Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is committed to protecting the rights of all parties to an investigation, as well as third-party witnesses.
Reporting discrimination or harassment is not always easy for a person who is experiencing it. You should be aware that reporting inappropriate situations is not only protected by law, but is welcomed by the University as a way for us to remedy behavior that violates UB policy.
If you report discrimination or harassment to EDI, you will be protected against retaliation for filing a complaint. Retaliation is defined as any action that can affect your employment or academic standing. It can vary from negative evaluations or grades to harassment, isolation or other forms of treatment that impact your work or academic environment.
When you make a report of discrimination or harassment, EDI will keep the situation confidential except as needed to investigate and resolve your claim. In most cases, we will not proceed with contacting anyone without telling you first and obtaining your consent. You should know that in cases of severe or ongoing conduct, we might have an obligation to move forward regardless of your willingness to proceed. If that happens, we will keep you informed of our investigation and take steps to protect you against retaliation.
EDI is committed to investigating concerns in a manner that provides due process and an opportunity to be heard. If you are accused of discrimination or harassment, we will explain the allegations that were reported and allow you an opportunity to tell your side, to understand what has been reported and to provide documentation and information.
It is important to keep in mind that the complaint procedure is not a disciplinary one. Our role is to ensure that the University is not permitting or tolerating actions that could violate applicable discrimination laws, regulations and policies. You have the option of being accompanied by a person of your choice in a meeting with EDI, provided that this individual maintains confidentiality and does not interfere with our ability to obtain information.
Individuals who are accused of discrimination or harassment are often concerned about the confidentiality of the investigation. EDI only discloses information as needed to conduct an investigation.
If you are contacted by EDI as a third-party witnesss, we will want to ask you questions about events or circumstances you might have observed. We will maintain strict confidentiality regarding your identity and any information you provide. We will not disclose to your department that you participated in an investigation, nor will we disclose anything you have said to us to the person who named you as a witness.
You have the same rights against retaliation as do individuals who report discrimination. No one can take any action against you or make you feel harassed, intimidated or uncomfortable for having spoken with us.
Reporting discrimination is considered a "protected activity" by law. That means that no one can take action against a person for reporting discrimination or participating as a witness in an investigation. Contact EDI if you have any concerns about possible retaliation.