Policy 2.14 - Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment


Southeastern Community College is committed to providing a learning, working and living environment that promotes respect, responsibility, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and accountability in an environment free of unlawful harassment and discrimination. The college strives to create and maintain an environment in which individuals are treated with dignity, decency and respect. The environment of the college should be characterized by mutual trust and the absence of intimidation, oppression and exploitation. Employees/students should be able to work and learn in a safe, yet stimulating atmosphere. The College considers unlawful discrimination and harassment in all its forms to be a serious offense. Accordingly, the College does not practice or condone unlawful harassment or discrimination in any form, against students, employees, or applicants on the grounds of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, age, disability, or political affiliation, or any other legally protected classification. For that reason, the college will not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment of any kind.

Through education of employees/students and by enforcement of this policy, the college will seek to prevent, correct and discipline behavior that violates this policy. The College supports the protection available to members of its community under all applicable Federal Laws, including Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 799A and 845 of the Public Health Service Act, the Equal Pay and Age Discrimination Acts, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities ACT of 1990, and Executive Order 11375.

Prohibited Conduct Under SCC Policy

Unlawful Discrimination

  1. It is a violation of this policy to unlawfully discriminate in the provision of educational and/or employment opportunities, benefits or privileges; to create unlawful discriminatory conditions; or to use unlawful discriminatory evaluative standards in employment if the basis of that unlawful discriminatory treatment is, in whole or in part, the person’s race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information or marital status.
  2. Unlawful discrimination of this kind also may be strictly prohibited by a variety of federal, state and local laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972. This policy is intended to comply with the prohibitions stated in these anti-discrimination laws.
  3. Unlawful discrimination in violation of SCC policy and those in violation of this policy will be subject to severe sanctions up to and including termination or expulsion.

Harassment

  1. Harassment, including sexual harassment, is prohibited by federal and state laws. SCC policy prohibits harassment of any kind, and the college will take appropriate action swiftly to address any violations of this policy. The definition of harassment is verbal or physical conduct designed to threaten, intimidate or coerce. Also, verbal taunting (including racial and ethnic slurs) that impairs an employee’s ability to perform his or her job and a student’s ability to learn in a safe, yet stimulating atmosphere.
    Examples of harassment are:

    1. Verbal: Comments that are not flattering or are unwelcome regarding a person’s nationality, origin, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, body disability or appearance. Epithets, slurs, verbal taunting, and negative stereotyping are examples of verbal harassment.
    2. Nonverbal: Distribution, display, or discussion of any written or graphic material that ridicules, denigrates, insults, belittles, or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of national origin, race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, appearance, disability, gender identity, marital or other protected status
  2. Bullying, another form of harassment, is defined by SCC as “repeated inappropriate behavior, either direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, in an educational setting, and in the workplace and/or in the course of employment.
  3. Sexual Harassment – For complaints regarding Sexual Harassment, refer to Policy 2.7: Sex and Gender Discrimination and Harassment

The Complaint Process for Discrimination and Harassment not Covered by Policy 2.7.

Southeastern Community College encourages direct communication between employees and supervisors to attempt to address complaints in the spirit of cooperation and compromise. Employees should attempt to resolve a complaint first with their immediate supervisor with the assistance of Human Resources (if necessary). In the event the issue is against the supervisor, the employee can go directly to the supervisor’s supervisor or the Director of Human Resources.

The College also encourages direct communication between students and faculty members to address concerns in the classroom. Students should attempt to resolve a complaint at the lowest possible level. Those needing assistance can contact the Dean of Student Services or the Director of Human Resources.

Any person electing to utilize the complaint resolution process will be treated courteously, the problem handled swiftly and as confidentially as possible in light of the need to take appropriate corrective action. Registering a complaint will in no way be used against an employee or student nor will it have an adverse impact on the individual’s employment or enrollment status. While reporting such incidents would be a difficult personal experience, allowing unlawful discrimination and harassment activities to continue will most certainly lead to less than desirable outcomes. For that reason, employees and students are strongly urged to use the process. However, filing groundless and malicious complaints is an abuse of SCC policy and is prohibited.

Retaliation

No hardship, no loss of benefit, and no penalty may be imposed on an employee or student as punishment for:

  1. Filing or responding to a bona fide complaint of discrimination or harassment
  2. Appearing as a witness in the investigation of a complaint
  3. Serving as an investigator

Retaliation or attempted retaliation is a violation of SCC policy and anyone who does so will be subject to severe sanctions up to and including termination or expulsion.

Investigation Procedures

  1. Any complaint relating to unlawful discrimination or harassment should be immediately referred to the Director of Human Resources (employee complaint) or the Dean of Student Services (student complaint). (Note: If said party is directly involved, the complainant should be referred to the President (Director of Human Resources) and Chief Academic Officer (Dean of Student Services).
  2. Within 5 working days of receiving the complaint the person charged with the complaint will be notified and an investigation will be initiated to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that a violation of the policy had occurred.
  3. During the investigation, interviews will be conducted with all parties concerned. Within 15 working days of the complaint being filed, the investigation will be concluded and a report submitted of the findings to college administration.
  4. If it is determined that a violation of this policy has occurred, a recommendation of appropriate disciplinary action will follow. The appropriate action will depend on the following factors: (i) the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the conduct: (ii) prior complaints made by either the complainant or respondent; (iii) the quality of the evidence (first-hand knowledge, credible corroboration, etc.) If it is determined that an individual has been falsely accused appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against the individual making false or misleading statements as outlined in Policy 5.30 and Procedure 5.30.01.
  5. Within 5 working days after the investigation is concluded, the complainant and respondent will be notified separately of the findings of the investigation.

Protection of Complainant and Others

  1. All reasonable actions are taken to assure that the complainant and those testifying on behalf of the complainant or supporting the complainant in other ways suffer no retaliation as the result of their involvement in the process.
  2. At the time the investigation commences, the accused is informed of the allegations, the identity of the complainant, and the facts surrounding the allegations. In the event the allegations are not substantiated, all reasonable steps are taken to restore the reputation of the accused if it were damaged by the proceedings.

Protection of Both Parties

  1. To the extent possible, the proceedings are conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality interests of both parties.
  2. After the investigation, the parties are informed of the facts developed in the course of the investigation.
  3. The parties are informed promptly about the outcomes of the proceedings.

Sanctions

Disciplinary measures up to and including termination or expulsion may be taken if necessary.

Appeal Procedures

Either the complainant or respondent who disagrees with the results and/or sanctions of the investigation may exercise their rights by filing a Level 4 grievance as outlined in Policy 5.31.

Adopted: July 16, 1985

Revised: January 26, 1993, July 15, 1997, July 20, 2010, September 17, 2013, May 12,2015, March 22, 2021

Reviewed: February 17, 2021

Cross References:

Policy 2.7: Sex and Gender Discrimination and Harassment