Procedures for Responding to Reports of Discrimination and Harassment (Non-Sexual) By Non-Faculty Staff Members

The procedures described below provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of reports regarding discrimination and harassment (non-sexual) based on a “protected category” brought by students, faculty members, non-faculty staff members, and non- community members against any non-faculty staff member.

Pursuant to Syracuse University’s policies prohibiting conduct that is discriminatory or harassing, “protected categories” for purposes of this complaint procedure include race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law.

Separate procedures apply where a faculty member, student, or non-community member is the accused.

The term “Complainant” refers to an individual who is reported to have experienced prohibited conduct, regardless of whether the individual makes a report or seeks disciplinary action. The University reserves the right to act as the Complainant and initiate a Formal Complaint under this process. The term “Respondent” refers to an individual who has been accused of prohibited conduct. These procedures are the exclusive internal method for addressing discrimination and/or harassment (non-sexual) claims brought against non-faculty staff members. Complaints involving allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or other forms of sexual misconduct are controlled by the University’s respective Procedures for Responding to Reports of Violations of the Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Assault Prevention Policy which can be located here.

Neither the Staff Complaint Process, nor any other process, is available to address claims of discrimination or harassment (non-sexual) or decisions made pursuant to this procedure. However, nothing in this procedure shall limit or prohibit the filing of a grievance under a collective bargaining agreement, a claim with an external agency responsible for addressing issues of discrimination or harassment, or a criminal complaint with appropriate law enforcement authorities.

Every effort will be made to resolve the complaint at the lowest level possible and consistent with the desires of the person bringing forward the complaint. However, under certain circumstances, the University may have a legal obligation to identify and remedy discrimination or harassment, irrespective of whether a formal complaint is actually filed and even if the Complainant would prefer no action be taken.

In any particular case, the Chief Equal Opportunity and Title IX Officer may delegate their authority pursuant to this procedure to any other appropriate University representative.

I.   Reporting 

Any student, non-faculty staff member, faculty member, or non-community member wishing to report alleged conduct prohibited by the University’s Anti-Harassment and Nondiscrimination policies against any non-faculty staff member may contact any one of the following individuals to make a report:

Reporting parties may also complete a Discrimination Intake Form and submit it electronically to .

If the initial complaint is made to any person other than the Senior HR Business Partner, Labor Relations, or the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services, the individual receiving the complaint will notify the Senior HR Business Partner or Labor Relations and the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services about the complaint and/or forward the complaint, if written, to the Senior HR Business Partner or Labor Relations and the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services. In the event that the Senior HR Business Partner or Labor Relations is notified first, the Senior HR Business Partner or Labor Relations will share the complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services for investigation and resolution.

Complaints may be made anonymously. While the University endeavors to investigate all complaints, including anonymous complaints, the nature of anonymous complaints makes investigation, determination, and remediation more difficult and, at times, impossible. Further, while the University attempts to protect the identity of Complainants who do not wish to be identified, this may not always be possible.

II.            Intake and Outreach

Upon the receipt of a complaint the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services will make an initial determination as to whether the complaint will be processed.

After an initial review of a report of potential conduct which conflicts with the University’s policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment, a member from the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services will– typically within 48 hours – contact the reporting individual to request a meeting to gather supplemental information (if any) and explain the University’s processes. At this stage, the assessment is whether the alleged conduct, assuming all reported facts as true, constitutes a potential violation of the University’s policies which prohibit unlawful discrimination and harassment.

If the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services determines that the situation is more appropriately handled pursuant to another University policy or procedure (for instance, where the conduct is not conceivably discrimination or harassment, but may violate another University policy), the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services will coordinate with the Senior HR Business Partner or Labor Relations to initiate the more appropriate process.

If the reporting individual is a potential Complainant the outreach will also cover available Supportive Measures; the process for filing an informal or formal Complaint; the difference between privacy and confidentiality; and the right to be protected from retaliation.

In addition to the initial conversation and any subsequent meeting with the Complainant, the University will provide the Complainant with written information about resources, procedural options, including local law enforcement resources as applicable, and available Supportive Measures.

III.             Supportive Measures

Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive, individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to a Complainant or Respondent, after the University receives a report of alleged conduct prohibited by the University’s Nondiscrimination or Anti-Harassment policies. Both Complainants and Respondents are eligible to receive Supportive Measures.

Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s Education Program or Activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the campus community, or deter prohibited conduct. Supportive Measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other work-related adjustments, modifications of work schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties (also known as No Contact Orders), changes in work locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures. Additional relief such as protective orders may be available through the criminal and/or family court process.

Individuals may contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services at 315.443.4018 or to discuss or request Supportive Measures. The University will maintain as confidential any Supportive Measures provided to a Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the Supportive Measures.

Complainants and Respondents will, upon request and consistent with these procedures, be afforded a prompt review, reasonable under the circumstances, of the need for and terms of any Supportive Measures that directly affect them, and shall be allowed to submit evidence in support of their request. For example, a staff member may request rescission of a No Contact Order by demonstrating it is not necessary or productive. Complainants and Respondents should request further review of Supportive Measures—either the granting or denial of such measures—by contacting the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services, Labor Relations, or the Senior HR Business Partner.

The Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services will document each report or request for assistance, including requests for Supportive Measures, as well as the response to any such report or request.

IV.      Informal Resolution of Complaint (Optional)

This process is used when the Complainant does not want an investigation into the alleged behavior but wants the behavior to stop through informal resolution without filing a formal complaint. Generally, this step is appropriate where the objectionable behavior is at an early stage and the Complainant has not previously addressed the behavior with the alleged Respondent, but senses that once the Respondent is notified, the behavior will cease. This procedure may also be used where there is no specific Complainant, but the University is aware of alleged behaviors which, if true, may implicate the University’s policies prohibiting discrimination or harassment.

This procedure will not apply to egregious allegations (such as those involving violence or threats) as determined by the University on a case- by- case basis. This determination will be solely at the University’s discretion. It may be necessary for the University to perform some level of investigation into the facts and circumstances before offering informal resolution options.

  1. A complaining party may (but is not required to) initiate an informal resolution process by informing the person engaging in the offensive conduct, either verbally or in writing, that such conduct is offensive and must If a meeting is arranged, a neutral witness should be present.
  2. If the person initiating the informal resolution does not wish to communicate directly with the Respondent, or if direct communication with that individual has not resolved the problem, the person should contact one of the following for assistance or advice as soon as
  3. A complaint is considered informally resolved when all parties involved (the Complainant, the Respondent, and the University) are satisfied that the situation has been remedied and will not be A complaint informally resolved to the satisfaction of all parties is considered closed and is not eligible for further processing. However, the University reserves the right to take further action if new information comes to its attention, new misconduct occurs, or any party fails to abide by the terms of the informal resolution.
  4. At any point in the informal process, the Complainant, the Respondent, or the University may opt to end the informal process and move the complaint to the formal resolution process, discussed below.

V.            Formal Resolution of Complaint 

The formal process usually involves a written complaint, an investigation, and appropriate corrective action, where deemed appropriate by the University. Upon receipt of any report of discrimination or harassment, the University conducts a preliminary assessment to determine whether or not the reported information merits further investigation. The University has sole discretion to determine whether further investigation is necessary in any particular case. In circumstances where a report will not be investigated, the reporting party will be notified and if appropriate, provided with additional resources on campus to aid in addressing the reported concerns.

If the informal process is unsuccessful, or if informal resolution is not desired or appropriate under the circumstances, the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services will conduct an investigation into the complaint. Absent extenuating circumstances, the investigation will be completed within 90 business days of the filing of the complaint.

  1. Investigation. An Equal Opportunity and Title IX Investigator(s) or designee will meet separately with the Complainant and the Respondent. The Investigator(s) will also meet separately with any other person who may have knowledge of the situation. The Complainant and the Respondent will have an opportunity to present information and evidence and identify witnesses to the investigator(s).
    • The University will make every effort to handle complaints and investigations with sensitivity to both the rights of the Complainant and Respondent. The University handles complaints discreetly and attempts to maintain privacy throughout the investigatory process, to the extent practicable and appropriate under the circumstances. However, in order to conduct an investigation, it is generally necessary to discuss the allegations with the Respondent and other potential witnesses. Additionally, the University may be obliged to disclose information to law enforcement or other agencies or in the context of legal proceedings.
    • The Complainant and the Respondent are entitled to have an advisor of their choice throughout the duration of the investigative Advisors are limited to attending investigatory meetings and interviews with the parties and offering advice to parties regarding the investigation. Advisors are prohibited from participating in any meeting or interview by directly answering questions on behalf of a party. Advisors must be respectful of parties, witnesses, and University administrators throughout the process. Advisors who do not conform their behavior to these requirements may be prohibited from participating in the process going forward. Individuals who are or may be witnesses in the case or who otherwise have an apparent or actual conflict of interest may not serve as Advisors.
    • The Investigator or designee will impartially and objectively weigh the evidence to prepare an Investigative Report summarizing the facts, as determined by a preponderance of the evidence. Based on the facts, the Investigator will determine, also by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the Respondent violated any University policy.
    • Formal rules of evidence do not apply. Decisions are made based on a preponderance of the evidence, meaning whether it is more likely than not that the complained of conduct occurred.
    • While the investigation is pending, the University may take immediate and appropriate interim action to address discrimination or harassment allegations before a final determination is made on the complaint. This may include a reassignment of duties, a no-contact directive, administrative leave, or other appropriate actions. Any interim measure put in place will be done in consultation with the designated Senior HR Business Partner.
    • Occasionally, an individual makes a complaint and later wishes to revoke or discontinue the investigation or adjudication process. Similarly, it may occur that someone other than the impacted party reports an incident, and the impacted party declines to participate in the investigation or adjudication process. While the University endeavors to respect the wishes of an impacted party, the University may not always be able to do so. The University may be obligated to investigate and adjudicate serious incidents even where the impacted party would prefer otherwise in order to protect the The University reserves the right to take action in response to any incident that comes to its attention.
    • If a Respondent leaves the University during the pendency of a complaint, the University may close the case.
  1. Sanction and Written Determination. The Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services will report the findings of fact and policy conclusions to the Senior HR Business Partner or Labor Relations. Based on the findings and conclusions of the Investigator(s), the Senior HR Business Partner or Labor Relations will issue disciplinary sanctions or remedial action. All disciplinary action shall be in accord with applicable policies and To the extent permitted by law and collective bargaining agreement obligations, the Complainant and the Respondent will be informed in writing as to any action to be taken with respect to the complaint, and, if no action is to be taken, the parties will be so notified. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the parties will receive notification of the determination within ten (10) business days of the date that Labor Relations or the Senior HR Business Partner receives the Investigatory Report. The University’s goal is to prevent and correct discrimination or harassment. Therefore possible sanctions include, but are not limited to, written warning, counseling, suspension, transfer, mandatory sensitivity training, or dismissal of the Respondent. As appropriate to remedy the effects of policy violations, action on behalf of Complainants, such as employee assistance, professional counseling, voluntary transfer, etc., may also be offered.
  2. Appeal. If either the Complainant or the Respondent is dissatisfied with the investigative conclusions and sanctions/remedial action, the party may appeal to the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer or his/her designee. An appeal must be in writing and set forth an explanation for the basis of the appeal. An appeal can be filed on any of the following basis:
  • New evidence not reasonably available at the time of the original investigation/hearing, the absence of which can be shown to have had a detrimental impact on the outcome.
  • Errors in the interpretation of University policy so substantial as to deny either party a fair process.

If an appeal is filed by one party, the other party will be so informed in writing and provided with an opportunity to reply. An appeal must be filed within ten (10) business days of the date the party is informed of the Determination. The Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer or his/her designee may accept, reject, or modify the investigatory findings and conclusions. If necessary, the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer or his/her designee may take steps to further investigate or clarify any aspect of the report or allegations. Absent extenuating circumstances, the Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer or his/her designee will inform the parties of their decision within ten (10) business days.

Union employees. If the Respondent is a member of a union, for the purposes of appealing any determination by the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services and/or sanctions resulting from the determination, Respondent should refer to and be guided by the grievance process outlined in their collective bargaining agreement.

VI.            Retaliation

The University prohibits retaliation against any individual who in good faith makes a complaint of discrimination or harassment or participates as a witness in a proceeding under this or any other University policy. Retaliation is also unlawful pursuant to Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its amendments, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other federal, state and local laws.

VII.             Confidential Resources

If an impacted party wishes to talk about an incident with the assurance that the discussion will be confidential and will not result in an investigation or follow up action, the University offers the following resources:

  • Students may contact the Counseling Center at the Barnes Center at the Arch (24 hour support is available at 443.8000).
  • Faculty and non-faculty staff members may contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program through Carebridge (toll-free 24 hours a day at 800.437.0911).
  • Graduate students, faculty, and non-faculty staff members may contact the Office of the University Ombuds at 443.1087.

Communication with these resources do not result in a complaint being filed with the University or result in action being taken by the University.

VIII.             Reporting to Law Enforcement

The University will report allegations of criminal conduct to the appropriate local law enforcement agency or agencies for potential investigation. This will occur independent of actions by individual Complainants if allegations of criminal conduct are made.

IX.             Syracuse University Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies

To review Syracuse University’s policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment, please review the web links listed below: legal-compliance/non-discrimination-in-employment-on-the-basis-of-disability/