Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy

Policy Statement

Brandeis University is committed to providing its students, faculty and staff with an environment conducive to learning and working and where all people are treated with respect and dignity. Toward that end, it is essential that Brandeis be free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, gender identity and expression, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age,  genetic information, disability, military or veteran status or any other category protected by law (also known as membership in a "protected class"). Violations of this policy will not be tolerated and may result in corrective actions up to and including termination from employment.

The University has the responsibility to help prevent harassment and discrimination from occurring, to pursue concerns of which it is aware, to investigate concerns thoroughly and in an impartial fashion, and to take immediate and appropriate action to remedy instances of harassment and discrimination. Brandeis takes this responsibility seriously. Therefore, violations of this policy will not be tolerated and may result in corrective action up to and including release from employment.

Certain conduct described below may also violate the University's Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Policy and/or Sexual Harassment Policy. Any relevant allegation filed under this policy will be reviewed under those policies as well.

Applicability

This policy applies to all Brandeis employees, i.e., faculty and staff members. In addition, the University encourages visitors, parents, prospective students, and third-party vendors (e.g., Sodexo and Follett) to report instances of discrimination or harassment that occur on University property or at University-sponsored events to the Office of Equal Opportunity and/or the Title IX Coordinator.

Understanding Discrimination

Discrimination in employment is defined as taking adverse action against someone or treating someone differently in the terms and conditions of their employment or their education based on their membership in a protected class. Prohibited conduct includes:

  • Refusing to hire;
  • Terminating, discharging, or laying off;
  • Demoting, transferring to a less desirable position, or refusing to promote;
  • Paying lower wages or giving fewer benefits, or discriminating in any other term or condition of employment;
  • Denying admission or financial assistance; and
  • Excluding from educational programs, activities or opportunities, or discriminating in any other term or condition of education.

Brandeis University will consider harassment based on an individual’s membership in a protected class to be a form of discrimination and will not tolerate it.  The University regards as harassment any conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person's education or work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment in which to work, study or live; or otherwise adversely affects a person's employment or educational opportunities.

Examples of Harassment/Discrimination

Depending on the circumstances, the following are examples of behaviors that may constitute harassment/discrimination under this policy. This is not an exhaustive list:

  • Jokes, comments, innuendoes, slurs or  epithets that make fun of, degrade or denigrate an individual or group based on an individual’s or group’s perceived or actual protected class status. These actions are unacceptable whether directed at an individual or group through conversation, objects, posters, cartoons, pictures, internet, email or social media posts which are placed on University premises, or displayed or circulated on campus.
  • Other conduct or communications that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual or group based on perceived or actual protected class status.

The display and analysis of such materials used by a faculty member for educational purposes in the classroom, office, or comparable space do not constitute harassment or discrimination. 

When a complaint is filed, the University will determine whether this policy has been violated based on consideration of the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged conduct. The University may take action on conduct that it deems to be inappropriate, regardless of whether it rises to the level of a violation of law.

Management and Faculty Responsibility

Faculty, managers, and supervisors are responsible for being knowledgeable of the types of actions that constitute harassment and discrimination and for demonstrating unwillingness to tolerate such actions, including taking appropriate action to maintain an environment free from harassment or discrimination.

Employee Responsibility to Report

All employees who witness or are made aware of allegations of incidents of discrimination or harassment are required to promptly report such allegations to the Office of Equal Opportunity. Concerns about harassment or discrimination by a faculty or staff member (including visiting faculty, post-doctoral fellows, or graduate students acting in an instructional capacity) should be brought to the attention of The Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity. You may also report any such incident on the Brandeis Report It Web Page (http://www.brandeis.edu/studentlife/srcs/reportit.html).  Employees of the University who fail to promptly report such allegations may be subject to disciplinary action.  Employees whose positions legally require confidentiality (i.e. clergy and counseling staff) or who are designated by the University as confidential employees are exempt from reporting.

The Director will discuss with the reporting party informal and formal options for resolution.  In some cases, depending on the scope of events, the history of the responding party, and the needs of the University, the Director will have to conduct a formal investigation even if the reporting party would prefer an informal resolution to the situation.

Employees who would like to discuss their situation with a confidential resource can meet with the University Ombuds (https://www.brandeis.edu/ombuds/) and/or the University Chaplains and/or the Prevention, Advocacy and Resource Center (https://www.brandeis.edu/parc/support/index.html).

For guidance and/or to file a complaint against undergraduate or graduate students, contact the Dean of Students at 781-736-3546.  You may also report any incident of discrimination or harassment on the Brandeis Report It Web Page (http://www.brandeis.edu/studentlife/srcs/reportit.html).

Problem Resolution

In the case of harassment or discrimination, the Office for Equal Opportunity is available to assist in this process. If the individual(s) involved wish to file a complaint or if, in the judgment of the Director of the Office for Equal Opportunity, the matter requires further fact-finding or review, claims will be investigated and resolved by that office. The investigation and resolution process is outlined in the Non-Discrimination and Harassment Problem and Appeal Procedure for Claims of Harassment/Discrimination against Staff or Faculty.

Retaliation

Retaliation is a separate violation that law and this policy strictly prohibit. Retaliation occurs when a person engages in a protected activity, e.g., in good faith, initiates a complaint of harassment or discrimination or cooperates in its investigation; when another party, who knows of that activity, takes an adverse action against the person engaged in it; and when the adverse action was caused or motivated by the protected activity. Retaliation may result in corrective action, up to and including termination from employment or loss of privileges.

Examples of retaliatory action may include the following:

  • Termination;
  • Denial of promotion;
  • Demotion in title or duties;
  • Transfer to a less favorable position or location;
  • Involuntary placement on leave;
  • Hostile or abusive workplace treatment;
  • Decreasing compensation or benefits;
  • Coercion, threats, or intimidation;
  • Interference with protected conduct:
  • Removal of co-authorship from a publication;
  • Interference with a job search.

State and Federal Employment Discrimination Agencies

Brandeis University is committed to a harassment and discrimination-free environment and encourages individuals to bring their concerns to the attention of the University. An individual has the right, however, to file a formal complaint with either or both of the government agencies set forth below. Using the University complaint process does not prohibit anyone from filing a complaint with these agencies. Each of the agencies has a short period for filing a claim from the date of the harassment (EEOC - 300 days; MCAD- 300 days).

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building Room 475
Government Center
Boston, Massachusetts 02203
617-565-3200

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
617-994-6000

436 Dwight Street, Room 220
Springfield, MA O1103
(413)739-2145
http://www.state.ma.us/mcad/

This policy does not create an employment contract or any right to continued employment at Brandeis University. Brandeis University reserves the right to modify, revoke, suspend, terminate and/or change any and all policies and procedures at any time, with or without notice.

Office for Equal Opportunity and Office of Human Resources

12/2018