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Resources and Reports

CWUR 1-30-050 Discrimination Complaint and Resolution Procedure - Employees

(1) Any aggrieved person may file a complaint against any employee of the university when he/she believes discriminatory behavior has taken place.

(A) Details of the complaint may be provided verbally, electronically, or in writing.

(B) Information provided by the complainant should be as detailed and accurate as possible, including a statement of the specific allegation of discrimination. Generally, complaints should be filed within 180 days from last alleged act of discrimination.

If the alleged behavior does not fall under the civil rights legislation or the university’s nondiscrimination policy, human resources (HR) will refer the complaint and/or complainant to other appropriate CWU and/or external resources.

(C) With written notice, the complainant may notify HR that the situation is resolved or that no further university action is desired. However, depending on the circumstances, HR may determine that an investigation is still necessary.

(D) Options exist to assist complainants in resolving alleged discriminatory actions.

(2) HR should be contacted for assistance in resolving alleged discriminatory behaviors. Some alternatives may be taken prior to requesting assistance from HR.

(3) An employee who believes he or she has been subjected to discriminatory behavior in violation of policy is encouraged to first seek a resolution of the problem through discussion with the person(s) directly involved, including his or her supervisor.  The complainant should document all incidents and attempts at resolution.

(4) Persons who do not feel comfortable contacting the alleged violator directly, or have been unsuccessful at resolving the problem directly, may contact their supervisor, department chair, unit head, or appointing authority as well as the offices of HR and/or student rights and responsibilities about possible resolutions and next steps.

(A) When a complaint is lodged with a department or entity other than HR, that department will notify HR immediately of the complaint. Supervisors, department chairs, unit heads, and others in leadership are advised to maintain documentation sufficient to demonstrate a timely, appropriate and adequate response.

1. HR will discuss the complaint with department personnel, document the complaint, the investigative process (if any), and any actions taken to resolve the situation.  Normally, resolution at this level does not involve a factual investigation or a finding that the policy was or was not violated. Rather, it involves an opportunity for communications regarding areas of dispute in hopes of resolution.

2. When appropriate, HR will conduct follow up with the complainant.

(5) Informal review of a complaint alleging discriminatory behavior may be facilitated by HR. This process may be utilized at the discretion of HR as a prelude to conducting a formal complaint or as an alternative.
(A) The goal of the informal review is to resolve the matter without entering in to a formal complaint procedure.

(B) HR will notify the appropriate manager/supervisor of the informal complaint.

(C) After consultation with the complainant, HR will consult with appropriate personnel and departments, and the university will take appropriate actions to end discriminatory behaviors. This may require the university to engage in fact-finding to determine if there is a discriminatory basis to the allegation.

(D) Assistance may be provided to individuals in an attempt to resolve possible discrimination. Strategies may include notification to the offending party that their conduct is offensive and should cease action by university leadership to stop the offensive conduct, modification of the situation in which the conduct occurred, and/or mediation between the parties.

(E) The complainant or HR may, at any time, choose to end an informal review in favor of utilizing the formal complaint procedure. Informal mechanisms, including mediation, will not be used to resolve sexual assault complaints.

(6) Formal discrimination complaint procedures are facilitated through HR.

(A) The complainant and, when deemed necessary, the respondent(s) will receive acknowledgment of the filing of a formal complaint.

(B) The appointing authority and division head will receive notification of a complaint within five (5) working days of having been filed with HR.

(C) HR will conduct an investigation and complete a report into the alleged discrimination normally within thirty (30) working days of receiving the complaint. HR may assign the investigation to be conducted by another individual within the university or external to the university. HR may extend the investigation beyond thirty days by providing notification to the complainant and respondent. Such notification will include the anticipated date for completion of the investigation.

(D) The investigation will include:

1. Interview with complainant and respondent;

2. Interviews with witnesses as determined appropriate by HR based on information received from the complainant and/or the department, the appointing authority, or other appropriate individual(s) in the department, and the respondent, when appropriate;

3. Examination of relevant documentation; and,

4. Consultation with assigned assistant attorney general, as needed.

(E) The investigative report will determine if any violations of the university’s nondiscrimination policy has occurred.

1. Copies of the investigative report will be provided to HR (if investigation is conducted by another individual), the appointing authority, and the appropriate division head for review. Parties have ten days to complete their review.

(F) Upon completion of the review by all parties HR will meet with the complainant and respondent to review the outcome and provide a copy of the report.

(G) If the investigation substantiates the allegation, appropriate corrective/disciplinary action will be pursued by the appointing authority in concert with HR.

1. If the investigation determines that the respondent did not violate the nondiscrimination policy, but events underlying the complaint merit further attention, HR will refer the case to the appropriate office(s) or department(s).

2. The complainant or respondent may request a review by the Discrimination Equal Opportunity Committee within twenty (20) days of the meeting.  Grounds for appeal are limited to a) consideration of additional documents  or information and/or b) university procedure error.

(H) The Equal Opportunity Committee shall be appointed annually by the president. (See CWUP 2-60(5) for committee information.)

1. Membership

2. The committee shall elect its own chair for each review.

3. HR will provide training and support to the committee.

4. Members of the committee shall remove themselves from the review if they deem themselves biased or personally interested in the outcome of the review.

5. The complainant or respondent may submit challenges to the committee membership that will be reviewed by HR. When appropriate, HR will request that an interim member be appointed by the president.

6. If a complainant is a student and so requests, two students may be substituted by the president for a like number of existing members of the committee.

(I) The appealing party may withdraw the request for a review at any time.

(J) The Equal Opportunity Committee shall review the complaint, the investigative report, and the findings by the investigator. The committee, at any time, may inform and/or seek advice and assistance through HR from the assigned assistant attorney general. The committee shall determine, based on the investigative report, if:

1. The allegations have been substantiated; or

2. The allegations have not been substantiated; or

3. The committee may choose to remand the complaint back to the investigator to examine a specific issue.

4. If remanded to the investigator for further examination, the process restarts at section 6(E). 

5.   The committee shall present its determination to the university president and HR within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of the investigative report.

6. After reviewing the investigative report and considering the determination made by the committee, the president shall issue a written decision to the appealing party within ten (10) working days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the president will not be further appealable by the complainant or respondent within the university.

7. If, at any point, the appealing party withdraws their request for review, all parties will be notified.

(K) Allegations of retaliation should be reported immediately to HR and will be investigated using the formal investigative process.

[10/05/2011; 05/02/2012; Responsibility: President’s Office; Authority: Cabinet/UPAC; Reviewed/Endorsed by: Cabinet/UPAC; Review/Effective Date:06/04/2014; Approved by: James L. Gaudino, President]