• Discrimination Resolution Procedures


  • Purpose

    The purpose of these procedures is to provide a prompt and equitable resolution for complaints or reports of discrimination based upon race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Any person believing that they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment on any of these bases may file a complaint or report with the College.

    These procedures address all complaints or reports of alleged discrimination or harassment, including conduct that violates the Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation Policy (hereinafter referred to as “Policy Violations”). The procedures also address complaints or reports of retaliation against those who have opposed practices forbidden under the policy, those who have filed complaints or reports under the policy, and those who have testified or otherwise participated in enforcement of the policy.

    College Complaints and Reporting

    Complaints and third-party reports of discrimination, including Policy Violations, should be made to the MHCC Office of Human Resources (HR). HR staff are trained to help find resources, explain all reporting options, and to respond appropriately to conduct of concern. All instances of retaliation should be reported and will be addressed in the same manner. The contact information for HR is listed below.

    Mt. Hood Community College
    Human Resources
    26000 S.E. Stark St. Gresham, OR. 97030
    503-491-7200
    Human.Resources@mhcc.edu

    Complaints and reports should be made as soon as possible after an incident. HR office coordinates and tracks all complaints and reports under this procedure.

    There are several avenues available for submitting a complaint or report:

    • Leave a private voice message for HR: 503-491-7200;
    • Send a private email to HR: Human.Resources@mhcc.edu;
    • Mail a letter to HR: MHCC/HR 26000 SE Stark St. Gresham, OR 97030;
    • Visit one of HR staff (it is best to make an appointment first to ensure availability).
    • Report to another trusted College official (e.g., Administrator, Instructor, Coach, Counselor, Advisor) who will provide information as required under the policy to HR.

    If there is a complaint about HR office or any staff member that is part of HR Office, or if HR staff has a complaint, that complaint should be filed with the President of the College. The President will appoint another trained individual to take the place of HR for purposes of the complaint.

    Criminal Reporting

    Please remember that if someone is in immediate danger or needs immediate medical attention, the first place to report is 911. Individuals may also report to the College Office of Public Safety (503-491-7310), or to the Gresham Police Department (503-823-3333). Some forms of discrimination and harassment may also be crimes.  For example, sexual assault, stalking and rape are crimes. Criminal reports should be made to law enforcement, even if it is uncertain whether the particular conduct is a crime. Calling local law enforcement can help: (1) Obtain emergency and nonemergency medical care; (2) get immediate law enforcement response for individual protection; (3) understand how to provide assistance in a situation that may escalate to more severe criminal behavior; (4) arrange a meeting with victim advocate services; (5) find counseling and support; (6) initiate a criminal investigation; and (7) answer questions about the criminal process.

    Confidentiality of Complaints and Reports

    Parties in these processes, including the Complainant, the individual accused of a Policy Violation (“Respondent”), and witnesses, have privacy rights and reasonable expectations of confidentiality in the investigation of matters subject to this procedure. However, complete confidentially is not possible in the context of a complaint because discussion of an allegation is necessary during the investigation process, and these matters may become subject to possible future action. In addition, the integrity of the process depends on ensuring reasonable expectations of confidentiality.

    HR and/or the Affirmative Action Officer will keep confidential, to the extent possible, the complaint, report, witness statements, and any other information provided by the Complainant, Respondent, or witnesses. This information, as listed above, will be disclosed only to the Complainant, Respondent, or witnesses, as necessary to give fair notice of the allegation and to conduct the investigation; to law enforcement consistent with state and federal law; to other College officials as necessary for coordinating interim measures or for health, welfare, and safety reasons, and to government agencies who review the College’s compliance with federal law.

    The investigation report and any written decision will be disclosed only to the Complainant, Respondent, Human Resources and legal entities as required. Other College officials may have access to the investigation report and any written decision only when necessary to prepare for subsequent proceedings. Information about complaints and reports, absent personally identifiable information, may be reported to College officials, including external entities, for statistical and analysis purposes pursuant to federal and state law and College policy.

    Anonymous and Third Party Reporting

    HR accepts anonymous and third-party reports of conduct alleged to violate this Policy and will follow up on such reports. The individual making the report (Reporter) is encouraged to provide as much detailed information as possible to allow HR to investigate and respond as appropriate. HR may be limited in the ability to investigate an anonymous report unless sufficient information is furnished to enable HR to conduct a meaningful and fair investigation.

    Role of HR

    HR and/or the Affirmative Action Officer (hereinafter combined under the designation of HR) is charged with coordinating the College’s compliance with federal civil rights laws, all of which are listed at the end of these procedures. HR is not an advocate for either the Complainant or the Respondent. HR will explain to both parties the informal and formal processes outlined below and the confidentiality provisions as outlined above.

    Where appropriate, HR will provide to both parties information about options for obtaining medical and counseling services; information about making a criminal report, information about receiving advocacy services, information about other helpful campus and community resources. HR will offer to coordinate with other campus officials, when appropriate, to implement interim remedial measures such as no-contact orders or academic accommodations.

    HR will describe the process of a fair and impartial investigation. If an individual does not want to pursue a complaint, HR will inform the individual that the College may be limited in the actions it can take without the cooperation of the individual. HR will explain the right of the Respondent to review and respond to allegations and evidence against him or her in compliance with this procedure and any applicable practice, procedure or policy. HR will explain to both parties their rights to have a person of support or union representative with them during their interviews and during the hearing stage of these procedures.  HR will also explain to parties and witnesses that retaliation for reporting alleged violations of the policy, or participating in an investigation of an alleged violation, is strictly prohibited and that any retaliation should be immediately reported and will be promptly addressed.

    Immediate Action and Interim Measures

    The College may take interim measures to assist or protect the parties during this process, as necessary and with the Complainant’s consent. Such measures for a student Complainant may include arranging for changes in class schedules or living arrangements, issuing a no-contact order, obtaining counseling, and modifying test schedules or other class requirements temporarily. For an employee Complainant, the College may temporarily reassign or place on administrative leave an employee alleged to have violated this policy.

    Resolution

    If a Complainant chooses to file a complaint, there are two avenues for resolution of an alleged Policy Violation: formal and informal resolution. The Complainant has the option to proceed informally, when permissible. In cases involving allegations of sexual assault, informal resolution is not appropriate, even if both the Complainant and Respondent indicate a preference for informal resolution.

    HR is available to explain the informal and formal resolution procedures.

    A. Informal Process and Resolution

    If the Complainant, the Respondent, and HR all agree that an informal resolution should be pursued, HR (or official designee) shall attempt to facilitate a resolution of the conflict that is agreeable to all parties. If a student files a complaint of discrimination against a faculty member and the initial investigation determines that no discrimination or harassment was involved, the complaint, the College shall advise the student on other options such as the Student Compliant Procedure, available on-line and in any instructional office of the Gresham campus.

    For all other complaints, under the informal process HR shall be required only to conduct such fact-finding as is useful to resolve the conflict and as is necessary to protect the interests of the parties, the College and the community. Typically, an informal investigation will be completed within five (5) working days of receipt of the complaint. If it becomes necessary to extend the process, both parties will be notified of a revised expected resolution timeframe. A Complainant or Respondent always has the option to request a formal investigation. HR also always has the discretion to initiate a formal investigation.  If at any point during the informal process, the Complainant, the Respondent, or HR wishes to cease the informal process and proceed to the formal process outlined below it will be invoked.

    The informal resolution must adequately address the concerns of the Complainant, as well as the rights of the Respondent and the overall intent of the College to stop, remedy and prevent Policy Violations. Informal resolutions might include, but are not limited to: providing training to a work unit; having an informal discussion with an individual whose conduct, if not stopped, could rise to the level of discrimination, or hostile environment harassment; or having a confidential conversation with a supervisor or instructor. 

     B. Formal Process

    The Human Resources Director or Affirmative Action Officer will see that complaints are investigated in a fair and unbiased manner, that attempts are made to resolve complaints informally with all parties and that a final determination is made. HR determines whether the office has jurisdiction to investigate the matter. HR only has jurisdiction to investigate complaints alleging discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, and retaliation.

    Option 1:  If HR determines that there is no jurisdiction, HR will offer to assist the Complainant and, as appropriate, the Respondent, in finding appropriate campus and off-campus resources for addressing the issue of concern.

    Option 2:  If HR determines that there is jurisdiction, HR will proceed to Step 1.

    Step 1:  Anyone who believes himself/herself to be subjected to discrimination must make the complaint within one (1) year of the alleged action. However, it is most effective if the complaint is made as close to the time of the incident as possible. HR discusses concerns with the Complainant, and the Respondent and will complete an investigation within thirty (30) working days after receipt of the written statement of concern following these procedures. HR may consider whether immediate or interim actions or involvement of other College offices is appropriate.

    Step 2:  HR conducts or oversees the conduct of a fair and impartial investigation of the alleged Policy Violation. Following the complaint and investigation, a preliminary report will be completed within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of the complaint. If it becomes necessary to extend the process, both parties will be notified of a revised expected resolution timeframe.

    Respondents will have the opportunity to review and respond to evidence considered against them. Both parties will have the opportunity to review and provide comments to the investigator about the written investigation report before it is finalized.

    Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a preliminary report including interview summaries, supporting documentation, recommended solution, and/or corrective actions to be taken.

    C. Determination Based on Investigation Findings:

    HR determines whether there is a preponderance of the evidence to believe that an individual engaged in a Policy Violation. This means that individuals are presumed not to have engaged in alleged conduct unless a “preponderance of the evidence” supports a finding that the conduct has occurred. This “preponderance of the evidence” standard requires that the evidence supporting each finding be more convincing than the evidence in opposition to it.

    In making the determination of whether harassment has created a hostile environment, HR will consider not only whether the conduct was unwelcome to the Complainant, but also whether a reasonable person in the Complainant’s situation would have perceived the conduct as objectively offensive. HR’s findings will be in writing and will be provided to both the Complainant and to the Respondent(s).

    Further, within fifteen (15) working days of the preliminary report, the investigator will attempt to meet with the concerned parties to work toward resolution of the issue(s).

    Option 1:  If HR finds a preponderance of the evidence does not exist, the matter is documented and closed.  In this case the Complainant or Respondent may appeal the finding to the Office of the President.

    Option 2: If HR finds that a preponderance of the evidence exists, HR’s written report will include recommendations for steps to take to prevent recurrence of any such violation, and as appropriate, remedies for the Complainant. The Respondent may provide a rebuttal. If the Respondent does not contest the finding, the Respondent will be required to sign the written finding.

    Written finding will be provided to the Discipline Authority for a determination of appropriate sanctions. In the case of student Respondents, the Discipline Authority will be the Vice President of Student Development, or designee. In the case of employees, the Discipline Authority is the Director of Human Resources, who maintains the authority to impose sanctions in accordance with applicable employment policies and procedures. HR will inform the Complainant of the sanctions as permitted by applicable Title IX and privacy laws.

    Relation to the Student Code of Conduct

    The Vice President of Student Development (or designee) is charged with imposing sanctions on students who are found to have violated the policy. Sanctions may include suspension, expulsion, probation, a warning, or any other sanction set forth in the Student Code of Conduct. Disciplinary records for policy violations are maintained in the same manner as other disciplinary records.

    Reporter or Complainant Requests No Investigation

    If a reporter or Complainant requests that an investigation not be conducted, HR will consider the reasons for the request, including concerns about continued safety of the person reportedly harmed and members of the campus community. HR must also balance considerations about the continued health and safety of members of the community against a reporter’s or Complainant’s desire not to have the report investigated.

    In cases when a reporter or Complainant does not want to have a report investigated, but HR has concerns that not taking formal or informal action might endanger the health or safety of members of the campus community, HR will initiate confidential consultation with appropriate individuals to analyze the situation and assist in determining appropriate measures to take.  Consultation may occur with the Vice President of Student Development (or designee), chair(s) of the Threat Assessment Team, Public Safety Officer, Clery Compliance Officer, Faculty Coordinator/Counselor of Disability Services, Coordinator of Diversity Resource Center, psychological health professional, college counselor, Director of Human Resources, and legal counsel. HR will make the ultimate decision about whether to conduct a formal investigation or respond to the report in another manner, including taking informal actions, such as those described above.

    Filing an Appeal

    If the Complainant or Respondent is not satisfied with the findings of the investigator, he/she can submit a written rebuttal to the Office of the President within five (5) working days of the receipt of HR’s decision, unless good cause can be shown for an extension of time. The rebuttal must be in writing and must describe the Complainant’s or Respondent’s additional concerns; as well as describe how the Complainant or Respondent believes HR: (1) exhibited unfair bias which influenced the result of the investigation; (2) failed to conduct a thorough investigation; (3) issued arbitrary findings and recommendations; (4) had a conflict of interest; or (5) issued findings and recommendations that, if adopted, would result in substantial injustice.

    Conflict of Interest and Training

    All College officials who are involved in the discrimination process, including HR, designated investigators, designated employees and Discipline Authorities, will have adequate training.  Training will address, but is not limited to, disability awareness and compliance with ADA/504, recognizing and appropriately responding to allegations of discrimination, harassment, including hostile environment harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation, conducting investigations, protecting confidentiality, and recognizing the link between alcohol and drug use and sexual assault and sexual harassment.

    The names of the investigator for a particular matter will be readily accessible. This individual must promptly disclose any potential conflict of interest they might have in a particular case.  In the rare situation in which an actual or perceived conflict of interest is present, that conflict must be disclosed to both parties, and a different, qualified investigator will be assigned to the case.

    External Complaints

    If an individual files  a complaint with HR and believes the College’s response was inadequate, and  believes they have been discriminated against by the College on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation  they may file a complaint with the appropriate agency, which may include:

    Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education based in Seattle at 915 Second Ave. Room 3310, Seattle, WA 98174
    Educational Opportunities Section (HRS) of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department of Justice
    State of Oregon’s Civil Rights Division:  http://www.oregon.gov/boli/CRD/Pages/index.aspx, 800 NE Oregon St., Suite 1045
    Portland, OR 97232.  971-673-0764. crdemail@boli.state.or.us

    References:  Titles IV, VI, and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; 34 C.F.R. pt. 100; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; 28 C.F.R. pt. 54 and 34 C.F.R. pt. 106; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; 34 C.F.R. pt. 104; Age Discrimination Act of 1975; 34 C.F.R. pt. 110; and Titles I and II of the Americans with Disabilities Act; 28 C.F.R. pt. 35;

    The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Dear Colleague Letter, dated April 4, 2011, p. 8, states:  [I]n cases involving allegations of sexual assault, mediation is not appropriate even on a voluntary basis.