PRP 4789 - Harassment and Discrimination Policy

Repeals PRP 2010 / Revision PRP #6814 / Replaces PRP #6814

Repeals PRP 2010 / Revision PRP #6814 / Replaces PRP #6814 / Revision PRP #4789 Reviewed and approved by President’s Executive Staff 8/17/15, Reviewed and endorsed by AFSCME 11/10/15, Reviewed and endorsed by SCUPA 10/22/15, Reviewed and endorsed by SPFPA 03/04/16, Reviewed and endorsed by OPEIU 03/09/16, Reviewed and endorsed by Meet and Discuss 02/15/16, Endorsed by Secretariat 09/19/16 and Endorsed by FORUM 09/28/16

Emergency Updates: 8/14/2020 due to May 2020 Title IX Federal Regulations

Effective date of implementation: October 27, 2016

Issued by David L. Soltz, President

I. Rationale and Purpose

Central to the mission of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is the establishment and maintenance of an environment in which the dignity and worth of all individuals within the institutional community are respected. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each person on campus to respect the personal dignity of others and to demonstrate a basic spirit that precludes unlawful harassment and discrimination. The University has established this policy to promote an educational and work environment that is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination, whether because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, or veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. The University is committed to freedom of thought, discourse, and speech and the attainment of the highest quality of educational and academic pursuits. Nothing in this policy is meant to infringe upon the First Amendment or other constitutional rights of any individual.

Unlawful harassment or discrimination in any context is unacceptable but of particular concern to an academic community in which students, faculty and staff must rely on bonds of intellectual trust and dependence. Therefore, unlawful harassment or discrimination will not be tolerated. Those inflicting such behavior on others are subject to the full range of institutional disciplinary actions, up to and including separation from the University, also in addition to any legal action that may accompany such acts.

Students, faculty, staff and third-party vendors are permitted to file complaints under this policy against non-students. All complaints of discrimination and harassment against students should be filed with the Dean of Students Office and are subject to PRP 4802 the Student Code of Conduct.

This policy is available on the Bloomsburg University website and at:
The Office for Social Equity.
Carver Hall
Telephone: 570-389-4674
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

II. Statement of Non-Discrimination

Bloomsburg University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, or veteran status in its programs and activities as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. Questions regarding the University’s obligations and policies should be directed to the Office for Social Equity.  Questions specific to Title IX may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator in Elwell Hall, ORL, (570) 389-4808, or to the Office of Civil Rights, United States Department of Education, 100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (215) 656-8541.

III. Definitions

A. People Involved:

  1. Respondent: The person whose actions are alleged to have violated the harassment and/or discrimination policy.
  2. Complainant: The person who is alleging, in good faith and in compliance with University policies, the occurrence of harassment and/or discrimination.
  3. Advisor: A person who may advise the Complainant or the Respondent throughout the disciplinary process. For all complaints except sexual violence, the Advisor must be a Bloomsburg University employee or student or, for a member of a collective bargaining agreement, a union representative. For complaints of sexual violence, the Advisor may be any person chosen by the Complainant or the Respondent.

B.  Prohibited Conduct:

  1. Harassment –Verbal or physical conduct that is directed at an individual because of the individual’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law, and that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive so as to have the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment, which substantially limits or interferes with an individual’s employment or educational performance or opportunities.
  2. Discrimination – Actions, including different treatment of an individual in employment or educational performance or opportunities, based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law, that are sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive so as to have the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment or educational environment, which substantially limits or interferes with one’s employment or educational performance or opportunities.
  3. Retaliation – Actions taken against the Complainant as a result of filing a harassment or discrimination complaint, or against any participant for their participation in or objection to any matter brought under this policy, is a violation of this policy and the individual will be subject to disciplinary action and University sanctions.
  4. Abuse of Reporting – Complainants must bring a charge in good faith and in compliance with University policies. False and malicious accusations of harassment or discrimination will not be tolerated and those individuals found to have made such accusations will be subject to disciplinary action and University sanction

IV. Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Procedures

A. Introduction

An individual who believes that they have been discriminated against or harassed, or who has been subjected to retaliation, as defined in this policy, by another University employee or vendor, may seek resolution through the procedures listed below (sections C and D).

Complaints alleging sexual harassment, including sexual violence, will be forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator and will subsequently follow PRP 4790 Sexual Misconduct Policy

B. Role of Advisors

Advisors may accompany the Complainant or Respondent during any point of the procedure, including the filing of the complaint, informal and formal resolution. Advisors may suggest questions or provide advice to that individual, but may not directly question any party. Advisors are required to maintain confidentiality, to the fullest extent possible and permitted by law, of all information learned within the complaint proceedings.

Personal legal counsel for the Complainant or the Respondent may not be present during either informal or formal complaint resolution proceedings.

C. Informal Resolution (Option 1)

The purpose of the informal complaint resolution is to encourage the reporting of complaints concerning harassment or discrimination and to facilitate satisfactory resolution of the complaint as quickly as possible. Informal resolution is available for all complaints except those alleging sexual misconduct. The Complainant may directly file such a complaint in writing with the Office for Social Equity.

The Office for Social Equity or designee, or the President or President’s designee, will facilitate a discussion between the Complainant and the Respondent in order to resolve the complaint. If the complaint is resolved, the Complainant and Respondent will receive a short written memorandum setting forth the agreed upon solution and the Office for Social Equity will follow up with the parties, typically three to four weeks after the agreement is reached, to assess whether the agreement is working. If the Complainant is not satisfied with the informal resolution process or outcome, or no longer wants to participate in informal resolution, or if the Respondent declines to participate in the informal resolution process, the Complainant may file a formal complaint at any time.

D. Formal Resolution (Option 2)

1. Filing a Formal Complaint

The Complainant may file a formal complaint against the Respondent with the Office for Social Equity at any point during the resolution process. Individuals should contact the Office for Social Equity for directions regarding filing a formal complaint.

a. Time for Filing

Prompt reporting of a complaint before behavior becomes severe or pervasive is strongly encouraged.

In order to give the Complainant time to finish a class, a semester, a particular job assignment, an evaluation period or for any other similar reasonable timeframe, the Complainant may file a formal complaint of harassment or discrimination up to one hundred and eighty (180) days following the alleged incident of harassment or discrimination. Formal complaints filed within this period will be investigated even where the Complainant has terminated any association with the University.

The Office for Social Equity or the President may extend for a reasonable period of time any of the deadlines specified in this section.

b. Where to File Your Complaint and Who Will Investigate

1) Complaints against: University students
File complaint at: The Dean of Students Office
Process: The Office for Social Equity or the Dean of Students Office will conduct an investigation and the investigator will forward a report and any evidence gathered to the Dean of Students Office. Action will be taken in accordance with The Student Code of Conduct and where applicable.

2) Complaints against: Faculty
File complaint at: The Office for Social Equity
Process: The Office for Social Equity will conduct an investigation in accordance with this policy and Article 43 of the APSCUF faculty Collective Bargaining Agreement. The investigator will forward a report and any evidence gathered to the Office of the President. The Office of the President will review the report and make a final determination in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

3) Complaints against: A Non-Faculty University Employee (except those enumerated below)
File complaint at: The Office for Social Equity
Process: The Office for Social Equity will conduct an investigation and the investigator will forward a report and any evidence gathered to the Respondent’s supervising Vice President for review and final determination. The Vice President determines the resolution and sanctions. If the Respondent is a member of a union, the investigation, review and resolution will be in accordance with this policy and the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

4) Complaints against: An individual from the Office for Social Equity
File complaint at: The Office of the President
Process: A designee of the President will conduct an investigation and the investigator will forward a report and any evidence gathered to the Office of the President, who will make a final determination.

5) Complaints against: A University Vice President
File complaint at: The Office for Social Equity
Process: The Office for Social Equity will conduct an investigation and will forward a report and any evidence gathered to the Office of the President for review and final determination.

6) Complaints against: The President of the University
File complaint at: The Office for Social Equity
Process: The Office for Social Equity will communicate and cooperate with the Office of Chief Counsel, PASSHE, to identify the individual or office who will investigate the specific complaint. The investigator will forward a report to the Chancellor for review and final determination by the Chancellor or designee.

2. Disciplinary Process

Notice and Timeline. Both the Complainant and the Respondent shall be fully informed of the steps taken during the investigation and disciplinary process. Absent extenuating circumstances, the University will abide by the following timelines:

Charges: Within 15 calendar days of the filing of a complaint, the Office for Social Equity or the Office of the President will assess whether the allegations, if true, constitute a violation of the Policy and should be investigated. The Respondent will be notified either of the charges and who will be investigating the complaint, or both the Respondent and the Complainant will be notified that the allegations are not a violation of the Policy and that no further investigation will be conducted.

Investigation: Within 15 days of notice of the charges, the investigator will begin the investigation by conducting individual investigation meetings. The investigator will meet with the Complainant, the Respondent, (and respective advisors if they so desire), and any witnesses who can corroborate or clarify the facts. All investigations shall proceed in accordance with the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement, if any.

Report: Within 35 days of notice to the Respondent, the investigator will conclude the investigation. The investigator will draft a report setting forth the facts gathered and the evidence collected during the investigation meeting(s). If discipline may result, the report will be provided to the Respondent in advance of a pre-disciplinary conference and will be forwarded to the supervising Vice-President of the Respondent, or in the case of faculty, to the President. In cases of sexual harassment involving a student, the Complainant will also receive a copy of the report.

Pre-disciplinary Conference (PDC): The PDC consists of a meeting with the President or supervising Vice-President and the Respondent, who may be accompanied by an advisor.

Final Determination: Within 60 days of the filing of the complaint, the supervising Vice-President or the President will make a final determination as to whether the complaint is founded or unfounded. The Respondent and the Complainant will be notified of the final determination and any rights of appeal.

3. Confidentiality and Records.

During the complaint process, the University will make every effort to assure confidentiality and protect the privacy rights of the Complainant and the Respondent. To the extent possible, the information reported and disclosed in a complaint and related proceedings will be shared only with individuals responsible for addressing the complaint. The University will maintain an appropriate record in the confidential files of the Office for Social Equity. All documents related to the proceedings will be subject to confidentiality protections provided by law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

4. Interim Suspension from Employment.

If warranted, the President may suspend the Respondent from the Respondent’s primary duties and responsibilities to protect the Complainant or prevent harm to others until the matter is resolved. Such suspension will be in accordance with any applicable collective bargaining agreements.

5. Failure to participate in the investigation. 

If the Respondent elects not to participate in the investigation, the investigator shall complete the report based on the information in the investigator’s possession. No adverse inference will be drawn from the lack of participation.

6. Final Determination

a. Unfounded Report - No Violation. 

If the matter is determined as unfounded after the conclusion of an investigation, the Office for Social Equity or the President will issue a letter to that effect to the Complainant and the Respondent and the matter will be deemed closed.

b. Founded Report - Violation. 

If the matter is determined to be founded, the appropriate Vice President or the President will assess sanctions. The President’s Office or supervising Vice President will inform the Complainant via letter that appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, but will generally not list specific disciplinary actions which may be a part of the Respondent’s personnel file except where the sanction directly relates to the harassed student (e.g., a no contact order) or involves a finding of violence.

c. Sanctions.

In all instances, the President or supervising Vice-President retains the sole power and discretion to take formal disciplinary action against an employee. Individuals who are found to have violated this policy will be subject to disciplinary actions as set forth by the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement, Board of Governor Policy, or University Policy. Such action against employees could include, but is not limited to, an informal oral reprimand, a written reprimand, required training, suspension or other disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

E. Right of Appeal

The Complainant and the Respondent shall be entitled to one written appeal of any decision rendered. Appeals must be based only on new evidence that was not considered during the investigation, evidence of an inappropriate or unfair investigation, or evidence of a denial of due process rights.

Appeals shall be filed in writing with the Office for Social Equity no later than ten days after the date the decision was received.

Appeals will be heard by the President's Appeal Board. The President's Appeal Board will be comprised of a faculty member, an administrator and a staff member appointed annually by the Office of the President. The Appeal Board will make a recommendation and forward its recommendation to the President. The President will rule on all appeals and all rulings are final.

V. Consensual Relationships: Rationale and Policy

Professionalism in all interpersonal relationships is central to the mission and goals of the University. Therefore, romantic and/or sexual relationships in which power differentials are inherent are discouraged. There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions of power (i.e.: faculty/student, supervisor/employee, supervisor/student employee, student supervisor/student, coach/student athlete). In some circumstances, these relationships may be perceived as consensual by the individual whose position confers power without actual consent by the person with less power. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome, may become unwelcome. The existence of a prior consensual relationship will not bar a claim of sexual harassment and may not constitute a defense.

An individual with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who is involved in such a relationship must disclose this relationship in a timely manner to the Office for Social Equity. This disclosure may result in removing or reassigning the supervisory and evaluative responsibilities specific to the employee or student with whom the individual is in a relationship. While no relationships are prohibited by this policy, failure to disclose such relationships to the Office for Social Equity constitutes a violation of this policy and may result in disciplinary action as set forth by the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement, Board of Governor Policy, or University Policy.

An individual who has been involved in a consensual sexual relationship who experienced harassment or discrimination as a result of that relationship may file a complaint under this policy. Complaints will be investigated by the Office for Social Equity pursuant to the formal disciplinary process set forth above.

VI. Education, Training and Resources

The University offers Harassment & Discrimination Training programs for students, faculty and staff members throughout the year. Training is provided to all new employees within 60 days of employment, all new students during orientation, and is available to all students, faculty and staff throughout the year. The University offers information and counseling on matters related to harassment and discrimination to all students, faculty and staff whether or not the individual files a complaint.

VII. Complaints With External Agencies

Individuals are encouraged to use these complaint procedures but are not required to do so and may choose to pursue complaints in other forums. In addition to or in place of the University’s procedures, complainants may choose to file a complaint with federal or state agencies such as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (717) 787-9780, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (800) 669-4000, or the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education (215) 656-8541.

This policy is not intended to interfere with any rights an employee may have under an applicable collective bargaining agreement. Unionized individuals may choose to pursue a complaint through the appropriate Collective Bargaining Agreement grievance procedures.

VIII. Posting of the Policy

This policy shall be available at the Office for Social Equity in Carver Hall.

IX. Resources

All parties have access to a variety of campus, community, state and federal resources. Below is a list of some of those resources. Questions regarding confidentiality and privacy may be directed to the resource.

Campus Resources

Confidential Resources

Physicians, Consulting Psychiatrists, Licensed Psychologists, Psychological Counselors and Religious/Pastoral Counselors are employees who are not required to report information to the Title IX Coordinator.

Center for Counseling & Human Development – (confidential resource)

(Location: Warren Student Services Center, #240, Phone: 570-389-4255, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
This office helps students develop human relations skills and personal growth. Typical counseling concerns may include study skills, depression, relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and effective communications, racism, sexism, homophobia, human sexuality, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, survivors of rape, incest, and sexual assault, depression, ACOA and family issues, self-esteem. You have the right to a confidential relationship with your counselor. Information you share in counseling will not be revealed outside the center without your written permission.

Catholic Campus Ministry

 (Location: Newman House, 353 E. 2nd St., Bloomsburg, PA 17815, Phone: 570-784-3123)
CCM supports students of all needs, so that everyone can feel welcome as a part of CCM and as a young adult growing in faith.

Protestant Campus Ministry

 (Location: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Corner of Main and Iron Streets, Phone: 570-520-0878)
Protestant Campus Ministry (PCM) is a multi-denominational fellowship staffed by an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Limited Confidential Resources

Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants, University Sexual Misconduct Advocates and the Coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center are employees who are required to report non-identifying information to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

Student Health Center

(Location: Kehr Union Building, #324, Phone: 570-389-4451, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 6:00 pm)
The SHC mission is to provide high quality, basic health care services to Bloomsburg University students. Our strong emphasis on health promotion and preventative health education is designed to ensure our students reach their educational goals. The SHC adheres to the general principles and standards of ethical conduct endorsed by the American College Health Association: to do no harm, provide service in a caring manner, respect autonomy, protect privacy, maintain competence, promote justice and respect diversity. Victims of assaults may seek a variety of services and referrals from the Student Health Center. The Health Center Staff will review a victims’ options and available resources, and may need to refer students to a hospital for more specific services such as a rape kit exam.

Women’s Resource Center Coordinator 

(Location: Schuylkill Hall, entrance on right across from Old Science, Phone: 570-389-5283, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
The WRC is a safe and inclusive place for all students. The Women’s Resource Center is dedicated to improving the status of women students, faculty, and staff at Bloomsburg University. We do so through the development and implementation of educational programs, community outreach, victim advocacy, and referral services.

Additional Resources

All other resources and employees are required to report identifying information to the Title IX Coordinator to ensure resources and information are provided and to assess campus safety. In all cases the highest privacy will be respected within those professional parameters.

Dean of Students Office

(Location: Kehr Union Building, #101, Phone: 570-389-4734, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
This office can connect a student with advocacy and support but is primarily responsible for a student related Title IX (sexual misconduct) investigation and judicial process. A sexual misconduct complainant against a student may also be filed with The Office of the Dean of Students. This office has a designated professional who works specifically with sexual misconduct (Title IX) cases, this is the Associate Dean of Students and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students.

Office of Social Equity

(Location: Carver Hall, Phone: 570-389-4674, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
This office promotes diversity, inclusion, and the acceptance of individual rights for all members of the University community, while creating a climate of respect and trust for the dignity and self-worth of all human beings. Equity addresses acts of discrimination and harassment and conducts investigations and disciplinary hearings.

Residence Life Office

(Location: Elwell Hall, Phone: (800) 287-7543, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
This office serves students both academically and personally. Residence Life Staff are knowledgeable about University and local resources and can help you connect with various agencies and offices, receive medical help, attend meetings as an ally, and be a support person. If you wish to contact a staff person after 4:30pm please use our on-call number (570)336-8550 and speak with our on-call staff member.

Title IX Coordinator

(Location: Elwell Hall, Phone: 570-389-4808, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
The Title IX Coordinator oversees the University’s response to Title IX reports and complaints, identifies and addresses any systemic problems, and takes any necessary steps to ensure the safety of the Bloomsburg University community. The Title IX Coordinator is advised of all reports and complaints raising Title IX issues. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will evaluate requests for confidentiality in light of the University’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students. In addition, The Title IX Coordinator will ensure that victims of sexual misconduct are aware of available resources, services, and interim safety measures to assist with the physical and emotional aftermath of the incident, as well as all complaint filing options.

University Police

(Location: Rear of Andruss Library, Phone: 570-389-2211, Hours: 24/7)
The Bloomsburg University Police Department employs commissioned police officers who enforce Pennsylvania Crime and Vehicle Codes and University Policies. Developing a safe and secure environment in an academic institution is the responsibility of the entire community. Within our community, the University Police Department is assigned the responsibility to identify programs, methods, and approaches to assist the institution toward achieving a safe and secure environment.

Financial Aid Office 

(Location: Warren Student Services Center, Room 119, Phone: 570-389-4297, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
http://www.bloomu.edu/aid

Community Government Association - Campus Lawyer

(Location: Kehr Union Building, Room 411)
Availability per schedule posted
Student specific resource

Community Resources

Columbia County Victim Witness Program

(Location: 35 West Main Street Bloomsburg, PA 17815, Phone: 570-389-5658 Fax: 570-389-5682)
The Columbia County Victim Witness Program is a free program dedicated to assisting all Crime Victims with the rights and service to which they are entitled under the Pennsylvania Crime Victims Bill of Rights and the standards set forth by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. If you are a Victim of Crime and in need of assistance, please contact the Victim Witness Coordinator.

Columbia Montour Family Health

(Location: 2201 5th Street Hollow Road, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, Phone: 570-387-0236)
Columbia Montour Family Heath provides: birth control information & supplies, gynecological exams, emergency contraceptive pills, pregnancy testing and counseling, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, counseling/education and cancer screening. Fees are based on ability to pay. All services are by appointment only.

Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital

(Location: 549 Fair St, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, Phone: 570-387-2111, Hours: 24/7)
The hospital employs trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who use a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit, often referred to as a Rape Kit, to preserve forensic evidence. Hospital staff may also provide health services such as STD testing, morning after pill, HIV/AIDS testing, etc.

Geisinger Medical Center, Danville

(Location: 100 North Academy Ave., Danville PA 17822, Phone 570-271-6211)
The hospital employs trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who use a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit, often referred to as a Rape Kit, to preserve forensic evidence. Hospital staff may also provide health services such as STD testing, morning after pill, HIV/AIDS testing, etc.

Planned Parenthood Wilkes Barre Medical Center

(Location: 63 North Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701. Phone: 570-824-8921)
Planned Parenthood provides services on a walk-in basis, with or without insurance, that include pregnancy testing, the Morning-After Pill, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, abortion referrals, and general women’s and men’s health care.

The Women's Center, Inc.

(Location:  111 North Market Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, Phone:  570-784-6631, 24 Hour Hotline 800-544-8293 or 570-784-6631)
The philosophy of the Women's Center is that all individuals are equal to one another and have the right to live in a non-violent environment. Services include emergency shelter for battered women and children, individual and group counseling, medical advocacy, support groups, safety planning, advocacy and accompaniment. Emergency services are also available to men. All services are free and confidential. Information shared with an advocate from a Rape Crisis Center, such as The Women's Center, Inc., is confidential.

Town of Bloomsburg Police Department

(Location: 301 East Second St, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, Phone: 570-784-4155, Emergency Phone: 911, Hours: 24/7)
The Bloomsburg Police Department’s mission is to protect life and property, to serve the public with integrity and professionalism, and to achieve an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation with all citizens. The Bloomsburg Police are responsible for investigating all sexual assaults that occur off campus and can assist a victim with transportation to a hospital for a forensic examination (rape kit).

Columbia County Public Defender

(Location: 16 West Main Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, Phone: 570-416-5792)
http://columbiapa.org/publicdefender/index.php

North Penn Legal Services: Columbia & Montour County Office 

(Location:  168 E. Fifth St., Bloomsburg, PA 17815-2206, Phone:  570-784-8760, Toll Free 877-515-7079) http://www.northpennlegal.org/

State Resources

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)

(Sexual Assault Hotline: 888-772-7227, Hours: 24/7)
The mission of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) is to work to eliminate all forms of sexual violence and to advocate for the rights and needs of victims of sexual assault. PCAR works at the state and national levels to prevent sexual violence. Incepted in 1975, PCAR continues to use its voice to challenge public attitudes, raise public awareness, and effect critical changes in public policy, protocols, and responses to sexual violence.

Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC)

(Location:  333 Market St., 8th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17101-2210; Phone: (717) 787-4410 (717) 787-7279 TTY users only Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. M-F phrc@pa.gov
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, or PHRC, enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination: the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, which covers discrimination in employment, housing, commercial property, education and public accommodations; and the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act, which is specific to postsecondary education and secondary vocational and trade schools. In general, PA law prohibits discrimination based on race; color; religious creed; ancestry; age (40 and over); sex; national origin; familial status (only in housing); handicap or disability and the use, handling or training of support or guide animals for disability. Retaliation for filing a complaint, opposing unlawful behavior or assisting investigations is also illegal. PHRC investigates employment discrimination complaints on behalf of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC. These partnerships protect the rights of complainants under both state and federal law.

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)

(Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673, Hours: 24/7)
RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. Services are confidential and note if they are free.

State Employee Assistance Program (for BU employees only)

(SEAP Hotline: 800-692-7459, TTY Hotline 800-824-4306)
The State Employee Assistance Program (SEAP) is a free assessment and referral service that is designed to assist commonwealth employees and their family members in resolving a wide variety of personal problems that may lead to deteriorating employee job performance. SEAP offers services related to substance abuse, mental health issues, family issues, financial issues, legal services, and mediation.

Victims Compensation Assistance Program

(Location: PO Box 1167, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1167, Phone: 800-233-2339 or 717-783-5153)
This Program covers the cost of the forensic examination if the victim presses charges and cooperates in the criminal prosecution. All of your medical information will remain confidential. Remember, you must request this once you are in the hospital emergency room.

Federal Resources

Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC)

(Location: 801 Market Street, Suite 1300, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3127, Phone: For general inquiries or to begin the process of filing a complaint of discrimination, please call 1-800-669-4000. If you have existing business with the Philadelphia District Office or know the name of the person you are trying to reach, please call 1-866-408-8075, Fax: 215-440-2606, TTY: 1-800-669-6820)

The Philadelphia District Office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Walk-in hours for filing a charge are Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If you live outside Philadelphia and surrounding vicinities (20-25 mile radius) or a disability prevents you from coming in person, please mail your Intake Questionnaire to our office.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. These laws protect against employment discrimination when it involves: Unfair treatment because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information; harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace, because of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information; denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation needed because of religious beliefs or disability; retaliation because of complaints about job discrimination, or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit. If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work, you can file a "Charge of Discrimination." Not all employers are covered by the laws PHRC enforces, and not all employees are protected. This can vary depending on the type of employer, the number of employees it has, and the type of discrimination alleged. Also, there are strict time limits for filing a charge that complainants should be aware of.

Office of Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education

(Location: Philadelphia Office, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, The Wanamaker Building, 100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323, Telephone: 215-656-8541, FAX: 215-656-8605; TDD: 800-877-8339, Email: OCR.Philadelphia@ed.gov)

OCR enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive Federal funds from the Department of Education. These laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin, sex, disability, and on the basis of age. These laws extend to all state education agencies, elementary and secondary school systems, colleges and universities, vocational schools, proprietary schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, libraries, and museums that receive U.S. Department of Education funds. OCR also has responsibilities under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (prohibiting disability discrimination by public entities, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance).