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KUMC Discrimination Complaint Resolution Process

Policy
Procedure
Purpose: 

To describe the process for resolution of complaints of discrimination on the basis of race (including racial harassment), religion, color, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy, sexual harassment, and sexual violence), disability, national origin, ancestry, age, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, retaliation, and genetic information.

Applies to: 

All faculty, staff, and students of the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Campus: 
Medical Center, Kansas City
Wichita
Salina
Policy Statement: 

In accordance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Executive Order 11246, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Americans with Disabilities Act, the Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, the Jobs for Veterans Act of 2002, the Kansas Acts Against Discrimination and all other applicable civil rights and nondiscrimination statutes, the University of Kansas and its University of Kansas Medical Center prohibits discrimination. Specifically, the University of Kansas Medical Center prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, retaliation, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies of the University of Kansas Medical Center: Director, Equal Opportunity Office, 3901 Rainbow Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66160, (913) 588-8011, 711 TTY, nholick@kumc.edu.

Scope of Policy

The university's nondiscrimination policy extends to employment practices, conditions of employment, personnel actions and all other educational programs and activities of the university and its affiliates. It also extends to any retaliatory actions by an individual and his/her associates that may arise as a result of a discrimination complaint. Leaders in the university community continuously examine all areas of the institution, make policy decisions, and implement strategies to eliminate and prevent discrimination wherever necessary.

Discrimination Complaint Resolution Process

The University of Kansas Medical Center is committed to resolving discrimination complaints in a timely and effective manner and providing prompt corrective action if discrimination is believed to have occurred. The discrimination complaint resolution process is intended to provide effective resolution for complaints of discrimination and harassment, as outlined above. Affected persons, including students, faculty, staff, community members or others involved in university events or programs, may utilize the process to address complaints of discrimination related to University hiring and selection procedures, employment practices, conditions of employment, personnel actions, or University educational programs and activities.

Who may utilize the University Discrimination Complaint Procedures?

Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a prohibited discriminatory practice at the University may contact the Equal Opportunity Office, 3901 Rainbow Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66160, (913) 588-8011, nholick@kumc.edu. Individuals who may use this procedure include, but are not limited to: individuals applying for enrollment or employment with the university; students; faculty, including those with visiting appointments; teaching or research assistants; postdoctoral research associates and fellows; university support staff and other unclassified employees; university administrators; and other persons receiving university services or participating in university programs. A person in the university community may ask that the Equal Opportunity Office initiate an investigation of a specific matter. The Equal Opportunity Office may also initiate an investigation when it has reason to believe that discriminatory or retaliatory action is occurring.

Complaint Resolution Actions and Procedures

The process for resolving discrimination complaints may include some or all of the following actions: informal inquiry and discussion, mediation (except in cases of sexual harassment, including sexual violence), disciplinary action, or other appropriate action. If the subject matter or issue of the complaint does not fall within the jurisdiction of this policy, the Equal Opportunity Office will advise the complainant of other available procedures.

In many cases, individuals will take appropriate corrective action when they are made aware of how their actions or behaviors are being perceived. If the complainant is comfortable doing so, he or she may bring the concerns to the attention of the person responsible for the behavior or action. Individuals subjected to sexual violence are never expected to attempt informal resolution directly with the perpetrator. Complainants who choose not to address the discrimination directly on their own or through other informal processes may seek the assistance of the Equal Opportunity Office, 3901 Rainbow Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66160, (913) 588-8011, nholick@kumc.edu. Complainants are encouraged to file their complaints within one hundred eighty (180) days of the most recent occurrence of the alleged discrimination.

Who must report discriminatory actions?

Unit heads and others who serve in leadership roles in the university are responsible for nondiscrimination in their employment and academic environments. Deans, Directors, Chairpersons or other administrators or supervisors, including faculty members, graduate teaching assistants, and academic advisors shall contact the Equal Opportunity Office to initiate an investigation within their area of responsibility if they know or have reason to believe that discriminatory practice(s) may have occurred. All employees are responsible for reporting incidents of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, if aware of such incidents or allegations. The Director of the Equal Opportunity Office may also initiate an investigation when appropriate and in the interests of the University to do so.

Complaint

An individual who believes that he or she has been the subject of discrimination or retaliation, or an individual who has reason to believe that discrimination or retaliation may have occurred, should contact the Equal Opportunity Office to initiate the filing of a complaint. A complaint should include the following, to the extent known and available:

  • Name and contact information (address, telephone, e-mail) for the complainant;
  • Name of person(s) directly responsible for the alleged discrimination or retaliation;
  • Date(s), time(s), and place(s) of the alleged violation(s);
  • Nature of the alleged violation(s); i.e. race, sex, disability discrimination or retaliation, etc.;
  • Detailed description of the specific conduct that is the basis of the alleged violation(s);
  • Copies of any documents or other tangible items pertaining to the alleged violation(s);
  • Names and contact information for any witnesses to the alleged violation(s);
  • Any other relevant information.

Upon receiving a complaint, the Equal Opportunity Office will provide the complainant with an acknowledgement of receipt within seven (7) working days and will include in that acknowledgement the web address where the Discrimination Complaint Resolution Process can be found.

Complaint Evaluation

Upon receiving a complaint, the Equal Opportunity Office shall conduct an initial evaluation of the merits of the complaint and determine the appropriate investigatory action required. The Equal Opportunity Office staff will contact the dean, director, administrator, supervisor, or chairperson responsible for the unit to inform them of the filing of the complaint. When necessary, appropriate administrator(s) or faculty member(s) may be designated by the Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor, appropriate Vice Chancellor, Dean, Director, or Chairperson, by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Compliance, or by the Director of the Equal Opportunity Office to participate in the evaluation of the complaint and to facilitate necessary action.

Interim Measures

When a report of sexual violence is made, the University may determine that interim measures or accommodations are necessary, during the pendency of any investigation, to prevent the recurrence of such violence or harassment. Interim measures are intended to be temporary and may include, but are not limited to, cease and desist orders, adjustments to work or class schedules, or alternative class or work participation. Where a Title IX violation occurred, the Complainant will also be provided notice of any individual remedies offered or provided to the complainant, any sanctions imposed on the perpetrator that directly relate to the complainant, and other steps the University of Kansas Medical Center has taken to prevent recurrence of the violation.

Investigation

A formal investigation will be initiated if a complaint is complete, timely, within the scope of this policy and articulates sufficient facts, which if determined to be accurate, would support a finding that the University's discrimination policies have been violated. Investigator(s) assigned to conduct an investigation will be trained and impartial. In conducting investigations into violations of the University’s Policies, the Equal Opportunity Office will use a preponderance of the evidence standard in making factual determinations. A preponderance of the evidence standard means the fact in issue is more probably true than not.

Investigation Timeframe

The University will strive to complete discrimination complaint investigations, including issuance of a report of findings to the complainant and respondent, in as timely and efficient a manner as possible within sixty (60) days of receipt of a complaint. However, this timeframe may be extended based on factors such as, but not limited to, schedule and availability of witnesses, holidays or semester breaks including summer break, and complexity of the complaint. If an investigation cannot be completed within sixty (60) days of receipt of the complaint, then the investigator(s) will notify the complainant and respondent of that fact and provide a timeframe for completing the investigation.

Investigation Procedure

The investigation will include the following steps:

  • Notice to Respondent. The respondent will be provided with a statement of the complaint in writing, and the complainant will be provided a copy of this notification. The respondent will be provided an opportunity to meet with the investigator(s) investigating the complaint and to respond to the allegation. Respondents may respond in person or in writing within a reasonable time to be determined by the investigator(s). If a respondent chooses not to participate or refuses to answer a complaint, his/her nonparticipation will not prevent the investigation from proceeding and could result in a finding based solely on the information provided by the complainant.
  • Notice regarding Retaliation. All parties to a complaint (complainant, respondent, witnesses, and appropriate administrators or supervisors) will be informed that retaliation by an individual or his/her associates against any person who files a complaint or any person who participates in the investigation of a complaint is prohibited. Individuals who engage in retaliation are subject to disciplinary action.
  • Contact with Complainant. If the investigator(s) did not speak with the complainant at the time that the complaint was received by the Equal Opportunity Office, then the investigator(s) will meet or speak with the complainant at the start of the investigation and throughout the investigation as appropriate.
  • Representation. In any meeting with the investigator(s), the parties to the complaint (complainant and the respondent) may bring a representative to the meeting. If the representative is an attorney, the party must notify the Equal Opportunity Office in writing at least three (3) working days before the meeting date.
  • Information relevant to Investigation. The parties to a complaint (complainant and respondent) will be informed that they have the opportunity to identify witnesses, present witness statements, and any other evidence they believe relevant to resolution of the complaint. The investigator(s) will interview other persons whom the investigator(s) in their discretion determines to be necessary to gather relevant information. The investigator(s) will review any written materials, e-mails or other media that as determined by the investigator(s) in their discretion may provide relevant information regarding the complaint.
  • Findings of Investigation. The investigator(s) will provide a written summary of their findings simultaneously to the respondent and the complainant within a reasonable time following the conclusion of the investigation. In addition, the investigator(s) will provide a written report of the investigation findings and recommendations to the appropriate administrators within the University who will determine the appropriate action to be taken in light of the investigation findings and recommendations. The administrators will have twenty (20) working days from receipt of the investigation findings and recommendations to determine, in consultation with the Equal Opportunity Office, an appropriate resolution(s). Upon making their decision, the administrator(s) will provide written notification of their decision to both the respondent and complainant.

Appeals.

  • Respondent, Finding of Discrimination or Retaliation with Imposition of Discipline. If formal disciplinary action is imposed as a result of a finding of violation of the University's policies prohibiting discrimination and retaliation, then a respondent may request a hearing as follows:
  • Faculty member or an unclassified professional staff member.  Appeals will be handled in accordance with the KUMC Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staffhttp://www.kumc.edu/Documents/faculty%20affairs/Handbook.pdf.
  • Student.  A student may request an appeal in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Student Handbook for their respective school:
  • Resident or Post Doctorate Fellow: A physician in a graduate medical education program may file an appeal with the Program and the Office of Graduate Medical Education in accordance with the Graduate Medical Education Policy and Procedure Manual.
  • University Support Staff Employee. Appeals will be handled in accordance with the University of Kansas Medical Center Policies of the University Support Staff (USS).

Complainant. If the Equal Opportunity Investigator issues a finding that there was no violation of policy, the complainant (if not anonymous) will be notified of the conclusion and will be informed in the notification that the complainant may appeal the investigator’s finding to the Vice Chancellor for Administration within ten (10) working days of the notice. The request for an appeal must be a signed, written document articulating why the finding of no violation was in error. The Vice Chancellor for Administration will respond to the request for appeal within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the appeal. If the finding is upheld, then that decision will constitute final agency action and there is no further appeal within the University. If the Vice Chancellor for Administration determines, based upon a preponderance of all the evidence, that a violation of policy did occur, the decision will be sent back to the Equal Opportunity Office for notification to the respondent and recommendations for remedial action.

Administrative Closure of a Complaint without Investigation

The University may not proceed with a complaint investigation under a variety of circumstances, for instance:

  • A complainant, even after contact and follow up with an investigator, fails to describe in sufficient detail the conduct that is the basis of the complaint;
  • The conduct alleged in the complaint is not covered by this policy;
  • The complaint is untimely;
  • The complainant refuses to cooperate with the University's investigation;
  • The complainant is anonymous;
  • The complainant files an external complaint on the same facts.

If it is determined that the University will not proceed with investigation of a complaint, the Equal Opportunity Office will notify the complainant (if not anonymous) in writing explaining the reasons why the complaint is not being investigated. The notification letter will include a statement notifying the complainant that he or she may appeal the determination not to proceed with an investigation of the complaint to the Vice Chancellor for Administration within ten (10) working days of the notice. The request for an appeal must be a signed, written document articulating why the decision to administratively close the complaint without an investigation was in error. The Vice Chancellor for Administration will respond to the request for appeal within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the appeal. If the decision to administratively close the complaint without an investigation is upheld, then that decision will constitute final agency action and there is no further appeal within the University. If the decision to administratively close the complaint without an investigation is overturned, the complaint will be sent back to the Equal Opportunity Office for investigation in accordance with this procedure.

Extensions of Time

The Equal Opportunity Office will make every reasonable attempt to adhere to the time limits set forth in these procedures. However, it is recognized that circumstances may necessitate an extension of time. Therefore, the Director, Equal Opportunity Office may extend the time limits set forth in these procedures.

Retaliation

Retaliation against persons who file discrimination complaints or persons who participate in an investigation of a complaint, whether by an individual directly involved or by his/her associates, is a violation of law and University policy. Complainants who utilize these procedures or persons who participate in an investigation of a complaint should not be subjected to retaliation. Retaliation may take the form of direct or indirect unwanted contact from the respondent or someone acting on the respondent’s behalf. Retaliation may also take the form of giving additional assignments that are not assigned to others in similar situations, poor grades or unreasonable course assignments. Phone calls, e-mail or other attempts to discuss the complaint may be perceived as retaliation under certain circumstances. Disciplinary action, harassment, unsupported evaluations, or other adverse changes in the conditions of employment or the educational environment may also constitute retaliation. Retaliation will not be tolerated and could result in suspension, reassignment, salary reduction, termination, expulsion or other disciplinary action.

Abuse of the Discrimination Complaint Resolution Process

The University takes all discrimination complaints seriously. However, knowingly filing a false complaint is considered serious misconduct and is also subject to sanction. An individual who establishes a pattern of repeatedly filing frivolous complaints that harass colleagues and/or abuse the complaint resolution process may lose the right to file complaints for a specified period of time. Such cases shall be treated in accordance with applicable KU Medical Center policy.

Confidentiality

The Equal Opportunity Office will handle all discrimination and harassment complaints discreetly but cannot guarantee confidentiality or anonymity because the University has an obligation to investigate complaints of discrimination and harassment and to maintain a safe environment, free from harassment and discrimination. Because of its obligations under the law, the KU Medical Center will not be able to honor all requests for confidentiality or all requests that a complaint not be pursued.

However, complainants, respondents, witnesses, and any other parties involved in a complaint of discrimination shall refrain from disclosing information about a complaint of discrimination to anyone who does not have a legitimate, business need or right to know. Such disclosures are inappropriate and unprofessional and may result in disciplinary action. The foregoing does not preclude either party from seeking the advice or counsel of a supervisor, counselor, attorney, or other person in a similar role.

State and Federal Reporting of Discrimination

Employees may file employment discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Kansas Human Rights Commission. Students may file discrimination complaints through the Office of Civil Rights in the U. S. Department of Education or the Kansas Human Rights Commission. The Equal Opportunity Office can provide information about deadlines and filing procedures for the state and federal agencies.

Consequences: 

Members of the University community who are found to have violated the University Nondiscrimination Policy are subject to disciplinary actions appropriate to their status as faculty, staff, or student employees or as students.

Contact: 

Natalie Holick, Director
Equal Opportunity Office
(913) 588-8011 direct phone line
711 TTY
nholick@kumc.edu

Approved by: 
Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Tuesday, July 1, 2003
Effective on: 
Friday, August 1, 2003
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Definitions: 

Sexual Harassment: “Sexual Harassment” means behavior, including physical contact, advances, and comments in person, through an intermediary, and/or via phone, text message, email, social media, or other electronic medium, that is unwelcome; based on sex or gender stereotypes; and is so severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a person’s academic performance, employment or equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities or by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment. Sexual Harassment may include but is not limited to:

(1) unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship;

(2) unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities;

(3) threatening to engage in the commission of an unwelcome sexual act with another person;

(4) stalking or cyberstalking;

(5) engaging in indecent exposure; voyeurism, or other invasion of personal privacy;

(6) unwelcome physical touching or closeness;

(7) unwelcome jokes or teasing of a sexual nature or based upon gender or sex stereotypes;

(8) domestic violence or dating violence; and

(9) sexual violence, as defined below.

Title IX and University Policy prohibit gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Violence: “Sexual violence” means any physical act which is sexual in nature that is committed by force or without the full and informed consent of all persons involved. Sexual violence may include but is not limited to rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual exploitation. Sexual violence can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual violence can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Gender Identity: The gender that a person claims for oneself – which may or may not align with the gender assigned to the person at birth.

Gender Expression: How a person behaves, appears, or presents oneself with regard to societal expectations of gender. This may include clothing, hairstyle, facial make-up, vocal inflection, posture, and behavior regardless of the individual’s biological sex.

Keywords: 
Discrimination, race, racial harassment, religion, color, sex, sexual harassment, sexual violence, disability, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender equity, gender identity, rape
Review, Approval & Change History: 

05/06/2016: Removed Date Last Reviewed

06/19/2015: Fixed some minor spacing issues

03/25/2015: Replaced IOA with EOO and changed references to reflect KU Medical Center in order to establish separate policy specifically applicable to KUMC.

11/2013: clarified that the preponderance of the evidence standard is applied in conducting investigations.

These procedures were adopted in 1977, amended in 1979 and 1980, revised in May 1988 and July 2003, amended to include gender identity and gender expression in October 2009, revised in January 2011, April 2011, and August 2011; added Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and University of Kansas Combined Notice of Nondiscrimination April 30, 2012.

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