Nondiscrimination & Non-harassment Policy
Portland Community College’s goal is to provide an atmosphere that encourages individuals to realize their potential. Therefore, it is against the College’s policy for any manager, supervisor, faculty, staff, or student to engage in harassment or discrimination of any member of the College community.
The College prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, ethnicity, use of native language, national origin, sex, marital status, height/weight ratio, disability, veteran status, age, or sexual orientation in any area, activity or operation of the College. In addition, the College complies with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended), related Executive Orders 11246 and 11375, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (as amended), USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, and all local and state civil rights laws. The prohibition against harassment or discrimination based on the use of native language does not require the College to offer classes in any other language other than English.
Under this policy, equal opportunity for employment, admission, and participation in the College’s benefits and services shall be extended to all persons, and the College shall promote equal opportunity and treatment through application of this policy and other College efforts designed for that purpose.
Under the College’s policy harassing or discriminatory behaviors will not be tolerated. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every member of the College community to strictly comply with the policy and any procedures directed by the District President to implement the policy. This includes notifying each employee/student of his or her rights and responsibilities under PCC’s Nondiscrimination and Non-harassment Policy. Management and staff will be held accountable to take reasonable action to maintain work sections and educational environments free of conduct that causes, or reasonably could be considered to cause intimidation, hostility, or discrimination.
Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against or harassed by a College employee, representative or student is encouraged to file a complaint through the Affirmative Action / Equity Office. Complaints about issues other than alleged discrimination or harassment may be submitted in accordance with any applicable appropriate collective bargaining agreement procedure or the procedure in the Management/Confidential Handbook, or, for students, through the student grievance procedure.
At any point in the procedure, the complainant may file a complaint with (1) the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); (2) the Office of Civil Rights; (3) the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries Civil Rights Division; or (4) the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development. If the complainant chooses to file through any of these agencies or in court, the College may suspend the internal complaint procedure.
The District President may establish additional procedures that implement this Policy consistently across the District.
Unlawful Discrimination: different treatment of or denial of a benefit to a person because of the person’s protected status. Harassment, which is defined below, is a form of discrimination.
Harassment: verbal, visual or physical behavior that:
- can reasonably be perceived by the receiver(s) as unwelcome/offensive and refers in a demeaning way to characteristics of any of the groups listed in the policy statement; and
- creates a hostile or adverse work/educational environment; and
- subjects employees or students to different terms or conditions based on the characteristics listed in the policy statement. Examples of harassment may include, but are not limited to: comments, slurs, jokes, symbols, innuendos, cartoons, pranks, physical harassment, etc., which are derogatory on the basis of characteristics listed in the policy statement.
The most common types of harassment are
- Sexual Harassment: Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. The courts have interpreted the principles reflected in the EEOC guidelines as describing two principle types of sexual harassment:
- QUID PRO QUO cases: harassment used as a term or condition of employment or when specific academic or employment benefits are withheld as a means of coercing sexual favors. This type of harassment occurs when the party in the superior position of power uses his or her actual or apparent authority to hire, fire, discipline, promote, or otherwise affect an employee’s benefits of employment or to make academic benefits contingent on desired responses to implied or overt overtones of a sexual or romantic nature.
- HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT cases: harassment that creates a "poisoned" or "hostile" work or educational environment. In typical "hostile work environment" cases, a superior either creates or condones a work environment in which sexual harassment exists. A hostile environment can be caused by sexually demeaning jokes or remarks.
- Sex-Based Harassment: a behavior that degrades, denigrates, ridicules, and/or is physically abusive of an employee/student because of his or her perceived gender or sexual orientation.
- Racial Harassment: a behavior that denigrates, ridicules, and or is verbally or is physically abusive of an employee/student because of his or her perceived race.
- Harassment Based on National Origin: a behavior that denigrates, ridicules, and/or is physically abusive of an employee/student because of his or her perceived ancestry, heritage or background identification.
Harassment can occur based on any protected status and all such harassment is prohibited by this policy.
No employee or student shall be fired, expelled, suspended or otherwise harassed or discriminated against because he or she has filed a complaint, internally or externally, or has objected to, or testified about a possible violation of the law.
There is both an informal and formal complaint procedure. Normally the informal process is followed before any formal process begins unless the College determines it is more appropriate to begin with the formal process.
The Affirmative Action / Equity Office, at its discretion, may enlist any assistance it chooses to resolve a complaint.
Any individual may initiate a discrimination or harassment complaint by contacting the Affirmative Action / Equity Office. The allegations will be examined for application of this policy. If the allegations do not implicate discrimination or harassment, the College will notify the individual of any other applicable College policy or procedure for addressing the concerns. A record will be kept of the complaint or incident for the time period required by law.
If any of the College's representatives typically involved in processing a Nondiscrimination and Non-harassment Policy complaint are or become the subject of the complaint, the following guidelines will be followed:
If the District President is the subject of allegations of harassment or discrimination the complaint will go directly to the Chair of the Board of the College.
If the Affirmative Action / Equity Director or any member of the Affirmative Action / Equity staff is the subject of allegations of harassment or discrimination the complaint will go directly to the District President.
If the complaint is against the Board of Directors, the complaint falls outside the scope of this document and should be filed with the State of Oregon Affirmative Action Director.
The informal procedure is voluntary and creates an avenue to attempt to resolve the complaint through personal and cooperative meetings with the involved parties. If informal means do not resolve the complaint, the complainant has the option of filing a formal complaint.
- Complaints within the scope of the Nondiscrimination and Non-harassment Policy must be addressed to the Affirmative Action / Equity Office either orally or in writing.
- Complaints must be made within a maximum of 180 days after a disputed action.
- After receiving an informal complaint, the Affirmative Action / Equity Director or his or her designees will:
- Meet with the complainant and determine the nature of the complaint.
- Explain the informal complaint procedure and develop an action plan.
- Attempt to resolve the complaint by meeting with the complainant, any individual accused of discrimination or harassment, College officials, and anyone else involved. These meetings will be informal, and unless all parties agree in writing, neither the complainant nor the College will be represented by an attorney.
- Informal complaints will be conducted in a prompt and equitable manner in attempting to resolve complaints alleging action prohibited under this Policy.
- Complainants may skip the Informal Complaint Procedure and file a formal complaint which will be handled under the Formal Complaint Procedure.
Step II: Formal Complaint Procedure
- If the complaint is not resolved informally or if it begins under the Formal Complaint Procedure, the complainant must prepare a written statement, using appropriate forms, describing the basis of the claim and a summary of the facts which are alleged to constitute discrimination or harassment.
- The Affirmative Action / Equity Director or designee will meet with the complainant to learn more about the complaint. The Affirmative Action / Equity Director will determine whether the Nondiscrimination and Non-harassment policy is applicable.
- If the complaint alleges behavior that is prohibited by the Nondiscrimination and Non-harassment Policy, the Affirmative Action / Equity Office shall notify the person against whom the complaint has been made. Before meeting with a person against whom the complaint has been made the College will provide a summary outlining the complaint. The Affirmative Action / Equity Office or designee, shall objectively investigate the allegations, interview witnesses, and review any supporting documentation. All parties involved have the right to have another person present as a witness during interviews.
- Information concerning an investigation is generally considered confidential and will be disclosed only if required by law. The College may keep the names of witnesses and complainants confidential when, in the discretion of the College, doing so is necessary for the protection of the student or employee.
- Complainants and respondents are expected to fully cooperate with any investigation. If the complainant refuses to cooperate, the complaint will be deemed withdrawn. If the respondent refuses to cooperate, it will be considered a violation of College policy.
- The Affirmative Action / Equity Director will consult Human Resources before completion of the final report when a complaint is made by an employee. The Director will consult the appropriate academic administrator before completion of the report when a complaint is made by a student.
- After completing the investigation, the Affirmative Action / Equity Director or designee shall prepare a draft report to be discussed with the appropriate manager, the direct supervisor, or the appropriate academic administrator, describing the complaint, the results of the investigation, and the suggested remedy, if any. The final report will be submitted to the District President, the Executive Officer, appropriate management, the Human Resource Department and the Affirmative Action / Equity Office, with a summary sent to the involved parties.
- The Affirmative Action / Equity Office will strive to complete the investigation and the report within forty-five (45) College business days of the receipt of the complaint. If circumstances warrant an extension of the forty five (45) day deadline the complainant and the respondent will be notified.
In cases where allegations are proved to be without foundation, no record of the allegations or the investigation would be included in the personnel or student file of the accused.
Step III: Decision by the Appropriate Executive Officer
- Step III only comes into effect in the event that the investigator concludes that the allegations are substantiated. The Affirmative Action / Equity Office will provide the appropriate academic or Human Resources official with the written report.
- The appropriate academic or Human Resources official shall issue a written determination concerning the complaint. If appropriate, the decision should contain an outline of the actions proposed to remedy the situation.
- The written decision and the determination will be sent to the District President, Affirmative Action / Equity Director and the Human Resources Director and/or other appropriate academic official. Executive staff will try to provide the written decision to the complainant and the respondent within ten (10) College business days of the meeting with the complainant or of the complainant's decision not to meet.
Step IV: Appeal to the District President
A complainant may appeal a decision that finds the complaint unsubstantiated to the District President by providing a written letter of appeal within fourteen (14) College business days of receipt of the summary report.
The District President or designee will review the appeal and any information the President deems necessary to determine if the investigation was fair and impartial and whether the findings are supported by facts. Within fourteen (14) College business days of receiving a written appeal, the District President or designee will respond to the complainant and provide a copy to the Affirmative Action / Equity Office and the Human Resource Department, the respondent, and any other appropriate personnel.
Step V: Optional Board Review
- The District President of the College will report all decisions on complaints to the Board.
- The complainant may ask, in writing, for a Board review of the complaint. In addition, the Board may initiate the review on its own. In either case, the decision to review a complaint is within the discretion of the Board.
- If the Board determines that a particular complaint raises issues that they should hear and consider, it will notify the complainant that it will review the decision.
- The decision by the Board is final, subject only to appeal pursuant to OAR 589-010-0100.
Step VI: Appeal
The complainant may appeal the College's decision by writing to the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development Commissioner pursuant to the Oregon Department of Education Administrative Rule OAR 589-010-0100.
Revised: March, 2010