IV.I.1. Equal Opportunity
ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY TYPE: HUMAN RESOURCES
POLICY TITLE: Equal Opportunity
- Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (Adopted: Prior to 12/18/84)
- Religious Accommodations—Employees & Applicants for Employment (Adopted: 04/03/96)
- Harassment (Adopted: 12/14/81)
- Discrimination Complaint Procedure—Employees
- (Adopted: 3/19/81)
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
The following policies are intended to comply with all applicable state and federal laws, as well as to express the District Board’s commitment to the principles of equal opportunity for all.
- Legal Basis: The district will seek continuous compliance with the following laws: Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended; Equal Pay Act of 1963 as amended; Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and 1975; Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Vocational Education Amendments of 1976; Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987; Civil Rights Act of 1991; Carl D. Perkins Vocational Career and Technical Education Act; Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990; Wisconsin Fair Employment Law; Sec. 38.23, Wis. Stats.; and the Office for Civil Rights Guidelines for the Elimination of Discrimination in Vocational Education.
- Scope: Equal opportunity within the scope of these guidelines is for employees, applicants for employment, students, and the general public without regard to political affiliation, age, race, creed, color, disability, marital status, sex, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, arrest or conviction record, service in the armed forces, genetic testing, and the use or non-use of lawful products off the District’s premises during non-working hours. Retaliation is a form of discrimination, and as such is prohibited. The District Board of Trustees recognizes that equal employment opportunity is a legal, social and economic necessity to the District.
The District commits itself to a continuing program to assure that unlawful discrimination does not occur in the services it renders to the public.
- Affirmative Action: Affirmative Action will be taken to achieve a work force which includes an appropriate balance of racial/ethnic groups, women and the disabled for all permanent full-time positions. In developing and implementing this Plan, the College has been guided by its policy of providing equal employment opportunity. As a part of its Affirmative Action Plan, the College has established goals. These goals are not intended to be rigid, inflexible quotas, but instead are intended to be targets reasonably attainable by applying good faith efforts. The use of goals and timetables in this Plan is not intended to discriminate against any individual or group of individuals with respect to any employment opportunity for which they may be qualified. Instead, these goals are a mechanism to effectuate the principles of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.
- Employment Practices: It is the policy of the District not to discriminate against qualified applicants or employees. Fox Valley Technical College will comply fully with applicable Federal Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Laws, Executive Orders and Regulations and Wisconsin laws including but not limited to Section 111.31-111.52, Wis. Stats. The policy of non-discrimination includes appropriate affirmative action to implement the goals of the policy.
The principles and concepts of Affirmative Action will be integrated into all employment practices including, but not limited to, recruiting, hiring, transfers, promotions, training, compensation, benefits, layoff, termination, retention, certification, testing, and committee appointment.
- Responsibility: Ultimate responsibility for Affirmative Action rests with the President. Responsibility for implementing the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Program rests with the District Affirmative Action/EEO Officer. However, managers and staff share responsibility for the success of the program.
- Harassment: Harassment of and by employees and students on the basis of the above mentioned personal attributes is an illegal practice and is prohibited by policy. Appropriate corrective measures will be used to eliminate harassment pursuant to the College harassment policy.
- Complaint Procedure: The Discrimination Complaint Procedure is utilized to process charges of discrimination that violate these policies. Copies of this procedure can be obtained from the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer.
- Disability Accommodations: Reasonable accommodations will be provided for disabled persons to ensure their access to employment and educational programs. The District strives to provide physical accessibility to all learning and workstations consistent with reasonable accommodations.
- Religious Accommodations: In response to an employee’s request, reasonable accommodation will be provided for religious observances and practices.
- Vendors: The District will seek assurance from all contractors and suppliers of products and services that they do not discriminate. The District Board also encourages the purchase of products and services from women, minority, and disabled business owners.
- Role of Affirmative Action/EEO Officer: The District Affirmative Action/EEO Officer is responsible for developing and implementing the Affirmative Action Plan, and monitoring compliance. Responsibilities of the Officer include: developing a written Affirmative Action Plan, monitoring internal and external communication procedures, collecting and analyzing employment and student data, identifying problem areas, setting goals and timetables, developing and implementing programs to eliminate discriminatory practices, designing and implementing an internal monitoring system, and submitting compliance plans and reports to the Wisconsin Board Affirmative Action/EEO Officer.
Violation of this policy or the Affirmative Action Plan will result in appropriate corrective action.
Contact Person: The Affirmative Action/EEO Officer reports to the President to assure implementation of the Affirmative Action Plan. Questions regarding affirmative action or equal opportunity shall be directed to: Patti Jorgensen, Affirmative Action/EEO Officer, P.O. Box 2277, 1825 North Bluemound Drive, Appleton, WI 54912. Telephone (920) 735-5649 or Janet Case, Title IX Coordinator, Telephone (920) 735-2497.
RELIGIOUS ACCOMMODATIONS—EMPLOYEES AND APPLICANTS FOR EMPLOYMENT
Consistent with sincerely held religious beliefs, it is the policy of Fox Valley Technical College to afford employees and applicants for employment the opportunity to observe religious holidays/practices. Several holidays are paid as a matter of contract(s) obligation and are identified in the FVTC operating calendar.
FVTC will make reasonable accommodations for religious observances and practices of employees and applicants for employment, unless such accommodation would pose an undue hardship on the College. Work schedules will be adjusted to permit an employee time off for religious observances. Employment interviews and testing sessions will be adjusted by the College to accommodate religious preferences.
Employees are encouraged to make up their time off for religious holidays. However, if mutually agreed upon by employee and immediate supervisor, the observance of religious holidays may be paid by use of emergency leave up to the maximum allowed by contract/policy. Time off will be considered upon request at least five (5) work days in advance of the observance. The request must be addressed to the employee’s supervisor. Certification of religious affiliation may be required.
The Fox Valley Technical College District Board is committed to be in compliance with present law and guidelines prohibiting harassment in education and employment.
Harassment by supervisors, co-workers, or non-employees on the basis of race, sex, national origin, disability, or other protected status is a practice prohibited by the Fox Valley Technical College District Board.
Harassment: Harassment includes any of the verbal/physical conduct listed below which is based on the protected status of the individual:
No employee shall be punished or penalized for rejecting or objecting to behavior that might be considered as sexual harassment including, but not limited to, the following examples:
- Derogatory comments, jokes or slurs, physical harassment including unwanted contact, assault, impeding or blocking movement or any interference with activity appropriate in the workplace that have the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment or which substantially interferes with the employee's work performance.
- Visual harassment including derogatory posters, cartoons or drawings that have the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment or which substantially interferes with the employee's work performance.
- Sexual harassment also includes unwelcome sexual advancements, unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature or unwelcome physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature, the submission to which is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual's employment or whenever submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions. Sexual/gender harassment may also be found where the conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment or which substantially interferes with an employee's work.
Harassment may also include:
- Sexual gestures with hands or body movement.
- Unnecessary and unwanted touching, grabbing, caressing, pinching or brushing up against a person.
- Staring at a person or looking a person up and down.
- Whistles, catcalls and sexual references.
- Repeated pressure on an employee to socialize with or date another individual.
- Asking personal questions about a person's social or sexual life.
- Making sexual comments or innuendoes, telling jokes or stories of a sexual demeaning offensive or insulting nature.
- Deliberate display of offensive, sexually graphic material which is not necessary for business purposes.
- Posters, cartoons, photographs or art work of a sexual, hostile or degrading nature.
- Granting or withholding pay increases, promotions, job offers or other employment issues based on sex.
Conduct which might be offensive to some individuals might be considered inoffensive by others. Because of this, it is difficult for managers or supervisors to learn of and take effective action to halt harassment unless the affected individual alerts a manager or supervisor both to the occurrence and the fact that the conduct in question is offensive or unwanted.
- Engaging in criminal conduct or acts of violence, or making threats of violence toward anyone on Employer premises or at any time for any purpose; fighting, or horseplay or provoking a fight on Employer property, or negligent damage of property.
- Threatening, intimidating or coercing fellow employees on or off the premises -- at any time, for any purpose.
- Malicious gossip and/or spreading rumors; engaging in behavior designed to create discord and lack of harmony; interfering with another employee on the job; willfully restricting work output or encouraging others to do the same.
Several options are available. If an employee feels she/he has been subjected to or witnessed harassment of any kind, even if she/he considers it minor, the College needs your cooperation to make this policy as effective as possible. The College encourages you to approach the alleged harasser and ask him/her to immediately stop the offensive activity. The alleged harasser may not know how you or others feel. This step is not required if it makes you feel uncomfortable or is not effective.
Complaint Procedure: Whether or not the harasser has been confronted, if an employee believes that harassment by any person including, but not limited to, co-worker, supervisor, vendor, or guest of the College has occurred or if an employee believes they have witnessed harassment or threats to a safe environment, the employee is strongly encouraged to report the facts of the incident and the names of the individual(s) involved within forty-eight (48) hours, if at all possible, to any of the following individuals: the employee's supervisor, any other supervisor, a member of the Human Resources staff, or directly to Affirmative Action/EEO Officer at (920) 735-5649. You are required, however, to report the harassment to somebody in management. Prompt reporting will assist the College in conducting a thorough and timely investigation. Harassment situations can be sensitive. The College will investigate all allegations promptly, thoroughly and fairly; and will ensure confidentiality to the extent possible.
The College treats all claims of harassment seriously. The College representative conducting the investigation shall obtain a complete and clear statement of the alleged acts from the complainant, shall obtain names and statements from witnesses and shall obtain a clear and complete statement from the alleged harasser/accused employee. All employees are required to cooperate fully in any investigation.
The College representative conducting the investigation shall maintain full documentation during the investigation, including the complaint, all statements, documents, notes and other information relevant to the complaint.
All employees are responsible for helping to assure that harassment or threats to safety do not occur. The College forbids retaliation against anyone who has legitimately reported harassment or unsafe conditions or anyone who participates in an investigation. Anyone who engages in or assists in such retaliatory actions will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including the termination of employment.
Resolution: The College's policy is to investigate all such complaints thoroughly and promptly. To the fullest extent practicable and consistent with Wisconsin statutes, the Employer will keep complaints and terms of their resolution confidential. If an investigation confirms that harassment or unsafe conditions have occurred, the Employer will take appropriate corrective action including discipline up to and including immediate termination of employment.
DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT PROCEDURE EMPLOYEES
The College has adopted a procedure to address complaints of discrimination prohibited by several federal and state laws on the basis of political affiliation, age, race, creed, color, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, arrest or conviction record, service in the armed forces, genetic testing, and the use or non-use of lawful products off the District’s premises during non-working hours.
Use of these procedures is encouraged to afford the Complainant and the College the opportunity to promptly address and resolve complaints at the lowest level. Use of the procedures does not preclude the right of a person to also file complaints with the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the U.S. Wage and Hour Division in the Department of Labor. Most anti-discrimination laws have a time limit of from one hundred eighty (180) to three hundred (300) days during which an individual may file a complaint. The College reserves the right to determine whether a complaint appropriately falls within the scope of this policy.
- Complaint: Complaint means an allegation of personal discrimination or harassment on the basis of political affiliation, age, race, creed, color, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, arrest or conviction record, service in the armed forces, genetic testing, and the use or non-use of lawful products off the District’s premises during non-working hours in regard to any employment, procedure or practice of this District.
This policy applies when a member of the College community (‘complainant’ as defined below) believes that he or she has been subjected to harassment or discrimination by an instructional, administrative or faculty member (‘respondent’), provided that at least a substantial portion of the alleged wrongful behavior either occurred on College-controlled, College-leased or College-owned property, or otherwise had a significant connection to the activities of the College.
- Complainant: Complainant means any of the following who have a personal complaint based on their protected status as defined:
- An employee, permanent, project or limited term, of Fox Valley Technical College;
- An employee or group of employees of Fox Valley Technical College submitting a complaint all of whom have indicated, in writing, his/her willingness to be part of the complaint;
- An applicant for employment with Fox Valley Technical College;
- Any other person not covered by the above definition will be referred to the appropriate civil authorities.
- Respondent: Respondent means a person and/or persons alleged to be responsible, or who may be responsible for the violation alleged in a complaint. The term may be used to designate persons with direct responsibility for a particular action or those areas covered in the complaint.
- Affirmative Action/EEO Officer: The employee designated by the Fox Valley Technical College District Board who has the responsibility of coordinating the internal complaint procedure.
- Days: All days listed in this policy are regular business days when the College is open for business. Weekends, holidays and days when the campus is closed for business are excluded.
- Informal Complaint Procedure
- A complainant shall, within thirty (30) days of the date of the action causing the complaint, contact the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer. If the subject of the complaint is the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer, then the complainant shall contact the Title IX/Gender Equity Coordinator who will then administer this informal complaint procedure.
- The informal complaint may be verbal or in writing. The complainant shall provide full and complete information on the facts underlying the complaint.
- The Affirmative Action/EEO Officer shall inform the complainant of his/her rights under federal and state law.
- The Affirmative Action/EEO Officer shall determine if the complaint is valid under the established complaint procedure. Validity does not mean whether or not an unfair act has occurred but whether or not the action underlying the complaint is within the scope of the complaint procedure.
- Upon receipt of the complaint, the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer shall determine whether this policy applies. A decision by the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer that this policy does not apply is not final and may be appealed to the President within seven (7) days. By way of example, the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer shall find that this policy does not apply upon determining any of the following:
This list is not exclusive, and other situations may result in the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer determining that the policy does not apply.
- That even if the complainant’s allegations are true, the respondent’s conduct would not constitute harassment or discrimination as defined in this policy.
- That the alleged conduct did not occur on College-owned, College-leased or College-controlled property or did not otherwise have a significant connection to the activities of the College.
- That the complainant is not a College member as defined in this policy.
- That the complainant was not the party harmed by the discrimination or harassment.
- If the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer determines that this policy applies, the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer shall conduct an investigation of the complaint in any manner the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer deems appropriate. Not later than fifteen (15) days after the complaint commencement date, the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer shall provide the Vice President of Human Resources, the complainant and the respondent with a report of the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer’s actions and findings.
- If the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer finds that the evidence does not justify such a preliminary finding of violation, the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer will dismiss the complaint. A decision by the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer that the evidence does not justify such a preliminary finding of violation may be appealed by the complainant to the Vice President of Human Resources within seven (7) days by presenting a written complaint as set forth in this policy. If no complaint is timely filed, the complaint will be dismissed, and the complainant, respondent and Vice President of Human Resources will be notified.
- At any point in the investigation, the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer may attempt to conciliate the informal complaint through contact with all parties involved. Any agreement reached as a result of conciliation shall be in writing and signed by all parties involved.
- In the event that a violation is found the Vice President of Human Resources shall take prompt, effective and affirmative action to remedy the situation and ensure compliance with the policy.
- Formal Complaint Procedure
- Step One
- Within seven (7) days of the failure of conciliation or a finding of no violation, whichever occurs first, the complainant may file a written request for hearing with the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer. If the subject of the complaint is the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer, then the complainant may file a written request for hearing with the Title IX/Gender Equity Coordinator who will then serve in the role of the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer for this formal complaint procedure. Failure to meet this time requirement will cause the dismissal with prejudice of the complaint.
- The written complaint shall be a clear, concise statement indicating the issues involved, the date the incident or violation took place and the relief sought.
- Within seven (7) days of the receipt of the written request for hearing, the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer shall forward a copy to the respondent(s) and the Vice President of Human Resources.
- Within seven (7) days of the receipt of the written complaint, the Vice President of Human Resources shall schedule such meeting(s) with complainant, the respondent, and the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer as are necessary to hear the complaint. The Vice President of Human Resources shall return a written answer to the complainant within seven (7) days.
- If the complainant is dissatisfied with the Vice President’s answer, the complaint may be appealed to Step Two.
- Step Two
- The complainant may file an appeal of the Vice President’s answer at Step One within seven (7) days. Within seven (7) days of the receipt of the appeal, a Complaint Committee shall be formed to review the complaint, receive testimony and make recommendations to the President. This committee serves as the President’s hearing panel.
- The Complaint Committee shall be selected from the Affirmative Action Committee.
- The Committee shall consist of four members selected as follows:
- One member selected by the complainant
- One member selected by the respondent(s)
- One member appointed by the President
- The Affirmative Action/EEO Officer shall serve as Executive Secretary of the committee, but shall not vote.
- A hearing date shall be scheduled within fourteen (14) days of the appointment of the Complaint Committee.
- The Committee shall select a Chairperson.
- Before the hearing, the Complaint Committee shall participate in an orientation session provided by the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer or her/his designated representative. The orientation will include a review of federal and state anti-discrimination legislation and related guidelines as well as relevant college documents or policies.
- Persons present at the hearing shall include the Complaint Committee complainant, the respondent(s), any representative(s) of either the complainant of the respondent, and, unless sequestered by the Complaint Committee, any individual requested by either party to provide information relevant to the evaluation of the complaint. The hearing will be closed to the public.
- Both the complainant and the respondent shall have the right to present such witnesses as they deem necessary to develop the facts pertinent to the complaint. The complainant and respondent shall have the right to ask questions of any person participating in the hearing.
- Formal rules of evidence shall not be applied at the complaint hearing. To the greatest extent possible, the hearing shall be conducted in an informal manner. The objective of the hearing is to facilitate the understanding of the facts by the Complaint Committee. It is not intended that either party be surprised at the hearing by the appearance or testimony of any witness. Therefore, the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer may require that the respondent and the complainant provide written pre-hearing statements to the Complaint Committee and the other parties, setting forth the name of witnesses and the nature of their anticipated testimony. The Complaint Committee may adopt any procedures for the Hearing as may further the intent of this policy.
- Neither party shall be permitted to introduce information not presented at Step One, unless she/he can show cause as to why it was not introduced in Step One.
- The Complaint Committee shall make written notification of its findings to the President within seven (7) days after the hearing. The findings shall include the committee’s determination regarding the validity of the complaint and its recommendations for any necessary corrective action, as well as a statement of the reasons on which the findings were made. After deliberation, if a majority of Complaint Committee members do not determine that a preponderance of probative, reliable and substantial evidence justifies a finding that the respondent has violated the policy prohibiting harassment or discrimination, the complaint shall be terminated. The Complaint Committee will notify the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer, who will notify the complainant, the respondent, the Vice President of Human Resources as well as the President. The Complaint Committee’s decision to terminate the complaint may be appealed.
- All findings and recommendations of the hearing panel shall be determined by majority vote. Any committee member in disagreement with the majority shall have the option of preparing a dissenting opinion.
- Step Three
- The President shall review the written recommendations of the Complaint Committee and issue a written decision within fourteen (14) days of the date of the recommendations.
- Prior to this decision, the respondent and the complainant may present written arguments to the President.
- The President’s decision shall include a statement regarding the validity of the complaint allegation and a specification of any corrective action to be taken, if any.
- Final Decision
- The complainant may appeal the decision of the President to the Fox Valley Technical College District Board.
- The grounds of the appeal are limited to the following:
- New evidence that was not reasonably available until after the hearing;
- The complainant was denied due process because of failure to follow the procedures set forth in this policy, and such failure affected the outcome in a manner detrimental to the complainant.
- Written notice of appeal and the grounds therefore must be made within thirty (30) days of the date of the President’s decision. Written notice of appeal and the grounds therefore must be sent to the Chair of the Fox Valley Technical College District Board.
- The decision of the Board shall be based on the record developed to that point and is limited to one of the following actions:
- Confirmation of the findings of the President.
- A finding of no discrimination or harassment and dismissal of the complaint.
- Remanding the matter to the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer for further investigation and/or hearing pursuant to this policy.
- The decision of the Fox Valley Technical College District Board shall constitute the final decision issued on any complaint.
- No action relating to employment, termination, transfer, demotion or rates of pay can be taken until the complaint has been resolved, unless such action is decided necessary to the well-being of the complainant to the function of Fox Valley Technical College.
- Neither the complainant nor the respondent shall arbitrarily delay action of the complaint procedure.
- All procedures and hearings shall be closed session.
- It is not intended that the outcome of a complaint be determined by a nonsubstantial procedural violation. Therefore the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer, the Complaint Committee or the President may make exceptions to the provisions (including time deadlines) of this policy; provided, however, that any exception is intended to bring about a just outcome, is relatively minor in nature and does not unreasonably adversely affect another participant in the process.
- All participants in all proceedings under this policy will observe confidentiality to the extent reasonably possible. However, in the event of any final determination of a violation of this policy, the President will provide appropriate information to appropriate officials. The College may also use any information obtained in the proceedings to defend itself against any claims, complaints or allegations brought against it or as may be required by law.
- Extension of Time
Any time limits set by this procedure may be extended by mutual written consent of the complainant(s) and the respondent(s).
The Fox Valley Technical College District shall provide complainants and respondents, with access to copies of anti-discrimination laws and regulations, as well as relevant Fox Valley Technical College policies.
- No Retaliation
No person shall be subjected to discharge, suspension, discipline, harassment or any form of discrimination for having utilized or having assisted others in the utilization of the complaint process.
- Maintenance of Records
- The Complaint Committee hearing shall be recorded. Such recording shall be made available to the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) at their request. Such recordings shall be maintained for a minimum period of three years after resolution of the complaint.
- Records shall be kept of each complaint in the office of the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer. These shall include, at minimum: the name of the complainant and her/his position at Fox Valley Technical College District; the date of complaint filing; the specific allegation made in the complaint and any corrective action requested; the names of respondents; the levels of processing and the resolution, dates; hearing committee members; a summary of the major points, facts and evidence presented by each party to complaint; and a statement of the final resolution and the nature and date of any corrective action taken. Such records shall be maintained on a confidential basis.
- All written complaint records shall be maintained for a minimum of three years after the complaint resolutions.
- Role of the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer
- It is the primary responsibility of the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer to ensure the effective installation, maintenance, processing, recordkeeping, and notification required by the complaint procedure.
- The Affirmative Action/EEO Officer may designate other person(s) to assist in any part of the process and procedure.
- The authority to interpret this policy rests with the President and is generally delegated to the Affirmative Action/EEO Officer.
- Referral Services
- State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Administrative Policy III.N
Adopted: (See Above)