Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures

POLICY STATEMENT

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment. The University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation, or political philosophy in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities. (Regent Law, Article 10, amended 9/17/13). 1 CU-Boulder will not tolerate acts of discrimination or harassment based upon Protected Classes, or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. For purposes of this CU-Boulder policy, "Protected Classes" refers to race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy,2 age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation, or political philosophy.

This Policy: (1) provides a definition of discrimination and harassment based upon Protected Classes and related retaliation; (2) prohibits discrimination and harassment based upon Protected Classes and related retaliation; and (3) sets out procedures to follow when a member of the CU-Boulder community believes a violation of the Policy has occurred. The University of Colorado policy prohibiting sexual harassment is set forth in the Administrative Policy Statement entitled, "Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures."

Robust discussion and debate are fundamental to the life of the University. Consequently, this Policy shall be interpreted in a manner that is consistent with academic freedom as defined in Regent Law, Article 5D, amended 10/10/02.

Individuals who violate this Policy shall be disciplined or subjected to corrective action, up to and including termination or expulsion.

DEFINITIONS

Appointing authority/disciplinary authority. An appointing authority is the individual with the authority or delegated authority to make ultimate personnel decisions concerning a particular employee. A disciplinary authority is the individual who or office that has the authority or delegated authority to impose discipline upon a particular employee or student.

Complainant. A person who is subject to alleged Protected Class discrimination, harassment or related retaliation.

Respondent. A person whose alleged conduct is the subject of a complaint.

False Complaints or False Information. It is a violation of this Policy when a person knowingly or recklessly alleges a false complaint of discrimination, harassment or related retaliation or provides false information during the course of an investigation.

Discrimination. Occurs when an individual suffers an adverse consequence, such as failure to be hired or promoted, denial of admission to an academic program, etc., on the basis of her/his Protected Class.

Harassment. Verbal or physical conduct that unreasonably interferes with an individual's work or academic performance or creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment (See Hostile Environment as defined below).

Hostile Environment. Unwelcome conduct by an individual(s) against another individual based upon her/his Protected Class that is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education or employment and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive. The determination of whether an environment is "hostile" must be based on all of the circumstances. These circumstances could include the frequency of the conduct, its severity, and whether it is threatening or humiliating. Simple teasing, offhand comments and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not amount to hostile environment harassment.

Retaliation. Retaliation is prohibited by this Policy. To be considered retaliation, a causal connection is required between a materially adverse action and the act of (1) reporting an allegation of discrimination or harassment; or (2) participating in support of an investigation of discrimination or harassment. A materially adverse action is one that would dissuade a reasonable person from reporting an allegation of discrimination or harassment, or participating in support of an investigation of an allegation of discrimination or harassment. A determination of whether an action is materially adverse is made on a case by case basis.

Office of Discrimination and Harassment. The office that investigates allegations of discrimination, harassment and related retaliation based upon an individual's Protected Class. This office does not have the authority to impose discipline.

Office of Student Conduct. The office that investigates allegations of discrimination, harassment and related retaliation when the respondent is a student. This office is also the disciplinary authority for student respondents.

Discrimination and Harassment Officer (DH Officer). For all allegations involving respondents who are employees, the DH Officer is the Director of the Office of Discrimination and Harassment. For all allegations involving respondents who are students, the DH Officer is the Director of the Office of Student Conduct.

Supervisors. A supervisor is anyone who has the authority to hire, promote, discipline, evaluate, grade or direct faculty, staff or students. This includes anyone who manages or supervises others, including, but not limited to faculty, teaching assistants, resident advisors, coaches and anyone who leads, administers, advises or directs University programs.

REPORTING OBLIGATIONS

Supervisor's Obligation to Report
Any supervisor who witnesses or receives a written or oral report or complaint of discrimination, harassment or related retaliation that occurs in CU-Boulder employment and educational programs and activities, shall promptly report it to the appropriate DH Officer. A failure to report this information is a violation of this Policy. This requirement does not obligate a supervisor, who is required by the supervisor's profession and University responsibilities to keep certain communications confidential (e.g., a professional counselor or ombudsperson), to report confidential communications received while performing those University responsibilities. The Policy Appendix designates the supervisory positions that qualify under this exception.

Obligation to Report
In order to take appropriate corrective action, CU-Boulder must be aware of discrimination, harassment and related retaliation that occurs in CU-Boulder employment and educational programs and activities. Therefore, anyone who believes that s/he has experienced or witnessed discrimination, harassment or related retaliation should promptly report such behavior to the appropriate DH Officer.

PROCEDURES

Reports or complaints pursuant to this Policy will be addressed and resolved as promptly and as practicable after the complaint or report is made. Ordinarily, investigations will be concluded and reports submitted to the standing review committee no later than 90 days following the receipt of a complaint. Ordinarily, the final report will be sent to the Chancellor no later than 30 days after the standing review committee's receipt of the draft report of the investigation.

  1. Investigation Process
    1. The DH Officer shall determine the most appropriate means for addressing the report or complaint. Options include but are not limited to: (1) investigating the report or complaint in accordance with paragraphs A.3. through A.7. below; (2) with the agreement of the parties, attempting to resolve the report or complaint through a form of alternative dispute resolution (e.g., mediation); or (3) determining that the facts of the complaint or report, even if true, would not constitute a violation of this Policy.

      The DH Officer may designate another individual (either from within CU-Boulder, including an administrator, or from outside CU-Boulder) to conduct or assist with the investigation or to manage an alternative dispute resolution process. Outside investigators shall have relevant training, qualifications and experience. Anyone designated to address an allegation must adhere to the requirements of this Policy and confer with the DH Officer throughout the investigation.
    2. All reports or complaints shall be made as promptly as possible after the occurrence. A delay in reporting may be reasonable under some circumstances; however, an unreasonable delay in reporting is an appropriate consideration in evaluating the merits of a complaint or report.
    3. If an investigation is conducted, the complainant and respondent shall have the right to:
      1. Receive written notice of the report or complaint, including a statement of the allegations, as soon after the commencement of the investigation as is practicable and to the extent permitted by law;
      2. Present relevant information to the investigator(s); and
      3. Receive, at the conclusion of the investigation and appropriate review, a copy of the investigator's report, to the extent permitted by law.
    4. The Chancellor, the respondent's appointing authority/disciplinary authority and the respondent's supervisor shall be notified that an investigation is taking place. The DH Officer shall advise the respondent's supervisor whether the respondent should be relieved of any supervisory or evaluative authority during the investigation. If the respondent's supervisor declines to follow the recommendation of the DH Officer, s/he shall send a letter explaining the decision to the Chancellor with a copy to the DH Officer.
    5. At the conclusion of an investigation, the investigator shall prepare a written report that shall include a statement of factual findings and a determination of whether this Policy has been violated. The draft report shall be presented for review to the standing review committee.
    6. The standing review committee may consult with the investigator, consult with the parties, request that further investigation be done by the same or another investigator, or request that the investigation be conducted again by another investigator. The standing review committee may adopt the investigator's report as its own or may prepare a separate report based on the findings of the investigation. The standing review committee may not, however, conduct its own investigation or hearing. Once the standing review committee has completed its review, the investigator shall send the final report to the complainant and respondent, to the extent permitted by law. The final report shall also be sent to the respondent's supervisor, appointing authority/disciplinary authority and the Chancellor.
    7. The appointing authority/disciplinary authority must initiate formal action against that individual if s/he was found to have violated this Policy or acted inappropriately or unprofessionally. The appointing authority/disciplinary authority, Office of Student Conduct, and other administrators with a need to know, may have access to the investigative records and may consult with the investigator in order to take appropriate action. The appointing authority/disciplinary authority shall inform, in writing, the DH Officer and the Chancellor of the action taken against the individual(s) who have violated this Policy or who have behaved inappropriately or unprofessionally. If no disciplinary action is taken, the DH Officer shall inform the Chancellor.
    8. In all cases, the DH Officer shall retain the investigator's report for a minimum of three (3) years or for as long as any administrative or legal action arising out of the complaint is pending. In the case of a student respondent(s), records will be retained according to policies administered by the Office of Student Conduct.
    9. All records of discrimination, harassment and related retaliation reports and investigations shall be considered confidential and shall not be disclosed publicly except to the extent required by law.
       
  2. Complaints Involving Two or More University of Colorado Campuses

    When an alleged Policy violation involves more than one University of Colorado campus, the complaint shall be handled by the campus with disciplinary authority over the respondent. The campus responsible for the investigation may request the involvement or cooperation of any other affected campus and should advise appropriate officials at the affected campus of the progress and results of the investigation.
     
  3. Complaints By and Against University Employees and Students Arising in an Affiliated Entity.

    CU-Boulder employees and students sometimes work or study at the worksite or program of another organization affiliated with CU-Boulder. When a Policy violation is alleged by or against CU-Boulder employees or students in those circumstances, the complaint shall be handled as provided in the affiliation agreement between CU-Boulder and the other entity. In the absence of an affiliation agreement or a provision addressing this issue, CU-Boulder may, in its discretion, choose to: (1) conduct its own investigation; (2) conduct a joint investigation with the affiliated entity; (3) defer to the finding of an investigation by the affiliated entity where the University has reviewed the investigative process and is satisfied that it was fairly conducted; or (4) use the investigation and findings of the affiliated entity as a basis for further investigation.
     
  4. No Limitation on Existing Authority

    No provision of this Policy shall be construed as a limitation on the authority of an appointing authority/disciplinary authority under applicable policies and procedures to initiate appropriate action. If an individual is disciplined for conduct that also violates this Policy, the conduct and the discipline imposed shall be reported to the appropriate DH Officer. If an investigation is conducted under this Policy and no Policy violation is found, that finding does not prevent discipline of the respondent for inappropriate or unprofessional conduct under other applicable policies and procedures.
     
  5. Annual Report

    The DH Officers shall maintain an annual report documenting: (1) the number of reports or complaints received pursuant to this Policy; (2) the categories of those involved in the allegations; (3) the number of Policy violations found; and (4) examples of sanctions imposed for Policy violations.
     
  6. Education

    CU-Boulder will broadly disseminate this Policy, distribute a list of resources available to respond to concerns of Protected Class discrimination, harassment and related retaliation and develop and present appropriate educational programs for students and employees.

RELATED POLICIES

University of Colorado Administrative Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures provides that the University will not tolerate acts of sexual harassment or related retaliation against or by any employee or student.

University of Colorado Boulder Student Conduct Policies and Procedures addresses student conduct that occurs on or as it relates to university property, or at official functions and university-sponsored programs conducted away from the campus.

University of Colorado Boulder Campus Violence Policy addresses violence, threats, harassment, intimidation and other disruptive behavior that occur in our campus community.

University of Colorado Boulder Student Classroom and Course-Related Behavior addresses disruptive students in the academic setting that hinder the educational process.

For related complaint, grievance or disciplinary processes, refer to Regent Policies under 5. Faculty, 5. H. Faculty Senate Grievance Process and 5. I. Faculty Dismissal for Cause Process (for faculty), State Personnel Board Rules (for classified employees), and campus student disciplinary policies and procedures (for students).


  1. This policy complies with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1976; the Equal Pay Act of 1963; sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Vietnam Era Veterans Adjustment Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; and Executive Order 11246 as well as other applicable State and Federal laws.
  2. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k), Pub.L. 95-555, Oct. 31, 1978, 92 Stat. 2076 (Pregnancy Discrimination Act).

Effective Date: January 1, 2014
Approved by: Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor
Authors: Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Equity and the Vice Chancellor for Administration

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