Equity means fairness. Harassment and discrimination are equity issues.
There are employment occasions when employees have been fired or did not receive full employment opportunity in a job because someone doesn't like or is uncomfortable with another person's race, sex, religion, creed, national origin, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, political affiliation, veteran status, disability or genetic information. In workplaces, at times, co-workers harass others, or try to convert other employees to their point of view. There are incidences where supervisors have extended better treatment and job opportunities to employees who share their faith than to those employees of another religion. And, at times, employees find that they are accused of engaging in harassing behavior. Students may experience harassment and discrimination in educational programs, services or activities.
Equity issues brought to EDC are investigated and resolved among all parties by a variety of means, from conversation to mediation to the filing of a formal complaint, followed by a full investigation conducted by an EDC investigator.
When is an investigation appropriate?
The university will conduct an investigation when a person alleges that he/she witnessed or was the victim of harassment or other forms of impermissible discrimination, or otherwise has credible, verifiable information that such harassment or discrimination has occurred. It bears emphasizing that the complainant need not be the victim of the alleged behavior; the complainant might be a witness or friend of the victim. The issue is whether the information is credible; determination of credibility may require some preliminary investigation. The university has an obligation to investigate such allegations, and, if the facts warrant, to take appropriate remedial action that is reasonably likely to prevent the recurrence of such conduct.
What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality is of paramount importance in all interactions. Client information is shared only with individuals who have a legitimate need to know due to their roles and responsibilities at the university.
How long do I have to file a complaint?
Complaints should be filed within 30 days to protect appeal rights for certain state employees.
Appalachian State University will address harassment and discrimination concerns and rectify problems as warranted even if the complaint is brought forward to the attention of EDC after 30 days of an occurrence of such harassment, discrimination or retaliation. However, in accordance with the North Carolina State Personnel Act and the North Carolina Office of State Personnel Policy on Unlawful Workplace Harassment, in order to protect their rights, employees subject to the State Personnel Act, N.C.G.S. §126-1, et sec. (an "SPA Employee"), must file a report of workplace harassment with EDC within 30 calendar days of the alleged action.
Do I have a right to appeal?
Employees have the right to appeal the ultimate decision regarding their complaint under Appalachian State University applicable grievance procedures.
In unlawful workplace harassment grievances:
- If an SHRA employee is not satisfied with the university's response to the complaint after the 60 calendar day response period has expired, the complainant may appeal directly to the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings and the State Human Resources Commission within 30 calendar days. Any complainant not subject to the State Personnel Act may, if not satisfied with the university's response, pursue such other administrative or judicial remedies (e.g., grievance, lawsuit) as may be available.
- A complainant of workplace harassment and/or discrimination has a right to file a simultaneous complaint under Title VII with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for allegations of discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of membership in a class protected by Title VII.
- A complainant of harassment and/or discrimination in university programs, services and activities may file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.