Unlawful discrimination and harassment complaint process

Complaints of unlawful discrimination or harassment are taken seriously and will be dealt with promptly, thoroughly, impartially, and equitably. Where unlawful discrimination or harassment is found to have occurred, the NSHE institution or unit where it occurred will act to stop the unlawful discrimination or harassment, to prevent its recurrence, to remedy its effects, if any, and to discipline those responsible.

Complaints of unlawful discrimination or harassment should be filed as soon as possible with the Title IX coordinator, supervisor, department chair, or dean.

If anyone in a supervisory, managerial, administrative or executive role or position, such as a supervisor, department chair, or director of a unit, receives a complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment, or observes or becomes aware of conduct that may constitute unlawful discrimination or harassment, the person must immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator to forward the complaint and/or provide information about the conduct, to discuss it and/or to report the action taken.

  • Timeframes

    Complaints of unlawful discrimination or harassment that does not constitute sexual harassment under Title IX must be filed within the time frames stated below.

    Holidays and weekends should be included in all calculations. If, however, the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the complaint may be filed on the next business day and still considered timely. (Business days are non-weekend and non-holiday days in which NSHE administrative offices are open for business.)

    Resources, to include actions commonly classified as “interim measures,” are available to eligible students and employees notwithstanding the issue of timeliness.

    Employee complaints

    All employment complaints alleging unlawful discrimination or harassment (to include retaliation) must be received in the appropriate institutional office within 300 calendar days from the day the alleged act took place. If more than one act is alleged, the deadline will apply to each act independently, except in complaints of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment. Complaints of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment must be filed within 300 calendar days of the last alleged incident of unlawful harassment, although all alleged incidents of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment may be considered during the investigation, even if the earlier incidents are alleged to have occurred more than 300 calendar days earlier.

    Student complaints

    All student complaints alleging unlawful discrimination or harassment (to include retaliation) must be received in the institution’s appropriate office within 180 calendar days from the day the alleged act took place. If more than one act is alleged, the deadline will apply to each event independently, except in complaints of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment. Complaints of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment must be filed within 180 calendar days of the last alleged incident of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment, although all alleged incidents of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment may be considered during the investigation, even if the earlier incidents are alleged to have occurred more than 180 calendar days earlier.

    Other/campus visitor/non-employee

    Complaints alleging unlawful discrimination or harassment (to include retaliation) asserted by individuals who are neither NSHE employees nor students alleging unlawful discrimination or harassment by a NSHE employee during the employee’s work hours, or by a NSHE student on campus or at a NSHE-sponsored event, must be received in the institution’s appropriate office within 180 calendar days from the day the alleged act took place. If more than one act is alleged, the deadline will apply to each act independently, except in complaints of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment. Complaints of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment must be filed within 180 calendar days of the last alleged incident of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment, although all alleged incidents of ongoing unlawful discrimination or harassment may be considered during the investigation, even if the earlier incidents are alleged to have occurred more than 180 calendar days earlier.

  • Investigation of a complaint

    After receiving a complaint or information about the incident or behavior, the Title IX Coordinator or the primary officer, or designee, will initiate an investigation to gather information about the incident. If the Title IX Coordinator or the primary officer, or designee, is unable to initiate an investigation, due to a conflict or for any other reason, the president shall designate another individual to act as primary officer for the matter.

    The individual filing a complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment and the individual against whom a complaint is filed must be provided with a written explanation of their rights and options, including the range of available interim measures, and written notification of services available on campus and in the community.

    Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the University will conduct a prompt, thorough, impartial, and equitable investigation. The University will provide written notice to the parties who are known information as to the nature of the complaint, and shall further provide that the person filing the complaint and the person who is the subject of the complaint have equal rights to be interviewed, identify witnesses and provide documentation pertaining to the complaint. In most cases, an investigation should be completed within a reasonable time from receipt of the complaint or information about the conduct. At the completion of the investigation, findings and a recommendation will be made to the appropriate management level with final decision-making authority regarding the resolution of the matter. The recommendation is advisory only.

  • Standard of review

    The standard for evaluating complaints shall be a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., the evidence establishes that it is more likely than not that the prohibited conduct occurred).

  • Independent advisor

    An individual filing a complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment shall have the opportunity to select an independent advisor for assistance, support, and advice and shall be notified of this opportunity by the Title IX Coordinator or designee. It shall be the choice of the individual filing the complaint to utilize or not utilize an independent advisor and their responsibility to pay any associated fees. An independent advisor may be brought into the process at any time at the request of the complainant. An independent advisor may be any person who does not have a conflict of interest and who is not a witness in the matter.

    An individual against whom a complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment is filed shall have the opportunity to select an independent advisor for assistance, support, and advice and shall be notified of this opportunity by the Title IX Coordinator or designee. It shall be the choice of the individual against whom the complaint is filed to utilize or not utilize an independent advisor and their responsibility to pay any associated fees. An independent advisor may be brought into the process at any time at the request of the respondent. An independent advisor may be any person who does not have a conflict of interest and who is not a witness in the matter.

  • Management determination

    After the recommendation has been made, a determination will be made by appropriate management level with final decision-making authority regarding the resolution of the matter. If warranted, disciplinary action up to and including involuntary termination or expulsion may be taken.

  • Confidentiality

    The NSHE recognizes that confidentiality is important. However, in some limited circumstances confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. The administrators, faculty or staff responsible for implementing this policy will respect the privacy of individuals reporting or accused of unlawful discrimination or harassment to the extent reasonably possible and will maintain confidentiality to the extent possible. Examples of situations where confidentiality cannot be maintained include, but are not limited to, necessary disclosures during an investigation, circumstances where the NSHE is required by law to disclose information (such as in response to legal process), or when an individual is in harm’s way.

  • Retaliation

    Retaliation against an individual who in good faith complains of unlawful discrimination or harassment or provides information in an investigation about behavior that may violate this policy is against the law, will not be tolerated, and may be grounds for discipline. Retaliation in violation of this policy may result in discipline up to and including termination and/or expulsion. Any employee or student bringing an unlawful discrimination or harassment complaint or assisting in the investigation of such a complaint will not be adversely affected in terms and conditions of employment and/or academic standing, nor discriminated against, terminated, or expelled because of the complaint. Intentionally providing false information is also grounds for discipline.

    “Retaliation” may include, but is not limited to, such conduct as:

    • the denial of adequate personnel to perform duties;
    • frequent replacement of members of the staff;
    • frequent and undesirable changes in the location of an office;
    • the refusal to assign meaningful work;
    • unwarranted disciplinary action;
    • unfair work performance evaluations;
    • a reduction in pay;
    • the denial of a promotion;
    • a dismissal;
    • a transfer;
    • frequent changes in working hours or workdays;
    • an unfair grade;
    • an unfavorable reference or reference letter;
    • intentionally providing false

    Employees

    An employee who believes that they have been subjected to retaliation may file a retaliation complaint with their immediate supervisor, who will in turn immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator.

    If the employee feels uncomfortable about discussing the alleged retaliation with the immediate supervisor, the employee should feel free to bypass the supervisor and file a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator.

    After receiving any employee’s complaint of an incident of alleged retaliation, the supervisor will immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator to discuss it and/or to report the action taken. The supervisor has a responsibility to act even if the individuals involved do not report to that supervisor.

    Students

    A student who believes that they have been subjected to retaliation may file a retaliation complaint with their major department chair or director of an administrative unit, who will in turn immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator.

    If the student feels uncomfortable about discussing the alleged retaliation with the department chair or director of an administrative unit, the student should feel free to bypass the person and file a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator.