Human Resources

Board of Trustees Policy

SUBJECT:

Sexual Harassment

NUMBER:
6.14
DATE:
June 15, 2009
SUPERSEDES:
 

Purpose

It is the purpose of this policy to provide a definition of sexual harassment, outline the scope of prohibited behaviors under the law of sexual harassment, provide guidance on how to proceed in allegations of sexual harassment and provide notice of the possible consequences of a finding of sexual harassment, on the part of any member of this College community, excluding students.

While students are jurisdictionally subject to the Student Code of Conduct for allegations of sexual harassment and other allegations of misconduct, students may nevertheless seek guidance from the College’s administration in filing a complaint of sexual harassment against any employee or other member of this College community, at which time the policy outlined herein will apply.

This policy is subject to periodic review and revision, pursuant to corresponding changes in the law of sexual harassment.

Policy

Sexual Harassment is illegal. It is a form of sex discrimination which violates federal, state and local law. It is against the law and a violation of College policy for any member of this College community to sexually harass any other member, or a member of the public, with whom that individual comes into contact while in service to the College. Any employee found to have engaged in sexual harassment could be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination from employment.

At the workplace, there are generally two categories of sexual harassment.

  1. One type is “quid pro quo” harassment which occurs when unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature are tied to employment in one of generally two ways:
    1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
    2. Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions, including hiring, firing, promotions, compensations, etc., affecting that individual.
  1. The other category of sexual harassment is that which occurs when a “hostile work environment” is created as a result of such harassment.

    A hostile work environment results when the unwelcome sexual conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive work environment.

    Factors which could contribute to the creation of a hostile work environment created as a result of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to the following:

    1. The discussion of an individual employee’s sexual activities and/or interests;
    2. Magazines, books, posters that display men or women in various stages of provocative undress or provocative poses;
    3. The sharing of sexually oriented materials using the College’s website and similarly situated e-mail messages;
    4. Parties or other celebrations during work hours that feature cards, cakes or other items of a sexual nature;
    5. Touching, commenting on, or leering at any sexual part of a person’s body.

    Please note that the victim in a hostile work environment context does not necessarily have to be the one to whom the sexually offensive remarks or conduct are specifically directed. It can also be someone whose ability to work has been adversely affected by an intimidating or sexually hostile work environment, whether or not the logical “victim” has also felt harassed.

    Procedure

    Montgomery County Community College encourages any member of the College community to report any incidents of sexual harassment so that they may be dealt with promptly. The College wishes to also emphasize that it is unlawful for any member of the College community to retaliate against any other member for filing a sexual harassment complaint, or for participating in the investigation of such a complaint.

    It is not uncommon for organizations to be found liable in a retaliation claim while still prevailing on the underlying claim of sexual harassment.

    The College expects that all complaints will be made in good faith and that all complaints will be taken seriously and kept in the strictest confidence to the greatest extent possible. While it is expected that some complaints will not call for a full-scale investigation, those that do will be conducted as expeditiously as possible, with the utmost discretion, and with support for the person bringing the complaint, the individuals investigating the complaint, while protecting the rights of the person against whom the complaint has been made.

    A person who believes that he or she has experienced sexual harassment should feel free to bring the matter to the attention of an immediate supervisor. Alternatively, the individual should feel free to bring the matter directly to the attention of the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives in Human Resources.

    If a complaint is received, and

    1. the person bringing the complaint wants it resolved informally—

      Notice of the incident should nevertheless be given to the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives in Human Resources with a complete accounting of all pertinent information and the terms of the complaint’s resolution.

    If a complaint is received, and

    1. the person bringing the complaint wants it resolved formally, or
    2. the person against whom the complaint is brought denies the incident or behavior—

      The complaint should be forwarded directly to the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives in Human Resources, who will then begin a formal investigation into the matter.

    At any time, any supervisor who feels uncomfortable or unable to handle a sexual harassment complaint should feel free to refer the complaint directly to the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives in Human Resources. If the complainant does not wish the matter to go forward, the supervisor or department head should nevertheless inform the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives in Human Resources of the existence of that complaint.

    Under no circumstances should any supervisor decide, without prior consultation with the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives in Human Resources that a complaint, particularly a request for a formal complaint procedure, is without merit.

    Any time any supervisor is privy to rumors of sexually inappropriate or harassing behavior, he or she should bring the matter to the attention of the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives in Human Resources for further investigation.

    Any member of the College community who is witness to, or personally aware of, any sexually harassing conduct or behavior on the part of any other member of this community should also feel free to bring the matter or incident in question directly to the attention of the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives in Human Resources for further investigation.

    Any member of the College community who brings a good faith complaint of sexual harassment will not be subject to reprisal and will be protected from retaliatory conduct on the part of any other knowledgeable party.

    Consequences of a Finding of Sexual Harassment

    The College has a commitment and an obligation to protect the rights of all parties to a sexual harassment complaint, to a process of rehabilitation through counseling and training, and to the practice of progressive discipline. Wherever and whenever possible, counseling and training will be a first course of recourse. The College reserves the right, however, to consider certain single incidents of harassment to be so egregious as to immediately rise to the level of more serious disciplinary consequences, up to and including a long term suspension or termination of employment, or removal from service.

 

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