C06.0 Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation
Scope: This Policy applies to all members of the RIT Community (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.
This Policy is not intended to be used for complaints against RIT students. For complaints against students, the following policies apply: the RIT Student Conduct Process (D18.0); RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0); or RIT’s Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment for Faculty, Staff, and Students (C27.0). Non-consensual romantic and sexual relationships between a staff or faculty member and a student are a violation of university policy. Romantic and sexual relationships between RIT employees and RIT Students are governed by the Policy on Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationships (C23.0). If an RIT employee engages in sexual activity with a student, the standard of consent that will apply to the employee and/or the student is the affirmative consent standard in the aforementioned policies.
An individual wishing to report a violation of this Policy by an RIT staff or faculty member, or by 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.) may do so by following the provisions of this Policy. 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 a non-community member from campus. Any investigation into allegations of violations of this Policy shall be prompt, adequate, reliable, and impartial. If the individual reporting a violation of this Policy requests confidentiality and/or that the university takes no action with respect to the report, the university will consider the request. In all cases, the university retains the right to act as it deems necessary on any information that comes to its attention.
I. POLICY STATEMENTS
- Academic Freedom 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 only addresses behavior that is 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 (C6.1).
- Anti-Discrimination Statement
RIT will not discriminate in terms and conditions of employment, admission, and participation in programs or residential life. It prohibits discrimination, harassment, and retaliation 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 exclusive of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) which is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Any member of the RIT Community alleged to have violated Title IX shall be subject to the provisions of RIT’s Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment for Faculty, Staff, and Students (C27.0). The initiation of an investigation of a potential violation of Title IX does not preclude the application of Policy C06.0 to investigate the same issue if, in the discretion of the university, a Title IX case is dismissed or if the allegations apply to both policies.
- Anti-Retaliation Statement
Retaliating against someone who has reported a concern under this Policy, or making an intentionally false charge of discrimination or harassment, is as serious an offense as discrimination and harassment and is prohibited. RIT expects all parties to act in good faith when adjudicating matters under this Policy. This includes a strict prohibition on knowingly making false statements, submitting false information, and/or withholding evidence during any phase of the process. .
False reports 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 for concerns raised under this Policy shall be governed by this Policy and utilize the same procedures for filing complaints alleging violations of this Policy.
- Reservation of Rights Statement
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.
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.
Terms defined below are applicable to this Policy and its Procedures. It incorporates by reference terms defined in RIT’s Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment for Faculty, Staff, and Students (C27.0) and RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0).
- 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.
- Business Day means Monday through Friday and does not include official RIT holidays.
- Complainant means an RIT faculty, staff or student who alleges they experienced conduct that could constitute a violation of Policy. RIT is the Complainant when: (1) RIT elects to investigate reports of potential violation(s) of university Policy, or (2) a Non- Member Complainant is the person who experienced prohibited conduct or a Non- Member is the subject of a report. A Complainant cannot remain anonymous.
- 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.
- Hostile Work Environment means a workplace situation where an individual cannot reasonably perform their work, due to unwelcome conduct by members of the RIT community which is based on that individual's group, class, or category.
- 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.
- Policy means RIT’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation (C06.0).
- 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.
- Procedures mean the processes established for the implementation of this Policy.
- Protected Activity means, while acting in good faith, engaging in activities including filing a complaint alleging a violation of this Policy, encouraging another member of the RIT Community to file a complaint alleging a violation of this Policy, participating in the processes described in this Policy and/or its Procedures, or opposing any practice or conduct that violates this Policy or applicable federal, state, or local laws.
- Reporting Person means any individual that reports an actual or perceived violation of university policy. Any individual may file a report. An individual who allegedly experienced conduct that could constitute a violation of policy and wants to remain anonymous will be treated as a Reporting Person.
- Respondent means any individual alleged to have engaged in conduct alleged to be a violation of this Policy.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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
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, among a number of individuals, 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:
- making admissions or hiring decisions at RIT, or
- determining participation in programs at RIT or sponsored by RIT, or
- 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
- administering disciplinary processes.
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 Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment for Faculty, Staff, and Students (C27.0) and RIT’s Student Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy (D19.0).
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:
- unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, academic performance or activities, or participation in RIT sponsored programs or events, or
- 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, online, 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.
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.
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. Unwelcome 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:
- Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as:
- Touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against another employee's body or poking another employee's body;
- Rape, sexual battery, molestation, or attempts to commit these assaults.
- Unwanted sexual advances or propositions, such as:
- 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;
- Subtle or obvious pressure for unwelcome sexual activities.
- Sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, or comments about a person's sexuality or sexual experience, which create a Hostile Work Environment.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hostile actions taken against an individual because of that individual's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and status of being transgender, such as:
- Interfering with, destroying or damaging a person's workstation, tools or equipment, or otherwise interfering with the individual's ability to perform the job;
- Sabotaging an individual's work.
- Bullying, yelling, name-calling.
- Sexual harassment as defined in this Policy does not include Title IX SexualHarassment, which is addressed in RIT’s Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment forFaculty, Staff, and Students (C27.0).
- Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as:
Retaliation. RIT prohibits and will not tolerate retaliation against any member of the RIT Community who, in good faith, engages in Protected Activity.
- 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.
- 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 changes the nature of their operations with RIT.
- 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.
- 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 for reporting conduct under this Policy shall be governed by this Policy and any accompanying procedures.
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.
Records of Allegations. Allegations of discrimination or harassment will be recorded in a central, confidential employee relations file which is separate from the employees' personnel files. These records are maintained by the associate vice president of Human Resources and may be reviewed by the Title IX Coordinator or OCE Investigators, when such information is relevant to the resolution of a case. These records will be maintained in accordance with the provisions of the RIT Records Management Policy (C22.0).
Filing Complaints Under this Policy. Members of the RIT Community who have experienced, have witnessed, or who become aware of behavior that they believe violates this Policy are encouraged to report any such conduct. 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. RIT Community members may also file a report on line by using Online Harassment and Discrimination Form.
All RIT Supervisors who receive a complaint or information about suspected violations of this Policy, observe what may be behavior in violation of this Policy, or for any reason suspect that behavior in violation of this Policy is occurring, are required to report such suspected behavior to Human Resources.
Filing Complaints Based on Sex or Gender. Members of the RIT Community alleging issues based on sex or 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.
- Complaints may be made verbally or in writing, using the form available at Sex Harassment Report Form
- 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.
- 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.
- Aside from the internal process at RIT, employees may also choose to pursue legal remedies with administrative, criminal and judicial governmental entities at any time. Additional information about these entities can be found at https://www.rit.edu/fa/compliance/.
Notice of Investigation and Allegations. The parties subject to investigation under this Policy will receive a notice of investigation and allegations.
Determining the Outcome of an Investigation. As a general rule, Human Resources (HR) shall be responsible for determining if a violation of this Policy has occurred. In the event of a policy violation, HR will work with the parties’ supervisors, department, and/or division leaders to implement corrective actions.
Notice of Outcome. Following a determination in response to an allegation that this Policy was violated, Human Resources shall inform the Complainant and the Respondent, in writing, of the outcome of the investigation, including a rationale for the outcome, and any corrective action required. A Reporting Person shall be informed, in writing, of whether or not it was determined the Respondent violated this Policy.
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.
- Interim or accommodative measures may include, but are not limited to, changes in work assignments, alterations in reporting/supervisory relationships, No Contact orders, administrative removal with pay, and any other interim restriction or sanction deemed appropriate by the university.
- A Mutual 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-personcontact, 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.
Appeals. There is no right to appeal the outcome under this Policy. 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).
Responsible Party: Department of Human Resources and Office of Legal Affairs
Effective Date: October 15, 1997
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
Approved as an interim policy August 2021