Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct

Moravian College, Moravian Theological Seminary, and the Comenius Center are committed to providing a campus community in which all members are treated with respect and dignity and which is free from all forms of discrimination and conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive, or disruptive. Sexual harassment within the community is unlawful, as is harassment based upon race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or membership in any other protected group. It is also unlawful to retaliate against a member of the campus community for filing a complaint or for cooperating in an investigation of harassment.

This policy applies to all members of the community, which for purposes of this policy includes, but is not limited to, employees, students, independent contractors, consultants, leased employees, visitors, and others working on institutional premises or with institutional employees or students. The scope of this policy includes, but is not limited to, all settings in which members of the campus community may find themselves in connection with their employment, education, or other institutionally related activities, such as off-site meetings, conferences, social events, etc., including time spent traveling and socializing on the way to and from, and while at, such events. It also extends to other interactions between or among members of the campus community to the extent that a community member's right to a campus community free from harassment or other inappropriate conduct is involved.

The institution will not tolerate harassment of or retaliation against its employees, students, or any other members of the campus community by anyone, including other members of the community. Furthermore, the institution will also attempt to protect its community members from harassment by others who may be encountered within the community, such as vendors, customers, and service employees.

The chief human resource officer or a designee is responsible for overseeing the implementation of this policy in the case of administrators and support staff. In the case of faculty, the vice president for academic affairs will provide oversight.

Definition of Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct

The institution will not tolerate harassment of any community member based upon membership in a protected class by any other member of the community or others with whom community members interact in connection with employment, education, or other institutionally related activities.

Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical, or visual, based on a person's protected status, such as race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, age, or any other basis prohibited by federal, state, or local law; and which has the effect of interfering unreasonably with another's work or academic performance, or creating an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment.

Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to: slurs; negative stereotyping; ethnic jokes; offensive written or graphic material; display of offensive objects; or threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts that denigrate or show hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of membership in a protected group.

Note that conduct as described elsewhere in this handbook may not be sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute harassment in the legal sense. However, the institution considers any conduct of this nature to be inappropriate within the campus community, and complaints concerning such conduct should be brought to the institution's attention as set forth below.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is prohibited. This includes unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, or visual conduct of a sexual nature when: submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a community member's employment, education, or other participation in the community; submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting employment, education, or other participation in the community; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonable interference with work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.

It is not possible to list all circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment. However, the following are examples of conduct that, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severity of the conduct and its frequency or pervasiveness.

  • Unwelcome sexual advances or propositions (whether or not they involve unwelcome physical touching).
  • Explicitly or implicitly conditioning any terms of employment or education (e.g., continued employment, wages, evaluation, advancement, assigned duties, on-call assignments, grades) on provision of sexual favors.
  • Inquiries into another's sexual experience, discussions of one's sexual activities, comments on an individual's body or about the individual's sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess.
  • Sexual innuendo, sexually suggestive comments, or use of sexually explicit or vulgar language.
  • Sexually oriented teasing or practical jokes; 'humor' about gender-specific traits.
  • Suggestive body language or gestures.
  • Display or transmission of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, posters, cartoons, or other printed or visual material.
  • Leering, whistling, or physical contact such as unwelcome touching, patting, pinching, or brushing against another's body.
  • Continued requests to socialize, on or off duty, on or off campus, when a community member has indicated rejection or lack of interest.
  • Continued writing of sexually suggestive notes or letters when it is known or should be known that the addressee does not welcome them.
  • Derogatory or provocative remarks relating to an employee's sex or sexual orientation.

Retaliation

No community member will be subject to retaliation for making a complaint of harassment or inappropriate conduct, cooperating in the investigation of such a complaint, or otherwise opposing unlawful harassment or other inappropriate conduct.

Complaints of Harassment or Retaliation

Because the institution takes allegations of harassment or retaliation seriously, it will respond promptly to complaints of such behavior. The institution strongly encourages any members of the community who believe they have been the target of harassment or inappropriate conduct to report the incident promptly, in writing. In addition, every member of the community is strongly encouraged to report, in writing, any such conduct observed, no matter who the target. A timely written report will enable the institution to respond rapidly in investigating the allegations and, where it is determined that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, take the necessary steps to eliminate objectionable conduct or conditions and impose corrective action, where appropriate.

Should any community members believe that they are being harassed or subjected to inappropriate behavior, they may wish to notify the offender directly and immediately that the behavior is unwelcome and offensive and must stop. However, if for any reason a community member does not wish to discuss the matter directly with the offender or if the discussion does not successfully end the behavior, it is the community member's duty to report the conduct immediately. The institution is committed and may be required by law to take action if it learns of potential harassment or inappropriate conduct, even if the aggrieved party does not wish to file a formal complaint.

Depending on the identities of the complainant and the alleged perpetrator of prohibited conduct, the report should be made to the appropriate individual or office as set forth in the Employee Handbook. If for any reason complainants are not comfortable reporting the conduct to the designated individuals, they may contact the assistant director of human resources or any vice president.

The Office of Human Resources, 610 861-1527, is available to discuss any concerns of community members and to provide information about this policy and the complaint process.

Investigation

A complaint of harassment will be investigated promptly and fairly. To the extent practicable, care will be taken to protect the identity of all parties to the complaint, consistent with a thorough and appropriate investigation.

Institutional investigation will include private interviews with the person reporting the incident, any witnesses, and the person alleged to have engaged in the harassment or inappropriate conduct. It is vital for all parties to the investigation to refrain from discussing any and all aspects of it, on or off campus. If investigation determines that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, the institution will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct and impose corrective action where appropriate. After the decision, the person who filed the complaint and the person alleged to have committed the offense will be informed of the results of the investigation and any corrective action to be taken. However, the complainant may not be informed of the specifics of any disciplinary action imposed upon the perpetrator to the extent that this might be an invasion of privacy.

False statements made by any party in connection with a complaint of harassment or inappropriate conduct or during an investigation will constitute the occasion for appropriate corrective action, up to and including termination of the person's relationship with the institution.

Reporting Incidents of Harassment and Inappropriate Behavior

Students should report incidents of harassment and inappropriate behavior. Reports will be handled according to the procedures laid out in the table on the next page.

This is a general statement of policy and no more. While this policy sets forth institutional goals of promoting a community free of harassment and other inappropriate conduct, it is not intended to limit the institution's authority to discipline or take remedial action for conduct it deems unacceptable. It does not constitute a term or provision of any contract of employment or implied contract of employment between Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary and their employees, nor does it create contractual obligations on behalf of the institution to any person. Likewise, it does not constitute a guarantee of continued student status to any person or otherwise create any obligation on the part of the institution.

Corrective Action

Employees: If it is determined that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, corrective action may range from a verbal warning and counseling to termination of employment, and may include such other forms of corrective action as the institution deems appropriate.

Students: If it is determined that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, corrective action may range from a written warning and disciplinary probation to expulsion, and may include such other forms of corrective action as the institution deems appropriate.

Procedures for Handling Student Complaints
of Harassment and Inappropriate Behavior
When the Accused Is: The Go-To Person Is: The Investigator* Is: The Decision-Making Body
or Person Is:
The Next Step May Be:
A Student Vice president for student affairs/dean of students; vice president of the Seminary; dean of the Comenius Center Vice president for student affairs/dean of students; vice president of the Seminary; dean of the Comenius Center Administrative hearing body or College disciplinary panel Appeal to vice president for student affairs, vice president of the Seminary, or dean of the Comenius Center***
A Support
Staff Member
Vice president for student affairs/dean of students; vice president of the Seminary; dean of the Comenius Center; chief human resource officer Chief human resource office; vice president for student affairs/dean of students; vice president of the Seminary; dean of the Comenius Center; vice president for the accused's division Review panel** Appeal to president
An Administrator Chief human resource officer Chief human resource office; vice president for student affairs/dean of students; vice president of the Seminary; dean of the Comenius Center; vice president for the accused's division Review panel** Appeal to president
A Faculty Member Vice president for student affairs/dean of students; vice president of the Seminary; dean of the Comenius Center; chief human resource officer Chief human resource office; vice president for academic affairs; vice president of the Seminary; dean of the Comenius Center Academic personnel committee, which makes a recommendation to the president  
Any individual listed in this table may name a designee to assume his or her function in these procedures.
Generally, but not always, the "go-to person" is the vice president or dean overseeing the complainent's constituency (College, Seminary, or Comenius Center), and/or the director of human resources.
Generally, but not always, the "investigator" is the director of human resources with support from the vice president or dean overseeing the accused's constituency.

* The investigator(s) may mediate the issue to resolution if this is possible or advisable.
** The review panel is a specially empanelled body (faculty members, administrators, support staff members) with training to hear such cases; under direction of the Human Resources Office.
*** In the case of suspension or expulsion, a final appeal to the president is allowed.

A complete table of procedures for handling all cases of allegations of harassment and inappropriate behavior (including those not involving students) may be found on page 53 of the Employee Handbook.