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Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy for Employees

 

Date of implementation: October 2020

I. Statement of Equal Opportunity

It is the policy of Cambridge College (“CC” or the “College”) to ensure equal opportunity without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion or religious creed, sex (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability or handicap, marital status, military or veteran status, citizenship, national or ethnic origin, genetics, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. The College prohibits any such discrimination or harassment.

The College is committed to establishing and maintaining an employment and academic environment that is free from discrimination and harassment and in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work, attend classes, and study in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices, including harassment. Discrimination, as defined below, is a violation of a person’s rights, dignity, and integrity, and is contrary to the mission and values of the College. Discrimination is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.

II. Purpose & Scope of Policy

A. Purpose and Definitions.

The purpose of this policy is to provide CC employees with a clear set of behavioral standards, definitions, and descriptions of discrimination and harassment. The policy is intended to protect and guide CC community members who have been affected by discrimination and harassment, whether as a Complainant or a Respondent (as defined below), or as a third party.

The College takes all allegations of discrimination and harassment seriously and is committed to providing information, education, resources, support, interim measures, and direction to the College community to prevent and address discrimination and harassment. In response to any report that a CC employee has discriminated against or harassed a member of the CC community, the College will take all appropriate steps to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. To achieve equitable results, the College will carefully review and/or investigate all reports and complaints of discrimination with a view to understanding the perspective and experiences of each individual involved and providing for fair and impartial evaluation and resolution.

When used in this policy, “Complainant” refers to those persons who have reported to the College that they have been the subject of prohibited conduct. “Respondent” refers to the employee or employees who have been accused of engaging in prohibited conduct. “Third party” refers to any other person with information concerning a report of prohibited conduct, including any witness to the incident or any individual who makes a report to the College concerning someone else. “Employee” refers generally to all staff and faculty members, unless otherwise specified. A “report” refers to any incident or concern regarding prohibited conduct that is reported to the College. A “complaint” is an allegation of discrimination filed against a CC employee that initiates the investigation and disciplinary process outlined in this policy.

B. Scope.

This policy applies to all CC employees, including faculty and staff. Vendors, visitors, and others who conduct business with the College or on College property are also expected to comply with this policy. All CC employees are responsible for their actions and behavior, both on campus and off campus. CC employees have a responsibility to adhere to both College policies and all laws (local, state, and federal) of wherever they reside or travel. Therefore, this policy applies both to on-campus and off-campus conduct, including, but not limited to, business trips, business meetings, business-related social events or field trips, or other off-campus College-related communications and functions.

All College employees are required to notify the Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Development (the “VP of HR”) if they receive information that any CC employee has engaged in conduct prohibited by this policy. In addition, any individual may make a report alleging a violation of this policy, whether or not he/she/they is affiliated with the College. The College will provide resource options and respond promptly and equitably to all reports of prohibited conduct asserted against a CC employee. The College will engage in a review of the alleged prohibited conduct during which the College is committed to maintaining fairness for all parties and balancing the needs and interests of individuals with the safety of the community.

Vice President of Human Resources Lauretta Siggers and Talent Development:

500 Rutherford Avenue

Boston, MA 02129

617-873-0170

Lauretta.siggers@cambridgecollege.edu

Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action. Depending on the nature of the violation, disciplinary consequences for violations of this policy may include warnings (verbal or written), demotions, or termination of employment. In addition, CC employees should be aware that the conduct described in this policy may also violate federal or state laws and regulations, which could bring separate consequences or liability apart from this Policy.

C. Coordination with the College’s Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, and the College’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy for Students.

1. Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex. Reports or complaints of sexual harassment allegedly committed by a CC employee will not be addressed under this Policy; such reports or complaints, if the jurisdictional requirements of Title IX are satisfied and the Title IX Coordinator determines that the alleged conduct requires a formal Title IX investigation, will be addressed under the College’s Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy. Such reports or complaints that do not meet the jurisdictional requirements of Title IX or which the Title IX Coordinator determines do not require a formal Title IX investigation will be addressed under the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and this policy.

2. Other Protected Characteristics. The College recognizes that discrimination or harassment related to an individual’s sex, gender identity or gender expression (collectively, “gender related status”), which is prohibited by this policy, can occur in conjunction with discrimination or harassment related to an individual’s race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected characteristics (“protected characteristics”). When misconduct relates solely to a person’s gender related status, the College will address such conduct pursuant to the College’s Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy or the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. When the College receives a report that a community member has engaged in misconduct related to both a person’s gender related status and other protected characteristics, the College has discretion to decide under which policy or policies to address the report and will coordinate the investigation and resolution efforts to address any and all harassment and discrimination.

3. Claims Against CC Students. Allegations of discrimination, harassment or retaliation allegedly committed by a CC student will be handled under the Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy for Students.

III. Prohibited Conduct

A. Definitions

Discrimination: 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 because of their race, color, religion or religious creed, sex (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability or handicap, marital status, military or veteran status, citizenship, national or ethnic origin, genetics, or any other characteristic protected by law. Aiding or facilitating discrimination means promoting or encouraging the commission of any behavior prohibited under this policy.

Harassment: 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 or religious creed, sex (including pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability or handicap, marital status, military or veteran status, citizenship, national or ethnic 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 work performance or of creating a hostile work environment. This conduct can include technology-based communications such as texting or social networking sites. Aiding or facilitating harassment means promoting or encouraging the commission of any behavior prohibited under this policy.

Retaliation: Retaliation is defined as seeking retribution or attempting to seek retribution against a Complainant, Respondent, or any other individual or group of individuals involved in an investigation and/or resolution of an allegation of discrimination. Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant. Retaliation may include abuse or violence, other forms of harassment, and/or making defamatory or improper statements about another person. An individual who in good faith reports discrimination or harassment, is the subject of such a report, or otherwise participates in the College’s investigation of such a report may not be subject to retaliation even if the report is later not proven.

B. Prohibition Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

The College prohibits all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. CC employees are prohibited both from personally engaging in discrimination, as well as from engaging in conduct that assists or encourages another person to engage in such misconduct. A CC employee who discriminates against or harasses a member of the CC community or assists or encourages another person to engage in such misconduct will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. The College also prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or harassment or participates in an investigation of such a report.

IV. Reporting

All Cambridge College employees, including full-time and part-time faculty, staff, administrators, temporary employees, and student employees, are required to share with the VP of HR any report of discrimination they receive or of which they become aware that involves a CC employee or any other member of the CC community.

Any individual may report any incident of discrimination, harassment or retaliation allegedly committed by a CC employee directly to the VP of HR. Individuals are encouraged to report discrimination as soon as possible to maximize the College’s ability to respond promptly and equitably.

The College does not limit the timeframe for reporting an incident. Upon receipt of any report or complaint, regardless of when the incident occurred, the College will conduct an assessment to determine if an investigation and/or any safety measures are necessary to maintain the safety of the community. However, CC will not be able to impose disciplinary sanctions against a CC employee who is no longer affiliated with the College.

All reports of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation asserted against a CC employee must be made in good faith. False and/or malicious complaints of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation (as opposed to complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith) may also be the subject of appropriate disciplinary action.

A person who wishes to make an anonymous report of discrimination, harassment or retaliation may do so by calling (617) 873-0633. Please note that anonymous reporting may limit the ability for the College to investigate fully and follow through.

The College recognizes that an employee or student may choose to report discrimination or harassment to a trusted employee of the College. For example, an employee may choose to share concerns with a supervisor. Under this policy, any full-time or part-time faculty member, staff member, or other employee who receives a report of discrimination or harassment allegedly committed by a CC employee must share the report with the VP of HR and cannot promise confidentiality to the reporting employee or student.

V. Interim Measures

Upon receipt of a report of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation allegedly committed by a CC employee, the College will provide interim support and reasonable protective measures to prevent acts of misconduct and to provide a work environment free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

The College will determine the necessity and scope of any interim measures. The College may impose any remedy that can be tailored to the involved parties to achieve the goals of this policy. Even when the reporting employee or student does not specifically request that protective action be taken, the College may choose to impose interim measures at its discretion. Employees or students seeking such assistance should contact the VP of HR, who will coordinate such requests on behalf of the employee or student. The College will maintain contact with the parties to ensure that all concerns are being addressed.

All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about the failure of a CC employee to abide by any restrictions imposed by an interim measure. The College will take immediate and responsive action to enforce measures previously ordered or implemented by the College.

VI. Discrimination or Harassment – Formal Complaint Process

A. The VP of HR.

The College has appointed the VP of HR to oversee the College’s centralized review, investigation, and resolution process for reports and complaints of discrimination or harassment allegedly committed by a CC employee. The VP of HR is tasked with ensuring consistent application of this policy to all individuals and enabling the College to respond promptly and equitably to eliminate discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, prevent their recurrence, and address their effects.

B. Grievance Procedures

The following are the College’s procedures for responding to and resolving reports or complaints of discrimination or harassment asserted against a CC employee.

1. Complaint

Any individual may initiate the investigation process by the College against a CC employee for violation of this policy by making a complaint of discrimination or harassment to the VP of HR. The complaint should include the name of the accused (the Respondent), a statement explaining the nature and circumstances of the report, a list of possible witnesses, and contact information for the person making the report. The complaint must be signed or otherwise authenticated by the individual making it (the Complainant).

If the VP of HR receives a report that a CC employee has engaged in prohibited conduct but the report does not meet the requirements of a complaint as described above, the VP of HR will determine what steps should be taken to gather additional information and direct the gathering of the additional information. Once all available additional information has been obtained, it will be evaluated by the VP of HR, who will decide whether an investigation, in accordance with this policy, is warranted.

If the VP of HR decides that an investigation is not warranted, he or she will memorialize in a written memorandum the report of discrimination and his or her evaluation and reasoning concerning the decision not to initiate an investigation. This memorandum will be maintained in a confidential HR file.

2. Investigation and Findings Process

After receiving a report or complaint of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, the VP of HR will conduct a preliminary assessment to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support the initiation of a formal investigation. The VP of HR will also consider whether the matter could be resolved under the informal resolution process set forth in section VII of this policy. If the VP of HR concludes that a report or complaint of discrimination or harassment warrants an investigation, the following steps will generally be taken:

a. Investigator(s). As part of the investigation process, the College will appoint an appropriate internal or external investigator (or, in some matters, two investigators), and will notify the Complainant and the Respondent of this appointment.

b. Interviews and documents. At the discretion of the investigator(s), 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. In the discretion of the VP of HR, the Complainant and the Respondent will each be entitled to bring a non-lawyer advisor to meetings. The advisor may provide support related to any meeting or interview but may not participate actively in such meetings or interviews. During meetings and interviews, an advisor may quietly confer or pass notes with the party in a non-disruptive manner. The advisor may not answer questions or otherwise act as an advocate, representative, or proxy. The investigator(s) may also review College files, documents, communications, and other information provided by the parties and/or witnesses. The investigator(s) will retain sole discretion as to which information and documents are relevant to the investigation.

c. Confidentiality. Out of respect for all involved, the fact and progress of the investigation will be kept confidential. Only the Complainant, the Respondent, appropriate supervisor(s), the VP of HR, the College’s legal counsel, and other leadership officials with an appropriate need to know will be informed. Witnesses who participate in the investigative process will be advised to maintain the confidentiality of their participation, related information, and the investigation.

d. Report. At the conclusion of the investigative process, the investigator(s) will prepare a final report with factual findings and recommendations for discipline, if appropriate, and issue it to the VP of HR and the appropriate supervisor, as determined by the College. This report will be marked “CONFIDENTIAL.” The VP of HR will provide a copy of the report to the Respondent and will direct the Respondent to maintain its confidentiality. The factual findings, but not the recommendations for discipline, will be shared with the Complainant.

e. Forms of discipline. Misconduct constituting discrimination, harassment, or retaliation will be subject to discipline. Recommendations may include, but not be limited to, training, referral to counseling, warning (verbal or written), reprimand, withholding of a promotion or pay increase, reassignment, or suspension or termination of employment.

f. Supervisor’s determination. Recommendations from the investigative report will be considered by the supervisor in consultation with the VP of HR and followed through within their discretion. After considering the investigative report, the supervisor will decide whether to accept the recommendations contained in the report, to reject the recommendations, or to take an alternative approach.

g. Appeal process. If any Respondent does not agree with the decision of the supervisor, the employee may appeal to the Vice President in his or her chain of command. Respondents who report to a Vice President may make an appeal to another Vice President as designated by the College, and Vice President Respondents may appeal to the President (in each case to be known as the “Appeals Administrator”). Appeals must be made within ten (10) business days of receipt of the decision. The Respondent must make his/her/their appeal in writing, setting out the specific reasons for the appeal. The Appeals Administrator will also review the investigative report and the supervisor’s decision, and will respond in writing within ten (10) business days of receiving the appeal. The Appeals Administrator may accept the decision of the supervisor, reject it, or take an alternative approach. If there is no appeal, the decision of the supervisor will be final. If an appeal is taken, the decision of the Appeals Administrator will be final.

h. Employees in collective bargaining units. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that a Respondent covered by a collective bargaining agreement is disciplined or another responsive action is taken against the employee that is actionable under the applicable collective bargaining agreement, further processes may be available pursuant to the rights established pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement. Nothing in this policy is intended to abrogate any rights that a CC employee has pursuant to those agreements. If there is any conflict between the procedures in this policy and the procedures in any applicable collective bargaining agreement, the procedures set forth in the collective bargaining agreement will govern.

In the event that a Respondent or the Respondent’s union chooses to appeal a determination through the grievance and arbitration process contained in the applicable collective bargaining agreement, the appeal process contained in this section shall not apply.

VII. Discrimination or Harassment - Informal Resolution Process

The informal resolution process is a completely voluntary, remedies-based process designed to provide members of the CC community with an option to resolve certain disputes with other members of the community in a forum that is separate and distinct from the College’s formal grievance processes under this policy. No party will be required to participate in the informal resolution process and the College will not require, encourage, or discourage the parties from participating in the informal resolution process.

The purpose of the informal resolution process is to eliminate the conduct which has been reported by the Complainant and place both individuals in a position to pursue their work or study in a safe, respectful, and productive environment. Under this process, there will be no disciplinary action taken against a Respondent and the resolution will not appear in the Respondent’s personnel file.

An individual who asserts a claim of discrimination or harassment may elect to pursue this informal resolution procedure. The informal resolution procedure is only available if the VP of HR has determined, through an initial assessment, that the alleged conduct, if substantiated, would constitute misconduct under this policy, and the VP of HR has determined that the informal resolution process is appropriate for this matter.

The VP of HR or designee will oversee and conduct the informal resolution process. The VP of HR or designee will meet with the Complainant and the Respondent, individually, to understand the issues. The presence of advisors is not permitted in the informal resolution process. The VP of HR or designee will determine whether a joint meeting with the Complainant and the Respondent would be appropriate and/or helpful. If the parties are able to resolve their dispute, they and the VP of HR or designee will sign an informal resolution

agreement. At any time prior to signing an informal resolution agreement, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the formal grievance process outlined above in this policy. If the VP of HR determines at any time prior to the signing of the informal resolution agreement that the informal resolution process is no longer appropriate, the VP of HR may terminate the process.

Any agreements reached as part of the informal resolution process must be approved by the VP of HR in order to ensure consistency with the College’s legal obligations. Upon signing the informal resolution agreement, the parties are bound by its terms and cannot opt for a formal grievance process based on the conduct alleged in the formal complaint. Failure to comply with the signed agreement may result in disciplinary action for either party.

The protections against retaliation apply to individuals participating in the informal resolution process. Disciplinary consequences may result for those found responsible for retaliation.

VIII. Confidential Resources and Administrative Resources

A. Confidential Resources

The College encourages victims of discrimination to talk with a trained counselor about the incident. A CC employee may obtain confidential assistance through the following on-campus resource without making a report to the College:

On-Campus Resources Contact Information

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 1-800-386-7055

www.ibhworklife.com

 

B. Administrative Resources

Various administrative agencies can provide resources and legal assistance for victims of discrimination. Agencies in the local Boston-area community include:

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) John McCormack Building One Ashburton Place Sixth floor, Room 601 Boston, MA 02108 (617) 994-6000

The MCAD prohibits discrimination, including sexual harassment and gender related status harassment, in the workplace. The statute of limitations for filing a complaint is 300 days from the last date of discrimination.

 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) JFK Federal Building 475 Government Center Boston, MA 02203 (800) 669-4000

The EEOC prohibits discrimination, including sexual harassment, in the workplace. The statute of limitations for filing a complaint is 300 days from the last date of discrimination.

 

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) 5 Post Office Square, 8th floor Boston, MA 02109 (617) 289-0111

While OCR complaints should generally be filed within 180 days of the last date of the alleged discrimination, OCR may extend this filing deadline in a variety of circumstances.

 

CAMBRIDGE COLLEGE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO AMEND OR MODIFY THIS POLICY AT ANY TIME.