Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

Effective Date

June 12, 2017

Last Revision Date

June, 2023 

Responsible Party

Human Resources

Scope

This Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy (“Policy”) applies to all faculty members, administrators and staff, students, and related third parties (such as applicants for admission and employment, vendors, guests, and contractors) (“MU Community”).

Purpose 

Statement of Non-Discrimination 

Marymount University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Marymount University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, pregnancy, veteran status or any other protected bases under applicable federal and local laws and regulations in any of its programs or its activities, including employment and admission. The university also expressly prohibits any form of sex discrimination and sexual misconduct including sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and stalking in any of its programs or activities, including employment and admission.

By a February 9, 1965, resolution of its board of directors, Marymount College of Virginia, now Marymount University, assured compliance with Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with compliance registered as of April 2, 1965. 

The University has a separate policy, Sexual Harassment and Interpersonal Misconduct Policy, to address allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.  An alleged incident of sexual harassment and misconduct will be governed by the Sexual Harassment and Interpersonal Misconduct Policy. 

1.0 Definitions

1.1 Complainant

A member of the MU Community who is alleged to have experienced conduct prohibited by this Policy. 

1.2 Discrimination

Unequal or prejudicial treatment based an individual’s or group’s Protected Status that interferes with or limits an individual’s or group’s opportunity to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity, or that otherwise adversely affects a term or condition of the individual’s or group’s employment or education. Discrimination also includes denial of a reasonable accommodation for a disability.  As used in this Policy, discrimination includes harassment.  

1.3 Harassment

Unwelcome or offensive behavior that is based upon an individual’s or group’s Protected Status that is so sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive, which creates a hostile environment that (1) would cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress and undermine the person’s ability to work, study, learn, or otherwise participate in University programs or services; and (2) actually does cause the harassed person(s) any of these difficulties. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to demonstrate that a repetitive series of incidents created a hostile environment, particularly if the Harassment is physical. A single or isolated incident of Harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe.

1.4 Preponderance of the Evidence

A preponderance of the evidence means that a party has shown that its version of the facts is more likely to be true than not. The preponderance of the evidence standard is satisfied if there is a greater than fifty (50) percent chance that the proposition is true.

1.5 Respondent

The individual, individuals or group alleged to have engaged in conduct prohibited by this Policy.

1.6 Retaliation

Adverse treatment of an individual because that individual reported Discrimination or Harassment, made a complaint pursuant to this Policy, or conducted or participated in an investigation conducted pursuant to this policy.

2.0 Responsibilities

2.1 Prohibited Conduct

The University does not discriminate and prohibits Discrimination and Harassment on the basis of Protected Status in its employment, programs, activities, and admission.  

2.2 Retaliation Prohibited

The University prohibits any form of retaliation against any member of the MU Community who has filed a Discrimination or Harassment complaint (informal or formal). Retaliation against anyone who has participated in an investigation of Discrimination or Harassment is prohibited. Members of the MU Community engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, whether such acts are implicit or explicit, or committed directly or indirectly. Complaints made in bad faith, malicious accusations or stating false charges will also be subject to disciplinary action. 

Some examples of retaliation may include but are not limited to:

  1. Separating or threatening to separate an employee;
  2. Disciplining, suspending, or threatening to discipline or suspend an employee;
  3. Imposing any penalty upon an employee;
  4. Intimidating or coercing an employee;
  5. Discriminating against an employee; or
  6. Discouraging or dissuading an employee from reporting, testifying, or otherwise taking part in the investigation.  

3.0 Procedures

3.1 Scope

The procedures outlined in this Section apply when any faculty, staff, or a third party (such as a vendor, independent contractor, visitor, or guest) is a Respondent. These procedures only apply to students when students are acting in roles as University employees.  In all other student cases, the grievance procedures outlined in the Marymount University Student Community Conduct Code will apply.  

3.2 Reporting an Incident of Harassment, Discrimination, or Retaliation 

The University is committed to taking all reasonable steps to prevent Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation, and will make every reasonable effort to promptly and completely address and take corrective action, including interim measures. The University cannot take prompt and effective corrective or remedial action unless each individual assumes the responsibility of reporting any incident immediately to an appropriate managerial employee in accordance with this Policy. 

Any member of the MU Community who believes that they have been subjected to Harassment, Discrimination, or Retaliation that violates this Policy may file a complaint with the University by reporting it immediately to their manager or Human Resources. If the individual is uncomfortable reporting to their immediate manager (whether because the manager has committed the Discrimination or Harassment or for any other reason), the employee must report the incident to the next higher level of management above the immediate manager or, if the employee prefers, to Human Resources. All University managers who receive a report of an alleged violation of this Policy must promptly advise the Human Resources and provide all information and evidence provided with the report.

In some cases, Complainants may request that their names be kept confidential and that the University take no action on the report (“confidential reporting”). The Associate Vice President Human Resources or designee will evaluate each request and advise the Complainant that “confidential reporting” will limit the University’s ability to respond fully to the matter, including pursuing disciplinary action against the Respondent. While, in most instances, the University will honor such confidentiality requests unless to do so would impede its ability to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the University, the Associate Vice President Human Resources  or designee makes the final determination about whether action on a report must be taken by the University.

Early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of Harassment, Discrimination, or Retaliation. Therefore, while no fixed reporting period has been established, the University strongly requires the prompt reporting of complaints so that rapid and constructive action can be taken. 

The availability of this complaint procedure does not preclude individuals who believe they are being subjected to harassing conduct from promptly advising the offender that their behavior is unwelcome and requesting that it be discontinued. While it is desirable for an employee who experiences Discrimination or Harassment to make it clear to the perpetrator or their manager that the behavior is offensive, such notification is not required.

3.2 Initial Assessment

Once a complaint has been provided to Human Resources, Human Resources will then conduct an initial assessment of the complaint to determine whether the allegations, if true, would constitute a violation of this Policy; and whether the complaint is suitable for informal resolution. The Complainant will be informed of the results of this initial assessment and their options.

3.3 Informal Resolution

The University encourages, but does not require, informal resolution when possible. The Associate Vice President Human Resources  or designee may elect to bypass the informal procedures because of the severity of the allegation or complexity of the complaint.

The goal of informal resolution is to resolve concerns at the earliest stage possible, with the cooperation of all parties involved. Informal resolution may include inquiry into the facts, but typically does not include a formal investigation. These informal efforts may include addressing the Respondent directly; participating in a facilitated meeting with the appropriate University official; or participating in mediation. The informal resolution could include by way of example: separating the parties; mandating targeted educational and training programs; or providing remedies for the individual harmed by the alleged Discrimination or Harassment. If the matter is resolved informally, the Associate Vice President Human Resources or designee shall maintain a record of the complaint and its resolution.

3.4 Formal Resolution

If informal resolution is unsuccessful or not appropriate as determined by the Associate Vice President Human Resources  or designee, the Associate Vice President Human Resources or designee may determine that an investigation is appropriate. If it is determined that an investigation should be conducted, a notice of investigation will be sent to the Complainant and Respondent describing the allegations that will be investigated. 

The following are the steps that will be taken:   

Step 1: Human Resources will conduct an investigation consisting of interviews of the Complainant and the Respondent. The Complainant and the Respondent can provide a list of witnesses who may have relevant information. The witnesses must have observed the incident(s) or have relevant information regarding the incident(s). The investigator may interview witnesses who may have relevant information and gather relevant information to inform the investigation. 

Participants in the investigation or proceedings may not audiotape, videotape, film, photograph, or make any type of digital recording of the investigation meetings or proceedings. 

Step 2: After completion of the investigation, Human Resources will prepare a report to the Associate Vice President Human Resources or designee of factual findings, and based upon those findings and using the preponderance of the evidence standard, come to a determination as to whether there was a policy violation.  

Step 3: After receiving the report, the Associate Vice President Human Resources or designee will issue an outcome letter to communicate the investigation findings to the Complainant and the Respondent.  

Step 4:  If the investigation concludes the Respondent violated this Policy or another applicable University policy, the Respondent’s supervisor or department/unit head will, in consultation with Human Resources, determine the appropriate corrective or disciplinary action. Disciplinary action, up to and including termination, may be taken against an individual who is found to have violated a covered policy. Corrective and disciplinary actions will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Disciplinary action will be made in accordance with the University’s Progressive Discipline Policy if the Respondent is an administrator or staff member and in accordance with the Faculty Handbook if the Respondent is a faculty member.  

Step 5: Appeals for Respondents who are faculty are governed by the Faculty Manual and appeals for Respondents who are administrators and staff are governed by Employee Grievance Procedure.  

3.3 Responsive Action

Misconduct constituting Harassment, Discrimination, or Retaliation shall be dealt with appropriately. Responsive action may include but is not limited to training, interim measures, referral to counseling and/or disciplinary action such as reassignment, temporary suspension without pay, or termination, as the University believes appropriate based on the circumstances of the incident.