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UMMS Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure

PRINTABLE FORMAT: https://inside.umassmed.edu/Policies/Policies-listing-page/DIO/Sexual-Harassment-Policy-and-Procedures/

Policy Statement

The MedicalSchool is firmly committed to working to ensure that all employees, students and individuals who are authorized to conduct business with and/or perform other services on behalf of the MedicalSchool are not subject to sexual harassment. To that end, it is the policy of the MedicalSchool to comply with all federal and state laws and regulations:  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Chapter 151B, and M.G.L. 151B Sec. 3A.
    Retaliation against an individual for filing a complaint of sexual harassment or against any individual for cooperating in an investigation of a complaint, is against the MedicalSchool policy and it is against the law.  If retaliation is found to have occurred, appropriate action(s) will be taken.

Reason for Policy

To provide a learning and working environment that is free of sexual harassment in the form of unwelcome physical advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or written communications of a sexual nature.

Entities Affected By This Policy

The policy and procedures for resolution apply to all employees, students and individuals who are authorized to conduct business with and/or perform other services on behalf of the University of Massachusetts Medical School who believe that they have been sexually harassed.  The policy and procedures also address the concerns of any person who has a sexual harassment complaint brought against them.

Related Documents

Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedures
Disciplinary Action
Trustee Document T92-037 (Appendix D - 6)

Scope

The MedicalSchool has designated the Diversity and Inclusion Office (DIO) as having primary responsibility for receiving and investigating complaints of sexual harassment and acting upon them through both informal and formal processes.  

Responsibilities

Complainant Responsibilities 

A formal complaint should be filed as soon as possible following the occurrence(s) of the sexual harassment; prompt filing within ninety (90) days of the incident or the last occurrence is strongly encouraged.  However, the MedicalSchool retains the right to review a sexual harassment complaint that is filed beyond the recommended time period.

DIO Responsibilities

The Director of Diversity and Equal Opportunity initiates the investigation of the complaint within ten (10) working days of receipt of the formal/written complaint or within a time frame after the informal complaint has been filed by the complainant.  Documents relevant to the investigation are held in a confidential case file.  Information is shared with all parties on a need-to-know basis during the investigation of the complaint.

The Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion and/or the Director of Diversity and Equal Opportunity will inform the party against whom the complaint is made that a sexual harassment complaint has been filed against him/her.  The respective managers of the complainant and the accused will be informed on a need-to-know basis.

Upon completion of the investigation, DIO reviews the findings with all of the appropriate parties.  Every effort is made to complete the review within forty-five (45) working days after the complaint is filed with DIO.  However, depending on the complexity of the case, the process may be extended at the discretion of the DIO. 

If the DIO determines through its investigation that the allegations in the complaint are probable, it will recommend to the appropriate manager that disciplinary action be taken against the accused individual.  Disciplinary action, which may include expulsion or discharge, will be appropriate to the offense and individuals involved. The complainant will be notified either verbally or in writing of the disposition of the investigation. The accused will be notified either verbally or in writing of the findings and, where/when appropriate, the recommended sanctions.

Procedures

If any individual(s) (complainant) believes he/she has been subject to sexual harassment, the individual should initiate a complaint immediately by calling or visiting the DIO to arrange an appointment as soon as possible. The longer the period of time between the incident and the initiation of a complaint, the more difficult it is to reconstruct what occurred. A complaint should be filed as soon as possible following the occurrence(s) of the sexual harassment; prompt filing within ninety (90) days of the last occurrence is strongly encouraged.   However, the MedicalSchool retains the right to review a complaint of sexual harassment that is filed beyond the recommended time period.       

The presence/involvement of legal counsel is not permitted at any time during the sexual harassment complaint procedures.  If an individual is a member of a collective bargaining unit, they may have the support of a union representative.  However, the representative is not a part of the proceedings, but they may be available for support.  All parties involved in an investigation, including the union representative, are required to keep information related to the investigation confidential.

TYPES OF COMPLAINTS

Informal Complaint

During the informal complaint process, a complainant shares his/her concern with a Director of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.  The Director of Diversity and Equal Opportunity may suggest ways the complainant can resolve the issue(s) in an informal, non-adversarial approach that satisfies all concerned parties. DIO may consult with or refer complainant to other appropriate offices, i.e. Human Resources or the Employee Assistance Program. DIO may schedule follow-up meetings as needed to further assist the complainant.

When filing an informal complaint, the individual must provide the following information:

  • the name of the complainant;
  • the specific nature of actions/behaviors leading to the allegation of sexual harassment;
  • the date(s) and time (s) of the occurrence(s) of sexual harassment;
  • a detailed description of the occurrence(s) of the sexual harassment;
  • the name(s) of the person(s) the complainant is accusing of the sexual harassment;
  • the name(s) of other individual(s) who have knowledge of the occurrence(s) of the sexual  harassment brought forth in the complaint; and 
  • the remedy or relief that is being sought.

Formal Complaint

If at any time the complainant considers the informal complaint procedure unsatisfactory, he/she may elect to forgo the informal procedure and request that a formal complaint be initiated. Also, in some instances, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion may determine that the serious nature of the complaint requires that it be addressed as a formal matter.

When filing a formal complaint, the individual should put the information stated above in writing and submit it to the DIO.  Please use the Formal Complaint Form available on the DIO Web site or in the DIO. 

The individual(s) accused by the complainant is/are provided a copy of the DIO written report of the complaint and given an opportunity to respond to the allegation(s).  The appropriate managers are informed of the filing of a formal complaint on a need to know basis.

Formal Complaint Form

Definitions

Complainant: An individual who believes he/she has been subject to sexual harassment and who files a complaint of sexual harassment, either informal or formal, against another individual(s).

Accused: Any person who has a sexual harassment complaint brought against them.

Sexual Harassment: Any unwanted and/or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Quid Pro Quo: When a person in authority or control makes unwanted and unwelcome requests/demands for sexual favors from a subordinate, and implies that the subordinate's employment or academic standing depends on submission to these requests/demands. Quid pro quois existent when:

  • submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an

      individual's continued employment or assessment of academic work;

  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment

      or academic decisions affecting that individual.

Hostile Environment: When conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual(s) work or academic performance or in creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, uncomfortable, or offensive working or academic environment.  Such conduct may include, but is not limited to:

  • verbal or written abuse;
  • subtle pressure for sexual activity;
  • persistent remarks about another individual’s clothing, body or sexual activities;
  • unnecessary touching, patting, or pinching;
  • intentional brushing against another individual’s body; and/or
  • leering, whistling, or sexual gestures.

Retaliation:  Conduct which is taken against a complainant because they have filed a complaint or conduct taken against an individual who has cooperated with the investigation of a complaint.

CARE website: Campus Advocacy, Resources, and Education (for sex discrimination and violence)

Additional Resources
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