REG 04.25.02 - Resolution Procedures for Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaints

Authority: Issued by the Chancellor. Changes or exceptions to administrative regulations issued by the Chancellor may only be made by the Chancellor.

History: First Issued: August 30, 1999. Last Revised: November 20, 2009.

Related Policies: 
NCSU POL04.25.02 - Racial Harassment
NCSU POL04.25.03 - Sexual Harassment

NCSU REG04.25.04 - Unlawful Harassment Policy Statement
NCSU POL05.25.01 – Faculty Grievance and Non-Reappointment Review Policy 
NCSU POL11.35.01 - Code of Student Conduct
NCSU POL11.40.01 - Uniform Student Grievance Procedures 
NCSU REG04.25.06 - Discrimination and Harassment Prevention and Response Training

Contact Info: Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Equity (919-515-4559)


1. SCOPE

These procedures are to be used to resolve complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation (see Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy for definitions).  This regulation covers behavior on the part of faculty, staff, students and others affiliated with North Carolina State University (“NC State”) that constitutes prohibited discrimination, harassment or retaliation, and that takes place within the scope of their work, academic or other campus related activities and/or university responsibilities.

2. COVERED PERSONS

2.1 All individuals employed by NC State.

2.2 All individuals enrolled as students at NC State.

2.3 Individuals who are visitors or otherwise affiliated or involved with activities at NC State.

3. DEFINITIONS

3.1 Complainant:  A complainant is an individual who complains of discrimination, harassment or retaliation as defined by the Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy.

3.2 Respondent:  A respondent is the individual (or individuals, unit, or agency) named by the complainant as the person (or persons) engaging in alleged discriminatory, harassing or retaliatory conduct.

3.3 Witness:  A witness is a participant in an investigation of discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

3.4 Complaint:  Allegations of discriminating, harassing, or retaliatory conduct submitted to OEO.

3.5 Grievance:  A grievance submitted by an employee pursuant to the SPA, EPA non-faculty or faculty grievance procedures.

3.6 Investigator:  A university administrator appointed by the Office for Equal Opportunity (“OEO”) to investigate a complaint.

4. CONFIDENTIALITY

All complaints and proceedings related to discrimination, harassment or retaliation will be subject to the university's legal obligations to assure resolution and normally will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law.  However, information about discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaints may be shared where necessary to investigate, prevent or remedy the prohibited conduct.

5. DEPARTMENTS TO CONTACT FOR COMPLAINT SUBMISSION

5.1 Office for Equal Opportunity:  OEO works to address concerns of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.  OEO accepts complaints from students, staff, faculty and others associated with the campus community.

5.2 Human Resources-Employee Relations (“HR-ER”):  HR-ER assists NC State employees in resolving a variety of workplace concerns and houses the SPA employee and EPA non-faculty grievance processes.  HR-ER accepts complaints and grievances alleging discrimination, harassment or retaliation and forwards them to OEO for investigation.  Grievances submitted to HR-ER will be held in abeyance until the completion of this regulation’s resolution process.

5.3 Faculty Senate:  Faculty grievances must be submitted to the chair of the faculty.

5.4 Office for Student Conduct (“OSC”):  OSC addresses student conduct and accepts complaints of inappropriate behavior against students, including discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

6. PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS

6.1 Complaints under this regulation must be initiated with OEO (directly or through HR-ER) within 30 calendar days of the most recently alleged discriminatory, harassing or retaliatory action.

6.2 An SPA employee must complete an “SPA Grievance Form” within 30 days of the alleged incident of discrimination, harassment or retaliation to preserve his or her right to file an appeal to the State Personnel Commission.

6.3 Filing a complaint pursuant to these procedures does not bar an individual from filing a claim of discrimination, harassment or retaliation with a state or federal agency.

7. PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF A COMPLAINT

7.1 Once a complaint or grievance has been initiated with OEO, the investigator shall determine within a reasonable amount of time whether the complaint alleges facts that, if true, may demonstrate discrimination, harassment or retaliation in violation of NC State’s Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy.  The complainant is responsible for providing reasons for the basis of his or her complaint to the investigator.

7.1.1 When the preliminary review of the complaint indicates the allegations within the complaint do not constitute a violation of NC State’s Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy, the investigator shall terminate the complaint resolution process.  Termination of the complaint resolution process following a preliminary review bars the issue from other university complaint/grievance resolution processes.

8. INVESTIGATION OF A COMPLAINT

8.1 When a preliminary review indicates that the complaint has brought forth allegations that, if true, might demonstrate a violation of NC State’s Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy, the investigator shall initiate a thorough review of the situation.

8.2 The respondent named in a complaint shall be contacted within a reasonable time by the investigator, informed that an investigation has been initiated, and given the opportunity to respond.

8.3 The investigation shall be completed within 60 days of filing the complaint pursuant to these procedures, but the investigation period may be extended when the investigator believes it necessary for an equitable resolution of the situation.

8.4 At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a report.  The investigator will submit the report to the unit head of the respondent or OSC and notify the parties that the report has been submitted.  A copy of the investigation report will be provided to the appropriate dean or vice chancellor.

9. ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION

9.1 The unit head will determine what action, if any, is appropriate after reviewing the report and any additional information the unit head considers relevant. The unit head shall consult with university offices (Office of General Counsel, OEO, and HR-ER, OSC, or Academic Affairs) for guidance in taking appropriate action.

9.2 If the report indicates there has been a policy violation or other improper conduct by the respondent, the unit head will inform the respondent that a decision has been made and notify the respondent of any administrative action taken.   

9.3 An investigation report shall be treated as confidential to the extent that it contains student information protected under federal privacy law or employee information protected under state law. Violation of this confidentiality requirement may result in disciplinary action (this applies to complainants, respondents and witnesses).  Confidential student and employee information includes information that can identify persons who are complainants, respondents or witnesses.

9.4 The unit head will inform the complainant in writing that a decision has been made, whether or not a policy violation was found, and if a policy violation was found, that appropriate action is being taken to address the violation.

9.5 As required by privacy laws, complainants will not be told what disciplinary action, if any, is being taken, unless release of such information is deemed by the unit head to be essential to maintaining the integrity of the department or to maintaining the level or quality of services provided by the department.

9.6 The unit head will inform OEO of any corrective or disciplinary action(s) taken to address the policy violation(s) or concerns identified in the investigation report.

10. INFORMAL RESOLUTION

10.1 At any time from the filing of the complaint to the conclusion of the university investigation, a complaint may be resolved informally provided (1) the complainant(s) and respondent(s) mutually agree to the terms and conditions of the proposed settlement, and (2) OEO approves the proposed settlement.

10.2 At any time from the filing of the complaint to the conclusion of the university investigation, either party or the university may suggest a confidential, non-binding mediation of the dispute.  Both parties must agree to participate in the mediation and agree to the resolution that arises from the mediation.  In addition, OEO must approve the proposed agreement.

10.3 Depending on the circumstances, and even when complaints have been informally resolved, NC State retains the right to investigate and address a complaint involving alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation.