Harassment Prevention Policy
To create an academic and working environment free of harassment and to establish a policy for handling sexual and other harassment issues, including procedures for resolution of allegations of harassment or sexual assault.
Under the direction of the president, the director of the Office of Diversity and Equity shall ensure compliance with this policy. The director of the Office of Diversity and Equity, in conjunction with the vice presidents, deans, and all other staff in a supervisory capacity, shall implement this policy.
Harassment — any conduct directed toward an individual or group based upon one or more of the following categories or traits: race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, gender identification, marital or veteran status that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter an individual’s employment condition, educational environment or participation in a College activity and creates intimidating, offensive or a hostile environment for employment, education or participation in a College activity.
Harassment may include, but is not limited to, repeated remarks of a demeaning nature, implied or explicit threats, slurs, innuendoes or gestures, demeaning jokes, stories, pictures, touching or other forms of physical harassment, objects or activities directed at an individual based on any of the above categories or groups.
Consensual Relationship — shall include marriage, cohabitation, engagement, dating and other ongoing relationships of an intimate or close personal nature which passes beyond a platonic relationship.
Sexual Assault — refers to nonconsensual sexual contact. It may involve the threat or use of force, violence or intimidation. It may involve sexual contact with a person who is unable to consent due to incapacity or impairment. Any nonconsensual sexual touching may be considered sexual assault.
Sexual Harassment — Unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, study or participation in College-sponsored activities;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting individuals' study, employment or participation in College sponsored activities; or
- Such verbal or physical conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive or demeaning academic or working environment.
Examples of behavior which may be considered sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion or grades;
- Direct propositions of a sexual nature;
- Sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes or teasing;
- Unnecessary touching, panting, hugging or brushing against a person's body;
- Remarks of a sexual nature regarding a person's clothing, body, sexual activity, previous sexual experience, or sexual orientation;
- Repeated requests for dates or social interaction made through verbal requests, notes, telephone calls, facsimiles, email, etc.;
- Visual displays of inappropriate sexual images; and
- Attempted or actual incidents of sexual assault
Consensual relationships occurring between supervisors and subordinates or faculty and students can lead to circumstances which may be interpreted as sexual harassment. Consensual relationships may also be viewed as causing a hostile or offensive work environment when other staff or students believe that the person(s) involved in the relationship(s) is/are receiving favorable treatment in employment or educational decisions and actions.
The College strongly discourages any sexual or romantic relationship between a faculty member and a student where the faculty member has authority, influence or responsibility with regard to that student. Similarly, the College discourages any sexual or romantic relationship between a supervisor with a staff employee, where the supervisor has authority, influence or responsibility with regard to that employee. Consensual relationships among faculty and students or supervisors and staff where no such authority, influence or responsibility exists are strongly discouraged.
Community College of Philadelphia is committed to creating and maintaining a working and learning environment for all faculty, staff and students, which is free of objectionable, disrespectful and harassing conduct or communication. The College will not tolerate any conduct which creates an intimidating, hostile, threatening or offensive working or learning environment.
The College views all forms of harassment and all attempts to commit such acts as a serious offense and will impose disciplinary action up to and including expulsion, required withdrawal, suspension or termination.
The College is committed to maintaining an environment free from harassment toward visitors. Harassment by employees, students or contractors toward visitors will not be tolerated by the College and will be addressed by this policy.
Duty to Investigate Harassment Complaints
Allegations of harassment require that the College take action to investigate and remedy the situation if harassment has occurred. The College is legally obligated to take action to eliminate harassment that is known or should have been known to anyone in an executive, managerial or supervisory capacity. Employees in supervisory roles must report allegations of harassment to the Office of Diversity and Equity.
Any employee, faculty or student may make verbal inquiries regarding harassment to the Office of Diversity and Equity. The Office of Diversity and Equity will discuss the situation with the individual and recommend steps the person may take toward resolution of the problem and/or may refer the inquirer to other appropriate resources as assistance.
Any faculty or staff member may report allegations of harassment to their immediate superior. Students may report harassment complaints to the Student Affairs Office, dean or designee, or a faculty member who will report it to the Office of Diversity and Equity. Students, faculty and staff members may also report harassment complaints directly to the Office of Diversity and Equity.
There are two options for filing complaints of harassment, both of which will be investigated:
Type I: Informal Complaint — a verbal complaint initiated by an applicant, employee or student.
Type II: Formal complaint — a written complaint filed with the Office of Diversity and Equity. Formal complaints will be investigated even if the complaint is unsigned.
Complaints should be filed with the Office of Diversity and Equity within thirty (30) business days of the occurrence of the alleged objectionable behavior whenever practicable.
An investigation shall be conducted to determine if there is a basis for the complainant's allegations.
The individual accused of harassment will be advised of the allegations, source of the complaint if known, and the opportunity to respond to the allegations will be given.
Should cause be found to support the allegations, the Office of Diversity and Equity will identify appropriate remedial actions, that may include disciplinary action up to and including termination, and will report those recommendations to the person responsible for the department in which the alleged harassment occurred. The vice president, dean or department head shall implement the recommendation made by the Office of Diversity and Equity to resolve the situation in accordance with applicable College policies. Refusal or delay by the department official in implementing the Office's recommendations may lead to referral to the next level of supervision including a dean, vice president and/or president for appropriate action. All parties shall be informed of the final determination.
The intentional filing of a false complaint may subject the complainant to discipline. Anyone who believes that he/she has been the subject of a false complaint of harassment may meet with the Office of Diversity and Equity to discuss allegations.
Students, employees or applicants shall not be subjected to interference, coercion, reprisal or retaliation for filing a complaint or serving as a witness in any authorized proceeding designed to foster the implementation of this policy. Retaliation is a separate and distinct offense under this policy. Any person found to have retaliated against employees or those cooperating with a harassment investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include termination of employment.
The confidentiality of all parties involved in a harassment complaint shall be protected as long as it does not interfere with the College's obligation to investigate allegations of misconduct or take corrective action.