Office of Compliance and Risk Management

Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

 

I. PURPOSE

As a Catholic institution of higher education, Seton Hall University (“the University”) embraces Judeo-Christian values that proclaim the dignity and rights of all people. The University is committed to providing a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, retaliation and other unlawful conduct and that assures the fair and equitable treatment of all individuals. The University abides by all applicable federal, state and local laws that prohibit discrimination and harassment based on any legally protected class including, but not limited to race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, gender, pregnancy, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity and /or expression, handicap and/or disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, AIDS and/or HIV status, genetic information, and veteran status or military service (the “protected classes”) and that prohibit retaliation. Moreover, the University administers all its policies and programs in accordance with our Catholic mission and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

II.  SCOPE
This policy against discrimination, harassment and retaliation applies to all University students and to all faculty, administrators, staff members and employees (collectively “University employees”), as well as vendors and guests, on and off campus. It is also applicable to those members of the University community who are involved in the University’s extension programs, such as experiential learning opportunities, cooperative education, internships, clinical placements, student teaching and the like. This policy does not replace, abridge or supersede the Student Code of Conduct or an individual’s rights and remedies under the law.

All members of the University community have an obligation to cooperate in achieving the University’s goals of a discrimination-free, harassment-free and retaliation-free environment.  

III.  DEFINITIONS

A.  Discrimination is an intentional or unintentional act that adversely affects the terms and conditions of employment or educational opportunities on the basis of membership in one or more protected classes.  

B. Harassment generally includes, but is not limited to, verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his or her membership in one or more protected classes, and that: (i) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; (ii) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational opportunities; or (iii) otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.

Harassing conduct may include a range of subtle and not so subtle behaviors. Although it is not always readily definable, examples of conduct that may constitute or support a finding of harassment in violation of this policy include, but are not limited to, the following:

Physical Conduct
(i)  Unnecessary or unwanted physical contact
(ii)  Blocking someone’s path or impeding movement
(iii)  Physical interference with work
(iv)  Stalking, physical or sexual assault, or coerced or forced sexual activity
(v)  Deliberate destruction of property

Non-verbal Conduct
(i)  Display of offensive material or objects
(ii)  Suggestive or insulting gestures, sounds or whistles

Verbal conduct
(i)  Innuendo or other suggestive, offensive or derogatory comments or jokes about sex or other protected classes as listed above
(ii)  Extortion, overt threats or intimidation
(iii)  Obscene or harassing messages sent via computer, left on an answering machine, voice mail, text, on a social media site (such as Facebook or Instagram) and the like

C.  Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome written, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when, for example:

(i)  Submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s education, employment or participation in a University activity
(ii)  Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting that individual’s academic standing, employment status or participation in a University activity
(iii)  Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for that individual’s employment, education or participation in a University activity

Sexual harassment may occur between members of the same or opposite sex. Further, harassment based on a person’s sex is not limited to instances involving sexual behavior. That is, harassment on the basis of sex may occur without sexual advances or sexual overtones when conduct is directed at an individual or group because of their sex.

D. Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs by force or coercion or without consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual activity. It includes sexual acts against a person who is unable to consent either due to age or lack of capacity or impairment. Examples include forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape. Sexual assault can occur between members of the same or opposite sex.

IV.  POLICY
A.  Freedom From Discrimination
The University is committed to fostering an environment that protects the members of the University community from all forms of discrimination. The University prohibits and will not tolerate any discrimination.  

The University’s policy is to treat students, employment applicants, and University employees fairly and without regard to any protected class, except where such considerations are bona fide occupational qualifications or are otherwise permitted by law.  

This policy applies to all University programs and to all terms and conditions of employment including, but not limited to, recruitment and hiring, compensation, benefits, discipline, and termination. Working conditions are also established without regard to any legally protected status.

B.  Freedom From Harassment
Harassment on the basis of any characteristic protected under federal or state law is strictly prohibited. The University is committed to fostering an environment that protects the members of the University community from all forms of unlawful harassment. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are forms of harassment and are prohibited.  

A person does not have to be the direct and immediate target of harassment to complain about it. Harassing behavior toward others may be offensive, demeaning or disruptive so as to create a hostile work or academic environment, though not specifically directed at the observer or individual lodging the complaint.  

V.  SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS

Intimate relationships that occur in the student-teacher context or in the context of employment supervision or evaluation require special consideration. These types of intimate relationships can be vulnerable to exploitation due to the difference in power and the respect and trust that are often present between a teacher and a student, a supervisor and a subordinate, or a senior and junior colleague in the same unit. As a result of this power differential, a student’s or a subordinate’s “voluntary” participation in an intimate relationship with an individual in a position of power or authority does not alone demonstrate that the conduct was welcome. An attempt by a teacher to show a romantic interest in a student may constitute sexual harassment. Similarly, a supervisor’s display of a romantic interest in a subordinate may constitute sexual harassment.

The University considers it inappropriate for any member of the University community to establish an intimate relationship with a student, subordinate or colleague on whose academic or work performance he or she will be required to make professional judgments. The University requires that the individual cease such conduct and divest himself/herself of the professional responsibility for supervision or oversight, should an intimate relationship develop. In addition, the individual with the supervisory or educational responsibility for an employee, faculty member or student must inform his or her immediate supervisor of the relationship so that the University may take appropriate action, if necessary.  

Any supervisor or manager who receives notice of an intimate relationship under this policy must immediately report the relationship to Human Resources.

VI.  RETALIATION PROHIBITION

Retaliation against an individual who has made a good faith complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, participated in the investigation of a complaint or otherwise exercised his/her rights under this policy or the law is prohibited. Retaliation is an offense separate from the complaint of discrimination or harassment and will be considered independently from the merits of the underlying matter.  

Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy and, like discrimination or harassment itself, will, upon a finding that retaliation has occurred, subject the actor to disciplinary action up to and including separation from the University.

VII.  REPORTING AN INCIDENT OF DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT OR RETALIATION

Pre-Complaint Resolution Strategies
Individuals are encouraged, but not required, first to bring their concerns to the person allegedly responsible for the behavior or action. In many cases, self-corrective measures may be taken when those persons alleged to have engaged in the behavior or action become aware of how their actions or behaviors are being received. The matter may be concluded by mutual consent at this point. The University recognizes that such a strategy may be inappropriate or ill-advised in some circumstances. At all times, individuals have the option to file a complaint with the Director of Insurance, EEO Compliance and Title IX Coordinator (“Director”).

Reporting
Incidents of discrimination, harassment or retaliation should be reported regardless of the actor’s identity or position. Thus, an individual who believes that he/she has experienced conduct that violates this policy or who has concerns about such matters should immediately provide a complaint detailing the conduct to his/her supervisor, Human Resources, the Director or through Ethics Point. Complaints of sexual assault should be reported to the Director and/or Title IX Coordinators.

Any supervisor or manager who receives or becomes aware of a complaint implicating this policy must immediately report the complaint to Human Resources or to the Director.

VIII.  RESPONDING TO COMPLAINTS OF DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT AND RETALIATION
The University’s procedures for responding to a complaint made alleging a violation of this policy are set forth in the Guidelines for Responding to Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation. These Guidelines are available online at the website (http://www.shu.edu/offices/compliance-index.cfm).

IX.  RESPONSIVE ACTION
Violations of this policy will be dealt with appropriately. Responsive action may include discipline up to and including separation from the University.

Anyone who knowingly makes a false accusation of discrimination, harassment or retaliation will be subject to appropriate responsive action, which may include discipline up to and including separation from the University.

X.  RESPONSIBLE OFFICES

Director of Insurance & EEO Compliance/Title IX Coordinator
Lori A. Brown, Esq.
973.313.6132
lori.brown@shu.edu

Office of Human Resources
973.761.9177
humanres@shu.edu

XI.  RELATED POLICIES

  • Guidelines for Responding to Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation
  • Employee Code of Conduct
  • Student Code of Conduct
  • Statement on Students with Disabilities
  • Policy on Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities
  • Violence Prevention Policy
  • Conscientious Employee Protection Action Policy


XII.  APPROVED

Revised and approved by Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban, President, on the recommendation of the Executive Cabinet on July 31, 2014.


Effective Date

July 31, 2014

 
 
Contact Us

Office of Compliance and Risk Management
(973) 313-6132
lori.brown@shu.edu
Presidents Hall

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