I. Scope

This policy describes the process by which discrimination and harassment grievances not covered under Title IX are resolved. For resolution of sexual discrimination or misconduct allegations, please see the Sexual Harassment Policy Violations Grievance Procedures.

II. Introduction

Any employee, student, or visitor to Earlham who believes they have been the victim of Prohibited Conduct noted in Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy may seek resolution through Earlham’s formal grievance procedures or through an informal resolution process.

  1. Informal resolution includes conversation and mediation. The purpose of this mediation is not to establish guilt or innocence, or to provide for sanctions against anyone involved, but to reach mutual understanding and resolution.
  2. Formal grievance procedures will result, for the Respondent, in findings of “Responsible” or “Not Responsible” regarding the Prohibited Conduct, and will include appropriate Sanctions when there is a finding of Responsible.
  3. All reports of sexual misconduct are investigated and resolved according to procedures outlined in Earlham’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy Violations Grievance Procedure.
  4. If an incident does not rise to the level of discrimination and harassment as defined in this policy, but is alleged to be contrary to Earlham principles, Earlham will provide appropriate opportunities to mediate and resolve the incident.

III. Definitions

  1. Grievance: A formal complaint alleging a violation of the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.
  2. Prohibited Conduct: Prohibited Conduct includes discrimination, harassment or bullying on the basis of a Protected Category. Engaging in Prohibited Conduct constitutes a policy violation that may result in sanctions.
  3. Protected Category: A group protected from discrimination by federal or state law, including but not limited to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972; Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994; Indiana Code 22-5-4-1; and Indiana Code § 35-38-9-10.
  4. Respondent: An individual who is alleged to have committed Prohibited Conduct.
  5. Sanction: A formal college response or punishment should a student or employee be found Responsible for violation of this policy. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, termination of employment and expulsion.

VI. Initiating a Complaint

To file a complaint, please use the online incident report form or contact one of the following offices:

  • Office of the President, Chief Diversity Officer
  • Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
  • Human Resources
  • Disability and Accessibility Services
  • Earlham School of Religion, Dean or Joint Seminaries Registrar  
  • Office of Title IX

Consult with the College Directory at earlham.edu or on the institution’s intranet (The Heart), for current contact information. Complaints may be made in person or in writing.

Members of the Earlham community may also make reports to:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: 800-421-3481
Fax: 202-453-6012
TDD#: 877-521-2172
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)-Chicago Office
U.S. Department of Education
John C. Kluczynski Building
230 S. Dearborn Street, 37th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604
Telephone: 312-730-1560
Fax: 312-730-1576
TDD#: 800-877-8339
Email: [email protected]

For complaints involving employees, please refer to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States Government. The EEOC has jurisdiction over Title IX employment claims. Please consult: http://www.eeoc.gov/field/index.cfm to locate the local office’s contact info.

V. Informal Resolution of Complaints

  1. Any employee, student, or visitor to Earlham who believes they have been the victim of Prohibited Conduct noted in Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy may seek resolution through an informal resolution process.  Informal resolution may include 1) Conversation between complainant and responding party, 2) Education for those seeking clarity about their experience or behavior, and/or 3) Mediation with assistance from the Ombudsperson.
  2. In order to pursue information resolution of grievances, both parties must agree to pursue this option.
  3. Even in circumstances in which both parties request an informal procedure, Earlham may choose to continue with a formal investigation and grievance procedure appropriate to the severity of the claim.
  4. The Ombudsperson is available to provide any member of the Earlham community with confidential consultation on the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy or alternative dispute resolutions.
  5. Informal complaints will be logged by the Ombudsperson in order to allow the Ombudsperson to track complaints. Complaint information will not be revealed to HR or other administrators, but overall trends will be reported as part of tracking grievances across campus.

VI. Formal Resolution of Complaints

A. When a Student is Respondent to a Complaint

When a student is respondent to a complaint, the Office of Student Life will investigate and resolve the matter through procedures outlined in the code of student conduct, published in the Student Handbook.

B. When an Employee is a Respondent to a Complaint

When a faculty or staff member is a respondent to a complaint, the Office of Human Resources will investigate and resolve the matter using the following process:

  1. The Investigating Agent will meet with the reporting party and request a written statement (complaints must be put in writing).
  2. Following receipt of the formal written complaint, the Investigating Agent will meet with the responding party (the individual accused of violating the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy) and ask for a written response.
  3. If complainant or respondent chooses a hearing, the complaint will be forwarded to the Grievance Council as well as the appropriate Administrator.
  4. The Council will convene within ten (10) academic class days.
  5. The Grievance Council will make a recommendation to the responsible Administrator within 10 academic days.
  6. The standard of proof in the College’s grievance resolution proceedings, including its Title IX proceedings, is the preponderance of evidence standard, which requires proving that it is more likely than not that reported misconduct occurred.
  7. The College Administrator assigned to the area the complaint concerns will review the complaint and recommendation and respond in writing to the complainant within 15 academic days.
  8. Human Resources will inform the responding party of the decision and any action that may be taken. This decision will be noted in the responding party’s personnel file.

Note: Personnel matters will remain private. The decision noted in the personnel file contains private information which an individual can reasonably expect will not be made public. Information related to harassment or discrimination is shared only on a College operations need-to-know basis. Confidentiality is maintained whenever possible with regard to consultations and complaints. However, complete confidentiality is not possible in cases where illegality or gross malfeasance are alleged.

VII. Determination and Action / Sanctions

Individuals found responsible for violation of college policy are subject to sanctions, including but not limited to:

  1. Education/Counseling
  2. Written Reprimand
  3. Probation
  4. Termination of employment
  5. Suspension
  6. Expulsion

If a Respondent is not a member of the Earlham College community, Sanctions may be limited to a ban from College property.

VIII. Retaliation

Taking an action that might deter a reasonable person from participating in activity protected by antidiscrimination and/or whistleblower laws. Protected activity includes: complaining about discriminatory or harassing behavior; disclosing/reporting violations of law, rule or procedure or fraud, waste or abuse; and participating in discrimination or whistleblower proceedings (such as an investigation or lawsuit).

  1. Retaliatory actions are not limited to formal actions such as termination, demotion, non-promotion, or non-selection.
  2. Retaliation includes intimidation, threats, and/or harassment, whether physical or communicated verbally or via written communication (including via email or social media), as well as adverse changes in work or academic environments, or other adverse actions or threats.

IX. Appeals

Complainant or respondent may file an appeal within 10 academic days of receipt of the administrator’s decision. The only acceptable grounds for appeal are: a lapse of process that might have made a difference in the outcome, persuasive new evidence, or an inappropriate sanction.
A person may appeal by submitting the following:

  1. Copy of the original complaint in writing;
  2. Copy of the administrator’s decision in writing;
  3. Statement of reasons for appeal.

This information should be submitted to the Vice President in the respective area of the initial complaint. If the administrator or focus of the complaint is the Vice President, the complainant or respondent may submit the appeal to the Director of Human Resources, who will determine an alternative administrator of the appeal, in consultation with the President. The complainant and respondent will receive the outcome of the appeal in writing within 30 academic days of the assignment of the appeal. The determination of the outcome of the appeal shall be made on the basis of a preponderance of evidence, that is, whether it is more likely than not that a lapse of process might have made a difference in the outcome, persuasive new evidence might have made a difference in the outcome, or an inappropriate sanction was given.

Records of all formal complaints will be maintained by the Department of Human Resources.

Clerical Notes

On October 13, 2023, the Earlham Board of Trustees approved the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy, an institution-wide policy defining behaviors that constitute a violation of college policy, including discrimination and harassment of individuals based on a Protected Category. Adoption of that policy nullified definitions and amended certain procedures contained in the Harassment and Grievance Policy as adopted by the Faculty on March 3, 2017.

On September 8, 2021, the Earlham College Faculty Meeting approved recommendations for improvements of the Earlham College Grievance Process to include the creation of an Ombudsperson and a Grievance Council, disbanding what was formerly the Ombuds Council.

On March 3, 2017, the Earlham College Faculty Meeting approved an amended policy, now re-titled the Harassment and Grievance Policy.

On April 15, 1992, the Earlham College Faculty Meeting approved the Harassment Policy.

Policy specifications

Last revision: 10/13/2023
Responsible office: Human Resources
Approved by: President
Approval date: 04/15/1992
Effective date: 10/13/2023
Related policies: Notice of Nondiscrimination
Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy
Sexual Harassment Policy
Sexual Harassment Policy Violations Grievance Procedures
Accommodation of Students with Disabilities
Associated division(s):
Associated audience(s):
Associated container(s):

Policy home: https://earlham.edu/policy/discrimination-and-harassment-grievance-procedure