Oregon State University Bullying Policy

Oregon State University is committed to maintaining a working, learning, and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all the staff, faculty, and students of the University community are respected. The policy provides the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access the opportunity to assess the allegations of bullying to determine if it falls within its definition of bullying, and is sufficiently supported by credible and specific facts to warrant the initiation of EOA’s informal or formal complaint resolution procedures.  The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access is committed to preventing and proactively addressing bullying at Oregon State University.

Policy:

Under this University policy, bullying is prohibited. Bullying is defined as conduct of any sort directed at another that is severe, pervasive or persistent, and is of a nature that would cause a reasonable person in the victim's position substantial emotional distress and undermine his or her ability to work, study or participate in his or her regular life activities, and actually does cause the victim substantial emotional distress and undermines the victim's ability to work, study, or participate in the victim's regular life activities.

This policy is not intended to and will not be applied in a way that would violate rights to academic freedom and freedom of expression, nor will it be interpreted in a way that undermines a supervisor’s authority to appropriately manage their work unit. This definition reserves to the University, in furtherance of its educational mission, the right to address conduct that would not necessarily be unlawful. It is not intended to create individual or group rights, whether contractual or otherwise, that do not exist under law.


Procedure:

Prior to filing a complaint:

Workplace bullying is a form of incivility that progresses and increases in severity over time. Prior to filing a complaint of bullying, you may contact the University Ombuds Office at ombuds@oregonstate.edu.  The Ombuds can listen to your concerns, help you identify the type of conflict occurring, discuss options for informal resolution, and refer you to more formal options when you are ready. As an independent, informal office with expertise in working through conflict, incivility, and workplace bullying, the University Ombuds Office is uniquely positioned to assist all members of the university community to address bullying. We encourage faculty, staff, students, and administrators to utilize this resource. Working with the Ombuds is voluntary.  More information on Ombuds services, scope of confidentiality, and information about the dynamics and effects of workplace bullying are available at website for the University Ombuds Offfice.

Filing a complaint:

Alleged violations of the bullying policy should be communicated to the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (EOA). Any allegation of bullying made to EOA must be made in writing and include specific examples of conduct directed at the victim, specific examples of substantial emotional distress caused by the conduct, and specific examples of how the victim’s work, life, or study was impacted by the conduct. The complaint must be filed within 180 days of the last alleged harmful act.

Upon receiving a written allegation of bullying, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access will assess the allegation to determine if the alleged misconduct falls within its definition of bullying, and is sufficiently supported by credible and specific facts to warrant the initiation of EOA’s informal or formal complaint resolution procedures.  The policy doesn’t prohibit, for example, conduct that might be rude or inconsiderate but is not severe, pervasive or persistent.  However, such conduct could fall short of reasonable expectations for behavior toward others and be addressed by unit leadership as a matter of appropriate performance.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access reserves exclusive discretion to decide whether, after initial assessment, an allegation of bullying warrants the initiation of EOA’s formal or informal complaint resolution procedures.

Concerns and questions about possible violations can be communicated to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access for consultation.

Additional Resources:

You may also contact the Office of Human Resources to address concerns of incivility. They will refer you to a representative to help you triage the best avenue for you to process your concerns, and are available to work with all parties involved.

 

Updated October 12, 2016