Williams College Employee Handbook
Non-Discrimination Policy and Outline of Discrimination Grievance Procedures
Williams College, in compliance with state and federal law, does not discriminate in admission, employment, or administration of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, or military service. Any member of the College community who on any of these grounds feels discriminated against by another member of the community should take action. The complainant* should report the incident as soon as possible and preferably within a month of its occurrence, since prolonged delay may complicate the presentation of evidence in the grievance procedures. Complainants have, however, up to two years to report alleged discriminatory behavior, and even this period may be extended with the approval of the appropriate executive officer. Complainants are free to withdraw or proceed at any stage of the process. The College will treat the identity of the parties and the substance of the claims as confidential throughout, except as is reasonably necessary to carrying out the procedures and to ensuring the safety of everyone at the College. College policy explicitly prohibits retaliation, academic or otherwise, against employees or students for bringing complaints of discriminatory behavior.
*Throughout these procedures, a "complainant" is the person who has filed a complaint; the person against whom a complaint is filed is the "respondent."
Should the allegation of discriminatory behavior involve a faculty appointment renewal decision, the range of appropriate action and the type of further redress open to the complainant are those described in Appointment Appeals. In all other cases, the complainant should use the discrimination grievance procedures that are described in detail in Grievance Procedures. These procedures have four parts: advising, informal grievance, formal grievance, and appeal.
Outline of the Sequence of Options and Events in the Discrimination Grievance Procedures
The person who believes he or she may have been subjected to discriminatory behavior may but need not discuss the incident(s) with a College advisor. College advisors are also available to persons against whom a complaint has been filed.
- The person who believes he or she may have been subjected to discriminatory behavior may discuss the incident(s) with the appropriate administrator.
- The person may but need not file a complaint at the informal stage.
- To file a complaint the person submits a statement of allegations to his or her executive officer. The executive officers will then conduct an investigation and reach a finding. If they find the complaint unwarranted, the complainant may but need not request formal grievance proceedings. If the respondent is judged to have violated College policy, the executive officers attempt a resolution. Either party may refuse to accept the terms proposed.
- If both parties accept the terms, the resolution is successful and the case is settled. If the resolution fails, the complainant may ask for formal grievance proceedings or withdraw the complaint.
- If the complainant withdraws, the executive officers may decide to take action against the respondent on their own. The respondent may appeal the executive officers' decision.
- The grievance committee conducts a hearing and reaches a finding, reporting its finding and its recommendations to the executive officers, the complainant, and the respondent.
- The executive officers reach their own finding. If it differs from the committee's, they so inform the committee and provide it with an opportunity to reply.
- If the executive officers then find the respondent not to have violated the College's anti-discrimination policy, or if they find the evidence insufficient, the case is dismissed.
If, on the other hand, the executive officers find that the respondent violated the College's policy, they will report their finding and the actions they propose to take to the committee, the complainant, and the respondent. The respondent may appeal their finding and their proposed actions.
- The formal grievance proceedings constitute the complainant's appeal.
- The respondent may appeal at the conclusion of the informal proceedings if the complainant has withdrawn and the executive officers have proposed disciplinary action, or at the end of the formal grievance proceedings if the complainant has taken the complaint to a grievance committee.
- If the respondent is a student or staff member, the appeal will be heard by the President. If the respondent is a faculty member, the appeal will be heard by a faculty hearing committee.