502 Prohibition on Hostile or Intimidating Workplace Behavior

ISU is committed to the principles of integrity, fairness, and professionalism in the workplace as espoused in Policy 501 Faculty and Staff Principles of Conduct. Hostile or intimidating workplace behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

502.1 Definition of Hostile and/or Intimidating Behavior. Behavior that is hostile and/or intimidating and that is pervasive or severe enough that a reasonable person would find that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s or group’s work environment is prohibited.  A person or a group can perpetrate this behavior. The person need not be more senior than or a supervisor to the target. Unacceptable behavior may include, but is not limited to:

a) Abusive expression (including spoken, written, recorded, visual, digital, or nonverbal, etc.) directed at another person in the workplace, such as derogatory remarks or epithets that are outside the range of commonly accepted expressions of disagreement, disapproval, or critique in an academic culture and professional setting that respects free expression;

b) Unwarranted physical contact or intimidating gestures;

c) Conspicuous exclusion, isolation, or targeting having the effect of harming another person’s reputation in the workplace and hindering another person’s work;

d.) Sabotage of another person’s work or impeding another person’s capacity for academic expression, be it oral, written, or other;

e) Abuse of authority, such as using threats or retaliation in the exercise of authority, supervision, or guidance, or impeding another person from exercising shared governance rights.

502.2 Repeat or Singular Acts. Repeated acts or a pattern of hostile and/or intimidating behaviors are more likely to be considered pervasive and severe. An especially severe or egregious single act may warrant either discipline or dismissal.

502.3 Context of Academic Freedom. Indiana State University has an enduring commitment to academic freedom, freedom of expression, and the conception of the University as a place that must encourage and foster the free exchange of ideas, beliefs, and opinions, however unpopular. ISU adheres to the principles of academic freedom as set forth in the AAUP’s 1940 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure. The policy is not intended to constitute a general civility code addressing ordinary stresses of the workplace, such as occasionally insensitive language or behavior.

502.4 Workplace Management.  This policy is not intended to constrain commonly accepted workplace management practices, nor does it constitute the only mechanism for employees to address concerns about hostile or intimidating workplace behavior. Supervisors may address unacceptable behavior through normal management practices.

502.5 Allegations of Discrimination. Allegations of discriminatory behavior as set forth in 921 Americans with Disabilities Policy922 Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking, and 923 Discrimination and Harassment Policy will be forwarded to the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office for investigation and resolution.

502.6 Procedures for Resolving Accusations of Hostile and/or Intimidating Behavior. A person who has been the target of hostile and/or intimidating behavior by someone within their employee class may use the grievance policy associated with their employee class. (246.14 University Faculty Grievances; 565 Staff Grievance Policy). When the complainant and the respondent are from different employee classes, Policy 501.3 Grievance Procedures between Employee Groups will be used.

502.7 Outcomes.  

502.7.1 Discipline for Faculty. Discipline can be imposed on faculty members for violations in compliance with the requirements of the formal processes delineated in the Chairperson’s and/or Dean’s authorities regarding Deficient Performance as outlined in Policy 350.2.9.1.3 Academic Department Chairperson or Policy 246.13 Faculty Discipline and Dismissal.

502.7.2 Discipline for Staff.  Discipline can be imposed on staff in compliance with the requirements of the formal processes delineated in Policy 562 Staff Discipline, Termination, and Resignation.

Policy 502, in its entirety, was approved for inclusion in the Handbook by the Board of Trustees on May 6, 2016.