Discriminatory Harassment Policy
The University of Louisville's Discriminatory Harassment Policy reflects the commitment to maintain a community that is free from harassment of any kind. Harassment of any kind is not acceptable at the university. It is inconsistent with the university's commitment to excellence and respect for all individuals. The university is also committed to protecting the academic freedom and freedom of expression of all members of the university community. Academic freedom and freedom of expression includes, but is not limited to, the expression of ideas, however controversial, in the classroom, residence hall, and in keeping with different responsibilities, in work places elsewhere in the university community. This policy does not attempt to address behaviors that do not constitute discriminatory harassment. Offensive behavior that does not violate this policy should be addressed by the appropriate supervisor or office as outlined in the Staff Handbook, Redbook, or Student Handbook.
Discriminatory harassment is contrary to University of Louisville policy and may also be illegal. The university defines discriminatory harassment as:
- Behavior of any type (oral, written, graphic, physical) that creates a "hostile environment." Hostile environment harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome comments or conduct that have the purpose of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance, participation in a sponsored university activity, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment that a reasonable person would find threatening or intimidating;
- The behavior is directed at persons because of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender (whether or not sexual in nature), age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation, unless otherwise permitted or required by applicable law; or
- Employment or academic decisions made in retaliation for a person's unwillingness to submit to such conduct, or benefits or privileges provided as a result of such submission; or participation in a university, state, or federal discrimination investigation AND, which also unreasonably interferes with the person's work or academic performance or participation in university activities, or creates a working or learning environment that a reasonable person would find threatening or intimidating.
A person must be in a position of authority to act on behalf of the university (for example, a supervisor with respect to an employee, or a faculty member with respect to a student) for parts 2 or 3 above to be applicable. Part 1, however, does not require that a person misuse university-delegated authority, and applies whenever such conduct by any person while on university grounds or during university activities interferes with work or academic performance or participation in university activities, or creates a working or learning environment that would be threatening or intimidating to any reasonable person under the same circumstances.
Nothing herein overrides existing university policy, or circumscribes the authority of the university to establish policy that is not otherwise contrary to law.
Discriminatory harassment can take many forms, and determining whether an action constitutes discriminatory harassment requires examining all of the circumstances. Each situation must be promptly reviewed and appropriate action taken. The following are examples of behavior that should be reported for review under this policy:
- Frequent taunting on the basis of an individual's association with people of a particular national origin or race;
- The oral use of offensive epithets, slurs, or comments aimed at a particular person or group, or the use of offensive gestures, pictures, body parts, drawings, and other items based on age, color, disability, gender (whether or not sexual in nature), national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status;
- Teasing or mocking a person with a disability whether mental or physical;
- Ridiculing a person's religious beliefs;
- Persisting in requests for dates after being told they are unwelcome;
- Evaluating an employee or student more critically than performance warrants because the employee or student objected to a sexual advance (refer to consensual relations policy);
- Sending unwelcome mail, voice mail or e-mail containing derogatory jokes or comments;
- Displaying or sending mail, email, web sites or voice mail that are pornographic in nature;
- Touching that goes beyond acceptable workplace or classroom interaction, meaning that a reasonable person would find it objectionable;
- Repeated references to sex in the classroom or class assignments when there is no relationship between the reference and the content of the course.
RESPONDING TO HARASSMENT
If you believe you are experiencing treatment that violates this policy, you may take the following steps:
- If possible, clearly tell the harasser to stop. Record what happened, the action you took, and the date of the incident.
- If you cannot or do not wish to confront the harasser, or your efforts did not stop the conduct, you may contact your supervisor, the department chair, a faculty or academic advisor , the Division of Student Affairs, the Women's Center, or the Office of the University Provost for help.
- You may also contact the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office (502) 852-6536 or (502) 852-6538 at any time whether or not you have taken the above steps. The Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office is the university office responsible for receiving and addressing discriminatory harassment complaints. You may seek informal help or information from the Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office, or you may file a formal complaint. Information on the complaint process is provided below.
- Some forms of harassment may violate federal and state laws, and a complainant or respondent may choose to invoke external processes to resolve their grievances. Such individuals may contact the appropriate state and local agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the United States Department of Education, the Office for Civil Rights,or the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
- Note: The university maintains a fair and responsive method for reporting and addressing complaints of discriminatory harassment. Prompt reporting and your assistance is critical to allow rapid response by the university and resolution of the objectionable behavior.
Responsibilities of those in a Supervisory Capacity: Vice Presidents, deans, department heads, managers, supervisors, Resident Directors, and Resident Assistants are responsible for communicating the university's policy on discriminatory harassment and are obligated to take action when they observe or hear of incidents that may violate this policy. A supervisor must:
- Provide information regarding the university's Discriminatory Harassment Policy and offer options for addressing a complaint.
- Take action suitable to the circumstances, which may include among other things, talking to persons involved or witnesses, examining other evidence, or arranging for training through the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office at (502) 852-6536.
- Contact the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office at (502) 852-6536 or (502) 852-6536, for assistance or to refer matters that have not been resolved.
- Ensure that persons who have raised concerns of discriminatory harassment in good faith are not subject to retaliation.
- Monitor situations that have been addressed, and follow-up if necessary.
- Record the complaint and submit to the Affirmative Action Office. Include any action that was taken.
- Note: Those in a supervisory capacity who do not appropriately handle reports or incidents of discriminatory harassment, or fail to report them to the Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office, may be subject to disciplinary action.
THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE'S FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS
Formal complaints of discriminatory harassment may be filed with the Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office. The procedures for processing harassment complaints are described in the Discrimination Complaint Procedures.
The Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office requires that complaints be in writing and made within 180 days of the last alleged discriminatory action. In certain circumstances, complaints filed outside of this time limit or that are not in writing may be investigated informally, and all other time limits contained in these procedures may be extended for good cause.
The Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office will:
- Respond to every complaint of discriminatory harassment;
- Act impartially whether an investigation is conducted or not, act impartially considering the interests of all parties;
- Information regarding an allegation of discriminatory harassment and the parties involved is kept as confidential as possible and shared only with those who have a legitimate reason to know;
- In the case of formal complaints that are not resolved through mediation, issue a report to the respondent, the complainant, and the relevant Vice President/Dean containing findings and conclusions, and recommending appropriate action depending upon the circumstances. If a faculty member is the respondent, a copy will also be issued to the University Provost.
Discriminatory harassment of students by other students is addressed by certain provisions in the Student Handbook under the Code of Student Conduct and is administered by the Office of Student Life. Complaints may be brought to that office without first going through the Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office. The Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office will refer complaints of student-to-student discriminatory harassment to the Office of Student Life. The Code of Student Conduct can be viewed at: http://louisville.edu/dos/policies-and-procedures/rso-code-of-conduct.html
Persons found to have violated the provisions set forth in the university's Discriminatory Harassment Policy will be subject to disciplinary action and penalties as set forth in the University of Louisville Policies and Procedures as outlined in the Redbook, Staff Handbook, and Student Handbook. These penalties include, but are not limited to, suspension, demotion, termination, or in the case of students, dismissal. In addition, violation of the university's Discriminatory Harassment Policy may be subject to liabilities available under state and federal law. Other corrective action such as counseling or training; and steps such as reinstatement, hiring, reassignment, promotion, training, back pay or other benefits may be taken as are necessary.
TRAINING AND EDUCATION
Education and training are fundamental to maintaining an environment free of discriminatory harassment. Managers, supervisors, deans, directors, and department heads and those in a supervisory capacity are responsible for informing those employees who are under their direction or supervision of this Policy. Student Life administrators are responsible for providing this information to the student body.
The Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office is responsible for providing educational and training programs to assist members of the university community in understanding what discriminatory harassment is and is not, and how to address behavior that violates this Policy. Specifically, the Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office will distribute copies of this Policy to all schools, departments and programs at the university, and will give workshops and seminars on this subject. The Affirmative Action/Employee Relations Office will maintain a brochure that explains in simple, understandable terms the university's policy and procedures concerning discriminatory harassment, and will place copies of the brochure in Human Resources and at other offices to which persons are likely to go for counseling and advice regarding discriminatory harassment.
To schedule training, call the Affirmative Action/Employee Relaitons Office at (502) 852-6536.
Questions about this Policy should be directed to Harvey Johnson, Director, Affirmative Action/Employee Relations, (502) 852-6538 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Acknowledgment: The University of Louisville would like to thank Dr. Karen Holt, Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, University of Virginia at Charlottesville, for her assistance and permission to use portions of the University of Virginia's Policy on Discriminatory Harassment.