Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure

A. Introduction

Peninsula College recognizes its responsibility for investigation, resolution, implementation of corrective measures, and monitoring the educational environment and workplace to stop, remediate, and prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, perceived or actual physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, creed, religion, or honorably discharged veteran or military status, or use of trained guide dog or service animal, as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act and ADA Amendment Act, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and Washington State’s Law Against Discrimination, Chapter 49.60 RCW and their implementing regulations. Employees are also protected from discrimination for filing a whistleblower complaint with the Washington State Auditor. To this end, Peninsula College has enacted policies prohibiting discrimination against any harassment of members of these protected classes. Any individual found to be in violation of these policies will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the College or from employment. Any employee, student, applicant, or visitor who believes that he or she has been the subject of discrimination or harassment should report the incident or incidents to the College’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Deputy identified below. If the complaint is against that Coordinator/Deputy, the complainant should report the matter to the president’s office for referral to an alternate designee.

The College encourages the timely reporting of any incidents of discrimination or harassment. Complaints may be submitted in writing or verbally. For complainants who wish to submit a written complaint, a formal complaint form is available online at pencol.edu/student-rights-and-policies/informational stop-discrimination. Hardcopies of the complaint form are available in the Human Resource Office, C34.

B. Role of the Title IX/EE Coordinator and/or Deputy Coordinator

Director of Human Resources, Title IX/EEO Coordinator Contact: titleixcrd@pencol.edu
Address: 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles, WA 98362
Phone: (360) 417-6212

The Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Deputy Coordinator or designee:

  • will accept all complaints and referrals from College employees, applicants, students, and visitors;
  • will make determinations regarding how to handle requests by complainants for confidentiality;
  • will keep accurate records of all complaints and referrals for the required time period;
  • may conduct investigations or delegate and oversee investigations conducted by a designee;
  • may impose interim remedial measures to protect parties during investigations of discrimination or harassment;
  • will issue written findings and recommendations upon completion of an investigation; and
  • may recommend specific corrective measures to stop, remediate, and prevent the recurrence of inappropriate conduct.

C. Definitions

1. Complainant: employee(s), applicant(s), student(s), or visitors(s) of Peninsula College who alleges that she or he has been subjected to discrimination or harassment due to his or her membership in a protected class.

2. Complaint: a description of facts that allege violation of the College’s policy against discrimination or harassment.

3. Consent: knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Each party has the responsibility to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be at the time of the act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact. A person cannot consent if he or she is unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has engaged in nonconsensual conduct. Intoxication is not a defense against allegations that an individual has engaged in nonconsensual sexual conduct.

4. Discrimination: conduct that harms or adversely affects any member of the College community because of her/his race; color; national origin; sensory, mental or physical disability, use of a service animal; gender, including pregnancy; marital status; age (40+); religion; creed; genetic information; sexual orientation; gender identity; veteran’s status; or any other legally protected classification. Harassment is a form of discrimination.

5. Harassment: a form of discrimination consisting of physical or verbal conduct that denigrates or shows hostility toward individuals because of their membership in a protected class or their perceived membership in a protected class. Harassment occurs when the conduct is sufficiently severe and/or pervasive and so objectively offensive that it has the effect of altering the terms or conditions of employment or substantially limiting the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational and/or social programs. Petty slights, annoyances, offensive utterances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) typically do not qualify as harassment. Examples of conduct that could rise to the level of discriminatory harassment include but are not limited to the following:

  • Epithets, “jokes,” ridicule, mockery, or other offensive or derogatory conduct focused upon an individual’s membership in a protected class.
  • Verbal or physical threats of violence or physical contact directed towards an individual based upon their membership in a protected class.
  • Making, posting, emailing, texting, or otherwise circulating demeaning or offensive pictures, cartoons, graffiti, notes, or other materials that relate to race, ethnic origin, gender, or any other protected class.

6. Protected Class: persons who are protected under state or federal civil rights laws, including laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, perceived or actual physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, creed, religion, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or use of a trained guide dog or service animal.

7. Resolution: the means by which the complaint is finally addressed. This may be accomplished through informal or formal processes, including counseling, mediation, or the formal imposition of discipline sanction.

8. Respondent: person or persons who are members of the campus community who allegedly discriminated against or harassed another person or persons.

9. Sexual Harassment: a form of discrimination consisting of unwelcome, gender-based verbal, written, electronic, and/or physical conduct. Sexual harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s gender. There are two types of sexual harassment:

  • Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment occurs when the conduct is sufficiently severe and/or pervasive and so objectively offensive that it has the effect of altering the terms or conditions of employment or substantially limiting the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational and/or social programs.
  • Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment occurs when an individual in a position of real or perceived authority, conditions the receipt of a benefit upon granting of sexual favors.

10. Sexual Violence: incorporates the definition of “sexual harassment” and means a physical sexual act perpetrated without clear, knowing, and voluntary consent, such as committing a sexual act against a person’s will, exceeding the scope of consent, or where the person is incapable of giving consent including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion, sexual exploitation, gender or sex-based stalking. The term further includes acts of violence in a dating and/or domestic relationship. A person may be incapable of giving consent by reason of age, threat, or intimidation, lack of opportunity to object, disability, drug or alcohol consumption, or other causes.

D. Who May File a Complaint

The college may file a complaint. Complaints may be submitted in writing or verbally. The College encourages the timely reporting of any incidents of discrimination or harassment. For complainants who wish to submit a written complaint, a formal complaint form is available online at pencol.edu/student-rights-and-policies/informational-stop-discrimination. Hard copies of the complaint form are available at the Human Resource Office, C34. Any person submitting a discrimination complaint shall be provided with a written copy of the College’s anti-discrimination policies and procedures.

E. Confidentiality and Right to Privacy

Peninsula College will seek to protect the privacy of the complainant to the full extent possible, consistent with the legal obligation to investigate, take appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action, and comply with the federal and state law, as well as Peninsula College policies and procedures. Although Peninsula College will attempt to honor complainants’ requests for confidentiality, it cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. Determinations regarding how to handle requests for confidentiality will be made by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee.

1. Confidentiality Requests and Sexual Violence Complaints: The Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee will inform and obtain consent from the complainant before commencing an investigation into a sexual violence complaint. If a sexual violence complainant asks that his or her name not be revealed to the respondent or that the College not investigate the allegation, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee will inform the complainant that maintaining confidentiality may limit the College’s ability to respond fully to the allegations and that retaliation by the respondent and/or others is prohibited. If the complainant still insists that his or her name not be disclosed or that the College not investigate, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee will determine whether the College can honor the request and at the same time maintain a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all members of the College community, including the complainant.

2. Factors to be weighed during this determination may include, but are not limited to:

  • the seriousness of the alleged sexual violence;
  • the age of the complainant;
  • whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon;
  • whether the respondent has a history of committing acts of sexual violence or violence or has been the subject of other sexual violence complaints;
  • whether the respondent threatened to commit additional acts of sexual violence against the complaints ant or others; and
  • whether relevant evidence can be obtained through other means (e.g., security cameras, other witnesses, physical evidence).

If the College is unable to honor a complainant’s request for confidentiality, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee will notify the complainant of the decision and ensure that complainant’s identity is disclosed only to the extent reasonably necessary to effectively conduct and complete the investigation.

If the College decides not to conduct an investigation or take disciplinary action because of a request for confidentiality, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee will evaluate whether other measures are available to limit the effects of the harassment and prevent its recurrence and implement such measures if reasonably feasible.

F. Investigation Procedure

Upon receiving a discrimination complaint, the College shall commence an impartial investigation. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee shall be responsible for overseeing all investigations. Investigations may be conducted by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator or his or her designee. If the investigation is assigned to someone other than the Title IX/EEO Coordinator, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee shall inform the complainant and respondent(s) of the appointment of an investigator.

1. Interim Measures: The Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee may impose interim measures to protect the complainant and/or respondent pending the conclusion of the investigation. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to, imposition of no contact orders, rescheduling classes, temporary work reassignments, referrals for counseling or medical assistance, and imposition of summary discipline on the respondent consistent with the College’s student conduct code or the College’s employment policies and collective bargaining agreements.

2. Investigation: Complaints shall be thoroughly and impartially investigated. The investigation shall include, but is not limited to, interviewing the complainant and the respondent, relevant witnesses, and reviewing relevant documents. The investigation shall be concluded within a reasonable time, normally 60 days barring exigent circumstances. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator shall set forth his or her findings and recommendations in writing. If the investigator is a designee, the investigator shall send a copy of the findings and recommendations to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee shall consider the findings and recommendations and determine, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether a violation of the discrimination and harassment policy occurred, and if so, what steps will be taken to resolve the complaint, remedy the effects on any victim(s), and prevent its recurrence. Possible remedial steps may include, but are not limited to, referral for voluntary training/ counseling, development of a remediation plan, limited contact orders, and referral and recommendation for formal disciplinary action. Referrals for disciplinary action will be consistent with the student conduct code or College employment policies and collective bargaining agreements.

3. Written Notice of Decision: The Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee will provide each party and the appropriate student services administrator or appointing authority with written notice of the investigative findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint, subject to the following limitations. The complainant shall be informed in writing of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint, if any, only to the extent that such findings, actions, or recommendations directly relate to the complainant, such as a finding that the complaint is or is not meritorious or a recommendation that the accused not contact the complainant. The complainant may be notified generally that the matter has been referred for disciplinary action. The respondent shall be informed in writing of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint and shall be notified of referrals for disciplinary action. Both the complainant and the respondent are entitled to review any final findings, conclusions, and recommendations, subject to any FERPA confidentiality requirements.

4. Informal Dispute Resolution: Informal dispute resolution processes, like mediation, may be used to resolve complaints, when appropriate. Informal dispute resolution shall not be used to resolve sexual discrimination complaints without written permission from both the complainant and the respondent. If the parties elect to mediate a dispute, either party shall be free to discontinue mediation at any time. In no event shall mediation be used to resolve complaints involving allegations of sexual violence.

5. Final Decision and/or Reconsideration: Either the complainant or the respondent may seek reconsideration of the decision by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee. Requests for reconsideration shall be submitted in writing to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee within seven calendar days of receiving the decision. Requests must specify which portion of the decision should be reconsidered and the basis for reconsideration. If no request for reconsideration is received within seven calendar days, the decision becomes final. If a request for reconsideration is received, the College President or designee shall respond within fourteen calendar days. The President or designee shall either deny the request or, if the President or designee determines that the request for reconsideration has merit, issue an amended decision. Any amended decision is final and no further reconsideration is available.

G. Publication of Anti-Discrimination Policies and Procedures

The policies and procedures regarding complaints of discrimination and harassment shall be published and distributed as determined by the president or president’s designee. Any person who believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination in violation of College policy will be provided a copy of these policies and procedures.

H. Limits to Authority

Nothing in this procedure shall prevent the College President or designee from taking immediate disciplinary action in accordance with Peninsula College policies and procedures, and federal, state, and municipal rules and regulations.

I. Non-Retaliation, Intimidation, and Coercion

Retaliation by, for, or against any participant (including complainant, respondent, witness, Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee, or investigator) is expressly prohibited. Retaliatory action of any kind taken against individual(s) as a result of seeking redress under the applicable procedures or serving as a witness in a subsequent investigation or any resulting disciplinary proceedings is prohibited and is conduct subject to discipline. Any person who thinks he/she has been the victim of retaliation should contact the Title IX/EEO Coordinator/Designee immediately.

J. Criminal Complaints

Discriminatory or harassing conduct may also be, or occur in conjunction with, criminal conduct. Criminal complaints may be filed with the following law enforcement authorities:

City of Port Angeles Police Department
321 East 5th Street, Port Angeles WA 98362
Phone: (360) 452-4545
wa-portangeles.civicplus.com/288/Police-Department

City of Forks Police Department
500 East Division Street, Forks WA 98331
Phone: (360) 374-2223
forkswashington.org/police-and-corrections

City of Port Townsend Police Department
1925 Blain Suite 100, Port Townsend WA 98368
Phone: (360) 385-2322
cityofpt.us/police.htm

 

Clallam County Sheriff Department

223 East 4th Street, Port Angeles WA 98362

Phone: (360) 417-2459

clallam.net/sheriff

 

Jefferson County Sheriff Department

79 Elkins Road, Port Hadlock WA 98339

Phone: (360) 385-3831

jeffersonsheriff.org

 

The College will proceed with an investigation of harassment and discrimination complaints regardless of whether the underlying conduct is subject to civil criminal prosecution.

K. Other Discrimination Complaint Options

Discrimination complaints may also be filed with the following federal and state agencies:

Washington State Human Rights Commission

hum.wa.gov

U.S. Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights

www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

eeoc.gov