Procedures for Handling Complaints of Harassment of Employees
The Orange Southwest Supervisory Union hereby adopts the following administrative procedures to implement the School District’s policy with respect to unlawful harassment of school district employees.
Reporting And Response
- To Principal (or designee): Any adult school employee who witnesses or receives a report, formal or informal, written or oral, of harassment at school or during school-sponsored activities shall report it to the Principal. If the report involves the school Principal, the reporter shall make the report directly to one of the School District Equity Coordinators or Superintendent.
- Principal’s duty: Upon receipt of a report of harassment, the Principal shall decide whether to retain and act upon it at the school site or to forward it directly to a School District Equity Coordinator.
- Retained by Principal. If the Principal acts upon the report at the school site and if the matter is not resolved informally as described below, he or she shall forward to a School District Equity Coordinator, within 5 calendar days, a report of any action taken.
- Forwarded to School District Equity Coordinator. If the Principal decides to forward the complaint to a School District Equity Coordinator, he or she shall do so immediately, without screening or investigating the report. The Principal may request, but not insist upon, a written complaint. The Principal shall forward to a School District Equity Coordinator:
- a written statement of the complaint within 24 hours; and
- any available supporting documentation as soon as practicable.
- School District Equity Coordinator: The Superintendent shall designate at least two (one of each gender) individuals within the School District/Supervisory Union as a School District Equity Coordinator to receive reports of harassment. If the report involves the School District Equity Coordinator(s), the reporter shall refer the complaint directly to the Superintendent. The School District shall prominently post the name, mailing address, and telephone numbers of its Equity Coordinators.
Informal Inquiry and Resolution
The complainant and the alleged harasser(s) may agree to a meeting facilitated by a school employee. If all parties involved agree the situation has been resolved during such meeting, the facilitator shall report to the Principal only that the matter has been resolved informally. If any party involved does not agree that the situation has been resolved, a formal investigation shall be initiated.
- Who. Unless the matter is resolved informally, the Principal or School District Equity Coordinator or designee shall conduct an investigation upon receipt of a report or complaint alleging harassment.
- How. The investigator will interview individuals involved and any other persons who may have knowledge of the circumstances giving rise to the complaint and may use other methods and documentation.
- When. The investigator shall complete the investigation as soon as practicable following receipt of the complaint.
- Result. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator shall decide if a violation of this policy has occurred and report that decision, along with the evidence supporting it, to the Principal or School District Equity Coordinator and the Superintendent or, if the complaint involves the Superintendent, directly to the School Board, for appropriate action in accordance with School District disciplinary policy.
A person judged to be in violation of the policy on unlawful harassment and subjected to action under it may appeal the determination and/or the action taken as follows:
Applicable collective bargaining agreement. If the person filing the appeal is an adult school employee who has applicable appeal rights under the grievance procedure in a collective bargaining agreement, the appeal shall proceed in accordance with the person’s rights as outlined in that agreement.
Other. If the person filing the appeal is an adult school employee who does not have applicable appeal rights under the grievance procedure in a collective bargaining agreement, the appeal shall proceed in accordance with school district policy governing employee discipline and with legal due process requirements.
Retaliation for reporting harassment or cooperating in an investigation of harassment is unlawful under 21 V.S.A. §495(a)(5) and 9 V.S.A. §4503(a)(5).
Record Keeping and Notification
- Record keeping: The Superintendent shall assure that a record of any complaint and investigation of harassment as well as the disposition of the complaint and any disciplinary or remedial action taken is maintained by the School District in a confidential file.
- Notification: The Superintendent shall assure that the complainant is notified whether allegations of unlawful harassment were found to be valid, whether a violation of the policy occurred, and whether action was taken as a result
The Superintendent shall provide notice of the policy on unlawful employee harassment and these procedures to all school employees. Copies of the policy and procedures shall be posted on the Orange Southwest Supervisory Union's website: www.orangesw.k12.vt.us. The notice shall:
- Include examples of behaviors which, if sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent to interfere with a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from school programs, would constitute unlawful harassment; and
- Provide the following information about additional methods of pursuing claims of harassment:
- A person may make a complaint of harassment to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the following places:
Vermont Attorney General’s Office
109 State Street
Montpelier VT 05609-1001
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1 Congress Street
Boston MA 02114
- In addition, an individual may seek other remedies through private legal action and, in some circumstances, through criminal prosecution.