Equal Opportunity and Respectful Workplace Policies

5.3 EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND RESPECTFUL WORKPLACE POLICIES

5.3.1  Equal Employment Opportunity    The Commonwealth of Virginia is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all employees and job applicants, regardless of their race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability and political affiliation. Employment discrimination based on these traits is unlawful under both state and federal law. Equal opportunity extends to all aspects of employment including hiring, transfers, promotions, training, termination, working conditions, compensation, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment. The Commonwealth complies with federal and state equal-employment- opportunity laws and strives to keep the workplace free from all forms of unlawful discrimination, including harassment and retaliation.  The Commonwealth’s Department of Human Resource Management’s (DHRM’s) Office of Equal Employment Services (OEES) is responsible for enforcing policies concerning equal employment opportunity.  Additional details may be found at  www.dhrm.virginia.gov/hrpolicy/policy.html.

5.3.2  Statement of Nondiscrimination    At the University of Mary Washington the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action are practiced.  The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, parental status (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, family medical history or genetic information, political affiliation, military service, or other non-merit based factors in recruiting, admitting, enrolling students or hiring and promoting faculty and staff members. Complaints of discrimination should be directed to the AA/EEO officer of the University. (Approved by the Board of Visitors, September 2018)

5.3.3  Workplace Violence Policy    The University is committed to maintaining a workplace free from threats and acts of intimidation and violence. All reported incidents will be properly investigated.   For additional information, contact the Human Resources Office or consult the policy statement at www.umw.edu/hr/policies_procedures/respectful_workplace_polic/workplace_violence.php

5.3.4    Retaliation    The University prohibits retaliation.  Retaliation is any overt or covert act of reprisal, interference, restraint, penalty, discrimination, intimidation or harassment against one or more individuals for exercising their rights (or supporting others for exercising their rights) under the Commonwealth’s Equal Employment Opportunity policies. It is the responsibility of the University’s AA/EEO officer to establish and enforce policies and procedures, consistent with applicable federal and state laws, for preventing such retaliation and for addressing complaints of retaliation.  If retaliation occurs, the employee(s) should report the retaliation as outlined in the discrimination and harassment complaint procedures.

5.3.5  Workplace Harassment Policy    The University strictly forbids harassment of any employee, applicant for employment, vendor, contractor or volunteer on the basis of an individual’s race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, disability, marital status or pregnancy. Harassment is defined as any unwelcome verbal, written and/or physical conduct that either denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards a person, on the basis of one or more of that person’s protected characteristics or statuses, and that 1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, 2) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance, or 3) affects an employee’s employment opportunities or compensation. It is the responsibility of the AAEEO officer, and the Title IX Coordinator, to establish and enforce policies and procedures, consistent with applicable federal and state laws, for preventing harassment and for addressing complaints of harassment. All students and employees of the University have the right to file a complaint of harassment. Policies for preventing and addressing harassment shall not allow curtailment or censorship of constitutionally protected expression. The University’s policies regarding harassment and additional information are available at http://adminfinance.umw.edu/hr/policies-andprocedures/respectful-workplace-policies/workplace-harassment-policy/ and http://diversity.umw.edu/title-ix/policy.

5.3.5.1 Sexual or Gender Based Discrimination or Harassment    The University of Mary Washington does not tolerate sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, stalking, intimate partner violence, retaliation, or complicity. These forms of Prohibited Conduct subvert the mission of the University by undermining the positive working and educational environment the University is committed to providing for all students, University personnel, and visitors.  The University adopted the Policy on Sexual and Gender Based Harassment and Other forms of Interpersonal Violence with a commitment to: (1) eliminate, prevent, and address the effects of Prohibited Conduct; (2) foster a community of trust and mutual respect in which Prohibited Conduct is not tolerated; (3) cultivate  a climate where all individuals are well-informed and supported in reporting Prohibited Conduct; (4) provide a fair and impartial process for all parties; and (5) identify the standards by which violations of this Policy will be evaluated and disciplinary action may be imposed.  Employees who violate this Policy may face disciplinary action up to and including termination.  The University will take prompt and equitable action to eliminate Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.  The University conducts ongoing prevention, awareness, and training programs for employees and students to facilitate the goals of this Policy.  The University’s policy for preventing, addressing, investigating, and resolving Prohibited Conduct is available at http://diversity.umw.edu/title-ix/policy.

5.3.5.1.1  Responsible Employees    All faculty members are considered “responsible employees” and are required to report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator all relevant details (obtained directly or indirectly) about an incident of Prohibited Conduct that involves any student as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.  Faculty members that are in a supervisory capacity (such as Deans, Chairs, and other unit administrators) are required to report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator all relevant details (obtained directly or indirectly) about an incident of Prohibited Conduct that involves any faculty member or employee as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.  See the Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other forms of Interpersonal Violence.

5.3.5.2 Consensual Relations     Although consensual relationships between persons of different power levels (e.g., between a faculty member and a student or between a supervisor and an employee) do not constitute sexual harassment, they raise serious concerns and may give rise to claims of sexual harassment. The University’s policies and additional information regarding consensual relations are available at: http://adminfinance.umw.edu/hr/files/2017/03/Consensual-Relationships-Policy.pdf

5.3.5.3  Amorous Relationships Between Faculty and Students    Amorous relationships between faculty and students whom they directly supervise are unwise and unprofessional.  Faculty members are expected to avoid romantic or sexual relationships with students whom they teach, coach, supervise, evaluate, or grade.  Such relationships risk creating the perception that bias and/or favoritism may play a part in student evaluation.  Additionally, such relationships create potential harm for students and raise the potential for liability for the faculty member and the University if the facts regarding the relationship support a claim of sexual harassment (see §5.3.3.1).  Even in cases where the faculty member does not directly supervise the student, participation in an amorous relationship with a student may lead to difficulties.  Such relationships, particularly when the faculty member and student are in the same academic unit, create the potential for conflicts of interest (see §3.11).  Faculty members must distance themselves from any decisions that may reward or penalize a student with whom the faculty member is having, or has had, an amorous relationship.  The faculty member must also disclose the nature of the relationship to his or her department chair who will take steps to ensure equitable treatment for all concerned.