VII.D. BSC Harassment Grievances Procedure

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  1. BSC Harassment Policy
    The BSC does not condone and will not tolerate any type of harassment. This includes harassment on the job and in the living environment. Any member or employee who harasses another member or employee will be subject to disciplinary measures. Prompt action up to and including termination of employment or membership, may be taken against any member or employee who harasses any other member or employee.
  2. Definition of Harassment
    Harassment is a form of discrimination which subjects its targets to unwanted attention. Unwelcome advances, requests for favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of an offensive or intimidating nature constitute harassment when:
    1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of residency or employment,
    2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making personnel decisions affecting an individual, and/or
    3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

    In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment, consideration shall be given to the record of the incident as a whole and to the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

  3. Dissemination of Information
    Take any member or employee/member’s complaint of harassment seriously. On a semesterly basis, the Member Resources department will:
    1. publish and post copies of the harassment policy prominently in all living and work sites;
    2. notify all BSC staff, house and central level elected officers, and member resources staff of the harassment policy itself, and their role as potential contact people for reports/grievances; and
    3. send written notification to all newly elected house officers detailing the harassment policy and appropriate responses to reports.
  4. Documentation of Incident(s)
    Document all necessary facts regarding the complaint. Be sure to get all of the facts including who, what, where, when, and how the conduct occurred. Names of persons who may have witnessed the conduct are helpful.
    1. The BSC encourages members and employees to report instances of harassment in order to promote a living and work place free of intimidation.
    2. House level officials must forward any and all reports of harassment directly to any one of the following central level personnel: the Coordinator for Outreach Diversity & Anti-Discrimination or any Central Level Supervisor.
    3. The Coordinator for Outreach Diversity & Anti-Discrimination (the CODA), under the supervision of the Member Resources Supervisor, or the Member Resources Supervisor or the Operations Manager will advise house level officials of the appropriate options available in response to complaints and oversee the resolution of each complaint.
    4. Mediation and complaint resolution resources must be explored, and if feasible, pursued so that there is an attempt to resolve the complaint as expeditiously and informally as possible. This requirement may be waived on a case by case basis by the fact finder/investigator.
    5. Any individuals with potential conflicts of interest will be excused from the investigatory or decision-making roles, and if necessary the Enforcement Committee will designate a replacement(s).
    6. People who have experienced or witnessed such conduct are encouraged but not required to document same, in writing, and to forward their report(s) to house level officers or central level personnel, as appropriate.
    7. The BSC, will handle all complaints discreetly, and will maintain confidentiality to the greatest extent appropriate to the investigation and its resolution. We reserve the right to speak with members and staff who can be reasonably expected to have knowledge or information specific to the complaint.
    8. In order for the BSC to respond efficiently, the following information should be submitted by the complainant. (It is helpful to put this in writing.)
      1. Who is named as having engaged in the conduct;
      2. Name of the complainant;
      3. What specific behavior or comments occurred;
      4. Where did it occur;
      5. When did it occur;
      6. What was the response at the time, if any, and
      7. Names of witnesses, if any.
      8. The following items may be taken into consideration as applicable:
        1. Anonymous reports in writing;
        2. Supporting documents from former employees/members, and/or
        3. Reports regarding past patterns of behavior.
        4. This documentation is to be forwarded immediately to either the Member Resources Supervisor, the Operations Manager, or a designee of the Executive Director, as appropriate.
  5. Investigation
    Investigate the claim thoroughly by trying to observe the conduct if possible, interviewing other employee/members when appropriate, and talking to the named harasser.
    1. Fact finder/investigator to be one of the following: 1) the Member Resources Supervisor, or 2) the Operations Manager, or 3) a designee of the Executive Director, as appropriate.
      1. S/he is neutral (this person is not an advocate for either party).
      2. Will conduct investigation.
        1. Receive the written complaint.
        2. Complaints have 60 days to be filed after the offending incident, or 30 days after mediation. The investigation will take no longer than 60 days from the time of submission of the complaint to the submission of the preliminary report to the Enforcement Committee. Extensions will be granted by the Enforcement Committee on a case by case basis.
        3. In a private, non-confrontational meeting, inform the alleged harasser that a complaint has been submitted and is under investigation in which they have been named. Interview them for their response to the complaint. And, inform them that the Member Advocate is available to assist them in responding to the complaint.
        4. As appropriate to the particular circumstances, interview the named individuals and others who can be reasonably expected to have knowledge of specific events (the investigation will treat appropriately complaints where the parties are: member/member, staff/member, or staff/staff or where issues of supervision are involved).
        5. Review independent documentation, as appropriate.
  6. Findings
    Determine which facts tend to substantiate a complaint of harassment.
    1. The fact finder/investigator will make a preliminary finding based upon their investigation and they will:
      1. make a finding as to whether the alleged offense meets the definition of harassment,
      2. determine whether there is sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim of harassment,
      3. present the preliminary report to the Enforcement Committee, the Coordinator for Outreach Diversity & Anti-Discrimination and the BSC Executive Director,
      4. notify complainant, respondent, and the Coordinator for Outreach Diversity & Anti-Discrimination of their finding, and
      5. advise both parties that their written responses, if any, must be turned in within three (3) working days and will be forwarded to the Enforcement Committee and the BSC Executive Director for review.
    2. After the Enforcement Committee with the BSC Executive Director, as a voting member, accept the preliminary findings, the findings become official.

  7. Resolution
    Determine the appropriate action.
    1. Fact finder/investigator will also recommend appropriate action for mediation/resolution of the complaint, which must be forwarded in writing to both the Enforcement Committee and the BSC Executive Director, for review.
      1. The Enforcement Committee with the BSC Executive Director, as a voting member, may accept these recommendations or offer their own.
    2. The resolution of a complaint of harassment may take a number of forms depending upon the severity of the incident and the parties involved. These might include any one or combination of the following:
      1. Confidential written reprimand,
      2. Transfer from one living unit to another,
      3. Loss of elected position,
      4. Termination of employment,
      5. Termination of membership (eviction),
      6. Recommendation for counseling, mediation, and/or
      7. Referral to state or local agencies as appropriate.
    3. The BSC Executive Director, or their designee, is charged with ensuring that the recommendation(s) are implemented.
    4. The respondent will have three (3) working days to submit a written appeal to the Enforcement Committee. No personal appeals will be allowed. Only in the case of a termination of membership may make an appeal go to the Board of Directors. At the Board of Directors, the Member Advocate shall present the case and answer any questions on behalf of the appellant. The Coordinator for Outreach Diversity & Anti-Discrimination shall present the the Enforcement Committee’s decision and reasoning behind that decision. Confidentiality and anonymity must be preserved to protect both the complainant and the respondent. Decisions shall be based upon factual information and not on personalities.
    5. All documentation and reports presented to the Enforcement Committee and to the Board of Directors shall not contain the names of individuals, which would permit identification. Official findings and recommendations, which identify individuals, will be kept by the BSC Executive Director as confidential records.
  8. Addendum
    1. The BSC is a private, non-profit housing cooperative. As an employer, we are subject to all federal and state regulations regarding harassment in the workplace. As a housing provider it is our goal to maintain a living environment for our members that is free from harassment. It is the responsibility of all members to educate themselves about harassment and to cease any behavior which is brought to their attention as unwelcome.
    2. The Berkeley Student Cooperative retains the right to cancel the contract of any member who has been found to have committed acts of harassment. Note that failure to prevent the occurrence(s) of harassment is not grounds for automatic contract cancellation without monetary penalty.

    Italicized statements within the text are the overall goals of that particular portion of the procedure.

    (revised 10/31/96)