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Policy

Head Start of Lane County (“HSOLC”) prohibits all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment.

This Policy addresses sexual harassment that falls within the definition of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  Certain conditions must be met for this Policy to apply. Therefore, not all allegations or reports of sexual harassment will be handled under this Policy.  HSOLC will evaluate each allegation or report on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the policy applies.  If HSOLC determines that this Policy does not apply, HSOLC may address the report under other applicable HSOLC policies.

Additionally, nothing in this policy changes, supersedes, or negates an employee’s obligations to report suspected child abuse or neglect. All HSOLC employees are “mandatory reporters.” As mandatory reporters, all employees are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate state child protection agency. If you have any questions about your mandatory reporting obligations, please contact the HSOLC  Family Service-Community Engagement Consultant.

Definitions

  1. Actual Knowledge – Actual knowledge means notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to HSOLC’s Title IX Coordinator or any official of HSOLC who has the authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of HSOLC.
  2. Administrative Leave – Employees may be placed on administrative leave during the pendency of a grievance process.
  3. Advisor – The Advisor is a person chosen by a complainant or respondent to accompany that party to meetings or proceedings and to receive and review evidence and reports that the party receives. The Advisor may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. Advisors must follow HSOLC’s rules of decorum or be removed and replaced by an Advisor selected by HSOLC.
  4. Complainant – The Complainant is an individual who is alleged to have experienced conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
  5. Dating Violence – Dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
    1. The length of the relationship.
    2. The type of relationship.
    3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship
  6. Decision-maker(s) –The Decision-maker(s) is responsible for reviewing the Investigative Report, asking relevant questions of each party and witnesses, and making a determination regarding responsibility.  The Decision-maker(s) is responsible for objectively evaluating all relevant evidence both inculpatory and exculpatory and preparing the final “determination of responsibility” report. The Decision-maker(s), has the right and responsibility to ask questions and elicit information from parties and witnesses to aid in obtaining relevant evidence. A person who serves as a Decision-maker, in a particular matter cannot be the Investigator, or the Title IX Coordinator, or the person who determines the outcome of an appeal in that matter.
  7. Domestic Violence – Domestic violence means felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
  8. Education program or activity – “Education program or activity” includes locations, events, or circumstances over which HSOLC exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, and also includes any buildings owned or controlled by HSOLC.
  9. Formal Complaint – A formal complaint is the document signed and filed by the Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that HSOLC investigate the allegation of sexual harassment pursuant to the Title IX grievance procedures. A formal complaint may be filed at any time with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail. In cases where the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or otherwise a party during the grievance process, and must comply with the requirement for all Title IX personnel to be free from conflicts and bias. Parents and legal guardians may sign formal complaints on behalf of their children.
  10. Informal Resolution – In some cases, Informal Resolution may be offered as an opportunity to resolve a formal complaint prior to an investigation.  Informal Resolution will only occur if both parties give voluntary, informed, written consent. At any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from informal resolution and resume the grievance process with respect to the formal complaint. HSOLC does not require, as a condition of enrollment or continued enrollment, or employment or continued employment, or enjoyment or any other right, waive the right to an investigation and adjudication of formal complaints. Under no circumstances will informal resolution be offered or facilitated to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.
  11. Remedies – Remedies are designed to restore or preserve equal access to HSOLC’s education program or activity. The range of potential remedies includes but is not limited to additional training to permanent implementation of changes to work assignments or work schedules. Remedies will be provided to a complainant if the respondent is determined to be responsible for the alleged sexual harassment.
  12. Report – A report of sexual harassment is any method of notifying the Title IX Coordinator of allegations of sexual harassment. Reports may be made in various ways, including but not limited to in person, via telephone, by electronic mail, and by mail. Reports may be made by any person, including parents. When HSOLC receives a report of sexual harassment, it will offer supportive measures, and may be obligated to conduct an initial inquiry or to make contact with named parties. HSOLC may further be required to analyze and respond to the report. Not all reports will constitute a formal complaint. Any employee who has knowledge of sexual harassment must promptly report it to the Title IX Coordinator.
  13. Respondent – The Respondent is an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
  14. Sanctions – Sanctions are disciplinary actions taken against a respondent if the respondent is determined to be responsible for the alleged sexual harassment. The range of potential sanctions includes, but is not limited to, permanent implementation of mutual no-contact orders; termination of employment; and permanent bans from HSOLC facilities or other aspects of an education program or activity
  15. Sexual Assault – Sexual assault means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  16. Sexual Harassment – For purposes of Title IX, sexual harassment is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
    1. A HSOLC employee conditioning education or employment benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e. quid pro quo); or
    2. Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to HSOLC’s education program or activity; or
    3. “Sexual assault,” “dating violence,” “domestic violence,” or “stalking” as those terms are defined below.
  17. Stalking – Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to–fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.
  18. Supportive Measures – Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive, individualized services. Supportive measures may be offered as appropriate and as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before and after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Supportive measures are to restore or preserve equal access to HSOLC’s educational program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or HSOLC as a whole, or to deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures provided to the complainant and respondent will be confidential to the extent that maintaining confidentiality would not impair the ability of HSOLC to provide the supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall be responsible for the determination of any supportive measures.

Procedure

All reports and allegations of sexual harassment will be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator’s contact information may be found on the HSOLC Website.

Any employee with knowledge about sexual harassment as defined in this policy has the duty to report it immediately.  HSOLC will make supportive measures available to complainant irrespective of whether a complainant chooses to report to local law enforcement or pursues a formal complaint through the Title IX grievance process.

Any person may report sexual harassment, whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to have experienced the conduct that could constitute sexual harassment. Reports may be made in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed below for the Title IX Coordinator.

When HSOLC has actual knowledge of sexual harassment, the allegations of sexual harassment will be forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator if the Title IX Coordinator is not already on notice of the allegations. The Title IX Coordinator will first determine if the misconduct meets the jurisdictional requirements of Title IX:

  1. The conduct falls within the definition of sexual harassment for purposes of Title IX;
  2. The conduct occurred against a person in the United States; and
  3. The conduct occurred when the complainant was participating or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of HSOLC.

If the conduct meets all the Title IX jurisdictional requirements, the Title IX Coordinator will proceed with the Title IX grievance process, which is further described below.

If the conduct does not meet all Title IX jurisdictional requirements, the Title IX Coordinator will follow up according to the process within HSOLC’s Human Resources policies.

Title IX Training

Title IX Training will be required of all persons designated as a Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, decision-maker, or any person designated by a recipient to facilitate an informal resolution process.

Title IX Training includes training on the definition of sexual harassment for purposes of Title IX; the scope of HSOLC’s education program or activity; how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable; and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias. HSOLC will ensure that decision-makers receive training on issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, except as described further in the Decision-Maker(s) Review and Questions Section of this policy. Investigators will also receive training on issues of relevance in order to create an Investigative Report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence. Any person serving in these roles must not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent.

Title IX Grievance Process for Formal Complaints

Once HSOLC has received a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide written notice of the formal complaint to the parties.  The written notice will include the following:

  • Notice of the investigation and HSOLC’s grievance process, including any informal process.
  • The identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known.
  • The conduct allegedly constituting sexual harassment under Title IX.
  • The date and location of the alleged incident, if known.
  • A statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
  • Notice to the parties that each may choose an Advisor to assist them during the grievance process. The Advisor may be, but is not required to be an attorney. Additionally, the Advisor will have the opportunity to inspect and review evidence and reports.
  • A description of the range of possible disciplinary actions or sanctions based on the outcome of a “preponderance of the evidence” standard.
    • Inform the parties of any provision in HSOLC’s policies that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process. The notice will be updated if allegations are added after the initial notice.

The Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will contact the complainant and the respondent individually to discuss the availability of supportive measures and consider the complainant’s and respondent’s wishes with respect to supportive measures.

An employee-respondent may be placed on administrative leave prior to the conclusion of a grievance process, including before a formal complaint is filed.

Dismissing a Formal Title IX Complaint

The Title IX Coordinator must dismiss a formal complaint if:

  • The conduct alleged in the formal complaint would not constitute sexual harassment as defined by Title IX even if proved, or
  • The conduct did not occur in HSOLC’s education program or activity, or
  • The conduct did not occur against a person in the United States, or
  • At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant is not participating or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of HSOLC.

The Title IX Coordinator has the authority to dismiss a formal complaint if:

  • The complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein; or
  • The respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by HSOLC; or
  • Specific circumstances prevent HSOLC from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.

Notification of dismissal will be sent to the complainant and respondent, along with the reason for dismissal. Following dismissal under the Title IX policy, the Title IX Coordinator may also consider pursuing the complaint as violation of another HSOLC policy.

Acceptable bases for appeal of the dismissal of a formal complaint and the process for filing an appeal are described in the Appeals section below.

Informal Resolution: Accepting Responsibility for Alleged Violations

One option for informal resolution is that the Respondent may at any point after the formal complaint is filed, accept responsibility for all alleged policy violations. If the Respondent intends to accept responsibility for the sexual harassment, the formal grievance process will be paused. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the HSOLC may use this option. This option will be available if:

  • There is no allegation that an employee-respondent sexually harassed a student;
  • Both parties consent in writing to an informal resolution process; and
  • The Respondent desires to accept sanctions and end the grievance process.

If this option is available, the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will work with all parties to determine whether the parties and the HSOLC can agree on responsibility, sanctions, and any remedies. If the parties cannot agree to all terms, the Process will continue from the same point where it was paused.

Once all parties have agreed in writing to a resolution, the matter cannot be appealed. Appropriate sanctions and remedies will be implemented promptly after all parties agree.

Title IX Investigation Process

The Title IX Coordinator will assign an Investigator to the case. The Investigator will collect evidence, interview involved parties, request statements, inquire about additional witnesses, and document their findings, and submit an Investigative Report to the Title IX Coordinator. Prior to finalizing the Investigative Report, the Investigator will send to each party and the party’s Advisor, if any, all evidence obtained that is directly related to the complaint to review, including the evidence upon which HSOLC does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source.

Each party will be given a minimum of 10 days to submit a written response, which the Investigator will consider prior to finalizing the Investigative Report. After the 10-day review period, the Investigator will finalize the Investigative Report summarizing relevant evidence. At least 10 days prior to a hearing, the Investigator will send to each party and the party’s Advisor, if any, the Investigative Report for their review and written response.  Additionally, each party will be provided at least 10 days to submit written response to the Investigative Report prior to the Decision-Maker(s) Review and Questions. If either party disagrees with the Investigator’s determination about relevance, the party can raise that issue in the party’s written response to the Investigator’s Report.

The Title IX Coordinator will review the Investigative Report and determine whether to dismiss the formal complaint for Title IX purposes.  If the formal complaint is not dismissed, the Title IX Coordinator will transmit the Investigative Report, including the parties’ responses to the report, to the Decision-maker(s).

Decision-Maker(s) Review and Questions

After the Title IX Coordinator transmits the Investigative Report and responses of the parties to the Decision-Maker(s), each party will be given an opportunity to submit written, relevant questions that the party wants asked of any party or witness. If the Decision-Maker(s) determines that a question is not relevant, the Decision-Maker(s) must explain this determination to the party proposing the question. Each party will be provided with the answers from the other party or any witness and will have an opportunity to propose additional, limited follow-up questions.

Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless the questions or evidence are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent.

Title IX Written Determination

In determining responsibility, the Decision-maker(s) will use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard for formal complaints.

The written determination will be provided to the parties simultaneously. The written determination will include:

  • Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment under Title IX.
  • A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held.
  • Findings of fact supporting the determination.
  • Conclusions regarding the application of HSOLC’s policies or code of conduct to the facts.
  • A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation including:
    • The determination regarding responsibility.
    • Any disciplinary sanctions HSOLC will impose on the respondent; and
    • Whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to HSOLC’s education program or activity will be provided by HSOLC to the complainant. Upon a finding of responsibility, remedies provided need not avoid burdening the respondent.

The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either on the date that HSOLC provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal, if an appeal is filed, or if an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely.

Title IX Appeals

Either the complainant or respondent can make a written appeal (1) if they are not satisfied with the determination regarding responsibility, or (2) from HSOLC’s dismissal of a formal complaint or dismissal of any allegation in a formal complaint. HSOLC allows both parties to appeal on the following grounds:

  • Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter
  • New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made and that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
  • The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator (s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter

The Title IX Coordinator will notify the other party in writing when an appeal is filed.

Appeals must be submitted within five (5) calendar days of the receipt of the dismissal of the Title IX complaint or the determination regarding responsibility from decision-maker(s). Either party may send written appeals to the Title IX Coordinator, who will transmit appeals to the person(s) who will determine the appeal. [[designated person or board) OR (designate different appeal-decision-makers depending on whether the parties position/status (director vs. staff, etc))]]:

Upon accepting the appeal, the decision-maker will review the investigation documentation and may let the original outcome stand or, if new information is discovered that is significant enough to alter the original decision, reopen the investigation. The decision-maker will issue a written decision describing the results of the appeal and the rationale for the results.  This written decision will be simultaneously sent to both parties.  Each party may appeal the written determination only once.

Recordkeeping

HSOLC will maintain for a period of seven years:

  • Each sexual harassment investigation including any determination regarding responsibility
  • Any audio or audiovisual recording or transcript
  • Any disciplinary actions/sanctions imposed on the respondent
  • Any remedies provided to the complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to HSOLC’s education program or activity
  • Any appeal and the result therefrom
  • Any informal resolution and the result therefrom
  • All materials used to train the Title IX Coordinator, Investigators, decision-makers, any person who facilitates an informal resolution process.
  • Records of any action, including any supportive measures, taken in response to a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment.

Retaliation

This policy and Title IX prohibit retaliation against a complainant or witnesses for filing or participating in the investigation of a sexual harassment complaint.

No person at HSOLC may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in a Title IX investigation, proceeding, or hearing.

Charges against an individual for a policy or code of conduct violation that does not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report of complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, constitutes retaliation.

HSOLC will investigate any reports of retaliation and take appropriate disciplinary action. State and federal law also provide protections for whistleblowers who bring allegations of non-compliance with Title IX to the attention of appropriate administrators. Any concerns regarding retaliation should be brought to the immediate attention of the Title IX Coordinator.

Compliance with Federal and State Law

HSOLC intends to comply with all applicable requirements under federal and Oregon law. If there are any inconsistencies between HSOLC’s policies/procedures and such requirements, HSOLC will follow federal and Oregon requirements.

Effective Date

This Policy is effective on August 14, 2020. This Policy applies to sexual harassment that occurs on or after August 14, 2020.

Policy Council approved August 2020.