Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation Complaint Operating Procedure 420.01
Series: 400 Personnel
Section: Employee Complaints and Discipline
Cross-Reference: Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation Policy 420.01
Applicability: It is the intent of the College to promptly investigate and address complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. This Operating Procedure sets forth the process for reporting and investigating complaints of prohibited conduct against an employee under the Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation Policy.
The “Complainant” is the person who has been subjected to prohibited conduct as alleged in the complaint.
The “Respondent” is the employee against whom the complaint has been filed.
A “Supervisor” is an employee of the College designated as a supervisor or division/branch administrator in accordance with the list of supervisors and division/branch administrators maintained by the Office of Human Resources.
I. Reporting Procedures:
A. Prompt Reporting:
Discrimination, harassment or retaliation complaints are best resolved if addressed early. It may be difficult to substantiate the allegations made in a complaint brought after significant time has passed. Failure to promptly file a complaint may result in the loss of relevant evidence and witness testimony, and may impair the College’s ability to enforce its Policies and Procedures. Complaints should be made within thirty (30) days of the time the alleged conduct took place unless good cause is shown for the delay.
B. Duty to Report:
1. Supervisors: All Supervisors shall have a duty to report any prohibited conduct by or against an employee of which they become aware. Supervisors shall promptly forward any report, whether verbal, written or anonymous, to the Office of Human Resources, Audit and Advisory Services or through JCCC Ethics Report Line.
2. Non-Supervisors: All other employees who have been subjected to discrimination, harassment or retaliation by an employee or have direct knowledge of the occurrence of such conduct are encouraged to first inform the Respondent that the behavior is unwelcome and should cease. If the individual does not feel comfortable directly addressing the Respondent or if the prohibited conduct does not cease, a complaint may be filed with any Supervisor, the Office of Human Resources, Audit and Advisory Services or through the JCCC Ethics Report Line described below.
C. Form of Report:
The initial complaint can be either written or verbal. If a verbal complaint is made to a Supervisor, the Supervisor shall promptly document and forward the complaint, and also inform the Complainant that he/she can submit his/her own written report of the complaint as set for the above. A complaint should include a specific description of the conduct, the party or parties involved, and the date(s) and circumstances under which the alleged conduct occurred. The written complaint shall be dated and signed to acknowledge completeness and accuracy. If the complaint is against the President, it shall be filed directly with Audit and Advisory Services or directly through JCCC Ethics Report Line.
Once a report of prohibited conduct is received by the Office of Human Resources or Audit and Advisory Services, it will be entered into the JCCC Ethics Report Line in accordance with the rules established for such reporting. A complaint may also be submitted directly through JCCC Ethics Report Line by the individual filing the report.
JCCC Ethics Report Line: The College has implemented a confidential reporting system through a private third-party vendor. The JCCC Ethics Report Line will permit individuals to report information related to JCCC through the privately run call center or web based reporting system. The JCCC Ethics Report Line will serve as an alternative reporting channel for reports under this Procedure. A report of discrimination, harassment or retaliation may be submitted anonymously through the JCCC Ethics Report Line. Reports submitted through the JCCC Ethics Report Line will be processed as provided in this Procedure. In the event that the complaint provides information insufficient to conduct an investigation, the College will take reasonable steps to solicit additional information from the person reporting the issue through the JCCC Ethics Report Line.
It shall be considered a violation of College policy for any individual to knowingly file a false or malicious complaint of discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
Due dates under this Procedure shall be calculated based upon calendar days. If the due date specified falls on a weekend or holiday, the next business day will be the due date for the action. Either party may request a reasonable extension of time for any of the deadlines set forth in this Procedure. While the intent of this Procedure is to provide for the prompt reporting and investigation of claims of prohibited conduct, these deadlines are not meant to penalize. Therefore, failure to comply with the deadlines set forth herein will not invalidate a complaint, investigation or discipline.
III. Interim Measures:
In an effort to take prompt and effective protective action, the College may implement appropriate interim steps before the final outcome of the complaint, including but not limited to altering work schedules, issuing a “no contact” order between the parties, administrative leave and additional supervision of the parties. During the pendency of a complaint, the College may delay or suspend other employment actions, including offering contracts, until a final determination of the complaint has been made.
IV. Complaint Resolution Procedures:
JCCC has established both formal and informal procedures to resolve prohibited discrimination, harassment or retaliation complaints. After the complaint has been filed in accordance with these Procedures, the written complaint will be submitted to the Office of Human Resources or Audit and Advisory Services, whichever is appropriate. A designated officer (“Officer”) will meet with the Complainant to review the options for resolving the complaint. At this initial meeting, the Officer will determine, with input from the Complainant, whether to proceed with Informal Resolution or Formal Resolution.
At any time while Informal Resolution is being pursued, the Officer may elect to move the complaint into Formal Resolution if circumstances merit a more formal investigation and determination. For complaints involving Sexual Misconduct as defined by College Policy, the Complainant and/or Respondent may elect to proceed with Formal Resolution at any time and may have an advisor of their choice present during the Formal Resolution interview with investigator(s).
Under either resolution process, all involved parties have a duty to cooperate with the review or investigation and they are not to knowingly impede, obstruct or delay the investigation. In particular, both the Complainant and the Respondent have the responsibility to provide all relevant information and facts to the matter under review.
A. Informal Resolution:
If Informal Resolution is selected, the Officer may contact the Respondent’s Supervisor. The Officer and/or Supervisor, serving as neutral facilitators, will communicate with the Complainant and Respondent (either separately or together) to discuss the complaint and identify solutions to the complaint. If both parties to the complaint agree to a solution, this solution shall be written, signed and dated by both parties to acknowledge that they agree with the solution. The Informal Resolution process should be concluded within a period of thirty (30) days of receipt of the complaint.
The Officer and/or Supervisor shall follow up with the Complainant and Respondent at reasonable times to determine the status of the resolution. The Supervisor will report the results of these follow-up inquiries to Human Resources, if appropriate.
If the Complainant or Respondent cannot reach an agreement through Informal Resolution, either party may request to the Officer that the complaint be investigated through the Formal Resolution. The Officer will determine if Formal Resolution is warranted by the circumstances or required by law.
B. Formal Resolution:
If Formal Resolution is selected, the Officer shall appoint one or more investigators to investigate the complaint. An appointed investigator may be a College employee (including the Officer) or a third party retained by the College to conduct the assigned investigation. The Respondent shall be given a summary of the complaint and shall be given the opportunity to respond in writing to the allegations within seven (7) days of notification of the complaint.
The investigator(s) shall promptly initiate an investigation of the complaint by discussing the complaint with the Complainant and the Respondent, and by interviewing any witnesses likely to have relevant information, including but not limited to parties participating in or observing the conduct.
The investigator(s) shall summarize the factual findings in a report to the Officer within sixty (60) days from receipt of the complaint. When it is not reasonably possible to complete the investigation within that time, the investigation period may be extended by up to an additional sixty (60) days upon approval of the Officer. If the extension is granted, the parties to the complaint will be so notified.
The Officer shall review the report and make a determination regarding whether a preponderance of the evidence indicates that prohibited conduct has occurred. A preponderance of the evidence means that it is “more likely than not” that prohibited conduct occurred. The College will take appropriate disciplinary or corrective action based on the determination. Not every complaint will necessarily warrant corrective action or discipline. However, if the investigation reveals that discrimination, harassment or retaliation has occurred, the Respondent will be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.
Within ten (10) days of receipt of the investigators’ report, the Officer shall notify the Complainant and Respondent of the outcome of the investigation and provide them with the Officer’s summary of the investigation report. For complaints involving Sexual Misconduct, the notice of outcome will be provided simultaneously to the Complainant and Respondent.
During Formal Resolution, the Officer, investigator(s) and all other parties involved in administratively processing the complaint shall serve in a neutral role and shall not act in an advocate role for the Complainant or the Respondent. The role of an investigator will be to thoroughly investigate the issues as stated in the written complaint and to determine factual findings based on this review.
V. Appeal of Formal Resolution:
Should the Complainant or Respondent not be satisfied with the outcome of Formal Resolution, he/she may request review of the determination within ten (10) days of the date of the notice of determination. The request for review shall be submitted to the Office of the Executive Vice President over Human Resources. Upon receipt of the request for review, the Executive Vice President shall designate an officer of the College to review the report of investigation (the “Reviewing Officer”).
The Reviewing Officer will be provided with the complaint, the Respondent’s response and investigators’ report of investigation. The Reviewing Officer will review the complaint documents, interview the Complainant and the Respondent, if necessary, and complete such other interviews as may be necessary to make a determination. The Reviewing Officer shall complete the review within fourteen (14) days. If additional time is needed to complete this review, the Reviewing Officer shall notify the Complainant and the Respondent that the review will be delayed, and indicate the reasons for the delay. The Reviewing Officer shall provide a report to the Executive Vice President with his/her factual findings. The Executive Vice President shall consider this report and make a determination regarding whether the outcome of Formal Resolution is supported by the evidence and if additional action is necessary. The Executive Vice President shall inform the appealing party of the outcome of the review. The decision of the Executive Vice President will be final.
If the complaint was filed against the President, the request for review shall be submitted to Audit and Advisory Services instead of the Office of the Executive Vice President. Upon receipt of the request for review, Audit and Advisory Services shall contact legal counsel and coordinate the appointment of a Reviewing Officer. The Reviewing Officer will follow the review procedures above and submit the report of factual findings to Audit and Advisory Services and the College’s legal counsel for communication to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will make a determination regarding whether the outcome of the Formal Resolution is supported by the evidence and if additional action is necessary. The decision of the Board of Trustees will be final.
Disciplinary actions resulting from this complaint Procedure may be appealed by the employee in accordance with applicable College Personnel Policies or the Master Agreement, should it contain applicable provisions.
Participants in the complaint resolution process should respect the matter as confidential. All information revealed and all discussions held shall be as confidential as reasonably possible within legal requirements and organizational responsibilities, and within limits allowing for the review to occur.
The College cannot guarantee confidentiality of the information received and the privacy of the individuals involved due to potential legal obligations to report, investigate and take appropriate action regarding such matters. Confidentiality will be protected as much as legally possible, and the expressed wishes of the Complainant and Respondent regarding confidentiality will be considered in the context of the College’s obligation to act upon the complaint and the right of the adverse party to be informed concerning the complaint.
VII. Policy Enforcement Training:
JCCC trains all College personnel selected to assist in the Formal Resolution process. An investigator selected from outside the College shall have demonstrated expertise in conducting such investigations.
Signature on File in Policy Office
Revised: 03/02/2000, 07/09/2002, 03/15/2007, 05/08/2009, 05/14/2015