Designated officer. Designated officer
means an individual who is primarily responsible for conducting an initial
inquiry, determining whether to proceed with an investigation under this
procedure, and investigating or coordinating the investigation of reports and
complaints of discrimination/harassment in accordance with this procedure.
(i) The human resources director is the
designated officer for all issues except as follows: a) Student-to-student
complaints, for which the vice-president for educational services is the
designated officer; b) complaints against the human resources director for
which the president is the designated officer.
(ii) A report/complaint against the president
of the college shall be filed with the chair of the board of trustees. However,
complaints against a president shall be processed by the college if the
president's role in the alleged incident was limited to a decision on a
recommendation made by another administrator, such as tenure, promotion or
nonrenewal, and the president had no other substantial involvement in the
maker. Decision maker means a high level administrator who reviews the
investigative reports, to make findings whether board policy (132U-300-10.2.3.
]) has been
violated based upon the investigation, and to determine the appropriate action
for the institution to take based upon the findings.
(i) The appropriate vice-president with whom
the complainant jurisdiction is the decision maker.
(ii) The president is the decision maker when
the accused is an administrator.
(iii) The chair of board of trustees is the
decision maker if the accused is the president.
(a) Incident notification form: Whatcom
Community College has developed an Incident Notification Form
on which any person may report complaints of discrimination and or
harassment/intimidation, regardless of the complaint's basis. The form which
includes directions on how to complete and route it properly is widely
available and can be readily obtained from the human resources director. The
form also identifies the limits of confidentiality and the Whatcom Community
College's nonretaliation policy. Any supervisor or administrator is authorized
to accept and forward the form, or it may be submitted directly to the human
resources director for all issues except student-to-student complaints, which
shall be forwarded to the vice-president for educational services.
(b) Filing a complaint/officers designated to
receive complaints: Any employee/student or member of the public who believes
he/she has been subject to harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination has
the right to file a complaint. This complaint should be filed in a timely
manner, but no later than one hundred eighty calendar days from the most recent
incident of the alleged behavior or action. Any supervisor or administrator is
authorized to accept or take a complaint. If the complainant does not feel
comfortable with filing a written complaint, the complaint may be verbally
made, and the supervisor/administrator the supervisor/administrator will then
document the verbal complaint on the Incident Notification
Form which the complainant shall sign. If the employee or student
believes he/she is being harassed or discriminated against by a supervisor,
administrator or employee, he/she should notify the human resources director
directly. All complaints, regardless of the perceived merit or basis, are to be
forwarded for review and processing, without exception, directly to the human
resources director for all issues except student-to-student complaints, which
shall be forwarded to the vice-president for educational services. In the event
that the human resources director's conduct is the subject of the complaint,
the president or his/her designee shall be the designated officer to receive
consideration: Although isolated incidents of harassment/intimidation and/or
discrimination may not violate federal or state law, such incidents may
nevertheless create a knowing and willful course of conduct which seriously
alarms, annoys, harasses or is detrimental to that person or the work
environment, serves no legitimate or lawful purpose, or is in direct violation
of board values or the college's Affirmation of Inclusion (WCC
Policy 1023) regarding mutual respect. Such complaints will be taken seriously
and considered under this procedure.
(d) Addressing complaints: The administration
of the college has an affirmative duty to take timely and appropriate action to
stop behavior, conduct investigations and take appropriate action to prevent
recurring misconduct. The human resources director, as the designated officer,
is authorized to consider complaints of harassment and discrimination and to
assess and/or investigate them for all of Whatcom Community College, with the
exception of student-to-student complaints, which are under the jurisdiction of
the vice-president for educational services, or his/her designee. All
complaints, regardless of the perceived merit or basis, are to be forwarded to
the appropriate office for review and processing, without exception. The
designated officer shall determine whether the report/complaint is one which
should be mediated or processed through another designated officer; if
appropriate, the designated officer shall direct the complainant to that area
as soon as possible.
Assessment: The designated officer will, within thirty working days of receipt
of the Incident Notification Form,
(a) assess the written
complaint; (b) determine the appropriate process necessary to ensure all
relevant evidence is obtained and all critical elements are addressed; and (c)
notify the appropriate vice-president with whom the complainant jurisdiction
resides when the accused is a faculty or classified staff; the president when
the accused is an administrator; and the chair of board of trustees if the
accused is the president.
(i) This normally
begins with an initial interview with the complainant. The goal is to obtain
sufficient information to determine the next steps, which may include, but is
not limited to obtaining clarification, providing mediation and/or consultation
services, making referrals for mediation and/or consultation services, and/or
initiating a formal fact-finding investigation.
(ii) If a formal investigation is undertaken,
the complainant and the accused will be alerted to the existence of a formal
complaint and that an investigation of the complaint is underway.
(iii) This formal investigation may take up
to sixty calendar days after the receipt of the Incident Notification
Form, unless extended by mutual agreement in writing between the
complainant and the designated officer.
(iv) Under appropriate circumstances, the
administration may, in consultation with system legal counsel and labor
relations committee, reassign or place an employee on administrative leave at
any point in time during the report/complaint/investigation process. In
determining whether to place an employee on administrative leave or
reassignment, consideration shall be given to the nature of the alleged
behavior, the relationships between the parties, the context in which the
alleged incidents occurred and other relevant factors. Any action taken must be
consistent with the applicable collective bargaining agreements.
(v) Employees, as a condition of employment,
are required to be truthful and to fully cooperate in the investigation
complaints: Conduct covered by this policy and procedure are those
discriminatory and/or harassment/intimidation actions that occur as delineated
in WAC 132U-300-010
, 2.3 [WAC
alleging conduct not covered by this policy and procedure will be remanded to
the appropriate vice-president/administrative officer for consideration and
investigation as a performance-based issue.
(i) Harassment/intimidation and/or
discrimination allegations based upon union activities are not included in this
procedure, but covered by the various collective bargaining agreements between
the board of trustees and its recognized faculty and employee
Records: Copies of all complaints of harassment/intimidation and/or
discrimination, and records related to a subsequent formal investigation
conducted pursuant to that complaint, if any, shall be maintained
confidentially to the extent allowed by law for an indeterminate period of time
in the human resources office.
Confidentiality and nonretaliation.
Confidentiality: To the extent possible, proceedings will be conducted in a
discreet and sensitive manner. Anonymity and complete confidentiality cannot be
guaranteed once a complaint is made or unlawful behavior is alleged. Files
pertaining to the complaints will be maintained in confidence to the fullest
extent of the law. Whatcom Community College cannot guarantee complete
Nonretaliation: Retaliation by, for or against any participant (accused,
accuser or witness) is expressly prohibited. Retaliatory action of any kind
taken against individuals as a result of seeking redress under the applicable
procedures or serving as a witness in a subsequent investigation dealing with
harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination is prohibited. Any person who
thinks he/she has been the victim of retaliation should contact the human
resources director immediately.
(i) Rights of accused--Notice of complaint:
If a formal investigation is undertaken, the accused will be alerted to the
existence of a formal complaint and that an investigation of the complaint is
underway. During the investigative process, the accused will be informed of
his/her right to representation during any investigatory meeting.
(j) Findings report: Within sixty calendar
days of the commencement of a formal investigation, to the extent appropriate,
a findings report will be submitted to the appropriate vice-president with whom
the complainant jurisdiction resides and the president. This findings report
will include the complaint and a synopsis of the investigation. The reporter is
not precluded from providing specific recommendations in the findings report as
to disciplinary actions or other actions to be done (i.e. training for everyone
in a department where sexual jokes have gotten out of hand, etc.). The
complainant and the accused will be informed of the results of the
investigation in summary form.
Corrective action: The decision maker (the appropriate vice-president with whom
the complainant jurisdiction resides when the accused is a faculty or
classified staff, the president when the accused is an administrator, or the
chair of board of trustees if the accused is the president), will take
appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action in situations where it is
proven or is reasonable to believe that harassment/intimidation and/or
discrimination took place. Any action taken will follow the due process
provisions of applicable contracts or state law and regulations and will be
reasonably calculated to end harassing/intimidation and/or discriminatory
behavior and correct inappropriate behavior.
Any corrective and/or disciplinary action
in situations where it is proven or is reasonable to believe that
harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination took place on any level, except
decisions by the board of trustees, may be appealed in writing to the president
within fifteen working days of the corrective and/or disciplinary action by
either the complainant or the accused. The appeal must state specific reasons
why the complainant or accused believes the decision was improper. Within
fifteen working days of the appeal, the president shall:
(i) Take actions recommended by the decision
the recommendations; or
the recommendations to the decision maker (vice-president) for further
(v) Report in
writing to the complainant, accused and vice-president
(b) The decision of the chair of the board of
trustees as to any complaint against the president may be reviewed by filing a
complaint with the appropriate tribunal listed in section (5) noncollege
options, provided all time periods applicable to the tribunal are
(c) The actions of the
president or, if applicable, the chair of the board of trustees, shall
constitute final Whatcom Community College disposition of the matter. Upon
action of the president, the complainant and accused shall have exhausted their
administrative remedies within the college.
(d) However, in the event disciplinary action
is undertaken against faculty member, the appeal process will be conducted in
accordance with the standing faculty negotiated agreement.