Frequently Asked Questions

Definitions

What is Title VII ?

Prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. "Sex " includes pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency charged with enforcement.

For more information visit our Laws and Regulations page https://ophd.berkeley.edu/laws-and-regulations-0

What is Title IX?

Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Sex-based discrimination includes:

sexual harassment, sexual violence, and gender-based harassment and discrimination

For more information visit our Laws and Regulations page https://ophd.berkeley.edu/laws-and-regulations-0

What is SVSH?

The University of California uses the acronym SVSH, which stands for sexual violence and sexual harassment. SVSH is an umbrella term that includes a range of conduct prohibited by the UC Policy on SVSH(link is external)(link is external)(link is external), including relationship violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and other prohibitive conduct. Not all forms of harm may be included in SVSH. 

To find more information about the UC Policy definitions of consent and prohibited forms of conduct such as sexual assault and sexual harassment, please see the definitions section of the Systemwide UC Policy on SVSH(link is external)(link is external)(link is external)

What is a complainant?

complainant is a person alleged, in a report to the Title IX Officer, to have experienced discrimination or harassment on the basis of a protected category, or Prohibited Conduct, as defined by the SVSH Policy, including sexual assault and sexual harassment.

What is a respondent?

A respondent is a person alleged, in a report to the Title IX Officer, to have engaged in discrimination or harassment on the basis of a protected category, or Prohibited Conduct, as defined by the SVSH Policy, including sexual assault and sexual harassment.

What is a responsible employee?

Under the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment(link is external)(link is external), any UC employee who is not identified as a confidential resource is a “Responsible Employee” required to report sexual violence, sexual harassment or other conduct prohibited by the policy to the OPHD.  Sexual violence, sexual harassment or other conduct prohibited include sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence, stalking, retalition, an other probited conduct defined in the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment(link is external)(link is external).

For more detailed information on responsible employee obligations, please visit https://ophd.berkeley.edu/responsible-employee-obligations

Retaliation

What is Retaliation?

Retaliation is conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from reporting harassment or discrimination to OPHD or from participating in an OPHD process, such as threats, intimidation, harassment, discrimination and coercion.  Petty slights, minor annoyances, bad manners and trivial inconveniences are not considered retaliation. 

 

OPHD determines whether retaliation has occurred by investigating the alleged retaliatory act or conduct.  Included in that investigation is whether the person who engaged in the retaliation knew that a report of harassment or discrimination had been made to OPHD or that the person was involved in an OPHD process at the time the retaliatory conduct was alleged to have occurred.  

Additional information on retaliation:

UC Berkeley Does Not Tolerate Retaliation (downloadable PDF)

Resources

What are some additional sources of SVSH information?

For additional sources of SVSH information visit https://svsh.berkeley.edu/.

What resources are available for respondents?

For detailed information on respondent resources please visit the resources page https://ophd.berkeley.edu/complaint-resolution-resources.

What resources are available for complainants?

For detailed information on complainant resources please visit the resources page https://ophd.berkeley.edu/complaint-resolution-resources

Complaint Resolution

What is an Alternative Resolution?

Cases that do not go to formal investigation may instead be resolved through Alternative Resolution. Generally, both the complainant and the respondent need to agree in order for a case that could go to formal investigation to instead conclude via an Alternative Resolution. An Alternative Resolution could contain elements such as these:

•   Separating parties

•   Referring parties to counseling programs

•   Negotiating an agreement for disciplinary action

•   Conducting targeted educational and training programs

•   Issuing no-contact directives

•   Consulting with an appropriate administrator

What happens in a formal OPHD investigation?

The Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) is a neutral body. If OPHD launches a formal investigation, its trained investigators will interview relevant parties, including the complainant, the respondent, and witnesses identified in the course of the investigation. OPHD cannot compel parties to cooperate with an investigation. OPHD issues a report at the conclusion of an investigation.

How long does an investigation take?

By UC policy, OPHD investigations have a target of 90 business days to completion. However, some cases may take longer.

What is the outcome of an OPHD investigation? What happens next?

Upon completing a formal investigation, OPHD issues a report. The complainant and respondent both have a chance to comment before the report is finalized. The standard of evidence for a finding of policy violation is "preponderance of the evidence," or "more likely than not."

OPHD's report states, for each allegation, whether it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the UC Policy on SVSH has been violated. After the report, the matter goes into adjudication. Note that OPHD does not adjudicate (suggest or impose disciplinary measures). That is handled by different offices.