Harassment Policies

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Harrassment Traning slideshow

General Harassment Policy
Burlington College is opposed to and prohibits any type of harassment that adversely affects the learning or working environment and threatens the well-being of faculty, staff or students. Harassment is defined as any verbal or physical interaction* that significantly interferes with a person’s ability to learn or perform a job, or creates a hostile work or learning environment.

Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to sexual, racial, religious, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender or physical characteristics. Appropriate action will be taken against any student, faculty member or staff person who disregards this policy.
*Harassment is a judgmental situation and may require a third-party to determine the level of harm. The right to free speech will be recognized. Grievances should be brought to the attention of the Human Resources Administrator. In the case that the complaint involves the Human Resources Administrator, grievances should be brought to the President. All Complaints will be investigated in a timely fashion.

Sexual Harassment Policy
Sexual harassment is unlawful and prohibited by Burlington College. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education;
  • or Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual;
  • or Such conduct has the purpose or effect of significantly interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating a hostile or offensive work or educational environment.

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following when such behavior or acts come within one of the definitions above:

  • Either explicitly or implicitly conditioning any term of employment (e.g., continued employment, wages, evaluation, advancement, assigned duties or shifts) or educational benefit on the provision of sexual favors.
  • Touching or grabbing a sexual part of a person’s body.
  • Touching or grabbing any part of a person’s body after that person has indicated, or it is known, that such physical contact was unwelcome.
  • Continuing to ask a person to socialize when that person has indicated s/he is not interested.
  • Displaying or transmitting sexually suggestive pictures, text, objects, cartoons or posters.
  • Continuing to write sexually suggestive notes or letters if it is known or should be known that the person does not welcome such behavior.
  • Referring to or calling a person a sexualized name if it is known or should be known that the person does not welcome such behavior.
  • Telling sexual jokes or using sexually vulgar or explicit language in the presence of a person if it is known or should be known that the person does not welcome such behavior.
  • Retaliation of any kind for having filed or supported a complaint of sexual harassment (e.g., ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint, adversely altering that person’s duties or work or educational environment, etc.).
  • Derogatory or provoking remarks about or relating to a person’s sex.
    Harassing acts or behavior directed against a person on the basis of his/her sex.

It is also unlawful to retaliate against a person for filing a complaint of sexual harassment or for cooperating in an investigation of sexual harassment.

Any employee or student who believes that he or she has been sexually harassed (as defined above) should report the situation to one of the following persons:

Christine Plunkett
VP of Administration and Finance
351 North Ave, Burlington, VT 05401
cplunkettatburlington [dot] edu 
802-862-9616 ext 333

Angela Smith
HR Coordinator
351 North Ave, Burlington, VT 05401
asmithatburlington [dot] edu
802-862-9616 ext 339

When the College receives a complaint of sexual harassment, it will take all necessary steps to ensure that the matter is promptly investigated and addressed.

Because it is difficult to thoroughly investigate a complaint after a long time has passed, the College will only investigate complaints submitted within 12 months of the alleged behavior. Also, complaints must be submitted while the accused person is a student or employee of the College. If the investigation shows that sexual harassment has occurred, disciplinary action, as appropri-
ate, will be taken. Such action may include dismissal from the College or the College’s employment.

A complainant is also entitled to file a complaint under federal and state discrimination laws, whether or not a complaint is filed with Burlington College. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is enforced by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For additional information contact:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1 Congress Street, 10th Floor, Room 100
Boston, MA 02114
Telephone: (617) 565-3200 or TDD (617)565-3204

The State Fair employment Practices Act, 21 V.S.A. 495, is enforced by the Public Protection Division of the Vermont Attorney General’s Office. For additional information contact:

The Public Protection Division
Vermont Attorney General’s Office
109 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602
Telephone: (802) 828-3171 (voice/TDD).

Those agencies can conduct impartial investigations and facilitate conciliation. If it is found that there is probable cause or reasonable grounds to believe sexual harassment occurred, they may take the case to court.