Equity Grievance Policy

Board Policy 8.012

I. Policy Statement

It is the policy of Delta College (the “College”) to provide an educational and working environment that is free of discrimination and harassment for all members of the College’s community, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors. In accordance with federal and state law, the College prohibits unlawful discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, height, weight, genetic information, arrest record, veteran status, marital or familial status, or pregnancy. The College also prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Policies and procedures regarding discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment, are not addressed in this policy, but are instead addressed in the College’s Sexual Misconduct and Gender Discrimination Policy and Procedures.

Inquiries regarding this policy, or any concerns involving discrimination or harassment under this policy, may be directed to:

Equity Office
Loyce Brown
Equity Officer

Human Resources Office
Loyce Brown

II. Persons covered by this policy and jurisdiction

This policy applies to members of the College community, including students and employees and visitors, who allege discrimination or harassment by College employees, students, visitors, or contractors.

The Equity Office is responsible for handling reports and complaints of discrimination and harassment as defined by this policy, except in cases where a conflict of interest exists.  A conflict of interest will exist, by way of example, if a complaint is made against a person in the Equity Office.  In such cases, the Director of Human Resources shall handle the report or complaint in accordance with the procedures set forth herein.  If the Director of Human Resources has a conflict of interest, the President or their designee shall name a person to handle a report of complaint in accordance with this policy.

Unless specified by this policy, regardless of any other College policy, this policy shall apply to and govern complaints regarding discrimination and harassment as those terms are defined herein.

III. Definition of discrimination and harassment as prohibited by this policy

A. Discrimination

Discrimination prohibited by this policy consists of treating someone differently with respect to matters involving employment, education, or participation in College activities because of his or her race, color, religion, national origin, age, height, weight, marital or familial status, veteran status, disability, genetic information, arrest record, and pregnancy (collectively, “protected classes”).  This policy recognizes that consistent with state and federal law, the College will provide reasonable accommodations to persons based on disability or religion. 

In assessing whether given conduct is discriminatory under this policy, the College will consider whether the conduct adversely impacted an individual’s work or education environment and whether someone outside the protected class received more favorable treatment.  If it finds that an adverse impact on one’s work or education environment occurred, the College will consider whether a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the complained of action exists. 

Examples of discrimination prohibited by this policy, include, but are in no way limited to:

    • Refusing to hire or promote someone because of his or her membership in a protected class;
    • Denying an employee of the College a raise or employment benefit because of his or her membership in a protected class;
    • Denying a person access to an educational program based on his or her membership in a protected class; or
    • Denying someone access to a College facility based on his or her membership in a protected class.

B. Harassment

Harassment prohibited by this policy is a form of discrimination consisting of unwelcome verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct that: (1) is directed at an individual or group of individuals on the basis of the individual or group of individuals’ actual or perceived membership in a protected class; and (2) is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to interfere with an individual’s employment, education or academic environment or participation in College programs or activities; or, creates a working or learning that a reasonable person would find intimidating, offensive or hostile.

To constitute prohibited harassment, the conduct must be both objectively and subjectively harassing in nature.  Harassment may include, but is not limited to, verbal or physical assaults, threats, slurs, or derogatory or offensive comments that meet the definition set forth in this policy.  Harassment does not have to be targeted at a particular individual in order to create a harassing environment, nor must the conduct result in a tangible injury to be considered a violation of this policy. Whether the alleged conduct constitutes prohibited harassment depends on the totality of the particular circumstances, including the nature, frequency and duration of the conduct in question, the location and context in which it occurs, and the status of the individuals involved (e.g., supervisor and employee). 

C. Conduct not covered by this policy

Members of the College community should be aware that bullying or other uncivil and inappropriate conduct that is not based on membership in a protected class is not covered by this policy and does not fall within the purview of the Equity Office.  Such conduct, however, may violate other College policies or standards of conduct and should be reported to the Conduct Officer (for students), the Human Resources Director (for employees), or to an individual’s supervisor.  In addition, as noted above, discrimination or harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is covered in the College’s Sexual Misconduct and Gender Discrimination Policy and Procedures.  The College reserves the right to process complaints under the applicable policy, if any, in the event that a complaint is made under this policy regarding conduct not covered by this policy.

D. Free expression and academic freedom

The College deeply values free expression and academic freedom and is committed to ensuring both are protected.  However, while the College will consider academic freedom in the context of discrimination or harassment allegations involving an individual’s statements or speech in an academic context, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, are not protected expression and do not qualify as a proper exercise of academic freedom.   

Board Action 5423 – January 11, 2022