Sexual Harassment - Illegal Discrimination
Question: What is expected of me if I hear a complaint about potential sexual harassment?
As an employee of the college, you have the responsibility to forward complaints regarding allegations of illegal discrimination (including sexual harassment) to the College's Affirmative Action Officer (the VP of Human Resources. (The only exception to this expectation are our faculty counselors who have other standards under which they are required to comply.)
Additionally, when hearing from an aggrieved person (student or fellow employee) you should:
Be a good listener but be careful NOT to be judgmental. In other words, do not authenticate the validity of the complaint nor deny it plausibility. Examples of things not to say:
- "Oh, I've heard complaints about X all the time. This is nothing new."
- "That can't be true. I know s/he personally and they would never do something like that."
Neither of these approaches is appropriate. You are not charged with investigating the complaint, so avoid getting in to that arena.
Notify the complainant that you have an obligation to notify the Affirmative Action Officer that you have heard of this complaint. Let s/he know that you will be calling the VP of HR and sharing their name, as the complainant. Even if they request that you don't forward the complaint, you need to make this call. Providing the name of the complainant and a contact phone number right away ensures a timely response to the complaint.
Question: Why do you need to report the allegation(s)?
The College is responsible to investigate allegations of illegal discrimination when we "knew of or should have known" of the complaint. If an employee knows of the complaint, the investigating officer "should have known" too.
Please know that we are not asking that you try to resolve the matter. We only expect that you forward complaints to the appropriate staff for them to do their role.