Where is University Compliance located?Compliance is always available via firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are on campus, we are located in Room 109 of Burgin Dossett Hall.
What is discrimination?Discrimination may occur by treating individuals less favorably because of their 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, or any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law. It may also occur by having a policy or practice that has a disproportionately adverse impact on protected class members.
What is harassment?
Harassment is conduct that is based on a person’s 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, or any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law that;
- Adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, participation in an institution’s activities or living environment;
- Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive environment of the individual; or
- Is used as a basis for or a factor in decisions that tangibly affect that individual’s employment, education, participation in an institution’s activities or living environment.
- Not every act that might be offensive to an individual or a group will be considered harassment. Whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment depends upon the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of the conduct in the context within which the alleged incident occurs. Harassment does not include verbal expressions or written material that is relevant and appropriately related to course subject matter or curriculum.
Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Verbal or physical conduct relating to an employee’s national origin, race, surname, skin color or accent;
- Offensive or derogatory jokes based on a protected category, racial or ethnic slurs;
- Pressure for dates or sexual favors;
- Unwelcome comments about a person’s religion or religious garments;
- Offensive graffiti, cartoons or pictures; or
- Offensive remarks about a person’s age.
What is the difference between a report of discrimination or harassment and a formal complaint?There is a distinction between seeking support, resources, and reporting options and initiating a formal complaint. Students, employees and visitors may report concerns online to initiate a discussion about resources and reporting options. Once you make a report, if requested, a Compliance Officer will contact you to offer support and discuss your concerns. After talking with the Compliance Officer, you can decide whether you want to proceed with a formal complaint and investigation. Please note that in some circumstances, the University may be obligated to proceed with an investigation but if this happens, you will be notified. If you decide you would like to make a formal complaint and proceed with an investigation, the Compliance Officer will assign the investigation to the Assistant Compliance Officers.
What support or resources are offered to students or employees?
Students or employees who have reported a form of discrimination or harassment have the right to request supportive measures. Some examples of supportive measure include:
- Changes to academic, living, dining, working, or transportation situations;
- Obtaining and enforcing a University-issued No Contact Order;
- Safety Planning;
- On-campus and off-campus referrals and resources; and
- Assistance with accessing and navigating campus and local health and mental health services, and counseling.
What if I want to keep my report confidential?The University will keep your report as private as possible but cannot guarantee confidentiality. If you wish to discuss a discriminatory or harassing incident in confidence, the University encourages individuals to report such concerns to ETSU’s Counseling Center
Who can I contact to report an incident of discrimination or harassment?
How can faculty help inform students about reporting misconduct?
The Office of Compliance recommends faculty share with students the ETSU Syllabus Statement Regarding Harassment, Discrimination, and Reporting.
What happens after an employee makes a complaint against another employee?
When an employee makes a complaint against another employee, the Office of University Compliance generally has two options available to resolve the complaint: 1) an investigation, or 2) an informal resolution.
Option 1, Investigation:
An Investigation is a formal process where a factfinder, called an investigator, will interview both the employee who made the complaint (called the complainant) and the employee about whom the complaint is made (called the respondent). The investigator will also interview all relevant witnesses who have knowledge about the complaint. The investigator generally records all interviews. The investigator will also try to collect evidence related to the complaint such as text messages, photographs, notes, and relevant university records to support the testimony of the complainant, respondent, and the witnesses. Once the interview process is completed, the investigator will summarize the testimony and evidence in a written report. The investigator will also include in this report whether the respondent more likely than not committed the offense described by the complainant. This written report will be reviewed by University Counsel and other university administrators with a need to know. If the respondent is found responsible for the behavior reported by the complainant, the Office of University Compliance will recommend to Human Resources that the employee receive appropriate disciplinary measures. A finding of responsibility may also be entered in an employee’s record.
Option 2, Informal Resolution:
An informal resolution is a process where both parties agree on certain aspects of the complaint and agree on the outcome of the complaint. To work out an informal resolution, both the complainant and the respondent must agree to the terms of the agreement. If the parties agree, the Office of University Compliance will not conduct an extensive investigation but instead will prepare a written agreement as to what the complainant and the respondent agree on about the original complaint, and what the outcome should be. Usually, when the complainant and respondent come to an informal agreement about the situation, the Office of University Compliance does not refer the responding employee to Human Resources for official disciplinary action. Instead, one or both parties may be referred for counseling, career coaching, or other educational activities. There may also be agreements regarding work assignments depending on the particulars of the complaint. The Informal Resolution Agreement is kept within the Office of University Compliance, is not shared with other University administrators, and usually does not become a part of the employee’s record.
The Office of University Compliance will facilitate an agreement between the parties by meeting separately with the complainant and the respondent to work out the agreement. A final agreement will be presented to each party for their signature. The Office of University Compliance never requires the complainant and respondent to meet face to face to work out an agreement.
Even if the Office of University Compliance begins the investigation process, the parties may request to enter into an informal resolution negotiation up until the investigator concludes the interviews and prepares to write a report with the final determination of responsibility.