discontinued. Often this action alone will resolve the problem. CC recognizes, however, that an individual may prefer to pursue the matter through informal or formal complaint procedures.

Complaint Procedures

Informal Procedure

If for any reason an individual does not wish to address the offender directly, or if such action does not successfully end the offensive conduct, the individual should notify his/her immediate supervisor, Academic Dean, the Director of Human Resources, the Dean of Student Affairs or a member of the Executive Leadership Council. An individual reporting harassment, discrimination or retaliation should be aware; however, that CC may decide it is necessary to take action to address such conduct beyond an informal discussion. This decision will be discussed with the individual. The best course of action in any case will depend on many factors and, therefore, the informal procedure will remain flexible. Moreover, the informal procedure is not a required first step for the reporting individual. Regardless of the informal nature of the complaint, an official file must be maintained of the reported incident to document the nature of the report and the action taken in response to this report.

Formal Procedure

As noted above, individuals who believe they have been the victims of conduct prohibited by this policy statement or believe they have witnessed such conduct should discuss their concerns with their Supervisor, Academic Dean, Director of Human Resources, the Dean of Student Affairs or any member of Executive Leadership Council. Any other faculty member or employee who receives reported information of potential incidents of harassment, discrimination or retaliation has an obligation to appropriately follow-through and report the information to one of these listed authorities for proper investigation.

CC encourages the prompt reporting of complaints or concerns so that rapid and constructive action can be taken before relationships become irreparably strained. Therefore, while no fixed reporting period has been established, early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of harassment.

Any reported allegations of harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be investigated promptly. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and, where necessary, with individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge.

While appropriate levels of confidentiality may be maintained throughout the investigatory process consistent with adequate investigation and appropriate corrective action protocols, complete confidentiality cannot be provided once a final report is issued at the conclusion of the investigative process. The investigative report will be issued to the appropriate supervisor and both the complainant and the accused, providing rights of appeal to both parties. If a party to a complaint does not agree with its resolution, that party may appeal to the Vice President for the area involved. Recommendations from the investigative report will be considered by the supervisor in consultation with Human Resources and followed through within their discretion. Out of respect for all parties, confidentiality of the investigation and report should be limited to the complainant, accused, appropriate supervisor(s), Human Resources, General Counsel and other Leadership officials with an appropriate need to know. Witnesses who participate in the investigative process will also be cautioned to maintain the confidentiality of their participation, related information and the investigation.

Retaliation against an individual for reporting harassment or discrimination or for participating in an investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination is a serious violation of this policy and, like harassment or discrimination itself, will be subject to disciplinary action. Acts of retaliation should be reported immediately and will be promptly investigated and addressed.

Misconduct constituting harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be dealt with appropriately. Responsive action may include training, referral to counseling and/or disciplinary action such as warning, reprimand, withholding of a promotion or pay increase, reassignment, temporary suspension or termination, student conduct probation, suspension or expulsion as CC believes appropriate under the circumstances.

False and or malicious complaints of harassment, discrimination or retaliation (as opposed to complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith) may be the subject of appropriate disciplinary action.

Conclusion

CC has developed this policy to ensure that all its employees and students can work and learn in an environment free from unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation. CC will make every reasonable effort to ensure that all concerned are familiar with these policies and aware that any complaint in violation of such policies will be investigated and resolved appropriately.

Any employee who has any questions or concerns about these policies should contact the Director of Human Resources. Any student who has questions or concerns about these policies should contact the Dean of Student Affairs.

Finally, these policies should not, and may not, be used as a basis for excluding or separating individuals of a particular gender, or any other protected characteristic, from participating in business, work-related, or educational social activities or discussions. In other words, no one should make the mistake of engaging in discrimination or exclusion in order to avoid allegations of harassment. The law and the policies of CC prohibit disparate treatment on the basis of sex or any other protected characteristic, with regard to terms, conditions, privileges and perquisites of employment. The prohibitions against harassment, discrimination and retaliation are intended to complement and further those policies, not to form the basis of an exception to them.

 

Individual Responsible for Revision and Implementation: Vice President for Finance and Administration and the Director of Human Resources.