fbpx

Discrimination and Harassment

In accordance with Board Policy 11.04 – Discrimination and Harassment, Lake Land College is committed to maintaining a working and learning environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Faculty, staff and students have a right to work and learn in an atmosphere that promotes equal opportunity and prohibits discriminatory practices. The College is committed to providing a safe and respectful environment and prohibits harassment based on race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, military status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, order of protection status, unfavorable discharge from military service, or any other basis of discrimination precluded by applicable federal and state statutes, or acts or threats of violence from students, employees, elected officials or third parties including visitors, vendors, consultants and contractors.

Definitions

Unlawful harassment includes unwelcome verbal, written or physical conduct by any one person toward another person based on that person’s race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, military status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, order of protection status, unfavorable discharge from military service, or any other basis of discrimination precluded by applicable federal and state statutes, and that has the purpose and effect of creating a hostile or offensive work or academic environment. Lake Land College prohibits and will not tolerate any such harassment or discrimination.

Examples of behavior that would be considered to be unlawful harassment include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Racial, ethnic, or sexual slurs or jokes, whether communicated verbally, in writing or electronically.
  1. The use of racial or ethnic nicknames or stereotyping.
  1. Vulgar, offensive or obscene language, noises or gestures.
  1. Display of vulgar, offensive, explicit or obscene pictures, photographs, cartoons, materials or web sites.
  1. Verbal or physical acts or threats of violence including, but not limited to, aggression, hate crimes, bullying, cyber bullying, cyber intimidation, domestic violence, stalking, or intimidation.
  1. Actions of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or sexual violence as addressed in Board Policy 11.04.01 – Sexual Harassment.

Employees and students must report all incidents of unlawful harassment. Anyone who believes that he or she is being harassed by a student, employee or third party at the College, or believes that his or her employment or academic career is being adversely affected by such conduct should immediately report such concerns. Employees should report concerns of harassment to their supervisor, next level administrator, another administrator, or the Director of Human Resources. Students should report such concerns to the Director of Human Resources or the Vice President for Student Services. In addition, individuals covered by this policy have a right to file claims of sexual discrimination and harassment with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Retaliation

No individual making a complaint, whether formal or informal, will be retaliated against, even if a complaint made in good faith is not substantiated. Witnesses involved in any complaint of harassment will also be protected from retaliation. Whistleblower protections are also available under the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, the Whistleblower Act, and/or the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Retaliation Charge

A student or employee who believes he or she has been subjected to any form of retaliation after filing a complaint or being a witness under this policy may file a complaint of retaliation.

False or Malicious Complaints

It is a form of harassment to file a knowingly false or malicious complaint of sexual harassment or any other form of harassment or to knowingly provide false information in the course of an investigation of such complaint. Such conduct is considered a violation of this Anti-Harassment policy and will subject an employee or student to disciplinary action.

Supervisory Responsibility

Supervisors must strive to maintain a harassment-free college environment by promoting professionalism and by addressing harassment promptly.

Supervisors will address any observed or reported incident or complaint of harassment with seriousness and must take prompt action, whether or not a formal written complaint has been filed. Supervisors must immediately consult the Director of Human Resources regarding any harassment complaint reported to them.

Sanctions and Disciplinary Action

Individuals found to have violated this Policy shall be subject to corrective and disciplinary action up to and including termination from employment,
expulsion and exclusion from the College and its property. Additionally,
an individual who engages in retaliation under the Ethics and Whistleblower Acts may also be subject to fines and/or penalties.

Special Circumstances

A student or employee who wishes to bring a claim of harassment against the Director of Human Resources must file the complaint with the President, who will appoint the members of the investigative team. A student or employee who wishes to bring a claim of sexual harassment against the President must file the complaint with the Director of Human Resources, who will refer the complaint to the Chair of the Board of Trustees for investigation.

Complaints by an elected official (trustee) against another elected official shall be submitted to the Director of Human Resources. The Director of Human Resources shall, in consultation with legal counsel for the College, ensure that an independent review is conducted with respect to such allegations.

Prompt Investigation and Confidentiality

Complaints of unlawful harassment are serious violations of College policy. Once a complaint of unlawful harassment has been made, the College has an obligation to promptly investigate the matter. The College will take prompt remedial action to address a substantiated complaint of unlawful harassment. All investigations into claims of unlawful harassment will be conducted respectfully. Every reasonable effort will be made to preserve confidentiality, to the extent practicable. However, in the course of an investigation, it will be necessary to discuss the complaint with the claimed offender, other persons who may have relevant information, and those with a legitimate need to know.

Procedures for Resolution of Claims of Harassment

The College harassment policy reflects a commitment to maintaining an environment that is free from harassment, and the College expects that the use of these procedures will facilitate a prompt resolution of such complaints.

A student who believes that he or she has been harassed or discriminated against in violation of this policy must report such behavior to the Director of Human Resources or the Vice President for Student Services.

An employee who believes that he or she has been harassed in violation of this policy should report the unwelcome behavior to his/her supervisor or the Director of Human Resources and request assistance to stop the behavior. If the Director of Human Resources is the individual involved in the unwelcome behavior, report the unwelcome behavior to the appropriate Vice President.

Informal Complaint Resolution

Informal  harassment complaint resolution may be achieved by any of the steps outlined below.

  1. An employee complainant may meet with his or her supervisor or the Director of Human Resources to clarify whether harassing behavior is occurring and to discuss appropriate responses and plans as to how the issue might be resolved. A student complainant may meet with the Director of Human Resources or the Vice President for Student Services.
  1. An employee complainant may request that his or her supervisor or the Director of Human Resources meet with the alleged harasser (“respondent”) to discuss the alleged conduct and to remind him or her of College policies against harassment and to obtain agreement by the respondent to comply with these policies. A complainant may request that, when possible, such a conversation be held without the identity of the complainant being revealed to the respondent. A student complainant request will be handled in a similar manner by the Director of Human Resources or the Vice President for Student Services.
  1. An employee complainant may request that his or her supervisor or the Director of Human Resources meet with the complainant and the respondent in the role of a mediator to reach resolution of the issue. A student complainant may make a similar request of the Director of Human Resources or the Vice President for Student Services. Any resolution reached by mediation will include an agreement by the respondent to comply with and be bound by such policies.

After the informal complaint resolution has concluded, the complainant’s supervisor or harassment information center personnel, if involved, will forward all documentation concerning the complaint to the Director of Human Resources. The Director of Human Resources will maintain a record of the complaint in order to document that the claim of harassment was made and to document the outcome of the informal resolution.

Initiating a Formal Complaint

An individual may file a formal complaint of harassment if the informal attempt(s) to resolve the complaint was not satisfactory. An individual may also file a formal complaint of harassment if he or she chooses to bypass the informal process. All formal complaints of harassment should be submitted in writing directly to the Director of Human Resources as soon after the offending conduct as possible.

The process for resolution of formal harassment complaints consists of two stages:  1) investigation; and 2) report and recommendation. Prior to investigation, a formal complaint, signed by the complainant, must be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources. The written complaint shall include the name(s) of the complainant and the respondent(s) and the details of the conduct alleged to be harassment. The Director of Human Resources will promptly designate a team to investigate the complaint.

Creation of Investigative Team

The Director of Human Resources or designee will convene an investigative team consisting of two individuals, one male and one female, who are not immediate supervisors of the complainant(s) or respondent(s) and who do not have a conflict of interest with the complainant(s) or respondent(s). The investigative team may consist of the Director of Human Resources as long as the above criteria are met.

The investigative team shall interview the individual(s) filing a complaint(s), the respondent(s), and other individuals named by the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) who are identified as having information relevant to the allegations. The investigative team may interview other individuals it identifies as having information potentially relevant to the complaint.  All interviews should be completed as soon as practicable.

 Report and Recommendations

Using the information gathered by the investigative team and in consultation with the investigative team, the Director of Human Resources or designee will prepare a formal report consisting of the complaint, the response of the respondent, the investigative team’s findings, and a recommendation of  the appropriate action(s) to be taken. The report will be retained by the Director of Human Resources.

Determinations

The President will designate the appropriate cabinet-level member to review the report. The cabinet-level designee may:  1) accept the report and recommendations as presented; or 2) request additional information/clarification from the investigative team and consider a modified report as appropriate.

After consideration of the final report, the cabinet-level designee will make a determination regarding the report. In consultation with the cabinet-level designee, the Director of Human Resources or designee will prepare formal responses to the complainant and respondent, which shall include a summary of the investigation findings and communication of any action to be taken.  Such action will depend on the nature of the offense and may include but is not limited to oral or written reprimand, suspension, reassignment, or termination.

The complainant(s) and/or the respondent(s) may submit a written statement to the President concerning the findings and resulting actions within ten (10) business days of having received the College’s formal response. The President may uphold the prior findings and recommendation or may determine a different response. For students, action would include regular college disciplinary procedures as found in Policy 07.28.

Join Laker Nation

Take the next step.