Discrimination, Harassment ...

Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policy


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Westminster Theological Seminary will not tolerate any behavior that constitutes unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on account of sex, race, color, national origin, age, disability, and handicap or other legally-protected classification or activity. Violation of this policy may result in discipline up to and including discharge.

Definitions
For purposes of this policy, “harassment” refers to any unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct, comments, communications or treatment of a discriminatory nature about, relating to or because of a person’s gender, race, color, national origin, age or disability or other legally-protected classification or activity, that has the purpose or effect of unduly interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance; creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment; or otherwise adversely affects an individual’s
employment or academic opportunities.

Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to: making inappropriate or offensive jokes or remarks relating to gender, race, color, national origin, age or disability; using e-mail or other methods of communication to disseminate such jokes or remarks; accessing such offensive material using seminary equipment; distributing such jokes or remarks received from others outside Westminster.

The term “sexual harassment” refers to any unwelcome sexual attention, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal, visual or physical comments or conduct of a sexual nature, or other offensive behavior of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment or academic opportunities; submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by a person is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions; or the conduct has the purpose or effect of unduly interfering with a person’s work or academic performance; creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; or otherwise adversely affects a person’s employment or academic opportunities. Examples of sexual harassment include but are not limited to: unwelcome comments about a person’s appearance; obscene or sexually suggestive humor or behavior, including staring or ogling; unwanted and unnecessary physical contact; inappropriate use of offensive, sexually explicit or sexually suggestive gestures; display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; unwelcome flirtations or sexual advances; threats of adverse employment or academic actions if sexual favors are not granted; and promises of preferential treatment in return for sexual favors.

Reporting Procedure
Westminster is committed to prompt, diligent and impartial enforcement of this policy. Westminster strongly encourages any person who feels that he or she has been subjected to any type of discrimination, harassment or retaliation or believes he or she has witnessed such conduct to report it promptly. Failure to report
incidents of harassment promptly will hinder Westminster’s ability to investigate a complaint of harassment and will limit Westminster’s ability to stop and prevent further harassment. Cooperation in reporting acts of harassment is essential to an effective antiharassment policy. You are encouraged to provide as much information as possible so that a fair and effective investigation may follow.

Reports of harassment should be made to one of the following three staff whom Westminster has designated as a Campus Security Authority (CSA) and who is not the person accused: the Dean of Students and Ministerial Formation, the Associate Dean of Students, or the Director of Human Resources.

If reports are made to persons other than a CSA, the person receiving the complaint must promptly inform one of the CSAs so that the CSA may take the appropriate steps to investigate the complaint.

Investigation Procedure
The CSA who received the complaint, or his or her designee, shall conduct an investigation with the assistance, as needed, of the Director of Human Resources, Chief Operating Officer and/or the Vice President for Academic Affairs. All investigations will be conducted promptly, thoroughly, and discretely so as to protect, to the fullest extent consistent with a thorough and appropriate investigation, the dignity and privacy of
the persons involved. The principal investigator will report the results of the investigation to the complainant.

Appeal Procedure
In the event that the complainant believes that the complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved by the principal investigator, the complainant should promptly report the matter to one of the other principal investigators or the Director of Human Resources, Chief Operating Officer or the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The Accused
If it is determined, after thorough investigation, that the accused has violated this policy, such person will be subject to appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures commensurate with the seriousness of the particular offense or other relevant circumstances, up to, and including, termination of employment and/or expulsion from academic program.

Retaliation in any form against someone who exercises his or her right to make a complaint under this policy or against any individual who provides information related to any such complaints is strictly prohibited and will in itself constitute cause for appropriate disciplinary action.

Persons accused of harassment are warned that any form of retaliation taken against a person submitting a complaint or participating in the investigation of a complaint will be grounds for disciplinary action, including termination of employment and/or expulsion from academic program at Westminster.