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Student Handbook - Anti-Harassment - Lake Land College, Mattoon Illinois

Anti-Harassment

As described in Board Policy 11.04 Anti-Harassment, Lake Land College is committed to maintaining a working and learning environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Faculty, staff and students have a right to work and learn in an atmosphere that promotes equal opportunity and prohibits discriminatory practices such as harassment.

Definitions

Workplace and academic environment harassment is a form of discrimination. Unlawful harassment includes unwelcome verbal, written or physical conduct by any one person toward another person based on that person’s race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation or disability. Any such conduct which harasses, disregards, interferes with work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment is prohibited by this policy. 

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for  sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when (1)submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic standing decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment. Sexual harassment may involve the behavior of a person of either sex. Sexual harassment is prohibited by this policy.

Examples of behavior that would be considered to be unlawful, sexual, workplace or academic harassment include but are not limited to the following:

 

  1. Racial, ethnic, or sexual slurs or jokes, whether communicated verbally, in writing or electronically.
  2. The use of racial or ethnic nicknames or stereotyping.
  3. Vulgar, offensive or obscene language, noises or gestures.
  4. Display of vulgar, offensive, explicit or obscene pictures, photographs, cartoons, materials or web sites.
  5. Verbal or physical abuse.
  6. Unwelcome or uninvited sexual advances, propositions, flirtations, innuendos, or request for “dates.”
  7. Demands for sexual favors.
  8. Physical touching, grabbing, rubbing, patting, pinching, hitting, or any other unwelcome or offensive physical contact.
  9. Whistling, leering, or staring in an offensive or inappropriate manner.
  10. Commenting about an individual’s body, dress, appearance, sexual activities or prowess.

 

Employees and students are encouraged to report all incidents of harassment. Anyone who believes that he or she is being harassed by a co-worker, faculty member, student, supervisor, administrator or other individual at the College, or believes that his or her employment or academic career is being adversely affected by such conduct should

immediately report such concerns. Employees should report concerns to their supervisor, next level administrator, another administrator, or the Director of Human Resources. Students should report such concerns to one of the three harassment information centers (the Counseling Services, the College Nurse, or the Director of Human Resources).

Retaliation

No individual making a complaint, whether formal or informal, will be retaliated against, even if a complaint made in good faith is not substantiated. Witnesses involved in any complaint of harassment will also be protected from retaliation. A student or employee who believes he or she has been subjected to any form of retaliation after filing a complaint under this policy may file an additional complaint regarding the perceived retaliation. 

False or Malicious Complaints

It is a form of harassment to file a knowingly false or malicious complaint of harassment or to knowingly provide false information in the course of an investigation of such complaint. Such conduct is considered a violation of this Anti-Harassment policy and will subject an employee or student to disciplinary action.

Supervisory Responsibility

Supervisors will strive to maintain a harassment-free college environment by promoting professionalism and by dealing with harassment promptly. Supervisors will address any observed or reported incident or complaint of harassment with seriousness and will take prompt action while observing strict confidentiality, whether or not a formal written complaint has been filed. Employees must also ensure that no retaliation will result against the person making a harassment complaint. Supervisors should consult the Director of Human Resources regarding any harassment complaint reported to them.

Prompt Investigation and Confidentiality

Complaints of unlawful sexual or other harassment are serious violations of College policy. Once a complaint of unlawful harassment has been made, the College has an obligation to promptly investigate the matter. The College will take prompt remedial action to address a substantiated complaint of unlawful harassment. All investigations into claims of unlawful harassment will be conducted respectfully. Every reasonable effort will be made to preserve confidentiality, to the extent practicable. However, in the course of an investigation, it will be necessary to discuss the complaint with the claimed offender, other persons who may have relevant information, and those with a legitimate  need to know.

Procedures for Resolution of Claims of Harassment

The College harassment policy reflects a commitment to maintaining an environment that is free from harassment of any complaints and expects that the use of these procedures will facilitate a prompt resolution of such complaints. An employee or student who believes that he or she has been harassed in violation of this section should take action in any of the following ways:

 

  1. Inform the individual, verbally or in writing, that the behavior is unwelcome and that the behavior should stop immediately. If the unwelcome behavior does not stop, the harassed employee must report such behavior to his or her supervisor, and/or the Director of Human Resources immediately. Students must report such behavior to one of the three harassment information centers (Counseling Services, the College Nurse, or the Director of Human Resources).


  2. An employee should report the unwelcome behavior to his/her supervisor and request assistance to stop the behavior. If the employee’s supervisor is the individual involved in the unwelcome behavior, report the unwelcome behavior to the appropriate Vice President or the Director of Human Resources. Students should report the unwelcome behavior to one of the three harassment information centers (Counseling Services, the College Nurse, or the Director of Human Resources).
     
  3. Report the unwelcome behavior to the Director of Human Resources.

 

Informal Complaint Resolution

Informal harassment complaint resolution may be achieved by any of the steps outlined below.

 

  1. An employee complainant may meet with his or her supervisor or the Director of Human Resources to clarify whether harassing behavior is occurring and to discuss appropriate responses and plans as to how the issue might be resolved. A student complainant may meet with Counseling Services, the College Nurse, or the Director of Human Resources.

  2. An employee complainant may request that his or her supervisor or the Director of Human Resources meet with the alleged harasser (“respondent”) to discuss the alleged conduct and to remind him or her of College policies against harassment and to obtain agreement by the respondent to comply with these policies. A complainant may request that, when possible, such a conversation be held without the identity of the complainant being revealed to the respondent. A student complainant request will be handled in a similar manner by one of the three harassment information centers (Counseling Services, the College Nurse, or the Director of Human Resources).

  3. An employee complainant may request that his or her supervisor or the Director of Human Resources meet with the complainant and the respondent in the role of a mediator to reach resolution of the issue. A student complainant may make a similar request of Counseling Services, the College Nurse, or the Director of Human Resources. Any resolution reached by mediation will include an agreement by the respondent to comply with and be bound by such policies.

 

After the informal complaint resolution has concluded, the complainant’s supervisor or harassment information center personnel, if involved, will forward all documentation concerning the complaint to the Director of Human Resources. The Director of Human Resources will maintain a record of the complaint in order to document that the claim of harassment was made and to document the outcome of the informal resolution.

Initiating a Formal Complaint

An individual may file a formal complaint of harassment if the informal attempt(s) to resolve the complaint was not satisfactory. An individual may also file a formal complaint of harassment if he or she chooses to bypass the informal process. All formal complaints of harassment should be submitted in writing directly to the Director of Human Resources as soon after the offending conduct as possible but in no event more than three months after the most recent conduct alleged to constitute harassment.

The three-month limitation on the filing of claims of harassment is intended to encourage complainants to come forward as soon as possible after the offending conduct and to protect respondents against complaints that are too old to be effectively investigated. If a complainant demonstrates sound reasons for failing to come forward within the three-month period, the Director of Human Resources has discretion whether to investigate the complaint. If the Director of Human Resources decides a complaint will not be formally investigated, informal resolution or counseling may be recommended.

The process for resolution of formal harassment complaints consists of two stages: 1) investigation; and 2) report and recommendation. Prior to investigation, a formal complaint, signed by the complainant, must be submitted in writing to the Director of Human Resources. The written complaint shall include the name(s) of the complainant and the respondent(s) and the details of the conduct alleged to be harassment. The Director of Human Resources will promptly designate a team to investigate the complaint.

Creation of Investigative Team

The Director of Human Resources will convene an investigative team consisting of two individuals, one male and one female, who are not immediate supervisors of the complainant(s) or respondent(s) and who do not have a conflict of interest with the complainant(s) or respondent(s). The investigative team may consist of the Director of Human Resources as long as the above criteria are met.

The investigative team shall interview the individual(s) filing a complaint(s), the respondent(s), and other individuals named by the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) who are identified as having information relevant to the allegations. The investigative team may interview other individuals it identifies as having information potentially relevant to the complaint. All interviews should be completed as soon as practicable.

Report and Recommendations

Using the information gathered by the investigative team and in consultation with the investigative team, the Director of Human Resources will prepare a formal report consisting of the complaint, the response of the respondent, the investigative team’s findings, and a recommendation of the appropriate action(s) to be taken. The report will be retained by the Director of Human Resources.

Determinations

The President will designate the appropriate cabinet-level member to review the report. The cabinet-level designee may: 1) accept the report and recommendations as  presented; or 2) request additional information/clarification from the investigative team and consider a modified report as appropriate.

After consideration of the final report, the cabinet-level designee will make a determination regarding the report. In consultation with the cabinet-level designee, the Director of Human Resources will prepare formal responses to the complainant and respondent, which shall include a summary of the investigation findings and communication of any action to be taken. Such action will depend on the nature of the offense and may include but is not limited to oral or written reprimand, suspension, reassignment, or termination. For students, action would include regular college disciplinary procedures as found in Policy 07.28. The complainant(s) and/or the respondent(s) may submit a written statement to the President concerning the findings and resulting actions within ten (10) business days of having received the College’s formal response. The President may uphold the prior findings and recommendation or may determine a different response.

Special Circumstances

A student or employee who wishes to bring a claim of harassment against the Director of Human Resources must file the complaint with the President, who will appoint the members of the investigative team. A student or employee who wishes to bring a claim of sexual harassment against the President must file the complaint with the Director of Human Resources, who will refer the complaint to the Chair of the Board of Trustees for investigation.

 

 


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