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IV:B:013

Unlawful Workplace Harassment Policy and Plan

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • (Modified January 5, 2001)
  • (Approved by the Board of Trustees November 6, 2003)

Unlawful Workplace Harassment Policy

EPA Nonfaculty & SPA

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is committed to providing an atmosphere in which employees will be free of workplace harassment and retaliation. No University employee may engage in conduct that falls under the definition of unlawful workplace harassment as defined below.

Workplace Harassment is defined as unwelcome or unsolicited speech or conduct based upon race, sex, creed, religion, national origin, age, color or handicapping condition as defined by G.S. 168A-3, political affiliation, or sexual orientation[1] that creates a hostile work environment or circumstances involving quid pro quo.

Any former employee, full-time or part-time employee with either a permanent, probationary, trainee, time-limited permanent or temporary appointment who feels that he/she has been unlawfully harassed in the workplace must do the following:

Procedures for SPA Employees with a Complaint

An SPA employee who wishes to complain of workplace harassment should follow the University's GRIEVANCE POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF EMPLOYEES. The grievant must submit a written complaint to his/her supervisor within 30 calendar days of the alleged harassing action. If the alleged harasser is the immediate supervisor, the employee can bypass this person and take the complaint to the second step of the process as outlined in the aforementioned policies. The employee may also elect to bypass any step in the University's procedure involving review of or decisions by the alleged harasser. The Employee Relations Manager in the Department of Human Resource Services will be available to assist employees with this process and to answer an employee's questions about this policy and the procedures to be followed in handling the employee's complaint[2]. All communications between the employee and the Employee Relations Manager will be kept confidential in accordance with the North Carolina State Personnel Records Privacy Act[3]. In those cases where the employee's complaint is against his or her supervisor, the individual with administrative responsibility to investigate the complaint will be the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resource Services (or designee). While the complaint is pending, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resource Services may direct the employee to report directly to the accused supervisor's supervisor if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the parties and the University.

The University is responsible for taking appropriate remedial action within 60 calendar days from receipt of the written complaint unless the University has waived the 60-day period, and grievant has acknowledged such waiver. The waiver and acknowledgement shall be in writing.

If the University has not responded within 60 calendar days, or the grievant is not satisfied with the University's response to the complaint, an SPA grievant may appeal directly to the Office of Administrative Hearings and the State Personnel Commission within 30 calendar days. (NOTE: The grievant also has the right to file a simultaneous complaint under Title VII with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC]).

Procedures for EPA Employees with a Complaint

An EPA NONFACULTY employee who wishes to complain of workplace harassment should follow the University's APPEAL GUIDELINES FOR DESIGNATED EXEMPT EMPLOYEES. The grievant must first attempt to resolve the complaint through discussion with the administrative official most directly empowered to adjust the matter. If this attempt proves unsuccessful, the grievant must submit a petition for review of the complaint in a timely fashion to the Chair of the EPA Nonfaculty Appeals Committee, with a copy to the Chancellor. If the Committee determines that, if proven true, the alleged violations would constitute workplace harassment, a hearing must be held to give the grievant an opportunity to prove his or her allegations.

After a hearing, the Committee's findings, opinions and recommendations will be written and delivered to the Chancellor with a copy to the Grievant normally within 30 days, but no later that 60 days (unless the grievant waives the 60-day limit), after receipt of the petition for review. In those cases where the employee's complaint is against his or her supervisor, the Provost (or designee) may direct the employee to report directly to the accused supervisor's supervisor if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the parties and the University.

If the University has not responded within 60 calendar days, or the grievant is not satisfied with the University's response to the complaint, the grievant may appeal to the Board of Trustees.

Note: An SPA employee with a grievance concerning a denial of employment, promotion, training, or transfer, or concerning a demotion, layoff, transfer or termination due to discrimination based on age, sex, race, color, national origin, religion, creed, political affiliation or handicapping condition as defined by G.S. 168A-3, or a grievance based on retaliation for opposition to alleged discrimination may still appeal directly to the Office of Administrative Hearings and the State Personnel Commission.

Former SPA employees must first file through their departmental procedures before appealing directly to the Office of Administrative Hearings and the State Personnel Commission.

Applicants, while not covered under the State statute (SB78), are covered under other state and Federal Civil Right Acts.

Conduct towards an outside vendor or contractor that would constitute unlawful workplace harassment toward an employee could constitute unacceptable personal conduct.

A prompt and impartial investigation will be made of all cases alleging unlawful workplace harassment based on presented facts surrounding the misconduct. Any interference, coercion, restraint or reprisal of any person complaining of unlawful workplace harassment is prohibited.

  1. Under State law, G.S. 126-34.1, workplace harassment based on sexual orientation does not constitute grounds for a contested case under Article 3 or Chapter 150B. In other words, harassment based on sexual orientation may not be grieved beyond the University.
  2. Assistance with process does not imply advocacy or advice about the course of action the employee should take, but rather, to help the employee understand the policy and steps in the process.
  3. Confidentiality under the Personnel Records Privacy Act does not preclude disclosure of information in University administrators who need to have that information to investigate or process the complaint or to protect University interests.

Unlawful Workplace Harassment Plan

STATEMENT OF POLICY

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is committed to providing an atmosphere in which employees will be free of workplace harassment. No University employee may engage in conduct that falls under the definition of unlawful workplace harassment as indicated in the Unlawful Workplace Harassment Policy. This policy also prohibits retaliation against employees for raising concerns covered by this policy.

APPLICABILITY

This policy applies to former employees, full-time or part-time employees with a permanent, probationary, trainee, time-limited permanent or temporary appointment.

Conduct towards an outside vendor or contractor that would constitute unlawful workplace harassment toward an employee could constitute unacceptable personal conduct.

WORKPLACE HARASSMENT DEFINITIONS

Unlawful Workplace Harassment is unwelcome or unsolicited speech or conduct based upon race, sex, creed, religion, national origin, age, color, or handicapping condition as defined by G.S. 168A-3, political affiliation, or sexual orientation that creates a hostile work environment or circumstances involving quid pro quo.

The two categories within unlawful workplace harassment are:

  1. Hostile Work Environment is one that both a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive and one that the particular person who is the object of the harassment perceives to be hostile or abusive and is based upon race, sex, creed, religion, national origin, age, color, or handicapping condition as defined by G.S. 168A-3, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. Hostile work environment is determined by looking at all of the circumstances, including the frequency of the allegedly harassing conduct, its severity, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance.
  2. Quid Pro Quo harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual.

Retaliation is adverse treatment which occurs because of opposition to unlawful workplace harassment.

OBJECTIVES

In creating a work environment at the University that is free of any conduct, which falls under the definition of unlawful workplace harassment, the Department of Human Resource Services and Office of the Provost will: a) develop and disseminate to all new and existing employees the unlawful workplace harassment policy statement; b) sensitize employees to unlawful workplace harassment through appropriate training, new employee orientation, supervisory training and appropriate University publications; c) develop appropriate disciplinary actions addressing unlawful workplace harassment; and d) establish unlawful workplace harassment grievance procedures.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR IMPLEMENTATION

Once the policy has been developed and approved by the Chancellor, the Office of the Provost, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resource Services and the HRS staff will, as outlined in the previous objectives, communicate the policy to the campus.

The Training Division will be responsible for scheduling workshops to communicate the plan and development methods to evaluate program activities. This training will be similar to the program offered by the Office of State Personnel, Equal Opportunity Services Division. Specific training will be developed for supervisors and employees.

The Employee Relations Manager will be responsible for assisting supervisors, managers, and the grievant in investigating and obtaining information of cases alleging unlawful workplace harassment and appropriate documentation, as well as monitoring procedures and disciplinary actions of all alleged cases and serving as a resource person to all employees. The position will also report all cases involving SPA personnel through the Personnel Management Information System so that the Office of State Personnel may track cases.

Supervisors will be responsible for administering the policy, preventing and correcting any identifiable discrimination and/or unlawful workplace harassment, and creating an environment that is free of unlawful workplace harassment. UNCG will, in all allegations of unlawful workplace harassment, review the totality of the circumstances to determine whether the alleged conduct constitutes unlawful workplace harassment.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Information generated in the course of informal reviews and formal investigations necessary to enforcing this policy will be given the full extent of confidentiality accorded by law to employee personnel records. Any person who, without authorization, reveals such information will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. The sharing of the content of complaints will be on a "need to know" basis and will depend on the type of review and response required by the complaint. In any case when a complaint is being mediated and/or investigated, the accused will be informed of the specific details of the complaint.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

An SPA employee who wishes to complain of workplace harassment should follow the University's GRIEVANCE POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF EMPLOYEES.

An EPA NONFACULTY employee who wishes to complain of workplace harassment should follow the University's APPEAL GUIDELINES FOR DESIGNATED EXEMPT EMPLOYEES.

DISCIPLINE

The disciplinary process maintained by the University for workplace harassment will follow the DISCIPLINARY ACTION, SUSPENSION, AND DISMISSAL POLICY. This policy will be revised to include workplace harassment and the prohibition against interference, coercion, restraint, retaliation or reprisal against any person complaining of unlawful workplace harassment.

Contact

Comments or questions? Email the Policy Administrator in Academic Affairs or Business Affairs.