Dean of the Faculty

Sexual Harassment Policy

I. Introduction

This policy incorporates and supplements the 1993 Statement on Sexual Harassment voted by the faculty and applies to all College employees, including faculty, trustee-appointed administrative and professional staff, and all other staff.

It is the goal of Amherst College to promote a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment of employees occurring in the workplace or in other settings in which employees may find themselves in connection with their employment is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the College. Further, retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or who has cooperated with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. To achieve the College's goal of providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, inappropriate conduct described in this policy will be dealt with using the established informal and formal procedures of the College, including disciplinary action, where appropriate.

Amherst College takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously and will respond promptly to complaints. Where it is determined that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, the College will act promptly to eliminate the conduct.

Please note that while this policy sets forth the College's goals of promoting a workplace that is free of sexual harassment, the policy is not designed or intended to limit the College's authority to discipline or take remedial action for workplace conduct which is unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definition of sexual harassment.

As stated in the Faculty Statement on Sexual Harassment, the sexual harassment of students by College employees (faculty or staff) is also a violation of law and of College policy and will be cause for disciplinary action. (Sexual harassment of students by peers is covered in the Student Handbook.)

II. Definition of Sexual Harassment

In Massachusetts, the legal definition for sexual harassment is this:

Under these definitions, direct or implied requests by a supervisor for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job benefits such as favorable reviews, salary increases, promotions, increased benefits, or continued employment constitutes sexual harassment. For purposes of this policy, senior faculty may be considered to be in a supervisory relationship with junior faculty. Faculty of all ranks may also be in a supervisory relationship with staff and students.

The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad and, in addition to the above examples, other sexually oriented conduct, whether intended to be or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a work place environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating to male or female employees may also constitute sexual harassment.

While it is not possible to list all of the circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness:

All employees should take special note that, as stated above, retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or who has cooperated with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the College.

III. Complaints of Sexual Harassment

If any employee believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment, the employee has the right to make use of all the established procedures of the College, including the filing of a complaint. This may be done in writing or orally.

If an employee wishes to file a complaint he or she may do so by contacting the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, AC # 2217, 102 Cooper House, telephone 542-5832; or the Director of Human Resources, AC # 2204, 201 Converse Hall, telephone 542-2334; or the Dean of the Faculty, AC # 2209, 103 Converse Hall, telephone 542-2334. These persons, as well as Ruth Thornton, the ombudsperson, AC # 1920, Room 117 Valentine Hall, telephone 542-5156, are also available to discuss any concerns an employee may have and to provide information about the College's policy on sexual harassment and its complaint procedures under the employee's applicable Handbook.

IV. Sexual Harassment Investigation

When the College receives notice of conduct which appears to be sexual harassment, it will promptly investigate the allegation in a fair and expeditious manner. The investigation will be conducted in accordance with the College's customary procedures, and in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances and permissible by law. The investigation may, as appropriate, include private interviews with the person filing the complaint, with witnesses, and with the person alleged to have committed sexual harassment. When the investigation is completed the person filing the complaint and the person alleged to have committed the conduct will be informed, to the extent appropriate, of the results of the investigation.

V. Appropriate Response/Disciplinary Action

If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has been engaged in by an employee, appropriate action will be taken immediately, using the College's established procedures, to fulfill its obligation under the law to promote a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Such action may range from counseling to termination of employment, and may include such other forms of disciplinary action as appropriate under the College's procedures.

VI. State and Federal Remedies

In addition to the above, employees who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment may file a formal compliant with either or both of the government agencies below. Using the Colleges’ internal complaint process does not prohibit filing a complaint with these agencies. Each of the agencies has a short time period for filing a claim. The MCAD’s time frame is 300 days from the date of occurrence. A charge must be filed with EEOC within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation, in order to protect the charging party's rights. This 180-day filing deadline is extended to 300 days if the charge also is covered by a state or local anti-discrimination law. For ADEA charges, only state laws extend the filing limit to 300 days.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
4th Floor, Room 475
Boston, MA 02203
Phone: 617-565-3200, 1-800-669-4000
Fax: 617-565-3196
TTY (Deaf and Hearing Impaired) 617-565-3204, 1-800-669-6820

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
Boston Office:
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108-1518
(617) 994-6000

Springfield Office:
436 Dwight Street, Room 220
Springfield, MA 01103
(413) 739-2145

TTY (Deaf and Hearing Impaired) 617-994-6196