It is the goal of Babson College to promote a workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment of employees or students occurring in the workplace or during work assignments outside the college or at college sponsored functions is unlawful and will not be tolerated. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. To achieve our goal of providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, the conduct that is described in this policy will not be tolerated, and we have provided a procedure by which inappropriate conduct will be dealt with if encountered by employees.
Because the College takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously, we will respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and, where it is determined that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective action as is necessary, including disciplinary action where appropriate.
Moreover, as a part of the College’s overall nondiscrimination policy, the College prohibits all forms of harassment of others because of race, color, religion, sex, age, genetics, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental handicap, veteran, or other protected status. In particular, an atmosphere of tension created by discriminatory remarks or discriminatory animosity does not belong in our workplace and will not be tolerated.
Please note that while this policy sets forth our goals of promoting a workplace that is free of sexual harassment, the policy is not designed or intended to limit our authority to discipline or take remedial action for workplace conduct which we deem unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definition of sexual harassment.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
In Massachusetts, the legal definition for sexual harassment is the following: “Sexual harassment” means sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions; or
- such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment.
Under this definition, direct or implied requests by a manager for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job benefits, such as favorable reviews, salary increases, promotions, increased benefits, or continued employment, constitutes sexual harassment.
The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad and, in addition to the above examples, other sexually-oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a workplace environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating to male or female workers also may constitute sexual harassment.
While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which if unwelcome may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness:
- unwelcome sexual advances – whether or not they involve physical touching;
- sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life, comment on an individual’s body, or comment about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;
- displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or cartoons;
- unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, or suggestive or insulting comments;
- inquiries into one’s sexual experiences;
- and discussion of one’s sexual activities.
All employees should take special note that, as stated above, retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment, and retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint, is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the College.
Complaints of Sexual Harassment
If you believe that you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you have the right to file a complaint with the College. This may be done in writing or verbally.
If you would like to file a complaint, you may do so by contacting Donna Bonaparte, Vice President of Human Resources at ext. 6434. She is available to discuss any concerns you may have and to provide information to you about the policy on sexual harassment and the complaint process.
Sexual Harassment Investigation
When we receive the complaint, we will take appropriate corrective action in an expeditious manner. Any investigation will be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. Typically, an investigation would include private interviews with the person filing the complaint, with witnesses (as appropriate), and with the person alleged to have committed sexual harassment. When we have completed our investigation, we will, to the extent appropriate, inform the person filing the complaint and the person alleged to have committed the conduct of the results of that investigation. If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct, and where it is appropriate we also will impose disciplinary action.
Relationships Between Students and Faculty, Administration or Staff
As a member of Babson’s faculty, administration or staff there may be times when you are in a position of power with regard to students. While on the one hand, Babson encourages its employees to develop supportive relationships with students, it is generally inappropriate to develop a sexual relationship with students and such relationships are prohibited. It clearly is inappropriate when the employee is in a direct teaching, supervisory, or advising role vis-à-vis the student. Even if both parties believe the relationship to be consensual, it is difficult to know if the student’s consent is genuine or motivated by fear of reprisal. In an academic setting, others may reasonably have concerns about unfair academic advantages and this negatively impacts our entire educational environment, as well as raise sexual harassment issues. It is your responsibility to avoid putting either yourself or a student in a situation as described above, or if you find yourself in such a situation to work with your department head to remedy it as quickly as possible. Failure to do so will subject you to disciplinary action.
Sexual Harassment Towards Students
The College will also not tolerate sexual harassment toward any student by any employee. Sexual harassment toward a student arises where a school employee:
- explicitly or implicitly conditions a student’s participation in an education program or activity or bases an educational decision on the student’s submission to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature; or
- engages in sexually harassing conduct (that can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature) that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive to limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an education program or activity, or to create a hostile or abusive educational environment.
If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has been committed by one of our employees, we will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Such action may range from counseling to termination from employment, and may include such other forms of disciplinary action as we deem appropriate under the circumstances.
State and Federal Remedies
In addition to the above, if you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you may file a formal complaint with the government agencies set forth below. Using our complaint process does not prohibit you from filing a complaint with these agencies. Each of the agencies has a short time period for filing a claim (EEOC-300 days; MCAD-300 days).
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1 Congress Street – 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
1 Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
424 Dwight Street, Room 220
Springfield, MA 01103
United States Department of Education
Office of Civil Rights Compliance
John W. McCormack Bldg. – Room 222
Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109