For those students and college employees who work evenings and/or weekends, complaints should be reported in writing to Mr. Raymond Welch, the Manager of Training and Compliance, who can be reached at telephone number 201-612-5331, e-mail address [email protected]
Complaints against employees, or against students in their role as employees, will be resolved through the process outlined below. This process will not handle complaints against students arising out of their conduct as students (student-on-student harassment). These are addressed by other College policies dealing with student conduct, including the Rules and Regulations found in the College Catalog.
If it is believed that, if the sexual harassment rises to the level of sexual assault, the Office of Public Safety should be consulted. Questions about police assistance and involvement may be directed to the Vice President of Administrative Services or to the Director of Public Safety.
Individuals who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment or gender discrimination should report the alleged acts promptly so that appropriate action can be taken. Additionally, individuals who witness sexual harassment or gender based discrimination should report these acts to Mr. Raymond Welch, the Manager of Training and Compliance.
It is the responsibility of all individuals in the College community to maintain an academic, work and living environment free from sexual harassment and gender based discrimination, which violates the College's Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment. Any of these individuals (except those who have a legally protected counselor/client privilege) who have knowledge of conduct involving sexual harassment or gender based discrimination or who receive a complaint of sexual harassment or gender discrimination should inform the Manager of Training and Compliance immediately.
III. COMPLAINT PROCESS
Because sexual harassment and gender discrimination may involve a wide range of behaviors, the way in which a given case is best handled will vary. This Sexual Harassment Complaint Process provides a number of options to those subjected to sexual harassment or gender based discrimination.
If it appears that sexual harassment or gender discrimination may have occurred, the Manager of Training and Compliance will explain the options available to the complainant. The option selected will depend on a number of factors including the seriousness of the offense, the amount of evidence available, the degree of confidentiality sought, and the outcome desired by the complainant.
A complainant may select an informal or formal resolution. An informal resolution focuses on stopping the harassing or discriminatory behavior without a formal investigation and seldom results in sanctions. A formal resolution involves an investigation and may result in sanctions. The choice of one type of resolution does not preclude employing the other type at the same time or at a later time.
A. INFORMAL RESOLUTION
There are a variety of forms of informal resolution. The means for seeking an informal resolution will vary from case to case but could include the following: (1) the direct approach, (2) third party intervention or (3) indirect action taken by the Manager of Training and Compliance.
1.The Direct Approach
After a discussion with the Manager of Training and Compliance, a complainant may choose to take action personally. This direct approach may be appropriate when the goal is to stop the behavior rather than sanction the respondent. This direct approach might include the complainant writing a letter to the respondent asking him/her to change his/her behavior. Another option might be telling the respondent in person exactly what behavior is offensive and asking the respondent to stop the behavior. This approach should be taken only if the complainant feels comfortable confronting the respondent.
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2. Third Party Intervention
This option involves having the Manager of Training and Compliance mediate between the complainant and the respondent, or asking the Manager of Training and Compliance to bring the complainant and respondent together informally, to resolve the problem. This type of intervention may result in such solutions as separating the complainant and respondent, reassignment of work, or an agreement by the respondent to stay away from the complainant.
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3. Indirect Approach
The complainant may choose an indirect approach. This approach is intended to alter the respondent's inappropriate behavior in such a way that the behavior stops without the complainant having had to do anything except talk to the Manager of Training and Compliance. This option has the advantage of maintaining anonymity of the complainant and respondent. The type of indirect action will vary according to the circumstances. One example of indirect action is to have the Manager of Training and Compliance address a faculty staff meeting covering the College's Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment and/or reminding supervisors and faculty of their responsibility to foster an environment free of sexual harassment and gender based discrimination.
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B. FORMAL RESOLUTION
A complainant may choose the formal complaint resolution process for a complaint of sexual harassment or gender discrimination. This option may result in sanctions against the respondent.
1. Initiation of Complaint
The formal complaint resolution process is initiated by a written complaint. If the complainant chooses to make a formal complaint, the Manager of Training and Compliance will be able to answer questions about the writing of the complaint. A written complaint should include the following:
Once the complaint is written it is forwarded to the Manager of Training and Compliance, who will send a copy of the complaint to the respondent and request a written response.
2. Investigation and Findings
The Manager of Training and Compliance will select an individual to investigate the complaint and will work closely with the investigator in following the steps to be taken in the investigation. The investigator will work as expeditiously as possible to conduct a full and fair investigation. The investigator will give the respondent an opportunity to be heard with respect to the complaint and to furnish names of witnesses along with information pertaining to their knowledge of the matters set forth in the complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will report in writing to the Manager of Training and Compliance, setting forth the steps taken in the investigation and the investigator's findings.
The Manager of Training and Compliance will review the report of the investigator. If the Manager of Training and Compliance finds the investigation incomplete or otherwise unacceptable, s/he may request another investigation by the investigator or assign a new investigator to the complaint. Once the investigation is complete, the Manager of Training and Compliance shall determine whether there has been a violation of the College Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment and s/he may recommend that sanctions be applied against the respondent. Recommended sanctions will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will be determined by the frequency and severity of the violation. The Manager of Training and Compliance will take reasonable steps to foster consistency for similar violations and circumstances across the College. Possible sanctions and remedial actions include, but are not limited to:
-Participation in education sessions on sexual harassment;
-A written warning placed in the respondent's file;
-Reassignment of responsibilities if practicable;
-Suspension without pay;
The complaint and the report of the investigation, together with the recommended sanctions to be applied, will be sent by the Manager of Training and Compliance to the Dean or Vice President of the respondent's unit, and the Executive Vice President. The Dean or Vice President, in consultation with the Manager of Training and Compliance and the Executive Vice President, will determine what sanctions are appropriate and will notify the respondent of the results of the investigation and the sanctions. The Manager of Training and Compliance will also notify the complainant of the results of the investigation and sanctions, if applicable.
If the respondent is an employee of the College and the sanction results in discipline or termination, the respondent may grieve in accordance with applicable collectively negotiated agreements or College policies.
3. Remedial Action
There may be situations in which harassment in violation of the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment is found not to have occurred (for example, where the conduct complained of involved an isolated incident or where the conduct is protected by academic freedom).
This finding does not prevent the College from bringing to the attention of the respondent that his/her conduct was deemed by the complainant to be inappropriate. This fact may be brought to the attention of the respondent either through an informal process or the formal process. Similarly, while a respondent may not have engaged in conduct in violation of the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment and, thus, is not disciplined, the College reserves the right to take remedial action with respect to the complainant to enable the complainant to pursue employment or educational opportunities unimpeded by the conduct that prompted the complaint.
C. Independent College Action
The College reserves the right to investigate allegations of harassment in appropriate circumstances even in the absence of a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination filed pursuant to this Sexual Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Process.
The College shall maintain confidentiality to the extent possible within the requirements of conducting reasonable investigations. Only those who have a need to know will be told the identity of the parties to a complaint. In some instances, a complainant may choose to take no action or to defer action until a later date in order to maintain anonymity. In these instances, the College reserves the right to limited disclosure and to take appropriate action in order to ensure the safety and well being of other members of the College community.
Retaliatory conduct against any individual who has filed a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination, who has reported witnessing sexual harassment or discrimination, or who has participated in the sexual harassment or discrimination complaint process is also a violation of the College's Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment and is grounds for disciplinary and/or remedial action. Anyone who believes that s/he may be or has been the victim of retaliation should discuss her/his concerns with the Manager of Training and Compliance.
VI. FALSE ALLEGATIONS
The intentional filing of a false complaint may subject the complainant to discipline. Anyone who believes that s/he has been the subject of a false complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination may meet with the Manager of Training and Compliance to discuss the allegations.
VII. RECORD KEEPING
Notice of all reports of sexual harassment or gender based discrimination, whether a formal written complaint, or an informal complaint, must be forwarded to the Manager of Training and Compliance. The Manager of Training and Compliance will keep a confidential record of all informal and formal complaints. This information will be used by the Manager of Training and Compliance to monitor repeated complaints within the same unit or against the same individual. This information will also be used to document the incidence of sexual harassment and gender based discrimination in the College community.
VIII. CONFLICT OF INTEREST BY COMPLIANCE OFFICER
In the event that a sexual harassment complaint is made against the Manager of Training and Compliance, complaints should be made directly to the Executive VP, Michael D. Redmond, 201-447-7205, Room A-330.
Bergen Community College
400 Paramus Road
Paramus, NJ 07652