Frequently Asked Questions - Policy on Harassment and Non-Discrimination
- What is discrimination?
- What is harassment?
- What is quid pro quo sexual harassment?
- What constitutes a hostile or offensive environment?
- Is stereotyping considered harassment?
- What types of harassment and discrimination are prohibited by law or University policy?
- What does sexual harassment include?
- Why is sexual harassment/sexual misconduct included under this Policy?
- What is a bias incident?
- Is a bias incident different than a hate crime?
- Then what is a hate crime?
- If I think I've seen or experienced a bias incident and/or hate crime, what should I do?
- What steps does Lehigh take to eliminate sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct?
- What do I do if I, or someone I know, such as a student, has been sexually assaulted?
- If I don't know whether I want to report what happened, is there someone confidential that I can talk with?
- What resources are available to provide information and support following an incident of harassment or discrimination?
- Does there need to be a difference in power between the parties for there to be harassment?
- If I don't mean to harass anyone, is it still harassment?
- What do I do if I think I'm being harassed?
- Do I have to try to stop the behavior myself?
- What do I do if I feel like I'm being harassed, but I'm not sure if I'm being harassed based on one of those legally protected bases?
- What should I do if I witness inappropriate conduct?
- I'm a supervisor. What should I do if I learn of an incident informally, i.e. through workplace rumors?
- What protection is there against retaliation if I make a report or file a complaint?
- How does Lehigh determine whether a violation of the University's policies has occurred?
- If I am a respondent, what type of disciplinary action could be taken against me if I'm found to have engaged in harassing or discriminatory conduct?
- Does Lehigh have a mechanism for identifying repeat offenders?
- Who can I contact for more information and/or to investigate a complaint?
- If I make a report or file a complaint, is it confidential?
Discrimination occurs when an individual is subjected to negative or adverse treatment based on one or more protected characteristic that denies or limits the individual's ability to obtain educational benefits or interferes with the work environment.
Examples of discrimination include a faculty member giving a student a lower grade because of the student's race, a staff person receiving a negative performance review based on gender identity or expression, or a student with a disability who does not receive approved academic accommodations.
Harassment, a form of discrimination, is prohibited by law and by University policy. There are two forms of harassment: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile or offensive environment.
3. What is quid pro quo sexual harassment?
Quid pro quo sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances and requests for sexual favors, where submission to the conduct is made a term or condition of employment or educational opportunity; or submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment or educational decisions. Such harassment may involve behavior by a person of one sex against a person of the same or different sex. This form of harassment only applies to situations based on sex.
Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment may include but are not limited to: (a) seeking sexual favors or relationships in return for the promise of a favorable grade or other academic opportunity (e.g., professor tells student "sleep with me and you will receive an A", or "if you don't sleep with me, I will make sure that you fail the class" or graduate teaching assistant tells undergraduate student "have sex with me tonight and I'll put in a good word for you when Professor X is selecting her research assistant"); or (b) basing an employment-related action (e.g., hiring, salary increase, performance appraisal, termination) on a sexual favor or relationship (e.g., supervisor tells supervisee "go out for a drink with me and I'll make sure that you receive a good raise" or "if you don't share a room with me at the conference, I'm not sure that I'll be able to renew your postilion").
4. What constitutes a hostile or offensive environment?
A hostile work, learning, co-curricular, social or living environment occurs when an individual is subjected to unwelcome statements, jokes, gestures, pictures, touching, or other conduct that offends, demeans, harasses, or intimidates and is based on one or more of the protected characteristics. The violating conduct may involve a single serious and offensive event, or may involve persistent harassing behavior that occurs over time.
Examples of persistent harassing behavior include students in a class ask a teaching assistant not to tell jokes targeted at individuals of a particular race, national origin or sexual orientation, but the teaching assistant continues to do so; or an employee asks a supervisor not to touch the employee, but the supervisor continues to do so.
Examples of a single serious and offensive event could include an intentional, non-consensual touching of an intimate body area of another person; or an instructor humiliating a student in class by making a joke about the students' disability.
Harassment also includes offensive verbal or physical conduct or text or graphic communication including through social media that has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work or educational performance, or has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
5. Is stereotyping considered harassment?
It can be. Statements that demean people on the basis of a protected characteristic can also contribute to a hostile work or educational environment.
For example, it would be sex stereotyping to ask a man or a woman why he or she is majoring in a discipline such as English, Engineering, or Finance because people of this gender can't succeed in the area. Another example of stereotyping would be to ask an older colleague why the colleague hasn't retired. Each of these isolated questions is not harassment by itself, but could contribute to a hostile environment.
6. What types of harassment and discrimination are prohibited by law or University policy?
Harassment and discrimination that occurs based on one or more of the following protected characteristics are prohibited by law and University policy:
- Gender Identity or Expression
- Genetic Information
- Marital or Familial Status
- National or Ethnic Origin
- Sexual Orientation
- Veteran Status
7. What does sexual harassment include?
Included in the types of conduct prohibited by law and University policy as constituting sexual harassment are sexual assault (rape, fondling, incest, and statutory rape), sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, exposure of one's body in an indecent or lewd manner, and sexual activity in public or semi-public places. For more information on the definition of these terms, please see Article V of the Student Code of Conduct, accessible at http://studentaffairs.lehigh.edu/content/community-standards-university-....
8. Why is sexual harassment/sexual misconduct included under this Policy?
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 ("Title IX") is a federal law that protects people from discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities that receive federal funds. Title IX prohibits sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence. Sexual violence includes such sexual activity as rape, sexual assault, voyeurism, stalking, intimate partner violence, dating violence, and domestic abuse. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against any person because the individual files a complaint or participates in a Title IX investigation.
A bias incident, as defined by the University, is behavior that constitutes a violation of the University's policies, such as the Student Code of Conduct or other applicable policy, that is motivated by the respondent's bias towards the victim's actual or preceived age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital or familial status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status. A report or complaint of a bias incident will be resolved under the University's applicable policies and procedures and could result in disciplinary action.
10. Is a bias incident different than a hate crime?
It depends on the circumstances. Some bias incidents may also be considered a hate crime, but not in every circumstance. But, if it is determined that a hate crime occurred, then the incident will also always be considered a bias incident.
11. Then what is a hate crime?
A hate crime occurs when there has been a violation of a state's criminal laws, and that violation of the law was motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias toward the victim's actual or perceived age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital or familial status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status. The process for determining whether an incident is a crime and possibly a hate crime is a legal matter to be determined by the University Police and the Northampton County District Attorney.
12. If I think I've seen or experienced a bias incident and/or hate crime, what should I do?
Bias incidents and/or hate crimes should be reported just like an incident of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. The reporting options for filing with law enforcement and/or the University are explained on the Reporting Options page. In addition, you may also file a compliant about a bias incident by completing the online Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation or Bias Incident Reporting Form at lehigh.edu/go/harassment.
13. What steps does Lehigh take to eliminate sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct?
Lehigh University is committed to the elimination and prevention of sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct, on our campus. As such, Lehigh has developed policies and procedures addressing incidents of harassment and sexual misconduct, and takes steps to respond promptly and effectively to allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct. Lehigh promptly investigates such incidents and takes appropriate action, including disciplinary action, against individuals found to have engaged in such behavior.
14. What do I do if I, or someone I know, such as a student, has been sexually assaulted?
First, if you experience or witness sexual misconduct or harassment, and you do not feel safe, you should immediately contact the Lehigh University Police Department ("LUPD"), located at 321 E. Packer Avenue, at 610-758-4200. LUPD operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Second, if you or someone you know needs medical attention, or to properly preserve evidence, medical services are available at the following local hospitals:
Lehigh Valley Hospital - Muhlenberg
2545 Schoenersville Road
Bethlehem, PA 18017
St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem
801 Ostrum Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Medical attention may be necessary to treat the full extent of any injury or physical trauma, and to discuss and address the possibility of sexually transmitted infections ("STIs") and pregnancy. In addition, the hospitals listed above are equipped with S.A.F.E. and S.A.N.E. nurses who are specially trained to properly preserve evidence through forensic evidence exams. A forensic evidence exam should be completed within 96 hours of an assault to preserve evidence in the event you decide you would like to prosecute. In order to preserve evidence, you should not bathe, brush your teeth, or change your clothing prior to the completion of the forensic evidence exam.
Third, there are resources, both on and off campus, available for support. These resources are addressed in more detail below.
Finally, there are also several reporting options available to you. These reporting options are described in more detail below.
15. If I don't know whether I want to report what happened, is there someone confidential that I can talk with?
Yes. The confidential resource for all Lehigh University faculty and staff is:
Integrated Behavioral Health ("IBH")
Employee Assistance Program
16. What resources are available to provide information and support following an incident of harassment or discrimination?
There are several on-campus resources that can provide information and support, including:
Lehigh University Police Department
321 E. Packer Avenue
Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator / Title IX Coordinator
Alumni Memorial Building - Room 105
Robert Thornton Susan Szczepanski
There are also numerous off campus resources that can provide support, including:
Bethlehem Police Department
From University Phone: 9-911 (emergencies)
From Non-University Phone: 911 (emergencies)
Lehigh Valley Hospital - Muhlenberg
2545 Schoenersville Road
Bethlehem, PA 18017
484-884-2521 (Emergency Department)
St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem
810 Ostrum Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley
801 Hamilton Street, Suite 300
Allentown, PA 18101
610-437-6611 (24 hour hotline)
Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley
444 E. Susquehanna Street
Allentown, PA 18103
610-437-3369 (24 hour hotline)
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
17. Does there need to be a difference in power between the parties for there to be harassment?
Not necessarily. A hostile or offensive environment can be created by supervisors, co-workers, faculty, coaches, students, alumni, or visitors to campus such as vendors and contractors. But, a situation involving quid pro quo sexual harassment typically involves one person in a position of power or influence over another.
18. If I don't mean to harass anyone, is it still harassment?
Yes, it is still harassment if it meets one of the definitions of harassment and is based on a protected characteristic. In determining whether your conduct is or is not harassment, we look to the impact on the person experiencing the harassment, not on the intent of the individual engaging in the conduct. In other words, your intention is irrelevant - what matters is the impact felt by the individual who is experiencing your behavior.
19. What do I do if I think I'm being harassed?
You have several options. If you feel comfortable addressing the person directly, you can speak with the person and ask them to stop engaging in that particular conduct.
If you do not feel comfortable addressing the person directly, or you have done so and the conduct continues, there are several individuals or offices that you can speak with to report the conduct. The Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator is responsible for reviewing all reports and complaints of discrimination and harassment. The Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator can also answer questions that you have regarding harassment and discuss options and resources. The University's Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator is Karen A. Salvemini, Esq. Ms. Salvemini also serves as the University's Title IX Coordinator. Ms. Salvemini can be contacted at:
Alumni Memorial Building - Room 105
27 Memorial Drive West
Bethlehem, PA 18015
In the event that the conduct involves the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator, reports by faculty and staff should be made to:
HR Associate: Employee Relations, Staff Development, Career Management
306 South New Street, Suite 437
Bethlehem, PA 18015
If you would prefer to speak with your supervisor, another employee, and Human Resources, you should certainly feel free to do so. Please note that in those situations where discrimination or harassment may be alleged, and those situations are disclosed to a supervisor, another employee, or Human Resources, your supervisor, other employee, or Human Resources will also inform the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator about the situation.
If you feel unsafe or that it is an emergency situation, you should immediately contact the Lehigh University Police Department by calling 610-758-4200. If you feel safe or it is not an emergency situation, and you would like to file a report with the police, please contact the Lehigh University Police Department by calling 610-758-4200. Filing a report with the police is separate from pursuing a complaint through the University's policies and procedures. You may file a complaint with both the University and the University Police Department.
20. Do I have to try to stop the behavior myself?
No, you are not required to try to stop the behavior yourself. If you are comfortable addressing the person directly about their behavior, then you are certainly encouraged to do so. But, it is not necessary to have tried to stop the behavior yourself before approaching the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator, your supervisor, or Human Resources regarding the concerning behavior. If the behavior appears to be based on one of the legally protected categories, and you decide to speak with your supervisor and/or Human Resources prior to contacting the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator, your supervisor and/or Human Resources will refer you to the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator to discuss the matter.
21. What do I do if I feel like I'm being harassed, but I'm not sure if I'm being harassed based on one of those legally protected bases?
Even if the behavior isn't based on one of those legally protected characteristics, conduct that is offensive, inappropriate, or interferes with your ability to perform your work is not acceptable behavior at Lehigh. Therefore, you are encouraged to speak with the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator to discuss the situation and whether or not the conduct constitutes discrimination or harassment. If the conduct does appear to be based on a legally protected category, the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator will discuss the options available to you under the Policy on Harassment and Non-Discrimination. In the event that the conduct does not appear to be based on a legally protected characteristic, the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator will likely refer you to Human Resources and/or your supervisor to discuss possible ways to address the inappropriate conduct.
22. What should I do if I witness inappropriate conduct?
If you witness discriminatory or harassing behavior, or you become aware of such behavior, you are strongly encouraged to report the behavior to the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator. Lehigh University is committed to the elimination and prevention of discrimination and harassment on our campus, and therefore, seeks the assistance of all employees to report incidents of harassment and discrimination.
Staff, faculty, administrators, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, research assistants, gryphons, and other designated University representatives are required to report to the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator incidents of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation that are brought to their attention by students or that are reported to them or witnessed by them involving students.
Supervisors are also required to report incidents of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. For more information, see below.
23. I'm a supervisor. What should I do if I learn of an incident informally, i.e. through workplace rumors?
As a supervisor, if you learn about an incident of discrimination or harassment from a member of the University community, including visitors, you are required to immediately report the information to the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator. The Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator can then determine whether to look into the matter further depending on the nature of the information you have learned and reported.
24. What protection is there against retaliation if I make a report or file a complaint?
Lehigh specifically prohibits retaliation in any way against an individual who files a report or complaint of discrimination or harassment in good faith. Lehigh also prohibits retaliation against any individual who participated in the investigation of a report or complaint. In the event that retaliation occurs, Lehigh will respond quickly and pursue disciplinary action if appropriate. If you believe that you have been retaliated against, please contact the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator, Karen A. Salvemini, to report the incident.
25. How does Lehigh determine whether a violation of the University's policies has occurred?
Initially, the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator will evaluate whether the situation as described could constitute a violation of University policy. If it is determined that there may have been a violation of University policy, the matter may be resolved either through a formal or informal process.
The goal of the informal resolution process is to rectify the problem. This is a voluntary process in which a member of the Informal Resolution Network helps to resolve issues. This process looks for solutions to the problem without going through a formal investigation. Informal resolutions could include the respondent modifying or stopping the behavior, separating the complainant and respondent, or reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. The informal resolutions process may not be an available option depending on the nature of the situation. At any point in time, or if the informal resolution process is unsuccessful, the complainant can request to proceed with the formal resolution process.
In a formal resolution process, two investigators will conduct a thorough investigation by speaking with the parties, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing documentation, such as emails, text messages, pictures, etc. The complainant and the respondent will have an opportunity to review witness notes and provide comments, additional questions, etc. At the conclusion of the investigation, a report will be drafted and reviewed by the appropriate supervisor (as identified in the Policy on Harassment and Non-Discrimination ) to determine whether a violation of University policy occurred. For example, if the formal complaint is asserted against a faculty member, the Provost will review the report and determine whether a violation of University policy occurred. In the event that it is determined that a University policy was violated, disciplinary action will be taken. Limited appeal opportunities are available.
26. If I am a respondent, what type of disciplinary action could be taken against me if I'm found to have engaged in harassing or discriminatory conduct?
Disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to:
- Corrective action or restitution
- Written reprimand
- Requirement to attend training
- Required to attend/participate in counseling or educational sessions or programs
- Work restrictions
- Demotion with reduction in pay
- Student expulsion
- Termination of employment of University employees
27. Does Lehigh have a mechanism for identifying repeat offenders?
The Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator tracks all reports and complaints of discrimination and harassment in order to identify any patterns of behavior, at risk populations, and/or repeat offenders.
28. Who can I contact for more information and/or to investigate a complaint?
If you would like more information regarding discrimination or harassment or Lehigh's policies and procedures regarding discrimination or harassment, or would like to file a report or complaint, please contact the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator, Karen A. Salvemini, at 610-758-3535 or at email@example.com.
29. If I make a report or file a complaint, is it confidential?
If a report or complaint is filed with the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator, the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator will keep the matter private to the extent possible. In certain circumstances, even if the complainant requests that a report not be pursued, the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator will evaluate that request and may not be able to maintain confidentiality. All individuals involved in the informal and formal proceedings, including parties and witnesses, are instructed and required to maintain confidentiality, but the University does not guarantee that confidentiality will be maintained. Failure to maintain confidentiality, though, can result in disciplinary action.