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101.13 - Unlawful Workplace Harassment Policy

University Group Policy #101.13

I.  Policy Statement

The Unlawful Workplace Harassment policy applies to all Winston-Salem State University employees. The purpose of this plan is to guarantee all current and former University employees, outside contractors and vendors the right to work in an environment free from unlawful workplace harassment and retaliation. Consistent with the policy of the State of North Carolina, the policy of Winston-Salem State University is that no University employee may engage in speech or conduct that is defined as unlawful workplace harassment as indicated below. All current and former state employees, outside contractors and vendors are guaranteed the right to work in an environment free from unlawful workplace harassment and retaliation. Applicants, while not covered under the State Statute (SB78), are covered under other state and Federal Civil Rights Acts.Conduct towards an outside vendor or contractor could constitute unacceptable personal conduct.

II.     Definitions

Unlawful Workplace Harassment is unwelcome or unsolicited speech or conduct based upon race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, age, genetic information, color or handicapping condition as defined by G. S. 168A-3 and Executive Order 11248, that creates a hostile work environment or circumstances involving quid pro quo.

Hostile Work Environment is one that both a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive and one that the particular person who is the object of the harassment perceives to be hostile or abusive. Hostile work environment is determined by looking at all of the circumstances, including the frequency of the allegedly harassing conduct, its severity, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance.

Quid Pro Quo harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct when (1) submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s employment. (Note: See also Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy.)

Retaliation is any adverse action taken against an individual for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit related to discriminatory employment practices based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or genetic information or because of opposition to employment practices in violation of the unlawful workplace harassment policy.

III.    Guidelines

Procedure for Reporting Unlawful Workplace Harassment Any former employee, full-time or part-time employee with either a permanent, probationary, trainee, time-limited permanent or temporary appointment who feels that he/she has been unlawfully harassed in the workplace must do the following:

  1. Submit a written complaint to the Office of Equal Employment/Affirmative Action and Diversity within 30 calendar days of the alleged harassing action. A prompt and impartial investigation will be made of all cases alleging unlawful workplace harassment based on presented facts surrounding the misconduct.
  2. Winston-Salem State University shall respond with appropriate remedial action within 60 calendar days from receipt of written complaint unless the 60 day period has been waived and the grievant has acknowledged such waiver. Waiver and acknowledgement shall be in writing.
  3. Winston-Salem State University shall provide a written response to the grievant, including the grievance process, when the University has determined what action, if any, will result from the grievant’s written complaint.
  4. After the University’s 60 calendar days (or less if waived) response period has expired, the grievant may appeal directly to the Office of Administrative Hearings within 30 calendar days if not satisfied with the University’s response.
  5. An individual with a grievance concerning a denial of employment, promotion, or transfer, or concerning a demotion, layoff, transfer or termination due to discrimination based on age, sex, race, color, national origin, genetic information, religion, creed, political affiliation or handicapping condition as defined by G. S. 168A-3, or a grievance based on retaliation for opposition to alleged discrimination may still appeal directly to the Office of Administrative Hearings. Grievances based on genetic information can only be appealed through an agency/university internal grievance procedure or directly to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  6. Complaints may be filed simultaneously under Title VII with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

IV.     Applicability

This policy applies to all employees of Winston-Salem State University.

Responsible Division: Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff

Authority: Board of Trustees


  • Adopted: February 22, 2004
  • Amended: February 27, 2012
  • Amended: June 21, 2013