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 Department of Human Resources & Equal Opportunity

Discrimination Consultation Process

The UMD Department of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity (UMD HR & EO) is available to all UMD employees, students, and participants in University-related activities to discuss issues or concerns regarding University policies or practices involving possible potential discrimination, harassment or retaliation that an individual may have experienced or observed. In addition to consulting with individuals who have reported a complaint, UMD HR & EO’s staff is also available to consult with supervisors, administrators, human resource professionals, and others who are addressing situations reported to them that might involve discrimination, harassment or retaliation as well. The prevention and resolution of discrimination and harassment complaints is a University-wide obligation, and requires the participation of all members of the University community.

The following guidelines describe the role of UMD HR & EO in responding to situations that may involve discrimination. The procedures will not always occur in the order listed:

Consultations
Informal Resolution Process
Formal Resolution Process

The procedures are guidelines that summarize the general process followed in EOAA, but individual circumstances may warrant deviations from these guidelines.

Consultations, inquiries, and complaints will be addressed by UMD HR & EO in a timely and discretionary manner. The length of time for the consultation or resolution process varies depending on factors such as the complexity of the situation, office workload, or whether the situation involves actual or imminent loss of employment or academic standing, potential physical harm, or an ongoing relationship between the involved individuals.

This UMD HR & EO discrimination consultation process is not an administrative hearing or judicial process. While anyone may consult with legal counsel or a union representative, individuals are still expected to directly respond to inquiries from the UMD EO Specialist. The UMD HR & EO does not represent any individual or department, but does advocate on behalf of the University's goals of equal opportunity and nondiscrimination.

While there is no time limit for bringing concerns about possible discrimination to UMD HR & EO, individuals are encouraged to contact UMD HR & EO as soon as possible. Alternate University and external options for addressing discrimination may have strict time limits, which can prevent filing a complaint with that entity.

There is a difference between harassment, bias, and discrimination, and other forms of conflicts. The UMD HR & EO handles complaints of harassment, bias and discrimination. Other avenues are available for resolving conflicts. Current University of Minnesota employees, including student employees, may use the University's Office for Conflict Resolution. Bargaining unit employees may use their union grievance process. Students may use the Student Conflict Resolution Center. Student-on-student complaints are filed with the Office of Student Conduct pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct. All individuals, including those who are not employees or students, may use the appropriate external resources. For other options, refer to Conflict Resolution Alternatives page on the UMTC Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) website at www.eoaa.umn.edu.

I. Consultations

In a telephone conversation or in-person appointment, an UMD HR & EO staff member will

  • discuss the facts of a situation and help the individual identify the problem(s);
  • determine if UMD HR & EO is an appropriate University resource to address the concern;
  • inform the individual of the ways in which UMD HR & EO approaches problem-solving;
  • explore methods of resolving the situation on one's own, if that is the individual's preference; and
  • advise an individual of available University resources and external options for resolution.

II. Informal Resolution Process

After the initial consultation an UMD HR & EO staff member can facilitate a resolution without conducting a formal investigation. These efforts may include, the following:

  • contacting other involved individuals;
  • gathering relevant information;
  • facilitating or mediating meetings; and,
  • exploring other resolutions acceptable to those involved in the situation, and to the UMD HR & EO

Resolutions may include, but are not limited to, discipline, education, and training efforts, and agreements as to future conduct.

III. Formal Resolution Process

A more formal process may be appropriate, after the initial consultation or after efforts at an informal resolution, based on the nature of the allegations or other circumstances. Typical steps in this process may include:

  • preparing a written statement of the allegations, including the details of the relevant event(s), names of individuals with possible knowledge of relevant information, related documents, and the possible basis of discrimination (e.g., race, sex, age, disability, etc.);
  • identifying the University department that is involved, as well as any necessary individuals.
  • informing the responsible administrator(s) and any necessary individuals about the complaint and investigation;
  • cautioning the responsible administrators and necessary individuals about preventing retaliation and maintaining confidentiality;
  • providing the written statement to necessary individuals, along with information regarding relevant University policies and UMD HR & EO procedures;
  • allowing necessary individuals the opportunity to respond to the complaint in a meeting with the UMD EO Specialist, and/or in writing;
  • gathering relevant documents and, when appropriate, interviewing people with relevant information;
  • exploring, when appropriate, at any point in the process, informal resolution;
  • preparing findings of fact and a conclusion for review by the University of Minnesota director of EOAA;
  • providing final findings and conclusions to responsible administrators and necessary individuals;
  • providing recommendations for corrective action to the responsible administrator;
  • may request written confirmation that timely and appropriate actions were taken.

All University employees, students, and participants in University-related activities are strongly encouraged to respond promptly to requests for information by UMD HR & EO. In order to facilitate our efforts to reach timely resolutions, any failure to respond to a request for information may mean that a determination will be made based on information otherwise obtained through the process.

01/04/2012

 

 

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Last modified on 04/01/13 12:32 PM
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