EUR complaints procedure for inappropriate behaviour
Sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying and discrimination

EUR complaints procedure for inappropriate behaviour

Sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying and discrimination

March 2008

Article 1 - Definitions

  1. 1. The term inappropriate behaviour should be interpreted as follows:
    direct or indirect inappropriate comments or acts expressed in verbal, non-verbal, physically or emotionally charged conduct towards any person who experiences this as undesirable and inappropriate, constituting a violation of his/her integrity in such a way as to result in psychosocial work and/or study stress and consisting of sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying and discrimination.
     
  2. The term sexual harassment should be interpreted as follows:
    any form of verbal, non-verbal or physical behaviour with sexual connotations the
    purpose or consequence of which is to undermine a person’s dignity, particularly in cases where a threatening, hostile, insulting, humiliating or hurtful situation has been created.
     
  3. The term aggression and violence should be interpreted as follows:
    incidents where a student or staff member is physically or emotionally harassed, threatened or attacked under circumstances directly relating to the performance of their work or their studies. 
     
  4. The term bullying should be interpreted as follows:
    all types of intimidating behaviour of a structural nature on the part of one or more staff members (colleagues and/or supervisors) towards one or more students or other staff members and directed against one particular student or staff member or against a group of students or staff members who are unable to defend themselves against such behaviour or who have difficulty in doing so.
     
  5. The term discrimination should be interpreted as follows:
    all acts or comments resulting in unequal treatment, subordination or disadvantage and based on characteristics such as sexual orientation, gender, political opinions, personal beliefs, skin colour and religion, under circumstances directly relating to performance of their work or their studies.
     
  6. The term complainant should be interpreted as follows:
    a student or staff member at EUR who lodges a complaint concerning sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying or discrimination.
     
  7. The term person accused should be interpreted as follows:
    a student or staff member whose behaviour is the subject of the complaint concerning inappropriate behaviour as referred to in paragraph 6. 
     
  8. The term staff member should be interpreted as follows:
    - a person employed at EUR on a temporary or a permanent basis;
    - a person who performs work at EUR, either pursuant to a contract with a third party or otherwise, such as guest lecturers, secondment staff, student trainees and temporary staff from employment agencies.
    This complaints procedure similarly applies to the following:
    - a person employed at EUR at the latter’s invitation or on a contractual basis.
     
  9. The term student should be interpreted as follows:
    - a person enrolled in one of the initial programmes provided by EUR;
    - a person enrolled in one of the non-initial programmes, courses, etc provided by EUR.
     
  10. The term confidential counsellor should be taken to mean EUR staff members appointed by the Executive Board on behalf of students and staff members alike, whose duties in connection with this procedure comprise the following:
    - providing advice and assistance to the person(s) intending to lodge a complaint with the Executive Board relating to sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying or discrimination, or who have already lodged such a complaint (hereafter referred to as ‘the complainant(s)’;
    - providing information on the complaints procedure laid down in or pursuant to this procedure;
    - seeking a solution to the problems identified by the complainant(s);
    - making recommendations - unsolicited and solicited - to the Executive Board and the governors concerning the policy to be established and/or other matters relating to inappropriate behaviour.
     
  11. The term complaints committee should be interpreted as follows:
    the permanent advisory committee set up by the Executive Board for the purpose of investigating complaints relating to sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying or discrimination, assessing such complaints and advising the Executive Board on the subsequent measures that should or should not be taken, at the Executive Board’s request.

Article 2 – Right to lodge a complaint

  1. A complaint relating to sexual intimidation, aggression, bullying or discrimination may be submitted by any staff member or student (hereafter referred to as ‘the complainant’) who experiences, or has experienced, any such inappropriate behaviour during the course of their work or studies at EUR.
     
  2. The complaint as referred to in paragraph 1 must relate to behaviour on the part of a staff member or a student (hereafter referred to as ‘the person accused’).
     
  3. Former students or staff members are still entitled to lodge a complaint as referred to in paragraph 1 for a period of three months after termination of their appointment or enrolment at EUR, provided that the person(s) accused are still employed at EUR or still enrolled as a student or course participant.
     
  4. Complaints may always be revoked at any time by the relevant student or staff member.
    On receipt of notice of revocation of a complaint, the handling of this complaint will cease immediately and all documents relating to this complaint will be deleted from the relevant files.

Article 3 – Submitting a complaint; confidential counsellor

  1. All complaints must be submitted to the Executive Board in writing, thereby stating the reasons, and preferably through the mediation of a confidential counsellor.
    If a complainant submits a complaint directly to the Executive Board, the relevant confidential counsellor will be notified of this as soon as possible. This confidential counsellor will be given the opportunity to advise the Executive Board on the complaint and on how to handle it.
     
  2. If a complaint is submitted to the Executive Board through the mediation of a confidential counsellor, this confidential counsellor will advise the Executive Board on the complaint and on how to handle it.
     
  3. On receipt of a complaint, the confidential counsellor is authorised to mediate before submitting this complaint to the Executive Board, and he/she is also authorised to obtain all the relevant information necessary to the responsible performance of his/her duties.
     
  4. The confidential counsellor is accountable to the Executive Board in respect of the performance of his/her duties.
     
  5. The confidential counsellor must always maintain strict confidentiality in respect of all information relating to a complaint or an intended complaint about inappropriate behaviour that comes to his/her knowledge. This duty to maintain confidentiality does not apply to any of his/her fellow confidential counsellors, the complaints committee, the Executive Board, the officers to be appointed by the Executive Board, a confidential physician (if appropriate), or any authorised officer(s) of the police, the judicial authorities or the Inspectorate.
     
  6. The confidential counsellor(s) must maintain a register of all complaints or intended complaints submitted to them, and must make a confidential annual report on this (in anonymous form) to the Executive Board.
     
  7. The Executive Board must notify the University Council (in confidence) of the content of the confidential counsellors’ annual report.


Article 4 – Manner of handling the complaint

  1. Depending on the nature, the scope and the gravity of the complaint, and bearing the confidential counsellor’s recommendations on the matter in mind, the Executive Board must decide within three weeks of receipt of a complaint whether it will be handled by one of the governors or by the complaints committee.
    If the complainant(s) or the person(s) accused have stated that they object to the complaint being handled by one of the governors, the complaint will be submitted to the complaints committee so that they can handle it.
     
  2. The Executive Board must immediately notify the complainant(s) of receipt of the complaint and of the way in which the complaint will be handled.
     
  3. The Executive Board itself will decide whether to impose any measures as referred to in Article 8 of this Regulation.


Article 5 – Handling of complaints by one of the governors

  1. The relevant governor must interview the complainant(s) as soon as possible after receipt of the complaint.
     
  2. The governor must notify the person(s) accused of the complaint against him/her/them and must interview them, preferably in the presence of the complainant(s), unless the complainant(s) or the person(s) accused have expressed a wish to be interviewed without the other party or parties being present.

    The governor must compile a written report of his/her interview(s) with the complainant(s) and the person(s) accused, and must submit this report to the complainant(s) and the person(s) accused to enable them to comment on it. These reports, together with any comments from the party or parties concerned, must be included in the recommendations to be made by the governor to the Executive Board.
     
  3. The complainant(s) and the person(s) accused may seek advice and assistance from an advisor or a lawyer. All costs incurred in this respect will be borne by the party seeking such advice and assistance.
     
  4. In addition, the governor may interview witnesses, experts or any other parties directly involved at the request of the complainant(s) or the person(s) accused.
     
  5. The governor must notify the complainant(s) and the person(s) accused of his/her findings no later than two months after receipt of the complaint, and must make a confidential report on this to the Executive Board.
     
  6. If the governor considers the complaint to be valid, he/she must report the measures he/she has taken in this respect to the Executive Board, and he/she may submit substantiated proposals to the Executive Board for adopting measures as referred to in Article 8 of this Regulation.
     
  7. The relevant governor must always maintain strict confidentiality in respect of all information relating to a complaint about sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying or discrimination that comes to his/her knowledge.


Article 6 – The complaints committee

  1. The Executive Board must appoint a permanent complaints committee for sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying and discrimination.
     
  2. This complaints committee must comprise three members and three deputy members. The members of this committee must in any event include a lawyer.
     
  3. After hearing the views of the University Council, the Executive Board must appoint the committee members and deputy members for a period of three years.
    They may be re-appointed on expiry of the three-year period.
     
  4. The members and deputy members of the complaints committee must always maintain strict confidentiality in respect of all information relating to a complaint about sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying or discrimination that comes to their knowledge. This duty to maintain confidentiality does not apply to the confidential counsellors, the Executive Board, the officers to be appointed by the Executive Board, a confidential physician (if appropriate), or any authorised officer(s) of the police, the judicial authorities or the Inspectorate.
     
  5. Members and deputy members of the complaints committee are authorised to obtain all the relevant information necessary for the responsible performance of their duties.
     
  6. The complaints committee is authorised to set additional regulations to ensure its proper functioning. These additional regulations require the approval of the Executive Board.
     
  7. Furthermore, the complaints committee is authorised to make solicited or unsolicited recommendations to the Executive Board concerning the policy on preventing or eliminating sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying or discrimination at EUR to be adopted by the Executive Board.
     
  8. After hearing the confidential counsellors’ views, the complaints committee must compile and submit an annual confidential report on its work to the Executive Board, in anonymous form. This annual report must be sent to the University Council in strict confidence.
     
  9. The complaints committee secretariat will be established by the Legal Affairs Department at EUR. The secretariat must ensure that all documents relating to the complaints committee’s work are filed in the strictest confidence.


Article 7 – Handling of complaints by the complaints committee

  1. The complaints committee must interview the complainant(s) as soon as possible after receipt of the complaint.
     
  2. The complaints committee must notify the person(s) accused of the complaint against them and must interview them, preferably in the presence of the complainant(s), unless the complainant(s) or the person(s) accused have expressed a wish to be interviewed without the other party or parties being present.
     
  3. The complainant(s) and the person(s) accused may seek advice and assistance from an advisor or a lawyer. All costs incurred in this respect will be borne by the party seeking such advice and assistance.
     
  4. In addition, the complaints committee may interview witnesses, experts or any other parties directly involved at the request of the complainant(s) or the person(s) accused.
     
  5. The complaints committee must compile a written report of its interview(s) with the complainant(s) and the person(s) accused, and must submit this report to the complainant(s) and the person(s) accused to enable them to comment on it. This report, together with any comments from the party or parties concerned, must be included in the recommendations to be made by the complaints committee to the Executive Board.
     
  6. The complaints committee must make substantiated recommendations to the Executive Board on the measures to be adopted by the Executive Board, including a measure as referred to in Article 8 of this Regulation, no later than ten weeks after receipt of the complaint.
    If it emerges that the period of ten weeks referred to in the preceding sentence is insufficient, the complaints committee may extend this period by no more than four weeks. The complaints committee must notify the complainant(s) and the person(s) accused of this extension in good time.


Article 8 – Decisions relating to complaints made by the Executive Board; measures to be adopted

  1. The Executive Board must decide whether the relevant complaint is valid no later than three weeks after receipt of recommendations made by the relevant governor or by the complaints committee, thereby stating the reasons. If appropriate, the Executive Board must also decide what measure(s) should be taken against the person(s) accused.
     
  2. If the Executive Board is of the opinion that the complaint is valid, a disciplinary measure as referred to in the Collective Employment Agreement for Dutch Universities may be taken against the culprit if he/she is a staff member employed at EUR.
     
  3. If the Executive Board is of the opinion that the complaint is valid, a measure as provided for in the EUR Regulation on maintaining order in the University buildings and on the University premises and in the EUR Regulation on the efficient and legitimate use of University facilities (adopted in March 2000 and revised in 2004) may be taken against the culprit if he/she is a student who is enrolled at EUR or who otherwise utilises the facilities at EUR.


Article 9 – Objections or appeals

The parties may lodge an objection or an appeal against a decision made by the Executive Board - as referred to in Article 8 of this Regulation, and deemed to be a decision pursuant to Article 1:3 of the General Administrative Law Act - subject to the provisions of the General Administrative Law Act in conjunction with the Higher Education and Research Act.


Article 10 – Reporting a case to the police

  1. In the event that a complainant has made an official report of a case of sexual harassment, aggression, violence, bullying or discrimination to an investigating officer of the police, which case is under suspicion of being an offence, the Executive Board must cooperate in the investigations carried out by the police and the judicial authorities as a result of this official report.
     
  2. In such an event as referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, the Executive Board may also request the complaints committee to carry out a separate investigation.
     
  3. In such an event as referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, the Higher Education Inspectorate - in the person of the Confidential Inspector for Higher Education - must also be notified of the case in question.


Article 11 – Final provision

In all cases not provided for under this Regulation, the Executive Board may give a decision on the matter itself in accordance with standards of reasonableness and fairness, thereby departing from the provisions in or pursuant to this Regulation.