Policies and Procedures

1440P DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCEDURES (TEMPORARY)

Original Date: 9/20/2011     *     Expires: 12/31/2013
Policy Contact: Vice President, Human Resources

PURPOSE

The following procedures are established to meet the requirements for implementing Policy 1440 Prevention of Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policy.

The college takes seriously its obligation to respond to concerns of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation and to seek equitable resolution to the degree possible in a timely manner. These procedures identify resolution options available to students, staff and visitors to campus who believe they have been subjected to discrimination, harassment or retaliation by a Bellevue College employee. The college strongly encourages parties to consider a facilitated resolution of identified concerns.

NON-RETALIATION/COOPERATION
It is against college policy to penalize or retaliate against any party for his or her participation in these resolution procedures. College employees are required to participate, provide information as requested, and otherwise fully cooperate with the processes described herein.

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
College employees are required to report any concerns of discrimination, harassment or retaliation of which they become aware to the human resources office (HRO) immediately or as soon as reasonably possible, and to otherwise fully cooperate with any follow-up that is necessary.

TIMEFRAME FOR RAISING A CONCERN
All concerns regarding discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or retaliation should be brought to the attention of the HRO immediately or as soon as reasonably possible.

Matters which occurred more than 180 days prior to a report of discrimination, harassment of retaliation will be reviewed for timeliness and may not be accepted by the HRO for internal resolution, unless they constitute evidence of a continuing pattern of behavior or involve illegal behavior. If a report of discrimination, harassment or retaliation is not accepted due to timeliness, the reporting party will be so notified.

HOW TO RAISE A CONCERN ABOUT DISCRIMINATION
Any individual, who believes they have been discriminated against or harassed by a college employee or who believes they have been retaliated against by a college employee for participating in an investigation, has the right to report their concern to the HRO.

REPRESENTATION
The HRO will inform complainants and respondents that they are entitled to representation throughout the resolution process. The HRO will also inform complainants and respondents that her/his bargaining unit representative (if applicable) will be notified that a concern has been raised, unless the participant requests that no notification be made.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER RAISING A CONCERN
Meeting with the Initiator
A representative from the HRO will contact the individual raising the concern (initiator) generally within two (2) business days to schedule an initial meeting to discuss the concerns with the initiator and to review the college’s resolution options with the complainant. In addition, the HRO representative will also advise the initiator of his/her right to file a formal complaint with outside agencies.

Reasonable effort will be made to hold the initial meeting within five (5) business days after the report of a concern. The concern may be resolved during this meeting.

Respondent Interview
If the initiator requests further action, a representative from the HRO will contact the individual about whom the concerns have been raised (respondent) generally within two (2) business days following the initiator meeting to notify her/him of the concern and to schedule an interview with the HRO representative.

HRO will provide the respondent with written documentation including the following items:

  • A general description of the nature of the concern
  • The date and location of the incident causing concern
  • The number of individuals involved in the incident

HRO will make reasonable effort to provide this documentation three (3) business days prior to the interview and to hold the initial interview with the respondent within five (5) business days after completion of the complainant interview.

INTERNAL RESOLUTION OPTIONS

  1. Facilitated Resolution
    The first step in resolution will generally be for the parties to consider facilitated resolution. If both primary parties to the concern agree to engage in a facilitated resolution option, a neutral third party will be assigned to assist the parties in reaching resolution. Facilitated resolution options typically include facilitated conversation, conciliation, or mediation. In some cases, a more formal third party intervention (such as arbitration) may be appropriate.

    If the parties agree to engage in facilitated resolution, reasonable effort will be made to begin the resolution process within five (5) business days after the parties agree to this option. Depending on the option selected and availability of parties, alternate resolution options typically will conclude within fifteen (15) business days of beginning that process.
  1. HRO Investigation
    If resolution does not occur following engagement in facilitated resolution, or if parties do not agree to attempt a facilitated resolution, an investigation will be initiated. At any point during an investigation, the investigation may be suspended for a period of time agreed upon by the parties or to actively attempt facilitated resolution.
    • Investigator – HRO investigations are conducted by college staff or an outside investigator, as determined by the HRO. The parties will be notified of the investigator assigned. The investigator acts as a fact-finder, and will interview the complainant(s), the respondent(s), and other persons with direct knowledge of the matter being investigated in order to determine the facts. The HRO investigator may interview other parties who have knowledge of relevant information or review documents or other related information necessary to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged violations or inappropriate behavior.
    • Timeframe – Reasonable effort will be made to conclude HRO investigations within thirty (30) business days or sooner if possible. All primary parties will be kept informed of the progress circumstances, parties will be advised of a new estimated timeframe for completion
    • Report of findings – At the conclusion of an HRO investigation, the investigator will provide a confidential written report summarizing the allegations investigated, findings of fact, and conclusion(s) to the individual complainant(s), the respondent(s), and the vice president of human resources.
    • Appeal
      • Students – Students who are not satisfied with the final disposition of an HRO investigation may file a written appeal to the vice president of student services. Such written appeal must be submitted within ten (10) business days of notification of the results of the investigation. The appeal should include any and all additional information she/he wants the vice president of student services to consider. The vice president of student services will provide a response to the student within ten (10) business days of receipt of an appeal. The decision of the vice president of student services is final.
      • College employees and visitors to campus – Employees and visitors to campus who are not satisfied with the final disposition of an HRO investigation may file a written appeal to the college president or designee. Such written appeal must be submitted within ten (10) business days of notification of results of the investigation. The appeal should include any and all additional information she/he wants the president or designee to consider. The president, or designee, will provide a response to the employee or visitor to campus within ten (10) business days of receipt of an appeal. The decision of the president, or designee, is final.
    • Follow-up - The administrative head will receive a confidential memorandum from the vice president of human resources, or designee, summarizing the report findings and making recommendation for follow-up or administrative action, as appropriate. If a decision is made to take disciplinary action, such action shall be taken in accordance with college policy, procedure and collective bargaining agreements. Reasonable effort will be made to initiate appropriate action within fifteen (15) business days of receipt of the investigative report by the administrative head, unless collective bargaining agreements provide otherwise. Appeals of any disciplinary action may be made through the appropriate collective bargaining agreement or the student code.
    • Concurrent investigation – When a concern is addressed through another resolution process, an HRO investigation usually will not begin or will be suspended pending the completion of the other resolution process and all parties will be so notified.
    • Extension of timelines – The college will make reasonable effort to take action within the timelines listed above. Should additional time be needed at any step, HRO will notify the parties of the revised schedule in a timely fashion.

WITHDRAWAL OR RESOLUTION
If, during the course of a facilitated resolution or HRO investigation, the concern is withdrawn or resolved, the parties will be notified that the resolution process will be terminated and the concern file closed.

ADMINISTRATIVE CLOSURE
In the event the complainant(s) does not fully cooperate with the HRO investigator during the resolution process, the HRO investigator will provide written notice to the complainant(s) of the intent to administratively close the file in seven (7) business days unless the complainant(s) notifies the HRO investigator and gives sufficient reason for continuation. Appeal of such an administrative closure will proceed as specified in section 2.d. above.

FALSE CHARGES
In the event a concern that is raised is determined to be intentionally dishonest, or made intentionally without regard for the truth, the complainant shall be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, in accordance with collective bargaining agreements, college policy, or student code.

ACCOMMODATION IN THE RESOLUTION PROCESS
Employees with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in these processes should contact the human resources office (HRO).

Students with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in these processes should contact the disability resource center (DRC).

USING WORK TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN THE RESOLUTION PROCESS
Employees will be given reasonable release time from their regular work schedules to participate in these processes, following notification of appropriate administrative personnel.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND RIGHTS TO PRIVACE
Individuals concerned about confidentiality should discuss their concerns at or before the initial meeting (see flowchart) when exploring resolution options to understand the nature of the confidentiality that is applicable. Confidentiality will be maintained to the degree possible during the investigative process; however, all documentation created at any point in this process could be subject to disclosure and could be used as evidence in an investigation and in a court of law.

DISPOSITON OF RECORDS
All materials, documents and related information to the concern/resolution will be retained and maintained in a confidential manner consistent with the public records act and public records retention requirements.

EXTERNAL RESOLUTION PROCESSES
Individuals have a right to register a concern alleging discrimination, harassment, or retaliation with state or federal agencies within the time periods prescribed by those agencies.

For more information, individuals should contact the agency directly:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
909 First Avenue, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104-1061
www.eeoc.gov

Washington State Human Rights Commission
1511 Third Avenue, Suite 921
Seattle, WA 98101
www.hum.wa.gov

U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
Department of Education
915 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98171-1099
www.ed.gov

DEFINITIONS

HRO

  • Human Resources Office

Initiator/Complainant

  • Individual(s) raising a concern

Respondent

  • Individual(s), other than the complainant, involved in a concern or to whom the concern is directed

Administrative Head

  • Individual authorized to initiate disciplinary action

RELEVANT LAWS AND REGULATIONS

REVISION HISTORY

Original 9/20/2011
Revisions 9/11/2012

APPROVED BY

President’s Staff

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Contact info

Bellevue College
3000 Landerholm Circle SE Bellevue, WA 98007-6484 U.S.A.
Work: (425) 564-1000