39.6 Rules

39.6.1 Non-harassment Dispute Resolution Procedures

39.6.1.1 Eligibility. All University employees are eligible to seek informal and formal non-harassment dispute resolution.

39.6.1.2 Local Informal Problem Resolution

39.6.1.2.1 Employees/students and supervisors are expected to work effectively to resolve complaints and disputes on other than harassment issues at the lowest level as possible. An employee will first seek informal problem resolution with the supervisor. If the dispute specifically involved the supervisor, the employee will discuss the problem with the next level of management.

39.6.1.2.2 The supervisor and higher level manager must investigate the complaint and take steps to resolve the problem. A written response must be presented to the employee. If the employee believes the problem has not been resolved within the Unit/Section/Division, the next level of dispute resolution (HR Level Dispute Resolution) is available.

39.6.1.3 HR Level Dispute Resolution

39.6.1.3.1 An Employee who makes a claim (claimant) may contact the Vice President for Human Resource (VPHR), who first determines within 5 working days if the claim is appropriately filed, and informs the claimant if the claim should be resolved through the Misconduct (PRP 23) or Conflict-of-Interest (PRP 22) procedures.

39.6.1.3.1.1   A confidential email box has been set up to contact VPHR to make a claim: RWAH.HR@oist.jp. VPHR or a HR staff designated by VPHR will contact the person within 2 working days.

39.6.1.3.2 Once it is determined that the complaint is appropriately filed, the VPHR must facilitate communication about the dispute between the claimant and the Unit/Section/Division. The VPHR and the Unit/Section/Division must investigate the problem and take steps to attempt to resolve the complaint.

39.6.1.3.3  A written response to the dispute must be given to the claimant by the VPHR within 15 working days from the date the dispute was filed, unless additional time is needed in which case the claimant must be informed of the expected date of response.

39.6.1.4 Committee Level Dispute Resolution

39.6.1.4.1 A problem that has not been resolved at the HR level may be brought to the Committee level. The request must be submitted in writing by the claimant to the VPHR for review by a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC).

39.6.1.4.1.1 For each such case, the COO will establish a DRC consisting of at least 3 members, which may include external experts. The COO will appoint the chair.

39.6.1.4.2 The DRC must be formed and convened to review the dispute within 15 working days after receipt of the written request. If additional time is needed to convene the DRC, the 15 working days may be extended.

39.6.1.4.3 The DRC must conduct an impartial and confidential review to determine the facts and circumstances of the case, and make recommendations to resolve the matter. In principle, the DRC must make a recommendation within 20 working days from the date the DRC first convenes. If additional time is needed to complete the review, the period may be extended for additional 20 working days.

39.6.1.4.4 The DRC’s report and the recommendation must be submitted to the COO. The COO is responsible to determine the final disposition of the case within 30 working days after receipt of the DRC’s report and recommendation. If the COO needs additional time, the period may be extended for additional 30 working days.

39.6.1.4.5 The decision of the COO become final with concurrence of the President.  Once the final decision has been implemented, the COO must notify the claimant that the case is closed. Due to privacy considerations, in some cases, the claimant may only be notified that the matter has been closed, without receiving any details of the outcome.

 

39.6.2 Harassment Resolution Procedures

39.6.2.1 Eligibility. All University employees are eligible to seek both informal and formal harassment issue resolution. An employee who makes a claim (claimant) should either seek informal resolution with the confidential external Respectful Workplace and Anti-Harassment hotline (RWAH hotline) [link:39.6.2.2] or directly consult the VPHR [link:39.6.2.3.2].

39.6.2.2 RWAH Hotline
The COO establishes the external Respectful Workplace and Anti-Harassment hotline.

The RWAH hotline provides a way to seek consultation or to make a complaint in Japanese or English that is confidential and separate from the University. The hotline is answered by experienced and trained professional mediators who can provide consultation, and if necessary report the matter to the University to seek a resolution of the situation. The claimant can choose which mediator to contact within the hotline.

Hotline in English: 050-5236-2375
Hotline in Japanese: 050-5236-2376

Since the mediators of the RWAH hotline may not immediately be available to answer the call, voice mail is provided, and they will call back, in general, within 2 working days of the call.

The mediators may also be contacted by email at oistmediators@yahoo.co.jp, which reaches the mediators exclusively.

Every effort will be made to protect the privacy of claimants using the RWAH hotline. Claimants can choose to be anonymous or can identify themselves.

While every effort will be made to keep the consultation process confidential to respect the claimant’s desire to remain anonymous, this cannot be guaranteed under all circumstances. If the matter is sufficiently serious, the mediator may encourage the claimant to give his/her name and to allow the mediator to report to the COO or the VPHR [link:39.6.2.2.1 c]. In cases where the allegations involve bodily harm or other illegal action or present the imminent risk to the safety or health of the claimant or others at the University, the mediator may immediately inform the COO and the VPHR [link:39.6.2.2.1 d] even without the consent of the claimant.

39.6.2.2.1 Role of the mediators
The ways in which the mediators provide consultation to the claimant vary from case to case according to the situation. The basic process is as follows:

a.      The mediators will listen to the complaint and discuss with the claimant how to resolve the problem.
b.      The mediator may also mediate the situation depending on the circumstances. With the consent of the claimant, the mediator may contact the claimant’s supervisor, the accused, the accused’s supervisor, or the designated person/section/division, when the mediator considers such contact to be useful or effective in resolving the situation.
c.      If the complaint contains serious allegations which are deemed to require the University to investigate and take remedial action, the mediator may urge the claimant to allow the mediator to report to the Provost, the COO or the VPHR.
d.     In cases where the allegations involve bodily harm or other illegal action (such as an assault, sexual or otherwise) or present an imminent risk to the safety or health of the claimant or others at the University, the mediator may immediately inform the COO and VPHR even without the consent of the claimant.

39.6.2.2.2 Follow-up with the claimant: The claimant will, in principle, be informed by the Mediator of the outcome in cases described in b, c, d above when and as appropriate. Due to privacy considerations, in some cases, the claimant may only be notified that the matter has been closed, without receiving any details of the outcome.

39.6.2.2.3. Allegations against the President or a Member of the Executive: In the case of allegations made against the President, regardless of the nature of the allegations, the mediators will report directly to the Chair of the Board of Governors of the University. In the case of allegations made against a Member of the Executive including Deans, regardless of the nature of the allegations, the mediators will report directly to the President.

39.6.2.2.4 Record Destruction: The mediators will routinely destroy their informal notes containing identifying information pertaining to claimants who contact the mediators and those involved in resolving matters brought to the mediators.  The only records maintained permanently contain aggregate statistical trend information.

39.6.2.3 HR-Level Dispute Resolution

39.6.2.3.1 If an employee making a claim (claimant) believes that the complaint and dispute on harassment issues have not been resolved through the confidential External Hotline, the claimant may contact the Vice President for Gender Equality and Human Resources (VPHR). A claimant may directly contact VPHR without going through the External Hotline.

39.6.2.3.1.1 A confidential email box has been set up to contact VPHR to make a claim: [RWAH.HR@oist.jp]. VPHR or a HR staff designated by VPHR will contact the person within 2 working days.

39.6.2.3.2 The VPHR conducts an initial investigation and attempts to resolve the complaint. This investigation is carried out informally and confidentially, and in close consultation with the claimant. 

39.6.2.3.3. Issues that cannot be resolved through the informal process will be forwarded to a Harassment Investigative Committee (HIC), which will be established and convened by the VPHR within 15 working days after forwarding the issues, for resolution. 

39.6.2.3.4 The HIC consists of 3 members, one of whom is designated as chair by the VPHR, and a legal counsel appointed by the General Counsel serving as an observer. An HR staff member provides secretarial support.

39.6.2.3.5 The HIC conducts an impartial and confidential investigation/ review to determine the facts and circumstances of the case, and make recommendations to resolve the matter. In principle, the HIC should prepare a written response to the VPHR within 20 working days from the date the HIC first convenes.  If additional time is needed, the VPHR must be informed of the expected date of response.

39.6.2.3.6 A written response to the dispute must be given to the claimant by the VPHR within 10 working days from the date the HIC report was received by the VPHR unless additional time is needed, in which case the claimant must be informed of the expected date of response. Due to privacy considerations, in some cases, the claimant may only be notified that the matter has been closed, without receiving any details of the outcome.

39.6.2.3.7 Allegations against the President or a Member of the Executive: In the case of allegations made against the President, regardless of the nature of the allegations, the VPHR will report directly to the Chair of the Board of Governors of the University. In the case of allegations made against a Member of the Executive including Deans, regardless of the nature of the allegations, the VPGEHR will report directly to the President.

39.6.2.4 Executive Committee Level Harassment Dispute Resolution

39.6.2.4.1 A problem that has not been resolved at the HR level or GS level (PRP5.12.2.1) may be brought to the Executive Committee level. The request must be submitted, in writing, by the claimant to the VPHR or Dean of the Graduate School for review and investigation by a Harassment Dispute Resolution Committee (HRC).

39.6.2.4.1.1 The COO will appoint at least 3 members to a HRC for each case. The COO will appoint the HRC chair. The HRC members may include external experts.

39.6.2.4.2 The HRC must be formed and convened to review the dispute within 15 working days after receipt of the written request. If additional time is needed to convene the HRC, the time may be extended by 15 additional days.

39.6.2.4.3 The HRC must conduct a formal, confidential, impartial investigation/review to determine the facts and circumstances of the case. The HRC must make a recommendation within 20 working days from the date the HRC first convenes. If additional time is needed to complete the review, the time period may be extended for additional 20 working days.

39.6.2.4.4 The HRC’s report and the recommendation must be submitted to the COO. The COO is responsible for the final disposition of the case within 40 working days after receipt of the HRC’s report and the recommendation. If the COO needs additional time, the time period may be extended for additional 40 days.

39.6.2.4.5 The decision of the COO become final with concurrence of the President.  Once the final decision has been implemented, the COO must notify in writing the claimant that the case is closed. Due to privacy considerations, in some cases, the claimant may only be notified that the matter has been closed, without receiving any details of the outcome.

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