The University of Memphis

Discrimination, Harassment - Complaint and Investigation Procedure



POLICIES

Issued: July 20, 2015
Responsible Official: President
Responsible Office: Affirmative Action

Policy Statement


 

The purpose of this policy, developed in accordance with TBR Guideline P-080 Discrimination and Harassment-Complaint and Investigation Procedure, is to provide for the orderly resolution of complaints of discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age (as applicable), status as a covered veteran, genetic information, and any other category protected by federal or state civil rights laws that apply to the University of Memphis (UofM).  



Purpose


 

This policy is applicable to all employees, including faculty members, applicants and students and is intended to protect the rights of the aggrieved party ("the Complainant") as well as the party against whom a complaint of discrimination or harassment is lodged ("the Respondent"), as required by state and federal laws.  

Any student, employee, or applicant for employment who believes he or she has been subject to, or witnessed discrimination, or harassment as defined by this policy may utilize these procedures. In addition, a third party (including but not limited to contractors, vendors, and visitors) may also utilize these procedures if he/she believes that he/she has been subjected to or witnessed discrimination or harassment as defined by this policy and the conduct has a reasonable connection to the University of Memphis. Former employees or students may file complaints concerning conduct covered by this policy which took place during the time of employment or enrollment provided the complaint is filed timely - in accordance with this policy - and the conduct has a reasonable connection to the UofM.   



Procedures


OFFICE FOR INSTITUTIONAL EQUITY

The University’s Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) ensures compliance with federal, state and local equal opportunity laws; investigates discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking complaints; and provides prevention and awareness training for students, trainees, faculty and staff.  OIE is overseen by the Director for Institutional Equity who is the University’s Title IX Coordinator (the Director-Title IX Coordinator).


UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY

All employees, including faculty members, are required to be knowledgeable of the policies and guidelines concerning discrimination and harassment.  Further, each Vice President and other supervisory or managerial personnel are all responsible to the President for implementing the Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harssment and Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action policies within their administrative areas. Deans, directors, chairpersons, and managers of the various schools, departments, and programs are to work to administer and manage personnel activities within their areas to ensure full implementation of the University’s commitment to equal opportunity, non-discrimination and anti-harassment.


DUTY OF COOPERATION

Every University employee has a duty to cooperate fully in a discrimination or harassment investigation. This duty includes, but is not limited to, speaking with the investigator and voluntarily providing all documentation that relates to the claim being investigated. The failure and/or refusal of any employee to cooperate in an investigation may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.  Students are also required to cooperate in investigations; failure to do so may result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. 


 

Any individual, covered by this policy, who believes that he or she has been a victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation prohibited by University policy, or who has witnessed such discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, should immediately report the circumstances in accordance with the procedure set forth below. The University may investigate any conduct that violates this policy, even in the absence of a formal or written complaint, and take remedial action where appropriate.


FILING COMPLAINTS

Any individual covered by this policy who believes that he or she has been a victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation prohibited by University policy, or who has witnessed such discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, should immediately report the circumstances in accordance with the procedure set forth below. The University may investigate any conduct that violates this policy, even in the absence of a complaint, and take remedial action where appropriate.

Complaints can be made to the Title IX Coordinator by making a complaint to any of the individuals/departments listed below:

Office for Institutional Equity
156 Administration Building
The University of Memphis
Memphis, TN 38152
Tel: (901) 678-2713
Fax: (901) 678-4800
Email: oie@memphis.edu

 

Human Resources, Employee Relations
176 Administration Building
The University of Memphis
Memphis, TN 38152
Tel: (901)678-2603
Fax: (901)678-0864
Email: emprelations@memphis.edu

ALL EMPLOYEES ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO REPORT INFORMATION REGARDING ANY ACTIONS THAT THEY BELIEVE ARE DISCRIMINATORY OR HARASSING.  

It is preferable that a complaint  be made in writing and provide all relevant information including the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, the dates of the alleged occurrences, and names of witnesses, if any.  When the complainant chooses not to provide or sign a written complaint the matter will still be investigated and appropriate action taken based on available informations. Complaints made anonymously or by a third party will be investigated to the extent possible.  

If it is determined that the complaint does not rise to the level of discrimination or harassment, the Investigator may dismiss the complaint without further investigation, after consultation with Legal Counsel, and advise the Complainant of other available processes such as the employee grievance/complaint process, or a student non-academic complaint process.  


TIMELINESS

The University encourages prompt reporting of complaints so that it may respond appropriately and conduct an investigation while the matter is fresh in witnesses’ memory and other evidence is most likely to be available.  

Complaints of discrimination under Title VI must be brought within 180 days of the last incident of discrimination or harassment pursuant to Tennessee Board of Regents Guideline G-125. All other complaints must be brought within 365 days of the last incident of discrimination or harassment. Complaints brought after that time period will not be pursued absent extraordinary circumstances, as determined by the Office for Institutional Equity in conjunction with the Office of Legal Counsel.  

This policy does not in any way restrict an individual’s right to file a complaint with any state or governmental agency with investigative authority.


INVESTIGATION

The Title IX Coordinator or his or her designee (“Investigator”) shall conduct an investigation of the complaint.   When the allegation of discrimination or harassment is against the Title IX Coordinator, an individual who has been trained the investigation of such complaints will be appointed by the President as Investigator of the complaint and carry out the responsibilities assigned pursuant to this policy.  When the allegation of discriminatio or harassment is against the President of the University, the Tennessee Board of Regent’s Office of the General Counsel will assign an investigator who will make his/her report to the Chancellor.

The Investigator shall notify the Respondent in writing that a complaint has been made against him or her within seven (7) working days of receipt of the complaint.

  1. The Respondent may respond to the complaint in writing within five (5) working days following the date of receipt of the Investigator’s notification.

In consultation with and under the direction of Legal Counsel, the Investigator shall conduct an investigation of the complaint which shall include interviews with the Complainant and the Respondent, relevant witnesses, and review of any documentary evidence presented during the investigation.  The Investigator will weigh the credibility of all individuals interviewed to determine the weight to be given information received during the course of the investigation.

Interim Measures.  Pending the outcome of an investigation, the University may implement interim measures to address any safety or security concern(s), if requested by a complainant or respondent or if otherwise deemed appropriate or to protect the integrity of the investigation.  Interim measures are subject to the reasonable availability of such accommodations and are based on available facts and circumstances.  Interim accommodations include, but are not limited to, the placement of the respondent on academic or administrative leave or suspension, no-contact orders, transfer to an alternate work or lab location, academic program adjustments, reassignment of housing and other interim accommodations to academic, living, transportation or working situations.  Interim measures are coordinated through the Title IX Coordinator.  

Informal Resolution.  At any time during the course of the investigation, the Investigator may meet with both the Complainant and the Respondent jointly or individually for the purpose of resolving the complaint informally.

  1. Either party has the right to end informal processes at any time. 
  2. If informal resolution is successful in resolving the complaint, a report of such shall be submitted to the President.       

INVESTIGATOR'S DECISION

Upon completion of the investigation, and within sixty (60) calendar days following receipt of the complaint, absent good cause for extension of time, the Investigator will draft a report summarizing the investigation. The report will include a determination of whether there was a violation of University policy and recommendations regarding disposition of the complaint. 


APPEAL OF INVESTIGATOR'S DECISION

Either party may send a written appeal to the President within ten (10) working days, absent good cause for extension of time, of receipt of the Investigator’s determination. 

  1. The written appeal should explain why he or she believes the factual information was incomplete or the analysis of the facts was incorrect, and/or the appropriate legal standard was not applied, and how this would change the determination in the case.  Failure to sufficiently explain the reasoning behind the appeal may result in a denial of the appeal.
  2. Although the appealing party may present information that could possibly change the decision, the parties will not be allowed to present their appeals in person to the President. 
  3. The President will issue a written response to the appeal as promptly as possible.  This decision will constitute the University's final decision with respect to whether a policy violation occurred.

DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

All employees, including faculty members, students, and vendors are subject to this policy. If the final decision includes disciplinary action, the procedures for implementing the appropriate disciplinary sanction shall be determined by the status of the Respondent as follows:

  • When the Respondent is a faculty member, by the Provost;  
  • When the Respondent is an employee or vendor, by the Vice President for Business and Finance or Human Resources;
  • When the Respondent is a student, by the Vice President for Student Affairs.       


EXAMPLES OF DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

Disciplinary action may include dismissal, expulsion or termination, or other appropriate sanction. In addition, contractors, vendors, and other third parties are also subject to this policy and are expected to comply with the requirements set forth herein. Any contractor, vendor, or other third party who fails to comply with this policy is subject to all remedies available under any applicable contract and are subject to permanent removal from the University of Memphis campus or  University controlled properties. Discipline for a violation of policy need not be progressive, so a first violation of policy may warrant termination, suspension or expulsion.    


CONFRIMATION

In cases where an investigation confirms a violation of policy, management in the appropriate department must ensure that the prescribed remedial action, including disciplinary action, is implemented. Confirmation must be provided to Human Resources within 14 days that the recommended action has occurred or is in process. Only upon such confirmation will the investigatory file be closed. 


CONFIDENTIALITY

To the extent possible, the investigation and its results will be conducted in such a manner to protect the confidentiality of all parties.  However, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed as information may need to be revealed to the Respondent and to potential witnesses. However, any information disclosed will be shared only with those who have a need to know in order to conduct a full and fair investigation of the matter.

The University is subject to laws regarding the disclosure of information.  Requests to inspect documents made pursuant to the Tennessee Public Records Act may result in certain documents being released. Further, when a student is involved as the Complainant, the Respondent or an individual interviewed, all documentation referring to that student shall be subject to the provisions and protections of the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA) and T.C.A. § 10-7-504(a) (4) which requires that certain student disciplinary records are subject to disclosure pursuant to a public records request.


ANTI-RETALIATION

Retaliation for complaints made under this policy or participation in any investigation either as a complainant, respondent or witness is prohibited and should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator immediately. Retaliation can take many forms, including abuse or violence, threats, and intimidation. Actions in response to a good faith report or response under this policy are considered retaliatory if they have a materially adverse effect on the working, academic or University-controlled living environment of an individual; or if they hinder or prevent the individual from effectively carrying out their University responsibilities. Any individual or group of individuals can engage in retaliation and will be held accountable under this policy.  



Revision Dates


  UM1718 - July 20, 2015 - supercedes UM1391


Subject Areas:

AcademicFinanceGeneralHuman ResourcesInformation TechnologyResearchStudent Affairs
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