Adherence to Title IX, FERPA, ADA & Other Federal, State and College Policies
All employees at the College need to recognize that they are state agents. Meaning they are responsible for understanding and adhering to the federal, state and internal laws and policies that govern the institution and must adhere to each. This includes laws to include FERPA (student privacy laws); ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Title IX, and more. Failure to uphold federal and state law not only jeopardizes the College, but can also make the individual personally and/or civilly liable in some cases. Training is offered on these topics during Faculty and Staff meetings and within the required Faculty and Staff Orientation sessions. Click on the Faculty Training button within this online Handbook for more information.
Lawson State has a well publicized and promoted Complaint Process for faculty and its students and takes all complaints seriously. Employees at the College are charged with the responsibility of deescalating conflicts not escalating them. Students learn about the Complaint Process online and via their Freshman Orientation class, ORI101. Faculty learn of the Complaint Process online and via the Faculty and Staff Orientation Training. All employees of Lawson State are responsible for reporting unresolved complaints and ensuring that if a compliant is entrusted in your care (by a student or another individual) that you work to ensure the complaint is filed online via the College's online Complaint page which is available 24/7. Failing to report Complaints, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assaults, Sexual Harassment, Harassment, Retaliation claims, etc., is a violation of college policy and federal and state laws. Please note that failing to report sexual abuse, physical abuse, child abuse, harassment and retaliation claims can make you potentially liable civilly or criminally (in some cases).
Reporting of Complaints, Harassment and Retaliation
In general, Complaints go through the following steps:
Step 1 (Informal) : Speak to the person involved directly in the complaint to try to resolve the matter on your own.
Step 2: (Informal): Speak to the Department Chair and/or Assistant or Associate Dean.
Step 3: (Formal): Speak to the Dean. Dean issues a Dean's Resolution to resolve the matter.
Step 4: (Formal): File a Grievance if in disagreement with the Dean's Resolution.
Step 5: (Formal): Final Decision will be rendered by the Grievance Committee.
NOTE: Complaints that fall under Title IX or involve harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, abuse, retaliation, etc... should be reported immediately. Students and Employees should submit such claims via Quick Links (via the website).
For more information on the process, Click here to view the Complaint page for Faculty
For more information on the process, Click here to view the Complaint page for Students
No Harassment or Retaliation
Lawson State has as strict No Harassment or Retaliation Policy. At no time should any employee of the college engage in behavior that could be perceived as harassing whether sexual or not. This includes harassing an individual via electronic or cellular means as well. Individuals deemed to be engaged in such behavior will be subject to discipline up to termination.
Terminology: Harassment and Retaliation Defined
Lawson State Community College has a zero tolerance policy against harassment or retaliation. Such claims should be filed online immediately and advanced to Step 3 (see above) instantly. However, before filing such a serious claim, review the definitions below to ensure you have a claim. Please be advised that knowingly filing false harassment or retaliation claims can have repercussions.
Harassment is abusive or hostile conduct which is directed toward or inflicted upon another person because of his or her race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran's status and which, because of its severity or pervasiveness, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work or academic performance or creates a hostile or abusive work or learning environment for that individual's work, education, or participation in a [college] activity. Harassment is typically based on stereotyped prejudices and includes, but is not limited to, slurs, jokes, objectionable epithets, or other verbal, graphic, or physical conduct that demeans, insults, or intimidates an individual because of his or her race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status (UA, 2012).
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of employment or academic advancement; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's performance as an employee or student or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment (UA, 2012).
Retaliation (Against Sexual Harassment Claims)
Retaliation against persons who oppose or complain about harassment is strictly prohibited. Retaliation is any action that has the effect of punishing a person for engaging in a legally protected activity, such as alleging harassment, making a harassment complaint, or assisting in a harassment investigation. Examples of retaliatory adverse employment actions include suspension, demotion, or termination. In addition, this policy prohibits retaliation in the form of harassment, intimidation, threats, or coercion, or in the form of any materially adverse harm that would dissuade a reasonable student or employee from filing a harassment complaint or participating in a harassment investigation( UA, 2012).
Retaliation against persons who oppose, complain, seek a grade appeal or file a grievance or any other issue is strictly prohibited on the campus of Lawson State. Retaliation is any action that has the effect of punishing a person for engaging in a legally protected activity, such as making a complaint or appeal or grievance, or assisting in a complaint or appeal or grievance investigation. Examples of retaliatory adverse employment actions include suspension, demotion, or termination. In addition, this policy prohibits retaliation in the form of harassment, intimidation, threats, or coercion, or in the form of any materially adverse harm that would dissuade a reasonable student or employee from filing a complaint, an appeal or grievance or participating in said investigation (UA, 2012).
Drugs and Alcohol Policies
Lawson State is committed to providing all employees with a safe and healthy work environment and extended campus-wide community. The College views that excessive drinking and misuse as well as the use and/or abuse of controlled substances poses a serious risk to employees and encourages any employee with a substance abuse problem to seek immediate treatment of such conditions. The College views that the misuse and abuse of substances not only poses a direct threat against its mission, but also poses a threat to the quality of work one can produce and the negative impact . The following activities are prohibited:
• Using, selling, manufacturing, distributing, possessing, storing or dispensing alcohol or controlled substances on College premises, as part of any College-related activity, or in the workplace, except as authorized under College regulations or otherwise by the College.
• Failing to meet the requirements of a drug or alcohol treatment program that the College requires an employee to complete as a condition of employment or to maintain employment;
• Interfering with a workplace inspection under this policy;
• Alcohol misuse or controlled substance use, even though not during working hours or in the workplace, which impairs job performance or attendance;
• Being under the influence of legally prescribed drugs in the workplace that prevent an individual from performing the essential functions of his or her job or where that individual poses a direct threat while using those drugs;
• Any other conduct that the College determines to be inconsistent with providing a drug-free and alcohol-free campus and workplace (Purdue University, 2015).
Employees with alcohol or drug problems are strongly encouraged to voluntarily contact their family physician or the College’s Human Resources Office for external healthcare option assistance. Employees may seek help without a supervisor’s knowledge. Although voluntarily seeking assistance will not bar the College from treating an employee like other employees, the College will consider voluntary requests for help in determining any discipline to impose. The College does not assume any financial or other responsibility for drug or alcohol treatment except as may be provided by College benefits.
No Weapons on Campus
Possessing, exhibiting, or using firearms of any kind, explosives (including all types of fireworks), live ammunition, obnoxious bombs, chemicals, or weapons already designated as illegal by city, county, state, or federal law. Students are not allowed to be in possession of any type of weapon or firearm while on the physical campus of Lawson State or a college sponsored event. This includes the storage of such weapons or firearms (in vehicles, dormitory or any other physical space).
Use of Vehicles for College Business
Any vehicle driven while conducting College business or for any other College purpose must be operated in a safe and courteous manner. Vehicles must be operated in compliance with all applicable laws and College policies. All individuals who drive College vehicles must:
1. be insured via a car insurance company
2. possess a current and valid driver's license
3. be free of alcohol or other substances (to include prescription drugs or illegal substances) that could impair judgment or coordination
Driving a College car does not dismiss the driver's obligation of personal liability. Driver's can and will be held responsible for:
2. all traffic violations
3. impaired driving incidents
4. death or injuries caused due to impaired driving or via accidents
6. Reckless Driving
Impaired driving of a College vehicle (whether arrested or not) or driving incidents that lead to arrest or severe injury of persons due to deliberate impairment (substance abuse, illegal intoxication, illegal drug use) can lead to immediate termination.
Soliciting, Canvassing and Peddling on Campus
Retailing, commercial solicitation, canvassing, sponsorship and marketing activities of any product or service on campus is prohibited unless related to an approved Student Organizational activity. Permission to do otherwise must come from the President's Office.
Outside Employment and Other Outside Activities
Outside Employment is required to be reported and approved by the President of Lawson State. Contact the Human Resources office immediately to complete the Outside Employment notification.
Employees are prohibited from doing the following:
1. Work full-time at the College and at another College (even if online).
2. Work full-time at the College and at another Business.
3. Use office hours at Lawson State to work for another business/company/entity, including self-employment ventures
4. Use Lawson State equipment, materials (including copy machines) and resources to promote or support other businesses, churches, companies, including self-employment ventures.
5. Leave early from work at Lawson State to maintain office hours or responsibilities (including self-employment) at another location.
6. Maintain work hours that cross over work hours at Lawson State. Example: Report to work at 4:00 p.m. (at your part time job), but you do not get off until 5:00 p.m. at Lawson State.
Travel Permission and Expenses
All travel, including travel reimbursement, must be approved 30 days prior to travel by mid-level, senior level administrators, the Vice Presidents and the President. College employees must submit the appropriate Travel Request (including any justification for travel if traveling out of state) on time. Late requests will not be approved. For more information on the Travel Request Process, contact your immediate supervisor.
Use of, Ownership of and Returning College Property
All property purchased by the College is owned by the College. The employee should never assume any ownership or property rights to Lawson State furniture, equipment, materials or resources or products. Employees who create documents, including curriculum or online courses, should not assume ownership. If the curriculum was created by an employee of Lawson State for the purpose of educating Lawson State students, and the employee (via a salary or stipend) was compensated, then the documents, curriculum, reports and/or materials generated are owned by the College. Upon retirement or termination, all materials, equipment and resources should be returned. Removing of equipment or materials without express permission by the College is considered theft and can lead to criminal charges being filed.