HR 7.01pr - Employee Relationships : Procedure
Edmonds Community College, as an institution of higher education and steward of the public trust, values an environment of inclusion, trust, and respect as a primary component for optimal learning and working. All employees of the college accept responsibility to avoid any apparent or actual conflict of interest between their professional responsibilities and their personal relationships with students over whom they hold a position of authority and those employees over whom they exercise supervisory, evaluative, or other relationships of power or authority. Additionally, employees are prohibited from engaging in sexual activity of any kind, whether consensual or not, on the Edmonds Community College campus.
Many students are at a stage in their development when they may be particularly vulnerable to the influence of faculty members who are in a position to affect the terms and conditions of a student’s standing at the college. Supervisors also exercise inherent authority and power over their subordinate employees. These “power dynamics” have the potential for abuse, whether intentional or unintentional, so it is incumbent upon the college to develop policies and procedures that guard against the potential abuse.
Reporting of Suspected Incidents: all students, employees, and officers of the college have an obligation to report known consensual or romantic relationships between supervisors and their subordinate employees or between faculty members and students over whom the faculty member exercises a position of authority. All concerns of possible violation of the Employee Relationships policy should be immediately reported to any of the following officers of the college: Vice President for Student Services, Executive Vice President for Instruction, Director of Human Resources, or Associate Vice President for Human Resources (AVP for HR). The AVP for HR will oversee any investigation, if warranted, and work with applicable Union leadership throughout the process.
When a faculty-student consensual relationship exists or develops, a faculty position of authority with respect to the student must be avoided or immediately terminated. Avoidance or termination includes, but is not limited to, the student not enrolling in a course; a qualified alternative faculty member or teaching assistant taking the position of authority; transfer of the student to another course, section, seminar, etc., taught by a different faculty member or teaching assistant; assigning or transferring the student to another academic advisor; or the student dropping a course.
When a supervisor-subordinate consensual relationship exists or develops, the supervisory relationship must be avoided or immediately terminated. Avoidance or termination includes, but is not limited to, moving the subordinate under a different supervisor; removing the supervisory authority; or termination of employment for either or both parties.
In the event that any such relationship is reported and confirmed, and the person in the position of authority or supervision does not conform with the policy or the plan to remedy the situation, the college employee can be subject to employee disciplinary procedures in accordance with any applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement, up to and including termination in the case of administrators and staff members, or dismissal for cause in the case of faculty members.
There are exceptional circumstances in which the spouse or partner of a college employee is a student at the college. The Employee Relationships policy does not apply in such circumstances. The AVP for HR determines whether an exceptional circumstance applies and will document the exceptional circumstance in the employee’s official personnel file. Any employee involved in a relationship that may be considered an exceptional circumstance should notify their immediate supervisor as soon as possible. The employee’s supervisor should then inform the Director of Human Resources, who will work with the AVP for HR to validate and document the waiver, if warranted.
Consensual relationship: any relationship that a reasonable person would see as dating, romance, or a sexual or marriage relationship, whether in person or on social media or other cyber venues.
Edmonds Community College campus: the entirety of the property owned or leased by the college, to include all facilities, parking areas, outdoor areas, and dorms.
Employee: all full-time or part-time employees and faculty members employed at Edmonds Community College.
Faculty: consists of all full- or part-time faculty, Department Heads, Associates, Senior Associates, Affiliates, teaching assistants, graders, and all other personnel who teach, coach, evaluate, or guide research by students.
Students: all full- or part-time students.
Position of authority: includes but may not be limited to situations in which the faculty member makes or is responsible for an evaluation of a student for admission, coursework, promotion, financial aid, research funding, suspension, dismissal, or other discipline. (Faculty members providing instruction without evaluation are not necessarily in positions of authority.)
Supervisor: any college employee who exercises supervisory authority, evaluation authority, or other relationships of power and authority over at least one other college employee.
Sexual Activity: intercourse involving penetration of the vagina by the penis; anal or oral intercourse; any form of copulation; any person-to-person contact involving genitalia.
RELATED POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
HR 7.0 Employee Relationships
HR 5.0 Human Resources Management
(was) 6.3.102, Section VII Administrative and Exempt Employee Code of Personnel Policy and Procedures
CONTENT OWNER. The primary responsibility for this policy belongs to:
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
PRIMARY CONTENT CONTRIBUTOR (Director/Dean)
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
2017-March 13 Approved by President’s Cabinet
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