Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment
- Q: Will I lose my job if I file a complaint?
A: No. The University encourages individuals to bring forward information and/or complaints about violations of University policy and state or federal law. Retaliation against any individual who, in good faith, reports or who participates in the investigation of alleged violations is strictly forbidden.
- Q: What if my supervisor is aware of the harassment and does nothing, or if my supervisor is responsible for the harassment?
A: Employees may report discrimination or discriminatory harassment to someone above their direct supervisor, or may report the incident(s) directly to this ODE.
- Q: What should I do if the behavior only happened once and there were no witnesses?
A: All potential discrimination or discriminatory harassment conduct, even if only a single incident, should be reported to the Discrimination Case Management Team. ODE conducts investigations to resolve any disputed factual issues and considers all relevant information to determine whether the evidence supports a finding of disciminatory conduct in violation of University Policies. Witnesses are helpful to the investigation, but not essential.
- Q: If the sexually harassing behavior occurs between two co-workers outside of work, does the University’s Policy Statement on Harassment apply?
A: Under some circumstances, sexual harassment by a co-worker outside of work may fall under University policy. In such situations, please contact the Case Management Team for guidance.
- Q: What should I do if I am not sure whether the behavior is sexual harassment?
A: If you are concerned that behavior may be sexual harassment, you are encouraged to contact ODE to discuss your concerns with a member of the Case Management Team.
- Q: Can I bring someone with me when I meet with a member of the Case Management Team?
A: Yes. All persons meeting with a member of the Case Management Team may be accompanied by a union representative or other support person.
- Q: What is sexual harassment?
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- Submission to such conduct determines one's employment or academic success; or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment. This is also known as a hostile work environment claim.
A: Sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination. The University of Connecticut’s Policies protect men and women equally from harassment, including same-sex harassment. Staff, faculty and students are protected from harassment by any other staff, faculty, student or visitor/contractor to the University. Prohibited acts that constitute sexual harassment may take a variety of forms. Examples of the kinds of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Offering or implying an employment-related reward (such as a promotion, raise, or different work assignment) or an education-related reward (such as a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) in exchange for sexual favors or submission to sexual conduct;
- Making threats or insinuations that a person's employment, wages, grade, promotional opportunities, classroom or work assignments or other conditions of employment or educational life may be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances;
- Engaging in unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations, solicitations, and flirtation;
- Using unwelcome sexually degrading language, sexual jokes, innuendos, or gestures;
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videos, graffiti and/or visuals that are not germane to any business or academic purpose;
- Displaying or transmitting sexually suggestive electronic content, including inappropriate e-mails;
- Stalking or cyberbullying;
- Making unnecessary and unwanted physical contact, such as hugging, rubbing, touching, patting, pinching, or massages;
- Engaging in sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, or sexual coercion;
- Making unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds, such as whistling and cat calls;
- Giving unwelcome personal gifts, such as flowers;
- Asking about a person’s sexual fantasies, sexual preferences, or sexual activities;
- Unwelcome comments on a person’s body, dress, appearance, gender, sexual relationships, activities, or experience; or
- Repeatedly asking someone for a date after the person has expressed disinterest.
It could. University Policies prohibit conduct that is sexual in nature, is unwelcome and so severe, persistent or pervasive that a “reasonable person” would find that it altered his/her educational or work experience. To discuss filing a claim under the policies, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Diversity and Equity, or Community Standards. Complaints against students are typically handled by Community Standards and complaints against employees are handled by the Office of Diversity and Equity.
The University’s Policies protect you from sexual harassment by vendors, contractors, and third parties you encounter in your University employment, living, and learning environment. If you believe that you have been subjected to conduct that violates the policies, please contact the Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Diversity and Equity as soon as possible.
A: It is possible for off-campus conduct between University colleagues and/or students to contribute to a hostile working or academic environment, or to constitute quid pro quo sexual harassment in violation of the University’s Policies. Please seek help from the Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Diversity and Equity, or Community Standards if you believe you were sexually harassed either off-campus or on-campus.
A: Anyone who witnesses inappropriate comments or conduct, even if it is directed at someone else, can still feel uncomfortable and harassed. If you witness conduct that you believe might be sexual harassment, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Diversity and Equity, or Community Standards. If you are a Dean, Department Head, or a supervisor, you are obligated to seek advice and help if you witness conduct that may violate the University's harassment policies.
Individuals with supervisory authority or individuals who may reasonably be perceived to have supervisory authority are obligated under the University’s Policies to contact the Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Diversity and Equity, or Community Standards if they witness or are told about conduct that may violate the University’s harassment policies.
A: For confidential support and information on how to make a report, contact the Employee Assistance Program (if you are an employee) or Counseling & Mental Health Services (if you are a student).
To make a report and initiate an investigation against a student, contact the Title IX Coordinator or Community Standards. To make a report and initiate an investigation against an employee or third-party, contact the Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Diversity and Equity.
A: While the University cannot promise complete confidentiality in its handling of harassment complaints, the University makes every reasonable effort to handle inquiries, complaints and related proceedings in a manner that protects the privacy of all parties. Each situation is resolved as discreetly as possible with information shared only with those who need to know in order to investigate and resolve the matter.
In its investigation, the University offices involved will be sensitive to the feelings and situation of the alleged victim and/or reporter of sexual harassment. Nonetheless, the University has a compelling interest to address all allegations of sexual harassment brought to its attention. The University reserves the right to take appropriate action in such circumstances, even in cases when the complainant is reluctant to proceed.