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C06.0 Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

Scope: All members of the RIT Community (defined below) shall comply with this Policy (defined below). This Policy is considered part of the conditions of employment and participation in RIT sponsored events or programs and applies only to conduct that is based on an individual’s group, class, or category (defined below). This Policy applies to conduct that takes place either on the RIT campus or at university-sponsored events or programs off campus.  This Policy may also apply to off-campus conduct that does not take place at university-sponsored events or programs if an individual’s behavior unreasonably interferes with another’s well-being and full participation as a member of the RIT Community.

Any RIT student accused of violating the university’s prohibitions against sex discrimination or sexual harassment shall be subject to the procedures set forth in RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0), and any RIT student accused of violating the university’s prohibitions against other forms of discrimination and harassment shall be subject to RIT’s Student Conduct Process (D18.0). Students may use this Policy if they have a complaint against a staff or faculty member or a visitor or non-community member.

If a staff or faculty member wishes to bring forward a report of a violation of this Policy against a visitor or other non-community member (e.g. a prospective student, a guest of a student, a member of another university’s team, a local resident, etc.), or if a visitor or non-community member wishes to report a violation of this Policy by an RIT staff or faculty member, they may do so by following the Procedures (defined below). The university will determine if an investigation is required and the appropriate action to be taken, which may include contacting law enforcement and/or banning the non-community member from campus.

I. POLICY STATEMENT

The RIT community is committed to a diverse, inclusive and dynamic learning, working, and living environment. It is committed to an environment which encourages, promotes and protects free inquiry and free expression. Members of the RIT community have the right to hold, express vigorously, defend and openly promote their ideas and opinions. This Policy is not intended to restrict freedom of speech or any form of artistic or visual expression. It is also not intended to restrict discussion and debate in the classroom or academic forum. Protecting these values, however, does not include protecting acts of discrimination or harassment. Acts of discrimination or harassment (defined below) must be based on an individual’s group, class, or category as defined in this Policy. This Policy does not address behavior that is not based on an individual’s group, class, or category. Conflicts and concerns that are not based on an individual’s group, class, or category are addressed by RIT’s Resolution of Conflicts and Concerns Among RIT Employees (C06.1).

RIT will not discriminate in terms and conditions of employment, admission, and participation in programs or residential life. It prohibits discrimination and harassment of all types on campus, or at any RIT activities off campus, by its administrators, faculty, staff, students and student organizations, and external organizations and individuals in their operations with RIT.

This Policy is inclusive of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. The initiation of an investigation of a potential violation of C06.0 precludes an individual from later requesting the use of policy C06.1 to investigate the same issue. In addition, once a C06.0 investigation is initiated, it shall be fully investigated in accordance with the Procedures.

Making an intentionally false charge of discrimination or harassment, or retaliating against someone who has made a charge, is as serious an offense as discrimination and harassment and is prohibited. Nothing in this Policy relieves RIT of the obligation of adhering to federal, state, and local laws. This Policy will be applied and/or modified in a particular case to the extent RIT determines necessary to comply with the applicable federal, state and local law.
 

II. DEFINITIONS

Terms defined below are applicable to this Policy and its Procedures. It incorporates by reference terms defined in RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0).

  1. Bullying means unwanted, repeated, and aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying based on an individual’s group, class, or category, by any means, is a violation of this Policy.

  2. Business Day means Monday through Friday and does not include official RIT holidays.

  3. Complainant means a person alleging a violation of this Policy.  RIT may also be the Complainant if (1) RIT elects to investigate reports of potential violation(s) of this Policy on its own accord and in its sole discretion, or (2) a Non-Member Complainant is the person who experienced Prohibited Conduct or a Non-Member is the subject of a report.

  4. Group, class or category includes  race, religion, age, citizenship, color, creed, culture, including Deaf culture, actual or perceived disabilities, gender, marital status, ethnic or national origin, political affiliation or preference, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic predisposition. It may also include other categories protected by applicable federal and state laws.

  5. Hostile Work Environment means a workplace situation where an individual cannot reasonably perform their work, due to unwelcomed conduct by members of the RIT community which is based on that individual's group, class, or category.

  6. Non-Member Complainant means a person who alleges they have experienced conduct in violation of this Policy but who is not a faculty member, staff member, or student at RIT.  It is further defined in RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0). 

  7. Policy means RIT’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment (C06.0).

  8. Preponderance of the Evidence means that, after considering all of the supporting documents and evidence regarding an incident, it is more likely than not that the incident occurred.  All factual determinations relating to alleged violations of this Policy, as well as, hearings and appeals under this Policy, will be determined using the preponderance of the evidence standard.

  9. Procedures mean the processes established for the implementation of this Policy, which can be found here.

  10. Reporting Person is any individual who reports an alleged violation of this Policy, including the Complainant.  It is further defined in RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0).

  11. Respondent means any individual alleged to have engaged in conduct alleged to be a violation of this Policy. It is further defined in RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0).

  12. Responsible Administrator means the associate vice president of Human Resources, RIT’s Title IX Coordinator, and the appropriate Human Resources or compliance individual investigating conduct alleged to be in violation of this Policy.

  13. Responsible Employee means RIT Employees who have the authority to take action to address violations of this Policy, or have the duty to report any such incidents or any other misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate school official.  It is further defined in RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0).

  14. RIT Community means any individual authorized to be on the RIT campus including administrators, faculty, staff, students and student organizations, alumni, and external organizations and individuals in their operations with RIT (e.g. interns, temporary employees, contractors, vendors).

  15. RIT Student means undergraduate, graduate, non-degree seeking, students in not-for-credit programs, and all persons taking courses or training at RIT as well as RIT Students on co-op and students not officially enrolled during a particular term, but who have a continuing relationship with the university.

  16. RIT Supervisor means any person in a position at RIT which requires that person to supervise other individuals and to write performance evaluations on them, whether or not this person supervises any of the parties involved in an allegation of discrimination or harassment.

III. GENERAL PROVISIONS

  1. Prohibition. RIT does not discriminate and shall take reasonable steps to prevent Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation, to prevent the recurrence of Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation, and to remedy the discriminatory effects on members of the RIT Community, if appropriate. Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation are also considered a form of employee misconduct subject to corrective actions including, but not limited to, termination of employment.  Instances of repeated conduct, across a number of Complainants, shall be considered when determining the appropriate corrective action for violations of this Policy. Additionally, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation are unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Except where distinctions are bona fide or otherwise permitted or required by law, the university prohibits Discrimination and/or Harassment as a basis for:

    1. making admissions or hiring decisions at RIT, or

    2. determining participation in programs at RIT or sponsored by RIT, or

    3. making decisions affecting the terms and conditions of an individual's employment or advancement, grade or academic standing, or access to any benefit or privilege at RIT, or

    4. administering disciplinary processes.

  2. Discrimination. RIT prohibits and does not tolerate discrimination, which is the treatment of an individual based on that individual's group, class, or category except where distinctions are bona fide or otherwise permitted or required by law. Discrimination can occur with or without the specific intent to treat others differently. When conduct has the result of disproportionally impacting members of a particular group, class, or category, it may be deemed to be discrimination in violation of this Policy regardless of whether or not a discriminatory intent exists. Discrimination includes harassment (defined below) and sex discrimination. Sex discrimination is the adverse treatment of an individual based on that individual’s gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Sex discrimination includes gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual violence. Sexual misconduct and sexual violence are further defined in RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0).

  3. Harassment. RIT prohibits and does not tolerate harassment, which is abuse, threats, intimidation, assault, coercion and/or unwelcomed conduct based on that individual's group, class, or category by any means, including but not limited to, physical, verbal or signed communication, written, photographic or electronic means which has the purpose or effect of:

    1. unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, academic performance or activities, or participation in RIT sponsored programs or events, or

    2. creating an intimidating, hostile or abusive environment for an individual at RIT or in RIT sponsored or supervised programs or events.

      Harassment is not limited to the physical workplace itself. It can occur while traveling for RIT-related business or academic reasons, or at RIT-sponsored events or parties, or otherwise away from the workplace premises or not during work hours. Harassment need not be severe or pervasive to be unlawful. When such harassment becomes more than petty slights or trivial inconveniences as to unreasonably interfere with an individual’s ability to work, learn, or participate in RIT’s programs, it is in violation of this Policy. RIT reserves the right to remedy, and to discipline, behavior that is offensive even if it is not in violation of this Policy if it may lead to a violation of this Policy if left unaddressed. However, the fact that a person was personally offended by a statement or incident does not alone constitute a violation of this Policy.  RIT shall consider the context of a communication or incident, the relationship of the individuals involved in the communication or incident, whether an incident was an isolated incident or part of a broader pattern or course of offensive conduct, the seriousness of the incident, the impact of the incident and whether such conduct is reasonably offensive to other individual’s sharing the Complainant’s group, class or category.

  4. Gender-Based Harassment. RIT prohibits and does not tolerate gender-based harassment, which is much like Sexual Harassment (defined below) and is evaluated based on the same standards.  However, gender-based harassment need not be sexual in nature and is instead characterized by hostility because of gender, gender expression, or gender-stereotyping, including failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.

  5. Sexual Harassment. RIT prohibits and does not tolerate sexual harassment, which is a form of harassment based on unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature which is made a term or condition of employment or academic status, or unreasonably interferes with the work or educational environment, or the submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions.  Unwelcomed conduct is conduct that is not initiated by the recipient or which is regarded as offensive to the recipient, without regard to the intent of the individual engaging in the conduct. Examples of Sexual Harassment may include, but are not limited to:

    1. Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as:

      1. Touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against another employee's body or poking another employee's body;

      2. Rape, sexual battery, molestation, or attempts to commit these assaults.

    2. Unwanted sexual advances or propositions, such as:

      1. Requests for sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning the victim's job performance evaluation, a promotion or other job benefits or detriments;

      2. Subtle or obvious pressure for unwelcome sexual activities.

    3. Sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, or comments about a person's sexuality or sexual experience, which create a Hostile Work Environment.

    4. Sex stereotyping occurs when conduct or personality traits are considered inappropriate simply because they may not conform to other people's ideas or perceptions about how individuals of a particular sex should act or look.

    5. Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications anywhere in the workplace, such as displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional material, reading materials, or materials that are sexually demeaning or pornographic.  This includes such sexual displays on workplace computers or cell phones and sharing such displays while in the workplace.

    6. Hostile actions taken against an individual because of that individual's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and status of being transgender, such as:

      1. Interfering with, destroying or damaging a person's workstation, tools or equipment, or otherwise interfering with the individual's ability to perform the job;

      2. Sabotaging an individual's work.

      3. Bullying, yelling, name-calling.

  6. Retaliation. RIT prohibits and will not tolerate retaliation against any member of the RIT Community who, in good faith, files a complaint alleging a violation of this Policy, encourages another member of the RIT Community to file a complaint alleging a violation of this Policy, participates in the processes described in this Policy and/or its Procedures, or opposes any practice or conduct that violates this Policy or applicable federal, state, or local laws (“Protected Activity”).

    1. In order to be retaliation under this Policy, the member of the RIT Community must have experienced an adverse action as a result of their Protected Activity.

    2. Generally, with respect to employees, an adverse action is one that negatively and materially changes the terms and conditions of employment. With respect to non-employees, an adverse action is one that negatively and materially change the nature of their operations with RIT.

    3. Adverse action need not be job-related or occur in the workplace to constitute unlawful retaliation (e.g., threats of physical violence outside of work hours).   Adverse action does, however, need to affect a tangible benefit such as compensation, hours worked, privileges of employment, renewal of contracts, or changes in responsibilities, and must be more than a mere inconvenience.

    4. Retaliation should be reported promptly and may result in disciplinary action independent of the sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations.  Complaints alleging retaliation shall utilize the same procedures for filing complaints alleging violations of this Policy.

  7. Confidentiality. Confidentiality will be maintained consistent with a thorough investigation and resolution of any allegation of a violation of this Policy and in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. Information shared by an individual with a designated Confidential Resource or community professionals cannot be revealed to any other individual without express permission of the individual. (See, Procedures, Confidential Resources). It should be understood that, information not shared with a designated Confidential Resource, may be shared with a limited number of other people in order to investigate an allegation of Discrimination or Harassment and in order to take action to resolve any wrongdoing or misunderstanding. Information concerning an allegation of Discrimination or Harassment will be shared only as necessary in order to resolve the situation successfully. Others who may be informed of some information about the allegation include people who are possible sources of information concerning the facts and RIT Supervisors.

  8. Records of Allegations. Allegations of discrimination or harassment will be recorded in the Central, Confidential Employee Relations File for employees. The Central, Confidential Employee Relations Files are separate from the employees' personnel files. The Central, Confidential Employee Relations files are maintained in the office of the associate vice president of Human Resources for those records, as specified in this Policy, which result when an employee is the Respondent.

    1. Access to entries in the Central, Confidential Employee Relations files will be controlled by the associate vice president of Human Resources.

    2. RIT Supervisors or vice presidents may request that the files be examined for entries regarding an employee when such information is relevant to the resolution of a pending case. Examination will be conducted by representatives from the Department of Human Resources.

    3. Employees may also request that the files be examined and that they be informed of any entries pertaining to themselves as a Respondent. The names of Complainants will be withheld if not previously disclosed to the Respondent. Examination will be conducted by representatives from the Department of Human Resources.

    4. The records in the Central, Confidential Employee Relations files will be reviewed annually by the associate vice president of Human Resources in accordance with the provisions of the RIT Records Management Policy (C22.0).

  9. Records of Violations. Violations of this Policy and any corrective actions taken will be recorded in the official personnel file for employees.

  10. Notes. Individuals involved in an investigation may take notes of meetings, actions, or any other aspect of the process. These notes may be requested as evidence by either party and because they are RIT Records, they shall be maintained in accordance with the Records Management Policy (C22.0).

  11. Filing Complaints Based on Group, Class or Category. Any member of the RIT Community may file a complaint alleging a violation of this Policy based on group, class or category. Complaints may be made in person or in writing to the RIT Department of Human Resources, Office of Legal Affairs, Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, RIT’s assistant vice president of Compliance & Ethics, RIT’s Public Safety Department, the RIT president, any RIT vice president, or any RIT Supervisor.

  12. Filing Complaints Based on Gender. In addition to the process identified in Section (III)(K) above, members of the RIT Community alleging issues based on gender are also encouraged to bring complaints to the Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinators. Once a complaint is filed, an investigation shall be initiated.

    1. Complaints may be made verbally or in writing, using the form available at https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?RochesterInstofTech&layout_id=25

    2. All RIT Supervisors who receive a complaint or information about suspected sexual harassment, observe what may be sexually harassing behavior or for any reason suspect that sexual harassment is occurring, are required to report such suspected sexual harassment to Human Resources. 

    3. In addition to being subject to discipline if they engaged in sexually harassing conduct themselves, RIT Supervisors will be subject to discipline for failing to report suspected sexual harassment or otherwise knowingly allowing sexual harassment to continue.

    4. Aside from the internal process at RIT, employees may also choose to pursue legal remedies with administrative and judicial governmental entities at any time. Additional information about these entities can be found in this Policy’s Procedures.

  13. Notice of Outcome. Following a determination in response to an allegation that this Policy was violated, the Complainant and the Respondent shall be informed, in writing, of the outcome of the investigation, a rationale for the outcome, and any utilization of the remedies available under applicable university policies.

  14. Interim or Accommodative Measures. In cases involving alleged violations of this Policy interim or accommodative measures may be prescribed by the university in an effort to immediately respond to a situation.

    1. Interim or accommodative measures may include, but are not limited to, changes in work assignments, alterations in reporting/supervisory relationships, No Contact orders, and any other interim restriction or sanction deemed appropriate by the university. 

    2. A No Contact order is a formal directive issued by a university official or administrator requiring parties to have no direct or indirect contact with one another. Direct or indirect contact includes, but is not limited to, in-person contact, telephone calls, recordings, email, texts and other forms of electronic communication, social media-based messages or postings, and third party communications including through proxies (i.e., co-workers, friends, family members, acquaintances, etc.).  A violation of a No Contact order is a violation of this Policy.

    3. In addition, when a staff or faculty member accused of violating this Policy is determined to present a threat to the health and safety of the campus community, that person may be subject to interim suspension and/or other measures pending the outcome of any proceedings under this Policy, subject to (where applicable) any university employment policies and practices.  Providing interim or accommodative measures should not be viewed as prejudging responsibility of any alleged violation.

IV. PROCEDURES

  1. RIT Students

    1. Any RIT student accused of engaging in conduct toward a staff or faculty member that violates this Policy shall be subject to the procedures set forth in the RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0) or Student Conduct Process (D18.0)

    2. Romantic and sexual relationships between a staff or faculty member and a student are governed by the Policy on Policy on Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationships (C23.0). 

    3. Nonconsensual romantic and sexual relationships between a staff or faculty member and a student are a violation of this Policy. If a staff or faculty member engages in sexual activity with a student, the standard of consent that will apply to staff, faculty member and/or student is the affirmative consent standard in the Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0).

  2. All Other RIT Community Members

    1. All other RIT Community Members accused of engaging in conduct that violates this Policy shall be subject to the Procedures found here.

    2. As a general rule, the Department of Human Resources (HR) shall be responsible for implementing the Procedures and determining if a violation of this Policy has occurred, whenever the Complainant or the Respondent is an employee, unless Section (IV)(A) of this Policy applies. In the event HR determines that a violation of this Policy has occurred, HR shall make recommendations for outcomes to the Respondent’s RIT Supervisor. Such recommendations shall be subject to the approval of the appropriate divisional vice president and/or dean.

    3. If a reporting individual requests confidentiality and/or that the university take no action with respect to the report, the university will consider the request.  The university will consider several factors, including the seriousness of the reported behavior, whether other members of the community may be affected by the behavior, and whether there are alternatives to addressing the behavior.  In all cases, the university retains the right to act as it deems necessary on any information that comes to its attention.

    4. Any investigation into allegations of violations of this Policy shall be prompt, adequate, reliable, impartial and in accordance with the Procedures. It may be utilized whenever violations of this Policy are alleged by or against an RIT staff or faculty member and non-employees who are RIT Community members.

  3. Appeals

    1. In cases not involving allegations based on gender and/or sex, neither the Complainant nor the Respondent has a right to appeal the outcome of the investigation. The Complainant and the Respondent can, however, commence a grievance in accordance with the provisions of the Staff Grievance Policy (E30.0) or the Faculty Grievance Policy (E24.0).

    2. The Notice of Outcome provided to the Complainant and the Respondent in cases not involving allegations based on gender and/or sex shall include information relating to their right to file a grievance under RIT’s Staff Grievance Policy (E30.0) or the Faculty Grievance Policy (E24.0).

    3. In cases involving allegations based on gender and/or sex, in addition to the right to commence a grievance in accordance with the provisions of the RIT Staff Grievance Policy (E30.0) or the Faculty Grievance Policy (E24.0), the Complainant and the Respondent shall also have the right to appeal the outcome of the investigation to the vice president and associate provost for Diversity and Inclusion.

    4. The Notice of Outcome provided to the Complainant and the Respondent in cases involving allegations based on gender and/or sex shall include information relating to their right to file a grievance under RIT’s Staff Grievance Policy (E30.0) or the Faculty Grievance Policy (E24.0) and a copy of the Procedures detailing the process for taking an appeal.

Responsible Party: Department of Human Resources and Office of Legal Affairs

Effective Date: October 15, 1997

Policy History
2002-2003 Edited to reflect department name changes
Edited May 13, 2009
Edited August, 2010
Edited October 2010
Edited August 2012
Revised October 2013
Edited March 2014
Revised October 2016
Approved as an interim policy November 2016
Revision approved March 2017
Approved as an interim policy November 2018
Revised May 6, 2020

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