University Policy 70

Unlawful Workplace Harassment - SPA Employees

INCORPORATED IN POLICY 53


The policy of Western Carolina University is that no state employee subject to the State Personnel Act (SPA) may engage in speech or conduct that is defined as unlawful workplace harassment as indicated below. All current and former state SPA employees are guaranteed the right to work in an environment free from unlawful workplace harassment and retaliation.

DEFINITION:

The State defines unlawful workplace harassment as unwelcomed or unsolicited speech or conduct based upon race, sex, creed, religion, national origin, age, color or handicapping condition as defines by G.S. 168A-3 that creates a hostile work environment or circumstances involving quid pro quo.

PROCEDURES:

Any former SPA 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:

(1) Submit a written complaint to the immediate supervisor and /or the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs within 30 calendar days of the alleged harassing action. After the complaint is filed, the employee has the right to bypass any step in the grievance process that would involve a review of or decisions by the alleged harasser. If this happens, the decision or review would be handled by another similarly qualified individual.

(2) Western Carolina University shall respond with appropriate remedial action within 60 calendar days from receipt of written complaint unless the 60 day period has been waived and the grievant has acknowledged such waiver. The waiver and acknowledgment shall be in writing.

(3) Western Carolina University shall provide a written response to the grievant when Western Carolina University has determined what action, if any, will result from the grievant's written complaint.

(4) After Western Carolina University's 60 calendar day (or less, if waived) response period has expired, the grievant may appeal directly to the Office of Administrative Hearings and the State Personnel Commission within 30 calendar days if not satisfied with Western Carolina University's response.

Note: An individual with a grievance concerning a denial or 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.

Note: Grievants may file a simultaneous complaint under Title VII with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Note: Applicants, while not covered under the State statute (SB78), are covered under other State and Federal Civil Rights Acts.

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

(5) A prompt and impartial investigation will be made of all cases alleging unlawful workplace harassment based on presented facts surrounding the misconduct. In all cases, any inquiry into alleged unlawful workplace harassment should consider the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, taking into account the nature of the speech or conduct and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. Any interference, coercion, restraint or reprisal of any person complaining of unlawful workplace harassment is prohibited. For more information contact your Director of Equal Opportunity Programs at 227-7116 or Human Resources Office at 227-7218.

DISCIPLINE:

Disciplinary actions for speech or conduct determined to constitute unlawful workplace harassment will be handled on a fair and impartial case by case basis. Procedures will be reviewed on the basis of presented facts in accordance with the University Disciplinary Policy and Procedures for SPA Employees. Disciplinary action, if appropriate, can be up to and including dismissal.

Western Carolina University considers unlawful workplace harassment a very serious issue. Charges found to have been frivolous, intentionally dishonest, or made in willful disregard of the truth may subject the complainant to disciplinary action.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF WAIVER

Unlawful Workplace Harassment

I hereby acknowledge receiving a copy of the Final Agency Decision and the Notice of Final Agency Decision and Waiver of the agency's right to make another or different determination with regard to my unlawful workplace harassment complaint. I further acknowledge that I have 30 calendar days from receipt of these documents to appeal to the State Personnel Commission by filing a petition for a contested case hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings, pursuant to G.S. 150B-23.

________________________________
(employee)

________________________________
(date)

(Instructions: Please complete the Acknowledgment of the Unlawful Workplace Harassment Waiver and return to the agency.)

NOTICE OF FINAL AGENCY DECISION AND WAIVER

Unlawful Workplace Harassment

To: ____________________________________
(state employee)

From: __________________________________
(person designated by agency to execute waiver)

The agency has made the final determination/decision required by G.S. 126-34 regarding the unlawful workplace harassment complaint that you filed on ______________(date). By law, this agency has until _______________(date) to make a determination with regard to your complaint.

This memorandum is to inform you that this agency hereby waives its right to make another or different determination with regard to your unlawful workplace harassment complaint between now and _________________ (date).

In addition, because the agency has waived its right to make another or different determination within this time period, you have 30 calendar days to file an appeal of the final agency decision.

The 30-day period begins upon receipt of this notice and the attached Final Agency Decision.

___________________________________
Signature (person designated by agency to execute waiver)


______________________
Date

Initially approved January 26, 2000
Revised February 26, 2001
Administering Office: Equal Opportunity Programs

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