Policy: Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

University Policy: Human Resources

UNIVERSITY POLICY

Date Revised

September 4, 2019

Date Effective

October 18, 1993

Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation


Responsible University Official: Chancellor or designee

Policy Owner: Title IX Coordinator

Policy Contact: Chief Human Resources Officer, Dean of Students, and the Title IX Coordinator

REASON FOR POLICY

Discrimination and harassment are inconsistent with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's efforts to foster an environment of respect for all members of the university community. Incidents of discriminatory conduct are detrimental to the individuals directly involved and diminish the university community.

UW-Platteville is committed to the elimination of discrimination and discriminatory harassment toward students or employees. In accordance with federal and state laws and University of Wisconsin System policy, this policy outlines expectations of conduct and procedures applicable to students, employees, and guests of UW-Platteville.


SCOPE

This policy applies to all areas of UW-Platteville programs, activities, employment practices and operations, including the conduct of all students and employees that arises out of their employment, educational or academic status, as well as to the conduct of all guests, visitors, vendors, contractors, subcontractors and others who do business with UW-Platteville.

Employment policies, practices, and procedures that are covered include but are not limited to recruiting, interviewing, testing, screening, selection, placement, classification, evaluation, transfer, promotion, training, compensation, fringe benefits, layoffs, and termination.


BACKGROUND

Regent Policy Document 14-6 states that institutions shall have, “1) policies and procedures consistent with this Board policy for the prevention and prohibition of discrimination, harassment and retaliation against students or employees; and 2) procedures in place to ensure prompt and corrective action whenever discrimination, harassment or retaliation may occur.” “Each institution shall develop a process to notify prospective and current students, student organizations, job applicants and employees of its institutional policies and procedures regarding discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and retaliation.”


DEFINITIONS

Discrimination:

Conduct that adversely affects any aspect of an individual’s employment, education, or participation in UW-Platteville’s activities or programs or has the effect of denying equal privileges or treatment to an individual on the basis of that individual’s protected status or another category as defined in this policy.

Discriminatory Harassment:

A form of discrimination consisting of unwelcome verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct that:

1. Is directed at an individual or group of individuals on the basis of the individual or group of individuals' actual or perceived protected status, or affiliation or association with person(s) within a protected status (as defined above): and

2. Is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to interfere with an individual’s employment, education or academic environment or participation in institution programs or activities and creates a working, learning, or living environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, offensive or hostile.

To constitute prohibited harassment, the conduct must be both objectively and subjectively harassing in nature. Harassment may include but is not limited to verbal or physical assaults, threats, slurs or derogatory or offensive comments that meet the definition set forth in this policy. Harassment does not have to be targeted at a particular individual in order to create a harassing environment, nor must the conduct result in a tangible injury to be considered a violation of this policy. Whether the alleged conduct constitutes prohibited harassment depends on the totality of the particular circumstances, including the nature, frequency, and duration of the conduct in question, the location and context in which it occurs, and the status of the individuals involved.

Retaliation:

Adverse action taken against an individual in response to, motivated by or in connection with an individual’s complaint of discrimination or discriminatory harassment, participation in an investigation of such complaint and/or opposition to discrimination or discriminatory harassment in the educational or workplace setting

Sexual Harassment:

A form of sex discrimination prohibited under federal and state laws as well as UW System policy. Unsolicited and unwarranted sexually discriminatory remarks, sexually derogatory statements or gestures and/or verbal sexual advances; attempts to engage a non-consenting person in sexual activities or physical contact of a sexual nature; and unsolicited and unwanted physical contact 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 or educational experience; or

2. the submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting that individual; or

3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive education, employment or living environment.



POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of UW-Platteville to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and retaliation for all students and employees. Discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and retaliation is inconsistent with the efforts of UW-Platteville to foster an environment of respect for the dignity and worth of all members of the university community and to eliminate all manifestations of discrimination within the university.

UW-Platteville will not tolerate discrimination or harassment by or toward students, employees, and guests on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, pregnancy, political affiliation, arrest or conviction record, veterans status, or any other prohibited basis defined by federal or state law or UW System policy. Retaliation toward an individual for filing a complaint of discrimination or discriminatory harassment, participation in an investigation of such complaint and/or opposition to discrimination or discriminatory harassment in the educational or workplace setting is also a form of harassment and is therefore prohibited. Use of institution technology (computers, e-mail systems, voice mail system, and webpages) for the purposes of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or retaliation is also prohibited. Such behaviors will not be tolerated and will be handled in accordance to the procedures outlined in this policy.

Any person who believes they have been subjected to this type of prohibited activity should immediately report it to the appropriate institution officials or offices as listed in “Procedures” section below. Students who file a complaint under this policy have the right to appeal of the chancellor’s or dean’s decision to the Board of Regents, as permitted under Wisconsin Statute §36.12(2)(b).

The following protections shall apply to this policy in regard to an individual’s protected status:

1. Students

No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of UW-Platteville because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, pregnancy, marital status or parental status, or any other category protected by law, including physical condition or developmental disability as defined in Wisconsin Statute §51.01(5).

2. Employees

No employee or prospective employee may be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, pregnancy, marital or parental status, genetic information, arrest or conviction record, military service, veteran status, use or non-use of lawful products off university premises during nonworking hours, declining to attend a meeting or participate in any communication about religious matters or political matter, or any other category protected by law.



PROCEDURES

Procedures for Reporting Discrimination or Harassment:

Any member of the university community who has been either a target of or a witness to discrimination or harassment has a right to take action either by confronting those involved directly or by reporting the incident to a university official (as described under "1. Complaint Intake"). While every effort will be made to respect both the confidentiality and the wishes of the complainant, university officials have an ethical and legal obligation to take action to prevent and stop illegal harassment or discrimination and may therefore be compelled to take some action even if the complainant is unsure of what action is desired. Incidents reported to university officials will be handled in a manner that protects the privacy and due process rights of everyone involved. Specific incidents of alleged discrimination or discriminatory harassment will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the procedures outlined below. Due consideration will be given to the protection of individual First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, expression, and academic freedom.

The following procedures have been established to provide a framework for handling such concerns.

1. Complaint Intake
  • University officials prepared to deal with concerns about discrimination and harassment include: Title IX Coordinator; Dean of Students; Chief Human Resources Officer; Deputy Title IX Coordinators; University Police; and supervisors, such as Department Chairs, Directors, and Deans.
  • When someone raises a concern about discrimination or harassment, the university official will: 1) listen and help clarify both the concern and the desired outcome, 2) explain the options available which may include an offer of University/community resources, explanation of the University/legal adjudication processes, offer of interim protection measures, and/or offer of academic accommodations, 3) attempt a resolution if desired by the individual with the concern, and 4) submit a report to the Office of Human Resources.
  • Any university official to whom a report of sexual violence or sexual harassment has been made will file a report through UW-Platteville's Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment Reporting Form.
2. Informal Resolution
  • Informal resolution has the goal of ending offensive behavior and resolving the concern rather than assessing blame and exacting a penalty. If a concern can't be resolved informally, or if the behavior is so serious or persistent as to warrant disciplinary action, it should be handled through formal procedures.
  • If an informal resolution is to be attempted by a university official, the official will meet with the individual accused of the offending behavior to explain the concern and get a response. The person who has raised the concern may or may not be present, and that individual's identity will be revealed only with his or her consent. While informal resolution may result in some mutually agreeable action, such as an apology or a behavior contract, no record of a complaint resolved informally will be placed in the accused's personnel file or student record.
3. Formal Procedures
  • The purpose of formal action is to determine if the UW-Platteville policy on discrimination, harassment and retaliation has been violated and, if so, to enact disciplinary sanctions and/or prescribe a course of action that will resolve the situation. Disciplinary sanctions may include but are not limited to a written reprimand, probation, suspension, dismissal or expulsion.

  • Formal procedures are set in motion when a signed written complaint is filed with a university official. The complaint must contain the name and signature of the complainant, details of the situation precipitating the complaint, and a statement of desired outcome. When a signed complaint has been received, the person receiving the complaint will notify the Chancellor, who will set in motion the appropriate process and notify the individual or group against whom the complaint has been made.

  • The process for filing a complaint, investigating and hearing complaints and grievances against individuals depends upon the status of the accused (faculty, academic staff, university staff, or student). The following policies guide these processes:
1. Faculty: Complaints against Faculty will be reviewed by the chancellor, or designee, and processed in accordance with Faculty Bylaws Chapter 4, Part II, Article III, Section 7, Faculty Bylaws Chapter 6.3.16, and the Complaints and Grievances Commission (CGC) Complaint and Grievance Procedures.

2. Academic Staff: Complaints against Academic Staff will be investigated by the Office of Human Resources in accordance with Academic Staff Bylaws, Part V, Chapters XI and XII.

3. University Staff: Complaints against University Staff will be investigated by the Office of Human Resources in accordance with UW System Administrative Policy 1241: Complaint Procedures and UW System Administrative Policy 1233: Grievance Procedures.

4. Students: Complaints against students will be investigated by the Dean of Students Office in accordance with UWS Chapter 14 and UWS Chapter 17.

5. Guests: Complaints against guests or otherwise non-students or employees will be investigated by the Office of Human Resources in coordination with University Police, Platteville Policy Department and other campus departments as necessary.

  • In determining whether impermissible discrimination or harassment has occurred, the investigator or hearing body will apply state and federal statutes, regulations, and case law relevant to the basis of discrimination being alleged. Where there is a question as to whether the action or conduct constitutes impermissible discrimination or harassment, UW System legal counsel will be consulted.
Record Keeping Timelines
  • A record identifying a specific individual will be kept only if the person has been notified of the existence of the report and been given an opportunity to attach a counter statement; in that case, the record will be kept for six years and destroyed if no further reports have been filed.
  • All reports of discrimination and harassment must be handled in a timely fashion. Complaints must be filed with UW-Platteville within 300 days of the alleged violation. Other timelines are determined by the procedures that apply to the status of the accused (faculty, academic staff, university staff, or student).
  • A copy of this policy and the procedures for implementing it will be distributed annually to all UW-Platteville students, faculty, academic staff, and university staff. In addition, educational programs will be conducted regularly to sensitize members of the university community to the issues covered by this policy.
  • Use of these procedures does not prevent the complainant from seeking legal redress. Time limits for filing complaints under the various laws differ.


RESPONSIBILITIES

Position/Office: Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students / Office of Dean of Students, Chief Human Resources Officer / Human Resources Department, Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Responsibilities: The above-mentioned positions and offices have the responsibility to maintain and consistently manage the implementation of this policy.

CONTACTS

Those designated to receive questions and feedback on the policy.

 Subject Contact  Phone  Fax/Email 
 Chief Human
 Resources Officer
 Sarah Vosberg 608.342.1176  vosbergsara@uwplatt.edu 
 Dean of Students  Kate Demerse  608.342.1854  demersek@uwplatt.edu 
 Title IX Coordinator  Linda Mulroy-Bowden  608.342.1845  mulroy@uwplatt.edu 


RELATED DOCUMENTS


A PDF of this policy is here.

HISTORY

October 18, 1993: Discrimination and Harassment Policy was approved. Policy approved by faculty, academic staff, and student senates 10/26/93, 10/18/93, and 11/8/93, respectively.

Policy revision of 09/04/19 includes reformatting and minor edits using the University Policy Template, the addition of term definitions, and the replacement of the Office of Human Resources with the chancellor or designee to review formal faculty complaints. To align policy with RPD 14-6, the term "Retaliation" was added to the title and language addressing the use of institutional technology and the right of appeal has been added.

Policy revision approved on expedited terms. Presented for comment to Academic Staff Senate on 9/16/19, University Staff Senate on 9/24/19, and Faculty Senate on 10/08/19.


SCHEDULED REVIEW

2024




Keywords:Policy, University, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, policy, university policy, sexual harassment, title IX, human resources, university policy   Doc ID:94113
Owner:Denise L.Group:UW Platt Admin Services
Created:2019-08-27 15:33 CDTUpdated:2019-12-09 16:17 CDT
Sites:UW Platt Admin Services
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