It is the policy of Adler University that no person shall be the object of discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, body size and shape, national origin, political belief, age, marital status, family relationship status, parental status, physical or mental disability, status as a victim of domestic violence, arrest record, pregnancy, childbirth (including but not limited to conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth), genetic information, citizenship status, military or veteran status (including unfavorable military discharge), conviction of criminal offence that is unrelated to the employment or the intended employment of that person, or any other status protected by local or federal law in employment or educational settings (“Prohibited Grounds”).
The University is committed to maintaining an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment. In keeping with this commitment, we will not tolerate harassment of University employees, students, or others by anyone, including any supervisor, co-worker, vendor, client, or student of the University, or any third party. Adler University reserves the right to take actions that are consistent with its policies and procedures to deal with individuals found to have engaged in harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation in violation of this Policy. Please see the Employee Handbook for the Respectful Workplace Policy.
1. Prohibited Discrimination
Discrimination means any form of unequal treatment - whether that treatment imposes extra burdens or denies beneﬁts - based on any of the Prohibited Grounds. Discrimination may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices, or procedures that appear neutral but have the effect of disadvantaging any protected group of people. Discrimination may take obvious forms, or it may occur in very subtle ways. In any case, even if there are many factors affecting a decision or action, if discrimination is one factor, that is a violation of this Policy.
2. Prohibited Harassment
Harassment is a form of discrimination. Harassment means an incident or a course of comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning, or unwelcome. This includes any microaggression or macroaggression, deﬁned as a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.
Examples of harassment include but are not limited to:
Making remarks, jokes, or innuendos related to an individual’s race, disability, religion, age, or any of the Prohibited Grounds of discrimination
Displaying or circulating offensive pictures, grafﬁti, or materials related to any of the Prohibited Grounds, whether in print form or via e-mail or other electronic means
Singling out an individual for humiliating or demeaning “teasing” or jokes because the individual is a member of a protected group
Ridiculing an individual because of dress, language, or other characteristic that is related to any of the Prohibited Grounds
Sexual harassment is a form of harassment that can include:
Unwelcome remarks, jokes, or innuendoes about gender, sex, or sexual orientation
Unwanted comments or questions about an individual’s personal life
Refusal to work with others because of their sex or sexual orientation
Display or distribution of sexually explicit or otherwise offensive material through print or electronic media
Derogatory or degrading comments about a person’s body
Leering or other offensive or sexually aggressive gestures
Unwelcome advances, invitations, or propositions of a sexual nature or repeated invitations after previous requests have been refused
Advances, invitations, or propositions of a sexual nature which might on reasonable grounds be perceived as placing a condition on a person’s future employment, assignments, or opportunity for promotion or training
Unwanted physical contact or verbal abuse or threats of a sexual nature
An extreme form of sexual harassment includes sexual assault. Sexual assault is a form of sexual misconduct and is an attempt, coupled with the ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another because of that person’s gender or sex. Any person who may experience a sexual assault has the right to pursue all options to address this behavior including processes internal to Adler University, as well as any legal and civil options. This Policy does not preclude an individual at any time during the process from contacting law enforcement to ﬁle a report of sexual assault.
To ﬁle a complaint of sexual assault, any person may contact one of the Title IX coordinators identiﬁed in this Policy and may also get assistance by calling the police (911) and/or by going to a local emergency room. Please see the Human Resources/People and Culture page on Adler Connect for the University’s Title IX Policy.
3. Sexual Harassment - Consensual Relationships
Romantic/sexual relationships that might be appropriate in other circumstances present serious difﬁculties within the University community. Relationships between individuals in inherently unequal positions (such as teacher and student, supervisor and employee) undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and evaluation process, as well as affect the trust inherent in the educational environment. Consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party is in a position to review work or inﬂuence the career of the other provides grounds for complaint when that relationship gives undue access or advantage to, restricts opportunities of, or creates a hostile, unethical, and unacceptable environment for one of the parties to the relationship, or for others. For these reasons, the University prohibits any employee of the University to engage in a consensual romantic or sexual relationship with any University student or any University employee under their supervision.
Consent will generally not be considered a defense against a charge of sexual harassment in violation of this Policy. The determination of what constitutes sexual harassment depends on the speciﬁc facts and the context in which the conduct occurs. Please see the Employee Handbook for the University’s Workplace Violence Policy.
4. Prohibited Retaliation
Adler University prohibits retaliation and the threat of retaliation against any person (including complainants, respondents, and witnesses) exercising their rights and/or responsibilities in good faith under this Policy or federal or local law prohibiting discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. For purposes of this Policy, retaliation includes any conduct directed against an individual or someone afﬁliated with the individual, on the basis of, or in reaction to, the exercise of rights accorded and/or deﬁned by this Policy, or federal, provincial, or local law, that is likely to dissuade the individual from exercising their rights in the future.
Claims of retaliation will be investigated and if substantiated, constitute a separate violation of this Policy. Any acts of retaliation will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including but not limited to reprimand, change in work assignment, loss of privileges, mandatory training, suspension, and/or termination.
Adler University takes good faith complaints of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation seriously. Individuals who knowingly make false allegations under this Policy may be subject to disciplinary action, including but not limited to reprimand, suspension, and/or termination.
5. Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation
The Ofﬁce of People and Culture (OPC) is responsible for receiving, processing, and investigating complaints of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation involving employees of Adler University, as well as vendors, clients, and other third parties.
A student may ﬁle a complaint with the OPC as long as it concerns the actions of a University faculty or staff employee, vendor, client, or any third party with whom the University has interaction. Complaints should be directed to the Ofﬁce of People and Culture (Chicago and Online Campus) at 312.662.4415 or to the Executive Dean, Vancouver Campus (Vancouver Campus) at 236-521-2401.
The Division of Student Affairs (DSA) is responsible for receiving, processing, and investigating complaints of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation involving student complaints against other students. Students who wish to make such a complaint may contact the Ofﬁce of Student Affairs (Chicago and Online Campus) at 312.662.4141 or the Manager, Student Services (Vancouver Campus) at 236-521-2433.
Employees or students who report incidents of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation may bring a support person with them to OPC or DSA when ﬁling the complaint. Every effort will be made to help employees and/or students through the process in a respectful and supportive manner. Employees who hear about incidents of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation from students are expected to review this Policy with them and work with the student to bring forward the complaint to the appropriate ofﬁce (OPCPC or DSA).
There are multiple channels for the reporting of violations of this Policy. If any person believes they have been the subject of, or have witnessed, or are aware of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, they should make a complaint as soon as possible to the OPC and/or the DSA, or to their supervisor, Chair or Program Director, or Executive Dean.
If an individual contacts their supervisor, Chair or Program Director, or Executive Dean, this person must direct the individual to OPCOPC or DSA based on the nature of the complaint. Formal complaints must be received by OPC or DSA from the person ﬁling the complaint.
The University’s ability to investigate a complaint may be harmed if it is not made within a reasonable time period after the alleged occurrence(s). The University therefore strongly encourages complainants to contact the OPC and/or the DSA as soon as possible, to the extent practicable, after the alleged conduct. While the University acknowledges it is often difﬁcult to come forward in a timely fashion, it advises that complaints be ﬁled as soon as possible and within 120 days of the alleged occurrence(s). All members of Adler University who serve in a supervisory capacity are responsible for relaying all complaints of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation that come to their attention as supervisors and that may be in violation of this Policy to the Vice President of People and Culture at 312.662.4415 or to the Executive Dean, Vancouver Campus at 236.521.2401.
Adler University strongly encourages individuals to make a complaint as soon as possible after the alleged conduct. The quicker a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation is made, the better the University will be able to investigate the complaint. A complainant should receive an acknowledgement of receipt from the OPC and/or DSA within ten (10) business days of ﬁling a complaint. If this does not occur, then that person should directly contact the OPC and/or DSA to conﬁrm receipt of original complaint.
If a criminal investigation is pursued by a person ﬁling a complaint, such investigations can be conducted concurrently to any internal investigation conducted by Adler University.
6. Investigation and Resolution Process
When the OPC or the DSA, or both, receive a complaint of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, they will promptly designate an individual to investigate the allegation in a fair and expeditious manner. The role of the investigator is to conduct a neutral investigation and then to make a ﬁnding as to whether or not a policy violation exists. The investigator can also make recommendations regarding disciplinary actions to be reviewed by the appropriate University ofﬁcials (see Resolution of Complaint section below). In rare instances, the OPC or DSA may engage an external investigator for some or all portions of the investigation at the discretion of the University.
Every complaint is based on its own facts and circumstances, which can impact the course of the investigation. The following is an outline of the procedure generally followed once a complaint has been brought to the attention of the OPC and/or the DSA.
At any time in the process, a complaint may be resolved voluntarily prior to the completion of the investigation process when the issues have been addressed to the satisfaction of the parties involved, and in consultation with the OPC and/or the DSA.
A. Filing a Complaint
If any person believes they have been the subject of, or have witnessed, or are aware of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, they should make a complaint as soon as possible to the Ofﬁce of People and Culture (OPC) and/or the Division of Student Affairs (DSA). An individual may also contact their supervisor, Chair or Program Director, or Executive Dean who will then support and direct the person to OPC or DSA based on the nature of the complaint.
Formal complaints must be received by OPC or DSA from the person ﬁling the complaint.
For a complaint against an employee of Adler, as well as vendors, clients, and other third parties:
Chicago and Online Campus
Ofﬁce of People and Culture
17 North Dearborn St., Suite 16-200
Chicago, IL 60602
For a complaint against a student:
Chicago and Online Campus
Division of Student Affairs
17 North Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60602
A.Processing a Complaint
In processing a complaint, the OPC and/or DSA will:
- Acknowledge receipt of the complaint in writing
- Work closely with the person ﬁling the complaint to provide supportive resources, (e.g., connection with Adler Student Assistance Program or Employee Assistance Program) as they move through the process. Consideration of the need for self-care and resources to address any trauma response related to the complaint will be a high priority
- Collect and retain documents and information related to the complaint in a secure and locked location within OPC or DSA as required by law within the jurisdiction in which the complaint is ﬁled
- Conduct a preliminary assessment of allegations to determine whether the alleged conduct, if substantiated, could constitute a violation of this Policy
The speciﬁc fact-ﬁnding steps may vary depending on the facts and circumstances of the complaint. Generally speaking, an investigator will:
- Inform the complainant and respondent of the start of the investigation
- Collect and review relevant documentation
- Interview complainant, respondent, and witnesses to the reported event or events. The complainant and respondent are permitted and encouraged to bring a support person to this meeting
- Prepare a summary of the investigation and the ﬁndings for the OPC and/or DSA. Findings will be determined utilizing a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard after examining the entirety of the information available at the time of the investigation
C.Resolution of Complaint
The OPC and DSA are charged, as appropriate, with the responsibility of investigating complaints of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, making ﬁndings, and reporting their ﬁndings to the appropriate relevant University ofﬁcials.
Depending upon the nature of the complaint and ﬁndings, the appropriate University ofﬁcials will be notiﬁed and may include, but are not limited to the supervisor department heads of the complainant and respondent, the Vice President of Administration, the Vice President of Finance, the Vice President of Academic Affairs or Executive Dean, the applicable Chair or Program Director, and the Ofﬁce of the President. In cases in which policy violations and/or ﬁndings and recommendations are presented involving students, the DSA will also notify the Student Development Committee or Student Comprehensive Evaluation Committee.
The OPC and/or the DSA will provide written notiﬁcation to the complainant, respondent, and the appropriate University ofﬁcials of its ﬁndings and recommendations. A face-to-face meeting will generally accompany the written documentation.
Following the investigation, if the OPC or the DSA determines that the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy has been violated, it will work with the appropriate University ofﬁcials to recommend appropriate corrective action, up to, and including, discharge/ expulsion.
Whether or not the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy is deemed to have been conclusively violated, it is acknowledged that conﬂicts that make their way through a complaint process may result in schisms that create ongoing resentments between parties.
It is the goal of the process that examines conﬂict to acknowledge and not vilify any party to a conﬂict. Additionally, in an effort to restore the community to its highest form of function, a restorative justice process may be made available to all sides of a conﬂict, should all sides voluntarily choose to participate. This would entail a separate restorative justice practitioner meeting with each party to the conﬂict to fully understand the residual harm the individual is experiencing due to the conﬂict. Each party will also be asked if they are interested in participating in a restorative justice process that allows each party to bring a support person, to discuss residual harm, and to create a repair-of-harm agreement in collaboration with the restorative practitioner. If all parties desire to participate voluntarily in a restorative justice process, it will be arranged.
Supervisors, department heads, and other Adler University managers have the responsibility for implementing appropriate corrective action. The OPC may advise in the implementation of corrective action and may monitor the implementation of the corrective actions. To the extent that the OPC concludes that other University policies may have been violated by the reported conduct, the appropriate University ofﬁcial(s) will be notiﬁed.
The OPC and DSA are committed to balancing the interests of all parties involved in discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation complaints. To the extent possible, the OPC and DSA will limit the disclosure of information related to the complaint and its investigation. Nonetheless, due to the nature of the investigative process, the OPC and DSA cannot promise conﬁdentiality of any information received in a complaint or during an investigation.
The ﬁles of complaints will be maintained in the appropriate ofﬁce - either the OPC or the DSA, depending upon the nature of the complaint and the ofﬁce that is charged with investigation. Documents and information collected by the OPC or DSA through its investigation of the complaint will not be kept in relevant personnel or academic records, except that any discipline or sanction imposed as a result of a policy violation will be documented in the disciplined individual’s personnel or academic record in accordance with applicable University procedures.
Although the University encourages employees and students to utilize the complaint process described above to resolve any complaints, use of this process does not prohibit an employee or student from ﬁling a complaint with external agencies at any time. Employees or students may ﬁle a formal complaint with various external agencies, to include, but not be limited to, the government agencies listed below. Online students can ﬁle a claim at the EEOC agency in the state in which they live and/or the EEOC in Illinois.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
500 West Madison St., Suite 2800
Chicago, IL 60661
Illinois Department of Human Rights
James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph St., Suite 10-100
Chicago, IL 60601
The Office of Civil Rights/Chicago
U.S. Department of Education Citigroup Center
500 W. Madison St., Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661
7. Discipline for Discrimination or Harassment
Any employee, whether co-worker, supervisor, or manager, who is found to have engaged in discrimination or harassment contrary to this Policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Any employee, whether co-worker, supervisor or manager, who is found to have known about discrimination or harassing behavior and who took no action to report it or to stop it, may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Any student who is found to have engaged in discrimination or harassment contrary to this Policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from their degree program.
8. Appeal Procedures
The respondent has the right to submit an appeal. An individual who wishes to appeal part or all of the outcome of the University’s investigation must submit a written appeal to the President of the University within ten (10) days of being notiﬁed of the outcome of the investigation. Appeals of the decision or the sanctions may be ﬁled on grounds of:
New, relevant, and substantive information not previously available and sufﬁcient to substantially alter the outcome
Allegations that the investigator deviated from the investigation and resolution process outlined in the Policy in a way that substantially altered the outcome of the case or inﬂuenced the nature of the sanction
The sanction is disproportionate with the violation (i.e., excessively harsh or excessively lenient)
The President may afﬁrm the outcome or sanctions, modify either or both, impose new sanctions and/or remedies, or may return the matter for further investigation. The President will issue a determination within fourteen (14) days after receiving the individual’s submissions, unless the President determines in their discretion that more time is required. The individual will be notiﬁed in writing of the outcome of the appeal within seven (7) days after the conclusion of the review of ﬁndings or sanctions, including any changes to the determination of whether a violation occurred, the sanctions, or both. The decision of the President is ﬁnal.