G-32-0 Workplace Fairness Policy

Effective date: 6/7/2023

This Workplace Fairness policy applies to all matters related to hiring, firing, transfer, promotion, benefits, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment. In compliance with the Oregon Workplace Fairness Act, this policy provides required information related to unlawful employment-related discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and sexual assault.

Discrimination and Workplace Harassment
COCC prohibits unlawful discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and sexual assault. The COCC General Policy Manual G-28-1 Nondiscrimination and Equal Employment/Affirmative Action Statement provides additional details. 

COCC employees, customers, clients, students, contractors, and visitors to COCC campuses or sites are entitled to a respectful and productive work environment free from behavior, action, or language that constitutes workplace harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. A “work environment” includes employees on COCC premises, at a COCC-sponsored off-site event, traveling on behalf of COCC, or conducting COCC business, regardless of location.

This policy prohibits any conduct at work that a reasonable person in the individual’s circumstances would consider unwelcome, intimidating, hostile, threatening, violent, abusive, or offensive. It also prohibits employment actions, including hiring, promotion, termination, and compensation decisions, to be taken based on a protected characteristic. This policy also prohibits any form of retaliatory action toward an employee for filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment or for participation in an investigation of a complaint.  

COCC prohibits sexual harassment of any kind between any COCC parties. Refer to the COCC General Policy Manual G-28-3 COCC Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Policy and G-28-0.2 for Definition of Terms for details.

Prohibited Conduct 
This policy prohibits conduct based on an individual’s protected class status. Although by no means all-inclusive, the following examples represent prohibited behavior:

  • Physical harassment, including but not limited to unwelcome physical contact such as touching, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with work; 
  • Verbal harassment, including but not limited to disparaging or disrespectful comments, jokes, slurs, innuendoes, teasing, and other sexual talk such as jokes, personal inquiries, persistent unwanted courting, and derogatory insults;
  • Nonverbal harassment, including but not limited to suggestive or insulting sounds, obscene gestures, leering, or whistling; 
  • Visual harassment, including but not limited to displays of explicit or offensive calendars, circulation of derogatory content, posters, pictures, drawings, or cartoons that reflect disparagingly upon a class of persons or a particular person; or
  • Sexual harassment, as described in the COCC General Policy Manual G-28-3 COCC Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Policy.

Any individual found to have engaged in discriminatory conduct, harassment, retaliation, or sexual assault may face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Managers and supervisors who fail to report known harassment or fail to take prompt, appropriate corrective action may be subject to disciplinary action, including potential dismissal.

Retaliation Protections 
COCC will not tolerate retaliation against any employee for raising a good faith concern, providing information related to a concern, or otherwise cooperating in an investigation of a reported violation of this policy. Any employee who retaliates against anyone involved in an investigation is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Filing groundless or malicious complaints is an abuse of this policy and will be treated as a violation. Any person found to have violated this policy aspect will be subject to discipline up to and including dismissal. 

See the COCC General Policy Manual G-28-5 Retaliation related to Title IX and G-28-7 Whistleblower Policy for retaliation statements related to specific policies.

Reporting Procedure 
Any employee aware of or experiencing discrimination, retaliation, harassment, or sexual assault in the workplace should report that information immediately. Refer to the COCC General Procedure Manual HR-18-3 Employee Concerns Procedure or N-1-1 Filing a Report for additional details. Employees can also contact the individuals listed in the COCC General Policy Manual G-28-0.1 Reporting Contact Information for support or guidance on any aspect of this policy and associated processes. All employees are advised to document and report any incidents involving discrimination, retaliation, harassment, or sexual assault as soon as possible.

Oregon state law requires any legal action taken on alleged discriminatory conduct, specifically that prohibited by ORS 659A.030, 659A.082 or 659A.112, commence no later than five years after the occurrence of the violation. Other applicable laws may have a shorter time limitation on filing. See the COCC General Procedure Manual HR-18-1 Timing for the time limit for the COCC Employee Concerns process.

Nondisclosure or Nondisparagement Agreements
COCC will not require a former, current, or prospective employee to enter into any agreement if the purpose or effect of the agreement prevents the employee from disclosing or discussing conduct constituting discrimination, retaliation, harassment, or sexual assault. 

An employee claiming to be aggrieved by discrimination, retaliation, harassment, or sexual assault may, however, voluntarily request to enter into a settlement, separation, or severance agreement that contains a nondisclosure, nondisparagement, or no-rehire provision and will have at least seven (7) days to revoke any such agreement. The College will not offer a settlement on the condition of a request for these terms.

nondisclosure agreement is any agreement by which one or more parties agree not to discuss or disclose information regarding any complaint of work-related harassment, discrimination, or sexual assault, including the amount or terms of a settlement.

nondisparagement agreement is any agreement by which one or more parties agree not to discredit or make negative or disparaging written or oral statements about any other party or the College. 

no-rehire provision is an agreement or statement prohibiting an employee from seeking reemployment with the College and allows COCC not to rehire that individual in the future. 

References: Federal law - Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964; State law - ORS 659A, SB 1586 (2022). Additional references are available at the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.