Article 6 – Nondiscrimination

6.1 Statement of Intent.

(a) The Board and the UFF fully support all laws intended to protect and safeguard the rights and opportunities of each faculty member, staff member, and student to work and learn in an environment free from any form of unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment.

(b) The parties recognize their obligations under federal and State laws, rules, and regulations prohibiting unlawful discrimination and unlawful harassment and affirm their commitment to create a diverse faculty that brings new perspectives and new talent into the academy. To this end, the Board, with the support of the UFF, will work to implement programs, policies, and practices to facilitate the recruitment of a diverse faculty.

(c) Nothing in this Article is intended to alter the eligibility requirements for benefits provided by the University.

(d) It is the intent of the Board and the UFF that this statement of intent not be subject to Article 22 (Grievance Procedure and Arbitration).

6.2 Nondiscrimination Policy.

(a)Nondiscrimination. Neither the Board nor the UFF will discriminate against any faculty member based upon race, color, sex/gender (this also includes gender identity), sexual orientation, religious creed, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, political affiliation, or marital status, nor will the Board or the UFF abridge any rights of faculty related to union activity granted under Chapter 447, Florida Statutes, including but not limited to the right to assist or to refrain from assisting the UFF. Personnel decisions will be based on job-related criteria and performance.

(b)Discrimination Prohibition. No employee will discriminate against or harass any other employee or any student based upon race, color, sex/gender (this also includes gender identity), sexual orientation, religious creed, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, political affiliation, or marital status.

(c) Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment is a prohibited form of sex discrimination. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic performance or evaluation, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.

(d) Consensual Relations.

i. Definitions:

For the purposes of this Section (d), the following definitions pertain: A Consensual Relationship is a mutually acceptable, romantic and/or sexual relationship between a faculty member and an employee, student and/or student employee. A Conflict of Interest arises when individuals with the authority and the responsibility to evaluate the work or performance of an employee, student or student employee initiate, acquiesce or engage in an intimate romantic and/or sexual relationship with that employee, student or student employee.

ii. Ethical Considerations

The University of West Florida is committed to an academic and employment environment free from harassment, discrimination, and unprofessional conduct. Codes of ethics for most professional associations forbid professional-client sexual relationships. Both professor-student and supervisor employee relationships are similar to those of a professional and a client. The respect and trust accorded a professor by his or her student, as well as the power exercised by the professor in grading/evaluation, advising, or recommending study and future employment diminish the student’s actual freedom of choice when entering upon a relationship with that professor. A similar imbalance pertains in a supervisor/subordinate employee relationship. When these asymmetrical relationships are romantic and/or sexual in nature, they constitute an inherent Conflict of Interest. Accordingly, Consensual Relationships involving Conflicts of Interests are prohibited. Should such a Conflict develop, the teacher, supervisor or advisor has the obligation to disclose its existence and to cooperate in making alternative arrangements for the supervision, evaluation, teaching, grading, or advising of the employee, student and/or student employee. These arrangements will be set forth in a written conflict mitigation plan. The conflict mitigation plan must be approved by the Provost.

6.3 Investigation of Charges of Discrimination.

Charges of discrimination, including those filed by faculty alleging unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment by students, will be promptly investigated according to established University procedures. No faculty member investigated under such procedures will be disciplined until such investigation is complete and a finding of discrimination or harassment has been issued.

(a) Non-retaliation policy. No retaliation of any kind will be made by a faculty member, the Board, or UFF against any party, any witness, any UFF representative, or any other participant in this process or in any grievance arising from this process for reason of such participation.

(b) To the extent possible, remedial measures to correct the effects of unlawful harassment or unlawful discrimination will not unreasonably adversely affect an individual who was found to be the victim of unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment.

(c) If, after the completion of the investigation, any finding of unlawful discrimination is made, a record of the complete findings will be placed in the faculty member’s master evaluation file. Such findings are not considered evaluative material for purposes of Florida Statute 1012.91.

(d) If a finding of no discrimination is made, no record will be placed in the faculty member’s master evaluation file unless the faculty member requests in writing that a record of the complete investigation be placed in the evaluation file.

6.4 Access to Documents.

No faculty member will be refused a request to inspect and copy documents related to claims of discrimination under this Article, to which the faculty member is a party, except for records which are exempt from the provisions of the Public Records Act, Chapter 119, Florida Statutes, provided that the University may charge for copies of documents in accordance with law, rule, University procedure’s, and this Agreement.

6.5 Discrimination Claims.

Claims that the Board or the University engaged in unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment may be presented as grievances pursuant to Article 22 (Grievance Procedures and Arbitration).

(a) It is the intent of the parties to this Agreement that matters which may be presented as grievances under Article 22 (Grievance Procedures and Arbitration) be so presented and resolved through that procedure instead of using other procedures.

(b) The UFF agrees not to process cases arising under this Article when alternative procedures to Article 22 (Grievance Procedures and Arbitration) are initiated by the grievant, except that a grievant may file an EEOC charge while the grievance is in progress when such filing becomes necessary to meet federal filing deadlines pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq.

6.6 Charges of Discrimination Included as Part of a Grievance.

(a) Charges of discrimination, including unlawful harassment, included in grievances will be referred to the University’s equal opportunity officer for investigation of those charges in accordance with University procedures.

(b) If the charges of discrimination or harassment are not separable from other claims in the grievance, then the entire grievance will be held in abeyance until a finding has been made on the charges of discrimination or harassment and forwarded to the Step 1 reviewer. The grievance will then be processed in accordance with the procedures outlined in section 22.5 (Grievance Procedure) of this Agreement, provided that the thirty-day limitation specified therein shall be extended to accommodate the investigation of the discrimination complaint, not to exceed a period of ninety days.

(c) If the charges of unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment are separable from other claims included in the grievance, then the charges of unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment will be held in abeyance until a finding has been made on those charges by the University’s equal opportunity officer, while the remaining claims exclusive of the charges of unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment will be processed in accordance with the procedures outlined in section 22.5 of this Agreement. Once a finding has been made by the University’s equal opportunity officer on those charges of unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment that were separated from other claims in the grievance, the finding will be forwarded to the Step I reviewer and the charges of discrimination or harassment will be processed in accordance with the procedures outlined in section 22.5 (Grievance Procedure) of this Agreement.

(d) The filing of a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will not affect the processing of a grievance related to unlawful discrimination or unlawful harassment.

6.7 Academic Freedom.

The parties acknowledge that academic freedom (as defined in Article 5, Academic Freedom) exists within the restrictions imposed by the laws with regard to unlawful discrimination and unlawful harassment.

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