Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination Procedure

A. Reporting and Management Action

  1. All students are encouraged to report events of unlawful harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation against themselves or others, regardless of where the incident occurred. A student may choose to resolve any issues pertaining to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation informally or may proceed directly to the formal resolution process outlined in this procedure; however, allegations of sexual violence may not be processed informally and must immediately be reported and investigated in accordance with this procedure.

  2. Students have the right to file a criminal complaint for sexual violence with the local law enforcement authorities before, during, or after filing a complaint with the college. The technical college shall not delay investigation under this procedure to await the outcome of any criminal investigation.

  3. If a student filing a complaint requests anonymity or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the college must inform the student that its ability to respond may be limited, that retaliation for filing a complaint is prohibited and steps to prevent retaliation will be taken. The college should take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request and pursue other steps to limit the effects of the alleged harassment and prevent recurrence.

  4. Colleges may weigh a request considering the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged conduct, the complainant's age, whether there have been other harassment complaints about the same individual, and the alleged harasser's rights to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained as an "education record" under FERPA. The college must inform the student if the request cannot be ensured.

  5. Reports concerning unlawful harassment, discrimination or retaliation of students will be processed confidentially to the extent permitted by law; communications regarding complaints will be disseminated to others on a need-to-know basis to ensure that necessary steps are taken to protect the community as a whole and that appropriate disciplinary measures or corrective actions are considered and taken.

  6. Allegations or suspicions of unlawful discrimination, harassment or unlawful retaliation may be reported to the technical college's Title IX and Section 504 Coordinators, the president, the Commissioner, or the Human Resources Director should the complaint involve employees. Students may also email any complaints to unlawfulharassment@tcsg.edu.

    The Title IX Coordinator is Dr. Debra Gordon, Dean Academic Programs, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Building A, Room 103A, 495 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA  30021, phone:  404-297-9522, Ext. 1176.  Grievance procedures providing for resolution of alleged student discrimination under these Acts may be obtained from the Title IX Coordinator at the DeKalb Campus.  Student Discrimination Grievance Form

    The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator is Lisa Peters, Director Special Services, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Building A, Room 157, 495 North Indian Creek Drive, Clarkston, GA  30021, phone (404) 297-9522, ext. 1154.  Grievance procedures providing for resolution in regard to students with disabilities may be obtained from the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator at the DeKalb Campus.  ADA Section 504 Grievance Form

  7. Such reports can be expressed in writing, by telephone, or in person; individuals are, however, encouraged to express their complaints in writing to ensure all concerns are addressed.

  8. If an allegation of unlawful harassment, discrimination or retaliation is made to an employee not designated to receive such reports, the employee must report the allegation as provided in section 6 above.

  9. Allegations of sexual conduct involving individuals under the age of 18 must also be reported as an allegation of child abuse as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5.

  10. The Commissioner or president may suspend, transfer or reassign employees or students in order to prevent possible further harassment, discrimination, retaliation, to facilitate the investigation, or to implement corrective action under this procedure.

  11. Any allegation of unlawful harassment, discrimination, or retaliation against employees must be reported to the Human Resources Director who may elect to conduct the investigation in conjunction with other local investigators.

B. Investigations

  1. All complaints of unlawful harassment, discrimination or unlawful retaliation shall be investigated by local investigators thoroughly and should be completed within 45 business days of the receipt of the complaint. The parties will be notified if extraordinary circumstances exist requiring additional time.

  2. A complaining party will be notified within 5 business days of receipt of the complaint if the complaint does not specify facts sufficient to allege unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation and that a formal investigation will not be conducted pursuant to this procedure. The complaining party may appeal the decision in writing to the president within 5 business days of receiving the notice. The president's decision will be final. 

  3. Individuals designated to investigate, review or recommend corrective actions in response to allegations shall disclose to the president any relationship with the parties that could call into question their ability to be objective prior to taking any action with respect to the investigation. The president will reassign alternate individuals if necessary.

  4. Investigations will be conducted by gathering relevant information and interviewing appropriate witnesses. Both the complaining party and the respondent (the parties) will be given equal opportunity to identify witnesses and offer evidence in person or in writing. Best efforts will be made to interview all witnesses identified by the parties.

  5. The colleges will evaluate the information collected during the investigation and determine whether a preponderance of the information substantiates that unlawful discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation has occurred.

  6. Investigations and summary findings will be documented appropriately.

  7. No later than 10 business days after completion of an investigation, the parties will be provided a summary of the results of the investigation.

  8. Any information prohibited from disclosure by law or policy will be redacted from any documents prior to distribution.

C. Corrective Actions

  1. Colleges will take all reasonable steps to prevent unlawful retaliation against complainants and any other individuals participating in investigations under this procedure.

  2. If unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation is determined to have occurred, the college, through the appropriate officials, shall implement steps to prevent a recurrence and to correct the discriminatory effects on the complaining party and others as appropriate. Steps may include, but are not limited to, mandating training or evaluation, disciplinary sanctions, policy implementation or reassignment of students or employees.

  3. Should recommended disciplinary sanctions involve academic suspension, expulsion or dismissal from employment, students and staff will be afforded all rights of review or appeal provided for in the applicable disciplinary procedures.  

  4. Individuals who are responsible for conducting or reviewing investigations or proposing sanctions under this procedure should not also serve as reviewing officials or hearing officers in the appeal of sanctions arising from an investigation.

  5. Even in the absence of sufficient evidence to substantiate a finding that unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation has occurred, colleges are expected to address any inappropriate conduct and take all reasonable steps to prevent any future unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.  

D. Reviews and Dispositions

  1. The parties may request a review of the investigative findings within 5 business days of receiving notice of the investigative results by submitting a written request to the president.

  2. The president shall review all investigations conducted under this procedure and ensure that the appropriate corrective actions have been implemented.

  3. Within 10 business days of receiving a request for a review of the investigative findings, the president will notify the parties in writing of his/her final determination. The notice will inform the parties they have a right to appeal the determination to the Technical College System of Georgia's Legal Services Office by submitting a written request within 3 business days by regular mail or email to one of the following:

    Technical College System of Georgia
    Office of Legal Services
    1800 Century Place, N.E.
    Suite 400
    Atlanta, Georgia 30345

    OR

    unlawfulharassment@tcsg.edu

  4. The Office of Legal Services will convene a panel of at least 3 individuals not employed by the requestor's college to review the investigative findings. The panel's decision is final and will conclude the processing of the complaint.