Employee Freedom from Discrimination and Harassment Policy

Updated: October 2022

Bowdoin College strives to provide a place of study and work free from unlawful harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, and gender-based violence of any kind. In compliance with the Maine Human Rights Act, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other federal and state laws, Bowdoin College prohibits any member of the faculty, staff, administration, student body, or third party (including persons visiting campus, patrons, independent contractors, and vendors) from harassing or discriminating against any member of the Bowdoin College community based on a person’s race, color, ethnicity, ancestry or national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, genetic predisposition, veteran status, or physical or mental disability, or any other legally protected status in connection with hiring or employment, admission or financial aid, or other aspects of its educational programs or activities.

Applicable Processes

This policy applies to complaints of harassment and discrimination made against any College employee, except that the policy does not apply to complaints against student employees. Complaints against student employees are governed by the Student Code of Community Standards. All complaints under this policy will be reviewed and referred to the appropriate process.

In addition, allegations of “sexual harassment,” as defined by the regulations of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, shall be addressed by the Bowdoin College Title IX Policy, as required by law. The Bowdoin College Title IX Policy may be found here.  Matters involving allegations of sexual harassment that are not governed by Title IX due to jurisdictional reasons (e.g., because of where the conduct occurred), but otherwise meet the Title IX definition of “sexual harassment,” shall be addressed using procedures identical to those set forth in the Title IX Policy. Matters alleging gender-based discrimination or harassment that do not meet the definition of “sexual harassment” under Title IX shall be governed by the Employee Freedom from Discrimination and Harassment policy below.

Reporting Process

Bowdoin employees who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy are encouraged to bring these concerns forward. Upon receipt of a report of discrimination or harassment, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity (OID) will promptly review the complaint and determine the appropriate next steps. Matters involving Title IX will be referred to the Title IX Office.

Matters involving faculty members will be governed by the processes outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

Matters involving staff members will be governed by this policy and other relevant policies in the Employee Handbook.

Matters between students and matters involving student employees will be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students and will be governed by the appropriate student policy, such as the Social Code, in the Student Code of Community Standards.

Concerns may be brought directly to one of the following Bowdoin officials:

Katherine O'Grady 
Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance
Title IX Coordinator

(207) 725-3493 

Benje Douglas 
Senior Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity
(207) 721-5189 

In addition to the above, employees may also contact the following individuals for concerns involving Faculty and Staff:


Elizabeth Pritchard
Associate Professor of Religion
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Faculty
(207) 725-3290 (office)


Cassie Christie
Assistant Director of Talent Acquisition and Employee Relations
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees and Visitors
(207) 725-3468 (office)

Internal Investigation

  1. The Vice President for Human Resources shall work with the appropriate Manager or Department Head to conduct an adequate, impartial, and reliable investigation of the complaint under this policy. If the Vice President for Human Resources has a conflict of interest, the College will appoint an appropriate College official to oversee the internal investigation.

  2. The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether a violation of this policy has occurred. The investigation will typically include interviews of the Complainant and the Respondent, as well as other persons believed to have pertinent factual knowledge.

  3. During the course of the investigation, parties have the right to provide the names of witnesses and/or other evidence which might assist in the investigation. External parties are not permitted to participate in this process.

  4. The results of the investigation will be reviewed by the Vice President for Human Resources and the appropriate Senior Officer who is in a supervisory position to the respondent. The Senior Officer will be responsible for determining whether a violation of the policy occurred and, if so, the appropriate discipline to be imposed.

  5. The standard of review shall be whether, based upon the information obtained during the investigation, it is more likely than not (or “preponderance of the evidence”) that a violation of the policy has occurred.

Possible outcomes of the investigation may include, but are not limited to:

  • A finding that a violation of the policy has not occurred;
  • A finding that a violation of the policy has occurred; or
  • In cases here where a violation of the policy cannot be determined, but there are clear differences between the parties that need to be resolved, a negotiated resolution of the complaint will be attempted.

Within five (5) business days of the conclusion of the investigation and the issuance of a decision by the Senior Officer, both parties shall be notified of the outcome of the investigation. 

External Investigation

In appropriate circumstances, the College may engage the services of an outside investigator. An external investigation shall follow the steps outlined above.

Interim Measures

The College will also undertake an appropriate inquiry and take such prompt and effective action as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances to support and protect the Complainant and protect the College community, including taking appropriate interim measures before the final outcome of the investigation.  

These measures may include but are not limited to: ordering no contact between the respondent and the complainant and directing, where necessary, appropriate College officials to alter the complainant’s or the respondent’s academic, College housing and/or College employment arrangements; or suspension from duties with or without pay.

Employee Resources

Bowdoin employees may wish to use the following services for consultation or for an emergency, immediate assistance:

  • Bowdoin College Office of Safety and Security (Ext. 3314 or for emergencies Ext. 3500)
  • Brunswick Police Department (911 or 725-5521)
  • Employee Assistance Program 1-877-622-4327 or myCigna.com, using Employer ID: bowdoineap, once registered with MyCigna, login and go to the EAP link or Call for free, confidential assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Visit https://www.bowdoin.edu/hr/benefits-perks/mental-health/cigna-employee-assistance-program-eap.html

Visit https://www.bowdoin.edu/hr/benefits-perks/mental-health/wellspace-at-work.html

  • Human Resources (Ext. 3837)

Appeal of Senior Officer Decisions

Either the respondent or the complainant may appeal the Senior Officer's determinations, as follows:

If the accused party is a faculty member, then any appeal shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Faculty Handbook.

If the accused party is a staff member, the appeal must be made to the President or a committee established in accordance with Step III above.

All appeals must be made in writing submitted to Human Resources within ten (10) calendar days of the date of the determination by the Senior Officer and must specify the grounds for the appeal.

The Senior Officer shall review the case with the appropriate Appeals Committee and explain the reasons for their findings and decision. An appeal may, in accordance with the terms of the applicable appeals process, result in an endorsement of the Senior Officer’s decision, disagreement with the original findings and discipline, or a recommendation of different sanctions. There shall be no further right of appeal from the final action determined by the applicable appeals process. Notification of the outcome of the appeal shall be governed by the terms of the applicable appeals process, although in any case the Senior Officer will be notified of the final disposition of the case.


In cases where the Senior Officer determines that this policy has been violated, the Senior Officer shall, in consultation with the Vice President for Human Resources, impose appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination from College employment. With respect to a complaint against a faculty member, any termination decision shall be subject to the procedural requirements set forth in the Faculty Handbook.


All information provided in the context of a complaint and investigation under this policy will be held in confidence to the extent possible and will be discussed only with those who have a need to know in order to investigate or resolve the complaint.


Under law, you may not be punished or penalized in any way for reporting, complaining about, participating in an investigation of or filing a claim concerning discrimination or harassment, or for testifying in any proceeding brought by anyone else. No employee may retaliate against someone who files a complaint or participates in an investigation of a complaint; such retaliation will subject the offender to additional discipline and sanctions under this policy. However, if the College determines that an intentionally false complaint has been made under this policy, disciplinary action will be taken against the individual(s) filing the complaint or providing false information regarding the complaint.

The Maine Human Rights Commission

Any employee who believes they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment may call or write the Maine Human Rights Commission to register a complaint. The Commission may be contacted as follows:

Maine Human Rights Commission
51 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Telephone: (207) 624-6290

Any complaint must be filed with the Commission within 300 days of the act of discrimination or harassment. Once the Commission has received a signed charge form, an investigation will be conducted and a determination will be made by the Commission of whether or not there are reasonable grounds to believe discrimination or harassment occurred.

If the Commission determines that discrimination or harassment did occur, it will attempt to resolve the situation between you and your employer through informal means. If informal means of resolution are unsuccessful, the Commission counsel may file a civil action on your behalf in the Superior Court, seeking appropriate relief.

Reports Involving Guests, Visitors, or Vendors of the College

A member of the College community may report an incident of discrimination or harassment by a College guest, visitor, or vendor. Complaints regarding student guests will be addressed through the Student Code of Community Standards.

While the College will endeavor to promptly investigate and resolve a report involving a Respondent outside the College community, its ability to take action against such a Respondent may be limited. Where appropriate, however, the College will take those steps necessary to protect the College community.

The Vice President for Human Resources will, where possible, inform the Respondent of the report and may, after consultation with other relevant College officers, take steps to bar the Respondent from the campus if that is deemed to be appropriate. The member(s) of the College who hosted or contracted with the Respondent may be informed of the actions taken and the reasons for them.