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Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy for Employees

Updated November 2018

Cambridge College (“CC” or “the College”) 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 or religious creed, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ancestry, age, 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. CC prohibits any such discrimination or harassment.

Retaliation and Obligation to Report in Good Faith

CC encourages the immediate reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination or harassment.  It is the policy of CC to promptly and thoroughly investigate and/or resolve such reports.  CC prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or harassment or participates in an investigation of such reports.  An individual who retaliates against another in violation of this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.  

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

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 or religious creed, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ancestry, age, disability or handicap, marital status, military or veteran status, citizenship, national or ethnic 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 or religious creed, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, ancestry, age, 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 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.

Individuals and Conduct Covered

This policy applies to discrimination and harassment allegations made by faculty, staff, vendors, contractors, visitors, and all other members of the CC community.  Discrimination and harassment allegations by students and applicants are governed by the Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy for Students.  All CC community members are responsible for their actions and behavior, both on campus and off campus. Members of the CC community 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, off-campus conduct that has an actual or potential adverse impact on any member of the CC community or the College.  Off-campus settings to which this policy applies include, but are not limited to, business trips, business meetings, business-related social events or field trips, internships, or other off-campus academic or College-related functions.

This policy does not govern situations involving sexual misconduct/harassment or the College’s process for reviewing and investigating such allegations.  Those standards and procedures are set forth in the Cambridge College Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Policy. 

Reporting an Incident of Harassment, Discrimination or Retaliation

CC encourages immediate 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 or the Vice President of Human Resources.  Any individual employed by the College who receives reported information of potential incidents of harassment, discrimination or retaliation has an obligation to appropriately follow-through and report the information immediately to his or her supervisor, to the Dean of Student Affairs (if the allegation would be made against a student) or to the Vice President of Human Resources (for all other allegations).  In any case of uncertainty, the individual should consult with Human Resources.

[A person who wishes to report discrimination or harassment may also contact an anonymous phone line to report anonymous issues. Please note that anonymous reporting may limit the ability for CC to fully investigate and follow-through.]

Complaint Procedures

Notification

As described above, an individual who is subjected to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation should notify his/her immediate supervisor, Academic Dean or the Vice President of Human Resources.  Once the individual notifies CC of his/her allegation, the individual, with the assistance of the College, will determine whether to pursue an informal resolution procedure or the formal resolution procedure, detailed below.  An individual reporting harassment, discrimination or retaliation should be aware that the College reserves the right to take action to address such conduct beyond an informal discussion.

CC encourages the prompt reporting of complaints or concerns so that rapid and constructive action can be taken. 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.

Formal Procedure

An individual who asserts a claim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation may elect to pursue a formal resolution procedure.  The formal procedure generally will include an investigation into the alleged conduct.   Allegations of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation will be investigated promptly.

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 accused of this appointment. 

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.  The investigator(s) may also review College files, documents, and other information provided by the parties or witnesses. The investigator(s) will retain the sole discretion as to what information and documents are relevant to the investigation. 

Out of respect for all parties, confidentiality of the investigation 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.

At the conclusion of the investigative process, the investigator will prepare a final report with recommendations (both as to factual findings and discipline, if appropriate) and issue it to the appropriate supervisor, as determined by the College (if the accused is an employee/staff member) or to the Dean of Student Affairs or his/her designee (if the accused is a student), with copies to the complainant and the accused.  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 the final report is issued.

Misconduct constituting harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be handled 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.  In the case of a student found responsible for violating this policy, responsive action may include any other sanction set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.  

Recommendations from the investigative report will be considered by the supervisor in consultation with Human Resources or the Dean of Student Affairs (or designee), as appropriate, and followed through within his/her/their discretion.   After considering the investigative report, the supervisor or the Dean of Student Affairs (or designee) will decide whether to accept the recommendations contained in the report, to reject the recommendations, or to take an alternative approach.  If any accused student does not agree with the decision of the Dean of Student Affairs (or designee), the student may appeal the decision by pursuing the hearing process set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.   If any accused employee does not agree with the decision of the supervisor, the employee may appeal to the Vice President of Human Resources within ten (10) business days of receipt of the decision.  The accused employee must make his or her appeal in writing, and must set out the specific reasons for the appeal.

If there is no appeal, the decision of the supervisor or the Dean of Student Affairs (or designee) will be final.  If an appeal is taken, the decision will become final upon conclusion of the appeals process. 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that an employee 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. 

Conclusion

CC has developed this policy and the Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Policy to ensure that all of 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 are aware that any complaint in violation of such policies will be investigated and/or resolved appropriately.

Any employee who has any questions or concerns about these policies should contact the Vice President of Human Resources.