Procedures for Internal Complaints Alleging Discrimination, Harassment or Hostile Environment in the Workplace
Montclair State University is morally and socially committed to providing a working and learning environment that is free of discrimination, harassment or bullying, and is inclusive and welcoming to persons from all racial, ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds. The University community is enriched both educationally and socially by the diversity of its employees and students, and it is vitally important to our image and overall success as an institution of higher education that we treat each other with dignity, acceptance and mutual respect. Behavior that violates the civil and statutory rights of any individual or group, or interferes with any individual’s or group’s ability to benefit from, or contribute to, the employment, educational and/or cultural opportunities and offerings provided by the University constitutes a violation of University policy and will not be tolerated.
The University abides by all federal and state laws, executive orders and regulations that prohibit discrimination in employment, education and contracting services, and seeks to recruit and retain a workforce and student population of high quality that are reflective of our diverse society.
All members of the Montclair State community are responsible and accountable for creating an environment that is civil and for personally exemplifying the principles embodied in this statement in their daily interactions. While disagreements between individuals are bound to arise, such disputes can often be informally resolved by those individuals with the help of other community members working together in a spirit of cooperation, tolerance and mutual respect. This internal process with its goal of informal dispute resolution through honest and open communication is encouraged by the University at all levels of employment.
These procedures have been developed in accordance with State law and are available for employees or applicants where the internal process has failed to achieve a satisfactory resolution or where the employee or applicant is not comfortable participating in the internal dispute resolution process and wishes to pursue their rights under New Jersey law.
All Employees and applicants for employment have the right and are encouraged to immediately report suspected violations of the State Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace, N.J.A.C. 4A:7-3.1.
Complaints of prohibited discrimination/harassment can be reported to Ashante Connor, Director of Equity and Title IX Coordinator, or to an individual’s supervisor, Dean or Vice President. If reporting a complaint to any of those persons presents a conflict of interest, the complaint may be filed directly with the Vice President for Human Resources or with the President. If reporting a complaint to the President presents a conflict of interest, the complaint may be filed directly with the Civil Service Commission, Division of EEO/AA, P.O. Box 315, Trenton, NJ 08625. An example of such a conflict of interest would be where the complaint involves actions by the President.
Supervisory employees shall immediately report all alleged violations of the State of New Jersey Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace to Ashante Connor, Director of Equity and Title IX Coordinator. Such a report shall include both alleged violations reported to a supervisor and those alleged violations directly observed by the supervisor.
Every effort should be made to report complaints promptly. Delays in reporting may not only hinder a proper investigation, but may also unnecessarily subject the victim to continued prohibited conduct.
In order to facilitate a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation, individuals filing a complaint are encouraged, but not required, to submit a Discrimination Complaint Processing Form (DPF-481).
The University shall maintain a written record of the discrimination/harassment complaints received. Written records shall be maintained as confidential records to the extent practicable and appropriate.
The University’s EEO/AA Officer shall submit a copy of all complaints to the Civil Service Commission, Division of EEO/AA, along with a copy of the acknowledgement letter(s) sent to the person(s) who filed the complaint and, if applicable, the complaint notification letter(s) sent to the person(s) against whom the complaint has been filed. If a written complaint has not been filed, the EEO/AA Officer must submit to the Division of EEO/AA a brief summary of the allegations that have been made.
During the initial consideration of a complaint, the EEO/AA Officer or authorized designee will obtain information regarding the complaint, and determine if interim corrective measures are necessary to prevent continued violations of the State’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace.
At the EEO/AA Officer’s discretion, a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into the alleged harassment or discrimination will take place. The President or Vice President for Human Resources may in their discretion authorize another University officer or employee, or an independent person or entity to investigate said complaint.
An investigatory report will be prepared by the EEO/AA Officer or authorized designee when the investigation is completed. The report will include, at a minimum, a summary of the complaint; a summary of the parties’ positions; a summary of the facts developed through the investigation; and an analysis of the allegations and the facts. The investigatory report will be submitted to the President.
The President will review the investigatory report issued by the EEO/AA Officer or authorized designee, and such other information as she deems necessary, and make a determination as to whether the allegation of a violation of the State’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace has been substantiated. If a violation has occurred, the President will determine the appropriate corrective measures necessary to remedy the violation.
The President will issue a final letter of determination to the person(s) filing the complaint and the person(s) against whom the complaint was filed, setting forth the results of the investigation and the right of appeal to the Civil Service Commission as set forth below. To the extent possible, the privacy of all parties involved in the process shall be maintained in the final letter of determination. The Division of EEO/AA, Civil Service Commission shall be furnished with a copy of the final letter of determination.
The President’s letter shall synopsize the parties’ positions in the matter and the facts developed during the investigation. The letter shall also set forth the President’s findings and determination whether the allegations were either substantiated or not substantiated, and whether a violation of the State’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace did or did not occur.
The investigation of a complaint shall be completed and a final letter of determination shall be issued no later than 120 days after the initial filing of the complaint.
The time for completion of the investigation and issuance of the final letter of determination may be extended by the President for up to 60 additional days when she deems there is reason to do so. The President shall provide the Division of EEO/AA and all parties with written notice of any extension and shall include in the notice the reason for the extension.
A complainant or respondent who is in the career, senior executive or unclassified service, or who is an applicant for employment, who disagrees with the determination of the President, may file a discrimination appeal. A complainant may only file an appeal to the Civil Service Commission if the claim is partially substantiated or unsubstantiated. Respondents may also appeal to the Civil Service Commission when the claim is substantiated but no disciplinary action has been recommended. In these cases, the appellant may submit a written appeal within twenty days of the receipt of the final letter of determination from the President to the Civil Service Commission, PO Box 312, Trenton, NJ 08625. The appeal shall be in writing and include all materials presented by the complainant at the University, the final letter of determination, the reason for the appeal and the specific relief requested. See N.J.A.C. 4A:2-1.1 et seq. A respondent may appeal a substantiated claim where disciplinary action is recommended by following his/her negotiated grievance procedures.
Any employee or applicant for employment can file a complaint directly with external agencies such as the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that investigate discrimination/harassment charges in addition to utilizing this internal procedure. Copies of complaints filed with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or in court also must be submitted to the Division of EEO/AA.
Issued: December 16, 1999
Revised: June 3, 2005
Revised: August 20, 2007
Revised: March 24, 2010
Revised: February 8, 2011
Revised: November 15, 2011
Revised: February 5, 2015
Revised: July 16, 2019
See N.J.A.C. 4A:7-3.2