Administrative policy and procedures regarding complaints of unlawful discrimination and harassment, with the exception of gender-based
(A) Policy Statement.
(1) It is the policy of the university to provide a mechanism for achieving equitable and expedient resolution to complaints of unlawful discrimination and harassment based on protected categories: race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, genetic information, age, military status, identity as a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era, recently separated veteran, or other protected veteran. It is a violation of university policy, and federal and state laws for anyone to engage in unlawful discrimination/harassment. The university is committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination and harassment, wherever they occur in the university community, by investigating, and when appropriate, taking corrective action as a result of violations of this policy. Violations may lead to disciplinary action, which may include separation from the university.
(a) Retaliation. Retaliation against a person filing a complaint or against others participating in an investigation is prohibited.
(b) Complaints are to be made in good faith. If the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action determines that a complainant knowingly falsely accused another of harassment, appropriate sanctions will be recommended against the complainant.
(B) Eligibility. All students, faculty, staff, independent contractors, guests, visitors, applicants, and university recognized student organizations.
(1) A “complaint” of unlawful discrimination/harassment is defined as an allegation of a violation of a specified regulation, policy, rule, or procedure.
(2) A “complainant” is defined as any individual in a protected category who has initiated a complaint for administrative investigation.
(3) A “respondent” is defined as any individual and/or unit or department who has been accused of unlawful harassment/discrimination.
(4) An “investigator” is an office of equal opportunity/affirmative action staff member and/or facilitator who to conducts the investigation.
(5) An “affirmative action facilitator” is a liaison between the administrative unit and office of equal opportunity/affirmative action.
(1) Where to file. Generally, complaints of alleged violations of this policy must be reported to the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action.
(a) However, because of the nature of certain offenses and specific regulation under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, complaints regarding gender discrimination, gender and sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct by staff, students, and visitors will be investigated in accordance with rule 3342-5-16.2 of the Administrative Code.
(b) In the event a complainant files a complaint for unlawful discrimination or harassment based upon multiple protected classes that includes one of the offense specified in paragraph (D)(1)(a) of this rule, the complaint will first be investigated in accordance with rule 3342-5-16.2 of the Administrative Code and the results of such investigation will be submitted to the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action for inclusion in the findings issued pursuant to paragraph (E) of this rule.
(2) Time periods to file. Complaints must be reported to the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action within thirty (30) business days of the alleged act or discovery of the alleged act, with the exception of complaints regarding gender discrimination, gender and sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct which must be submitted to the Title IX coordinator/deputy coordinator in accordance with rule 3342.5-16.2 of the Administrative Code.
(3) Right to file with external agencies. A complainant also has the right to file a complaint against the university with external agencies including the Ohio civil rights commission (employees alleging discrimination; students alleging disability discrimination) within on hundred eighty (180) days, the equal employment opportunity commission (employees alleging discrimination) within three hundred (300) days, and the department of education office of civil rights (employees and students alleging discrimination) within one hundred eighty (180) days. The timeline is based on the alleged act or the discovery of the alleged act. However, it is recommended that the complainant first exhaust the internal complaint procedures.
(4) Confidentiality. The university will make every reasonable effort to honor the confidentiality and privacy of all parties involved to the extent legally allowed in accordance with FERPA, the Ohio Public Records Law and other applicable laws. However, during the procedures outlined below for formal discrimination complaints at level 1 and level II, both the complainant and the respondent shall be able to review with the investigator any documents related to the complaint.
(5) Timely cooperation is expected of all involved parties throughout the complaint process. All parties are encouraged to be respectful of one another’s privacy and to discuss the case, only with those who have a need to know.
(a) With respect to employees, reasonable administrative time-off shall be permitted for a complainant, respondent, and fellow employees who are asked to participate in and attend an investigation session. The employee(s) shall notify in writing his/her supervisor as early as possible. The supervisor will comply with the employee’s request but shall maintain the right to establish a reasonable time to schedule a meeting during the work day. The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action, as well as other units involved in the complaint process, will document the date(s) and time(s) of such meetings.
(E) Complaint procedures. It is important to process a complaint as expeditiously as possible. The number of business days indicated below at each level shall be the intended timeline. The time specified, however, may be extended by a written agreement between the university and the complainant, or the university and the respondent, as appropriate. In all cases, a person who (1) reports or complains, (2) participates in an inquiry or investigation, or (3) is accused may be accompanied by an individual of his or her choice who shall be permitted to attend, but not participate in the proceedings. Respondents represented by legal counsel are to advise the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action prior to scheduling the meeting.
(1) Informal resolution/pre-complaint counseling procedure.
(a) The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action and/or the area affirmative action facilitator is available to provide information, guidance, and direction to resolve complaints. A complainant shall be provided an opportunity to discuss his/her complaint and determine if the complaint falls within the scope of the nondiscrimination guidelines.
(b) Informal resolution may first be attempted by a complainant at the unit level by contacting the appropriate supervisor or administrator over the academic unit, residence hall, or administrative office.
(c) If the supervisor or administrator is the alleged harasser, the complainant may attempt resolution with the next level of supervision or contact the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action.
(d) A complainant has the right to report the complaint and pursue informal resolution directly through the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action.
(e) If informal resolution is not reached, complainants may initiate a formal complaint. through the appropriate administrative unit and process, which may include the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action or the office of student conduct. Refer to chapter 4 of the policy register for student conduct procedures.
(f) The complainant at all times has the right to concurrently file a report with the university police or appropriate law enforcement agency, and/or utilize additional university policies and processes, for example, the student academic and nonacademic grievance procedures, or the student conduct procedure. If the complaint decides to utilize additional university resources, each process will operate in accordance with its own procedures, separate from the procedure provided in this policy.
(2) Formal discrimination complaint – level 1
(a) If informal resolution is not reached, or not attempted, the complainant(s) may initiate a formal complaint action by submitting the “internal complaint of discrimination form” available through the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action.
(b) The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action shall notify in writing the appropriate administrative party of the written complaint and the respondent within ten (10) business days from the date of the filing of the complaint.
(i) If a supervisor or administrator is named in the complaint, resolution will be attempted with the next level of supervision or administration.
(ii) The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action shall notify the respondent of the complaint, provide the respondent with a copy of the complaint, and inform him/her of the right to present his/her case during the investigation. The respondent shall be given ten (10) business days to provide a statement in response to the complaint.
(iii) Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to be accompanied and advised by an advocate during the complaint process. If the complainant or respondent wishes to exercise this option, they are to provide notice to the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action prior to the scheduled meeting informing the office who they will be accompanied by.
(c) The appropriate administrative unit/department may investigate and attempt resolution of the complaint within thirty (30) business days of receiving the complaint or waive their opportunity to exercise this option.
(d) If the administrative unit elects to investigate the complaint, they shall notify the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action, specify who will conduct the investigation and report progress to the office, as needed. At the end of the investigation, the department shall record the departmental disposition in a summary report and forward a signed and dated copy to the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action. If a violation of the university discrimination policy is found, the summary will include a proposed recommendation to resolve the complaint. The recommendation should include corrective, remedial, and/or preventative action.
(e) In the event the administrative unit/department waives their opportunity, a written waiver request must be completed and submitted to the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action. The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action will then select an investigator.
(f) Upon receipt of the departmental or investigator findings, the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action will review the results for satisfactory completion of the investigation procedure.
(i) The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action will distribute copies to the complainant, the respondent and the appropriate administrative parties and will maintain a copy of the final disposition on file.
(g) If unsatisfied with the level I findings, the complainant or respondent may appeal to the director of the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action for a level II formal investigation and resolution.
(3) Formal complaint – level II
(a) An appeal of the level I disposition findings may be initiated by submitting a request to the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action within fifteen (15) business days upon receipt of the findings.
(b) The “Internal Complaint of Discrimination Form,” as filed by the complainant and submitted to the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action, authorizes the office to formally investigate all allegations relative to that particular complaint.
(c) Upon receipt of the “complaint,” the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action shall notify the appropriate administrative party. The respondent shall be notified, provided a copy of the “complaint” and given an opportunity to provide a statement of position. The statement of position will be required within ten (10) business days of the complaint notification.
(d) The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action shall have thirty (30) business days to investigate the complaint. During this period, the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action may suspend the investigation in order to initiate and implement a problem resolution strategy. Also, the investigation time limit may be extended if necessary.
(e) Upon completion of the investigation, the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action will provide the appropriate administrators, the respondent, and the complainant with a written summary of the complaint. If a violation of the university discrimination policy is found, the summary will include a proposed recommendation to resolve the complaint. The recommendation should include corrective, remedial, and/or preventative action.
(f) The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action’s written summary will serve as the university’s administrative disposition of the complaint. It is the appropriate administrative unit’s responsibility to accept the proposed recommendations or suggest modifications in conjunction with the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action. The final resolution will be documented by the office of equal opportunity/affirmative action and submitted to the vice president of human resources. Such terms of the agreement may then be subject to review by the responding department’s vice president. However, a vice president may review and initiate proposed recommendations at any time during the process.
(g) With the completion of level II, the complainant has exhausted the internal complaint procedures.
(4) The vice president of human resources or designee may, on his/her own initiative, utilize an expedited resolution process with regards to any aspect of the complaint including any proposed recommendations with the offices of the appropriate vice presidents and/or president. This process in so far as practicable, should take no longer than twenty (20) business days from filing.
(F) Sanctions. If it is found that an individual’s conduct violates the university’s policy on unlawful discrimination and harassment, action will be recommended. Action may include, but is not limited to, counseling, training, oral or written warning, no contact orders, transfer, suspension, termination or expulsion. The degree of action may be determined based on the intent and outcome of the behavior. Sanctions shall be based on the nature and severity of the offense and the extent of the findings. The university will ensure that all parties are afforded due process in its complaint handling. Any sanctions will be in accordance with the provisions of the appropriate collective bargaining agreement, student conduct code, employee disciplinary procedure, or other appropriate university policy, and will be provided in writing to both the respondent and complainant.
(1) The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action is responsible for administering this policy.
(2) All members of the university community share the responsibility for reporting instances of discrimination or harassment.
(3) The office of equal opportunity/affirmative action facilitators are responsible for complaint intake and providing information, guidance, and direction in utilizing the complaint procedure at the regional campuses.
(4) Managers are responsible for providing information, guidance, disseminating policy, advising appropriately, and complying with timely investigative procedures.
Effective: June 5, 2012
Prior Effective Dates: 5/20/1992, 2/11/2003, 4/21/2003, 6/1/200y, 3/5/2008