Michigan Tech has adopted internal complaint/grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolutions of complaints alleging any prohibited action under the Board of Trustees Policies 5.1-5.3 which includes any case of alleged harassment and/or discriminatory actions on the basis of a person’s race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, height, weight, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, or disability, also referred to as protected class.
All complaints of alleged harassment and/or discriminatory actions on the basis of a protected class would follow the procedures below with these exceptions:
- All student and employee complaints of sexual misconduct which includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, would contact the Title IX Coordinator and the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy will be applied.
- Students filing complaints of protected class discrimination or harassment against another student would follow the processes included in the Student Code of Community Conduct.
- Employees experiencing workplace issues that do not involve protected class would refer to Policy 6.13.1 - Employee Complaints and Grievance Procedures.
Filing a Complaint of Protected Class Harassment or Discrimination
Who can File a Complaint
Any person who believes they have been subjected to harassment or discrimination on the basis of a protected class in the provision of services, activities, programs, employment decisions, or benefits by Michigan Tech may file a grievance under this procedure. Violations of state and federal law and/or the policies could lead to discipline and possible dismissal. The University reserves the right to refer the complaint to the proper police or law enforcement agencies for criminal investigation, if so determined.
How to File a Complaint
If a person feels that their treatment has been harassing or unfairly discriminatory regarding protected class, they are encouraged to file a complaint using the procedures below. If a supervisor is aware of the complaint, they should take action to prevent the possible harassment and/or discrimination from continuing. Any person may file a complaint, including applicants for employment, applicants for admission, and third parties.
The following options are available to file a complaint of harassment or discrimination:
- Report a Concern : Discrimination and/or Harassment Reporting Form
- Submit an anonymous tip online or call 906-487-0847
- Email Equal Opportunity Compliance (EOC) at email@example.com, call EOC at 906-487-3310, or visit in person in the Administration Building, Room 310
- Call Public Safety and Police Services at 906-487-2216 or visit in person at 206 MacInnes Drive
- Students may call the Office of Academic and Community Conduct at 906-487-2951 or visit in person in the Administration Building, Room 310
- The ADA/504 Grievance form can be submitted as an alternative method for reporting a complaint concerning a disability. Please contact the ADA Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain this form.
- For information on how to file a Title IX complaint see Title IX Reporting Options
Complaints should include the name of the individual(s) against whom the complaint is made; the nature of the alleged offense(s); and the specifics of the offending incident(s) with details (what happened, who was present, when, where, any reasons why they believe the action was taken).
Timeline to File Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment
Harassment and discrimination complaints based on protected class should be filed promptly with Michigan Tech’s Equal Opportunity Compliance (EOC) office within 60 days of the most recent offending incident. This will assist in assuring a complete and timely investigation. The University reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to investigate and act on complaints involving incidents that have occurred beyond the time limit. The timeline for filing Title IX complaints is different; please review the Title IX policy for information.
The Role of an Advisor
Complainants and Respondents may have a person present during the complaint process to serve as an advisor. The advisor may be present but cannot participate directly in the process. They may, however, provide advice and guidance directly to the Complainant or Respondent. Staff who are members of a union will be informed that they may have a union representative as a support person. All participants are asked to respect the privacy of the investigation processes in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation.
Initial Review of Complaints
For all Equal Opportunity Compliance(EOC) complaints, during the pre-investigation evaluation period, the investigator will determine if:
- the complaint is timely
- the situation described in the complaint arose in the course of a University program or activity
- the complaint may violate a policy enforced by EOC
- the complaint is directed against a University employee, student, administrative unit, or third-party
- the complaint is factually supported such that the alleged behavior could constitute a policy violation
If the complaint does not meet the above criteria or establish a violation of a policy enforced by Michigan Tech’s EOC office, the case may be closed. However, the complaint may still be subject to University action if the alleged behavior violates another University policy or is otherwise inappropriate. In such an event, the complaint may be referred to another University office deemed appropriate for further review.
Requests from complainants to “just record my concerns” or “not take any action at this time” may or may not be honored depending on the circumstances involved. If at any time the University feels an investigation is necessary, an investigation may proceed without the support of the potential Complainant, even if that Complainant requested no action.
The Initial Review for Title IX complaints is different; please review the Title IX policy for information.
The University will offer supportive measures to the parties, as appropriate. These are designed to restore or preserve equal access to Michigan Tech’s education programs or activities without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties.
Formal Treatment of a Complaint
Equal Opportunity Compliance (EOC) will determine the most effective method of reviewing the allegations raised by the Complainant. Informal resolutions may be explored first. The informal process serves to formulate appropriate resolutions at the most local level. This option is completely voluntary and both parties must agree.
Formal treatment may be specifically requested by either party or EOC. Formal treatment may involve conducting a thorough fact-finding investigation. The investigator may be the Executive Director, Associate Director, Assistant Director, and/or Coordinator of EOC, or TIX, or designee, or a University contracted investigator.
Participants in the process may be requested to document their statements in writing. If a person declines to provide a written statement or sign a statement taken by the investigator that documents their account of the incident(s), EOC may still conduct an investigation based upon all available information. However, at all times, those involved will receive a procedurally fair, prompt, and thorough process.
Formal Treatment for Title IX complaints is different; please review the Title IX policy for information.
When there is a formal investigation, Equal Opportunity Compliance(EOC) will strive to complete the investigation within 60 days once the complaint has moved into the formal investigation stage and will follow the process as listed below.
- Complainant and Respondent each receive a Notification of Investigation by email
- The notification includes, to the best of EOC’s knowledge: the parties’ names; a description of the alleged policy violation with any dates/times/locations known prior to the investigation; the date/time/location of the first meeting with the investigators; university policy on retaliation; and information on appropriate resources available.
- The Respondent’s supervisor and the Director of Human Resources will be copied on this notice.
- Investigation begins
- The investigators meet with the parties and possibly witnesses, individually, collect any relevant evidence, and possibly conduct follow-up meetings with the parties.
- The Complainant, Respondent, and witnesses will have the right to present information to the investigator, including the opportunity to provide questions to the investigator to be asked of the other parties or witnesses.
- It will be within the investigator’s discretion to determine the extent of investigation necessary and the number of witnesses to be contacted to adequately determine the facts.
- Complainant and Respondent receive a copy of the notes to review
- Both parties receive a copy of the notes from their meeting(s) with the investigator(s) and are provided an opportunity to review and comment on the notes, which will be considered in the outcome of the case.
- EOC determines an outcome of responsibility
- A representative from EOC will review all information during the course of the investigation and determine if there is a violation of University Policy based upon a “preponderance of evidence” standard.
- This standard means that it must be more likely than not that the prohibited conduct occurred.
- Parties are notified of the outcome
- Simultaneous notification of the finding will be provided to both the Complainant and Respondent by email.
- The Respondent’s supervisor and the Director of Human Resources will be copied on the outcome letter.
These guidelines are constructed to protect the substantive rights of interested persons, meet appropriate due process standards, and ensure that Michigan Tech complies with appropriate implementing regulations.
Formal Investigation for Title IX complaints is different; please review the Title IX policy for information.
Research Reporting Requirements
To ensure compliance with National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Health (NIH) guidelines regarding reporting harassment involving Principal(PI) or Co-Principal(Co-PI) Investigators, the Equal Opportunity Compliance (EOC) department will identify whether a Respondent is a current PI or Co-PI on NSF or NIH-sponsored work. After a thorough investigation, if the Respondent is found responsible for a policy violation related to harassment, sexual harassment, or sexual assault; or the Respondent is placed on leave or other administrative action related to a finding or investigation, EOC is required to notify the Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) on campus with the required information regarding the investigation or outcome. The AOR is then responsible for reporting to the appropriate agency within the designated time period. For more information, visit NSF Research Terms and Conditions or NIH Supporting a Safe and Respectful Workplace.
Outcomes and Sanctions
If it is determined that a policy violation has occurred, the supervisor or designee and Human Resources will determine appropriate corrective action based upon the investigation findings and recommendations for remedy.
These steps include preventing recurrence by implementing remedies, implementing and documenting steps taken toward resolution, and possible disciplinary sanctions for the Respondent, ranging from verbal or written warnings, probation, suspension, or expulsion from the University, or termination from University employment, and/or termination of tenure for serious or repeated violations. This will be determined in accordance with applicable University Policies, Human Resources policy, practices, and procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining agreement. Third-parties who violate the policy are subject to corrective action, which may include removal from campus and termination of contractual agreements.
Outcomes and Sanctions for Title IX complaints is different, review the Title IX policy for information.
Employees who have a concern about the outcome of any investigation may seek further assistance/appeal through the Employee Complaints and Grievance policy and procedures, the Policy on Academic Tenure and Promotion, or their applicable bargaining agreement or contract.
The appeal process for Title IX complaints can be found in the Title IX policy.
In regard to ADA/Section 504 a person may file grievance appeal when it involves a complaint of harassment or discrimination based on disability by writing to the Executive Director of Equal Opportunity Compliance(EOC) within 15 days of receiving the decision. The written appeal must include a detailed statement of the basis of the appeal and must specify the particular substantive and/or procedural basis for the appeal. The appeal must be made on grounds other than general dissatisfaction with the determined decision. Furthermore, the appeal must be directed only to issues raised in the formal complaint as filed or to procedural errors in the conduct of the grievance procedure itself, and not to new issues. If an appeal is received from one party, the other party will be notified and given ten (10) business days to submit a written statement. The Executive Director shall issue a written decision in response to the appeal and notify the Complainant and Respondent of the final decision no later than 30 business days after its filing. If the appeal involves a decision that is being challenged, the review by the Executive Director of EOC usually will be limited to the following considerations:
- Were the proper facts and criteria brought to bear on the decision?
- Were improper or extraneous facts or criteria brought to bear that substantially affect the decision to the detriment of the complainant?
- Were there any procedural irregularities that substantially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of the complainant?
- Given the proper facts, criteria, and procedures, was the decision a reasonable one?
Additional Reporting Options
Department of Education - Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
The University will make every reasonable effort to maintain privacy for all parties involved and the confidentiality of information received to the extent allowable in accordance with state and federal laws and University policy. Timely cooperation is expected of all involved parties throughout the investigative process. All participants are asked to respect the privacy of the processes to maintain the integrity of the investigation.
Any individual who knowingly files a false complaint under this policy, or who knowingly provides false information to intentionally mislead or knowingly withholds available requested information from University officials who are investigating a complaint, may be subject to disciplinary and/or corrective action.
Retaliation is Prohibited
Retaliation is expressly prohibited by University policy and could lead to discipline including possible termination or dismissal.
Retaliation is engaging in adverse action against a complainant, respondent, or any individual or group of individuals involved in the complaint, investigation, and/or resolution of an allegation of a violation, which affects their employment, academic/student, or business status that is motivated in whole or in part by their participation in the process. Retaliation can take many forms, including but not limited to threats, intimidation, pressuring, demotion, and/or continued harassment.
Persons who feel that they have been subject to retaliation may file a complaint based on the alleged retaliation in the same manner as for the initial complaint.
Conduct that constitutes retaliation may be found regardless of whether or not the underlying complaint is found to have merit.
In addition, the University will not tolerate retaliation against persons due to their assertion of their protected civil rights, including filing complaints with federal or state civil rights enforcement agencies, bringing the University’s attention to prohibited activity, or participation in an investigation of such a complaint.
Case records will be retained according to compliance requirements.
- Equal Opportunity Compliance case records will be retained for 7 years from the date last employed, unless pending civil actions.
- All Title IX case records will be retained for 7 years from the date of the closure of the case unless pending civil action.
- Case records will be maintained privately by Equal Opportunity Compliance and Title IX.
Revised June 30, 2015, August 25, 2015, February 25, 2016, August 31, 2017, December 12, 2017, September 15, 2020, December 15, 2020, March 23, 2021, June 14, 2021, October 07, 2021, August 31, 2022