Workplace Practices: Harassment
|William Rickle, SJ
Date to be reviewed:
|Director of Human Resources
Wheeling Jesuit University is dedicated to fostering the dignity of each person and is committed to providing an
environment and workplace that is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination against applicants and
employees based upon any legally-recognized basis.
2.0 POLICY STATEMENT
2.1 Prohibited Harassment
Wheeling Jesuit will not tolerate any form of harassment, intimidation, ridicule, or insult based upon the following protected classes:
- Sexual Orientation
- National Origin
- Age (40 and above)
- Familial Status
- Protected Activity
- Genetic Information
- Veteran Status
- Uniformed Service
- Member Status
- "Harassment" may take many forms, including verbal (epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs), written,
graphic (derogatory posters, photography, cartoons, drawings, or gestures), or physical conduct (assault,
unwanted touching, or blocking normal movement) based upon the protected classes noted in 2.1 where
such conduct is:
"Sexual harassment" may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, unwanted physical contact, sexual assault, visual displays of degrading sexual images, sexually suggestive conduct, offensive remarks of a sexual nature, derogatory remarks directed toward a person because of his / her sex and other inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature where:
- Sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it affects an individual's ability to perform his / her job functions and/or academic pursuits or creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive work / academic, or extracurricular environment; or
- Has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual's work, academic, or extracurricular performance; or
- Otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment, academic or extracurricular opportunities; or
- Causes disruption to the University community.
"Consensual Relationships" include dating and sexual relationships willingly undertaken by both parties.
"Protected Activity" is defined as opposing a practice made unlawful by one of the employment discrimination statutes or filing a charge, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under the applicable statute.
"Sexual violence" refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim's use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability.
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, instruction, or participation in an activity at the University; or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or in making academic or educational decisions affecting an individual, such as evaluation or advancement decisions; or
- Such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that is has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance, academic performance, living conditions, extracurricular participation or otherwise has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment or causes disruption to the University community.
This policy applies to all individuals employed by the University in any capacity including: non-supervisory
personnel, supervisors, managers, directors, and all senior level employees; contractors, consultants, vendors,
clients, or temporary employees; others providing services to the University; and visitors to the campus, as well
as students and faculty. The coverage area includes the campus itself as well as any place where a University
employee works or performs work activities as well as sponsored activities and events both on and off campus,
and all satellite work sites.
2.4 Consensual Relationships
- The respect and trust students accord professors, coaches, mentors, club moderators or other employees of
the university in a similar capacity, as well as the power exercised by a University employee in an academic
or evaluative role, renders such voluntary consent suspect in light of the power differential that exists.
Therefore, sexual and romantic relationships between employees and students are prohibited by the
University and can lead to dismissal of the employee.
- The University realizes that situations may arise where consensual relationships develop between
consenting employees. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest, exploitation, favoritism and bias,
the University prohibits this type of relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate. The individual in
the position of greater authority bears the primary burden of accountability and must ensure that he / she does not exercise any supervisory or evaluative functions over the other person in the relationship. When a
romantic or sexual relationship exists between a supervisor and a subordinate, the University reserves the
right to take appropriate action, in its discretion, to protect the interests of the University, which may
include transfer, alternative supervisory or evaluative arrangements or dismissal of both parties. Should the
university seek to employ the spouse of a current employee, the two cannot work within the same
department and cannot be in a reporting relationship to each other.
2.5 Reporting Responsibility
- Any student or employee who feels that he / she is being harassed should first inform the offending party
that the conduct or behavior is unwelcome and / or unappreciated and, second, that the behavior must
stop. The student or employee should note the date the individual was so informed and any subsequent
instances. If the harassing behavior is severe or pervasive, the employee or student should report the
harassment immediately to the appropriate parties to secure personal safety (proceed to b. below).
- If the harassing behavior continues unabated, employees should promptly report the matter to the Human
Resource Department; students should promptly report the matter to the Office of Student Development.
The individual receiving the report will insure that it reaches the appropriate individual at the Director or
Executive level within the respective department / office for prompt investigation.
- Allegations of sexual violence should be reported immediately to the appropriate parties designated in b.
above. The University is primarily concerned with the safety of individual students and employees.
Consequently, any incidents of sexual violence that may be connected with violations of other University
policies (Ex: Drug and Alcohol Policy) will be addressed separately from the alleged violent act since such
violations are never an acceptable excuse to commit an alleged violent act. Instances of sexual violence that
result in bodily injury or battery should also be reported immediately to campus security and, subsequently,
to local law enforcement.
2.6 Complaint Procedure / Investigation
- It is the University's policy to investigate complaints regardless of whether they conform to a particular
format or are made in writing. Students and employees are strongly encouraged to report harassment or
discriminatory conduct. Students should contact the Office of Student Development with questions about
this process; employees should contact the Human Resource Department with questions about this process.
- Students or employees who wish to file a complaint should access the Harassment Reporting form (located
on the HR Website) to assist in prompt, timely, investigations. Individuals may elect to complete the
Harassment Reporting form themselves or report the harassment directly to the appropriate party noted in
2.5 (b.) above in a face-to-face meeting.
- The information noted on the Harassment Reporting Form should be completed (by the individual or in
conjunction with appropriate party noted in 2.5 (b.) above in a face-to-face meeting), specifying the names
of both the individual filing the complaint (Complainant) and individual alleged to have engaged in harassing
behavior (Respondent). This information is necessary to initiate an investigation.
- The Director of Human Resources will document, record and evaluate all employee complaints and, if
necessary, immediately initiate a formal and impartial investigation. The Dean of Student Development will
document, record and evaluate all student complaints and, if necessary, place in the appropriate forum for
impartial investigation. While complete confidentiality can never be guaranteed, the University will
endeavor to protect confidentiality to the extent possible. Information and records will be treated as
"Private / Confidential" per the Information Protection policy. If the complaint is ultimately investigated as a
Title IX Complaint, the Complainant and the Respondent will not be brought together and, in all other
instances, the University will endeavor to avoid bringing the two parties together.
- Investigations of alleged employee harassment will be carried out per existing University policies and
procedures; investigations of alleged student harassment reported to the Office of Student Development
will be carried out per the policies and procedures noted within the Student Handbook.
- The University may pursue interim measures during the investigation to protect the complainant.
- If it is determined that harassment has occurred, the University will take immediate and appropriate
corrective action. Both the Complainant and the Respondent will be advised in writing of the findings of the
investigation and their rights to appeal such findings.
Every investigation will be closed within sixty (60) days of report date with one of the following:
- No determination of harassment or misconduct can be made; or
- The Respondent engaged in harassment or other prohibited discriminatory conduct. Should the findings be closed as noted in "b", the University will:
- Undertake corrective actions including possible suspension or termination of the Respondent.
- Undertake remedial or protective actions with the Complainant deemed necessary to make the Complainant whole or protect the Complainant from the Respondent.
The University will not tolerate any adverse treatment of or retaliatory actions against any individual who, in good faith, reports harassment or violence, provides information related to complaints of harassment or violence, or provides information in conjunction with an investigation of harassment, violence or other discriminatory behavior.
2.9 False or Malicious Allegations
Any individual who knowingly makes false reports, allegations or accusations of harassment or violence recklessly, in bad faith or with malicious intent will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion for students and possible termination for employees.
2.10 External Reporting
Unlawful harassment is prohibited by state and federal law. In addition to the internal resources described
above, individuals may pursue complaints directly with the government agencies that deal with unlawful
harassment and discrimination claims, e.g., the US Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office for Civil
Rights (OCR) of the US Department of Education, the West Virginia Human Rights Commission and the Virginia Human Rights Council. Contact information for these agencies and information about the time frames for filing
external charges are readily available in the internet. A violation of this policy may exist even where the conduct
in question does not violate the law. Acts of sexual violence may be criminal in nature and individuals may
pursue complaints with local law enforcement in addition to the internal resources described above. Pending
the results of an internal investigation, and assuming the alleged sexual violence has not been reported to local
law enforcement, the University retains the right to notify local law enforcement of its findings.
The Director of Human Resources, in conjunction with the President or his designee, has the authority to change
or modify this policy at any time, with or without notice, to maintain compliance with regulatory changes and
Harassment Complaint Form