University Staff Hostile and Intimidating Behavior
University Staff Hostile and Intimidating Behavior policy.
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Director, Office of Workforce Relations
Unwelcome behavior pervasive or severe enough that a reasonable person would find hostile and/or intimidating or affects the employee’s well-being and safety in the workplace is unacceptable. Such conduct impairs a worker’s ability to perform his or her responsibilities to the university and therefore does not further the university’s academic or operational interests. Such conduct also may impede an individual’s professional and personal growth and fulfillment. A person or a group can perpetrate this behavior and need not have more years of service than or be a supervisor to the target.
Who This Policy Applies To
Language Describing Hostile and/or Intimidating Behavior
Unacceptable behavior may include, but is not limited to:
- Abusive expression (including spoken, written, recorded, visual, digital, or nonverbal, etc.) directed at another person in the workplace, such as derogatory remarks or epithets that are outside the range of commonly accepted expressions of disagreement, disapproval, or critique in an academic culture and professional setting that respects free expression;
- Unwarranted physical contact or intimidating gestures;
- Professional exclusion or isolation that may harm another person’s reputation in the workplace or hinder another person’s work;
- Taking credit for or sabotaging another person’s work or impeding another person’s capacity for academic expression, be it oral, written, or other;
- Abusing the employee evaluation process;
- Assigning or delegating tasks beyond the person’s ability or beyond the scope of the person’s position without the proper training, resources and support;
- Subjecting a person to unhealthy or dangerous tasks following a return from a disability rehabilitation;
- Abuse of authority, such as the use of threats or retaliation in the exercise of authority, supervision, guidance, or impeding another person from exercising shared governance rights, etc.
The policy is not intended to constitute a general civility code addressing ordinary stresses of the workplace, such as occasionally insensitive language or behavior. Nor is it intended to constrain commonly accepted workplace management practices. Rather, it is intended to address patterns of hostility or intimidation that impede persons from carrying out their duties to the University, ensuring that all, regardless of rank or status, may pursue their work and speak as they see fit.
This definition of hostile and/or intimidating behavior is not intended to impede academic freedom or violate rights to free expression. However, these freedoms come with a responsibility that all members of our university community have a right to work in an environment free from intimidation, exploitation, coercion, violence, aggression, harassment, and/or bullying.
Procedures for Implementation
There are two options for a person who has been the target of hostile and/or intimidating behavior. The person may use the Informal Process for redress or proceed directly to the formal/grievance process.
- Informal Process
- Formal Process
- Filing a Complaint
- Filing a Grievance
A University Staff member who believes he or she has been subjected to unacceptable hostile and/or intimidating behavior may wish to discuss the matter with the faculty, staff, administrator, student or external/non-campus person directly involved or through the intervention of an intermediary at the department, school/college, division, or campus level such as the Office of Human Resources, Ombuds’ Office, Employee Assistance Office or personal representative.
University Staff may also use the informal resolution process outlined in Section B.1 of University Staff Grievances Policy.
When using the informal process to resolve the conflict, the University Staff member should be prepared to identify precisely the pattern or acts of conduct believed to constitute the violation. This should be a record (of what was said, in what context and who witnessed the event, etc.) that the University Staff member has compiled during the time of the intimidating behavior.
Oral and written confidential communications occurring during the informal process (e.g., admissions of fault, apologies, offers to reconcile, etc.) may not be used as evidence in any subsequent formal process. This is to encourage frank discussions to achieve a resolution. However, the employee is free to note any other behavior or communications that may be considered hostile or intimidating during this time, and it may be considered during the formal process, below.
If a complaint about unwelcome behavior is being handled informally, and there is a dispute about whether the alleged behavior constitutes a violation of these rules, the person or body handling the matter will seek advice from the OHR and inform those concerned.
Please note that if the result of the informal process is not viewed as favorable to the employee, the employee may move forward to the formal process.
A University Staff employee may file a complaint with the department chair or unit head. If there is a conflict with the department chair/unit head, the complainant may file with the divisional human resources representative. If upon investigation of the complaint, discipline or dismissal is appropriate, the divisional human resources representative, in conjunction with the employee’s supervisor, may initiate the disciplinary or dismissal process.
Corrective action, dismissal or other remedial action as deemed appropriate can be imposed on faculty, staff, students, administrators or external/non campus members for violation of campus policies, including, but not limited to: University Staff Policies and Procedures, Faculty Policies and Procedures, Academic Staff Policy and Procedures, and University Staff Employee Work Rules in compliance with the requirements of the University Staff Corrective Action Policy.
If either pursuing a resolution under the informal process or filing a written complaint does not lead to a resolution, a University Staff member may file a grievance within thirty (30) working days from the time the University Staff member knew or could reasonably be expected to have known that the procedures failed to lead to a resolution of the complaint.
In this case, the University Staff employee may file a workplace grievance pursuant to applicable policies and procedures.
Performance evaluations are the key to an employee’s career, upward mobility, and financial compensation. To ensure that University Staff are given an opportunity for a fair and impartial performance evaluation and that they are comfortable reporting hostile or intimidating behavior from a supervisor, the following will apply:
- If a supervisor has had a hostile/intimidating complaint/grievance filed against him or her by a University Staff employee who reports directly to him or her, that supervisor is not authorized to complete that employee’s summary (i.e., written) performance evaluation without campus Office of Human Resources (OHR) review of the written summary performance evaluation and an OHR representative attending the evaluation meeting.
- A written summary performance evaluation conducted after a supervisor has had a complaint/grievance filed against him or her by a University Staff employee who reports directly to that supervisor will be considered provisional until the complaint is resolved. The employee will be eligible for any and all wage increases available during this period.
- If a direct supervisor is found to have treated an employee in a hostile or intimidating manner in violation of this policy, the provisional summary performance evaluation will be removed from the employee’s personnel file.
- If resolution is reached, the provisional summary performance evaluation will be reissued with changes to reflect the employee’s true work performance.
- If, during future performance evaluations, an employee who has previously filed a complaint feels uncomfortable, a representative from campus OHR may be asked to attend the summary performance evaluation meeting.