Complaints Against Employees

This complaint and investigation protocol will be applied to all civil rights and discrimination complaints, especially those governed by Title VII and Title IX including sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, and/or gender-based bullying or hazing and all other types of discrimination as defined by the Office of Civil Rights.

This protocol is intended to apply to complaints against all employees. This protocol will be used in lieu of the Staff Grievance and Appeals Policy and Procedures as defined in the Employee Handbook.

Faculty and students may be subject to additional guidelines and should refer to their respective handbooks.

If you are not certain whether this protocol would apply to your complaint, please contact the Office of Human Resources for guidance and appropriate referral.

Overview

The University of West Georgia does not permit discrimination or harassment in our workplace, programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or state, local, or federal law.

When necessary the University will implement effective remedies designed to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence and address its effects. Employees, students or third parties who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment by an employee should report their concern or complaint to his/her appropriate department head. Reports may also be made to the following individuals:

Associate VP of Human Resources
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
1601 Maple Street
Aycock Hall
Carrollton, GA 30118

Senior Title IX Coordinator
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton, GA 30118

Reports may be made anonymously at http://www.westga.edu/UWGcares

A complaint made to any other University employee may result in the failure to have a complaint processed in a timely manner.

The Director of Human Resources is designated to investigate formal complaints involving employees of the institution, address inquiries and coordinate the University’s compliance efforts regarding complaints.

The notice of formal complaint can be made in writing or verbally by the complainant or his/her department head. A written complaint should clearly and concisely describe the alleged incident(s) and when and where it occurred. The complaint should be signed by the initiator and should contain the name and all contact information for the complainant. Any supporting documentation and evidence should be referenced within the body of the formal complaint. Additionally, the initiator of a formal complaint should submit any supporting materials in writing as quickly as is practicable.

Mediation

Mediation may not be used to address sexual misconduct complaints. While it may be used for other civil rights complaints, UWG does not encourage using it for these issues. However if all of the parties involved choose to employ mediation, they must indicate that in writing to the Director of Human Resources. This written statement only needs to include that mediation is being used and all agree to its use; the statement does not need to include any details about the mediation.

Initial Evaluation

Once a complaint is received, an immediate initial evaluation will be conducted by the Director of HR or designee to determine if there is sufficient information to believe the nondiscrimination policy may have been violated. If sufficient information exists, a formal complaint will be filed and the Director of HR will take immediate action, in consultation with appropriate management official, to remediate the situation. If not, the case will be closed and no formal complaint filed. The Director of HR will identify the policies allegedly violated and will prepare a notice of charges to the accused.

Formal Complaint Protocol

Formal Investigation

The Director of HR will contact the appropriate investigator(s) to commence a thorough investigation. The institution’s investigation standards include, at a minimum, an investigation plan, witness list, evidence list, and timeframe. Additionally, the investigator will: complete the investigation promptly, summarize the factual findings, and make a recommendation of cause using a preponderance of the evidence standard (whether a policy violation is more likely than not). The investigator(s) will prepare a full investigation report and will present the findings to the Director of Human Resources. The Director of HR will review the investigation findings with the appropriate management officials.

Confidentiality

During the investigation, the investigator(s) or Title IX Coordinator(s) will keep information gathered during the investigation confidential to the extent possible based on circumstances and as permitted or required by state and federal law. The investigator(s) or Title IX Coordinator(s) will consult with University General Counsel before sharing identifiable information about students, staff or faculty.

Promptness of Investigation

The amount of time needed to conduct an investigation will depend in part on the nature of the allegation(s) and the evidence to be investigated (e.g., the number and/or availability of witnesses involved). Within 60 days of receipt of complaint, the Director of Human Resources will provide notice of the outcome of the investigation or will advise the parties of the additional estimated amount of time needed for the investigation.

Presentation of Findings

The Director of Human Resources will present the findings of the investigation to the Complainant and the Accused.

If the accused individual accepts the findings of the investigation that he/she violated University policy, the Director of Human Resources in consultation with the accused’s appropriate management official(s) will impose appropriate sanctions. If the violation is a Title IX violation, the Senior Title IX Coordinator will be consulted as well. The University will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and
remedy its effects on the victim and the University community.

Board of Review Hearing

If the accused or complainant rejects the findings in part or entirely, either individual has a right to request a hearing. The Board of Review will be comprised of employees who will hear the case and determine whether the accused is in violation of the contested aspects of the complaint. The goal of the hearing is to provide an equitable resolution via an equitable process, respecting the civil and legal rights of all participants. The Board of Review will reach an outcome based on preponderance of evidence.

If the hearing board upholds the finding, the board will recommend a sanction to the Director of HR and the appropriate management official. If the hearing board does not uphold the finding that a policy has been violated, the case is closed unless the complainant appeals.

Sanction

If the accused is found in violation of the policies by the Hearing Board the appropriate management official will issue the sanction in consultation with the Director of HR.
If the accused is found in violation of the policies by the Hearing Board and is a faculty member, please consult the faculty handbook regarding sanction and appeal.

Appeal

The accused or complainant may appeal the sanctions to the President within five business days.
If either party is dissatisfied with the President’s determination, he/she may appeal to the Board of Regents in accordance with Board policy.

Prohibition against Retaliation

Anyone who, in good faith, reports what he/she believes to be discrimination or harassment, or who participates or cooperates in any investigation, should not be subjected to retaliation. Anyone who believes he/she has been the victim of retaliation for reporting discrimination or harassment or participating or cooperating in an investigation should immediately contact the Director of Human Resources. Any person found to have retaliated against a person who has participated or cooperated in an investigation will be in violation of policy and will be subject to disciplinary action.