Responding to Concerns
Have you witnessed or been told about a possible incident of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation? This page is intended to help you understand the options you have in responding to those concerns. This page can help you:
- Learn how to report discrimination, harassment, or retaliation at OHSU, whether witnessed directly, experienced firsthand, or heard about it secondhand.
- Learn about other departments and services to which you can report or access help.
- Understand the process and procedures involved in making a report.
- Understand if you are required to report knowledge of possible prohibited behavior including discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
- Learn about patient discrimination.
- Find advice, support and resources, including confidential resources.
- Understand how to support yourself or someone else who experienced discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
Submit a report
You are encouraged to report to OCIC any incident of discrimination or harassment, including any form of sexual misconduct or retaliation. You may wish to first consult with the Confidential Advocacy Program (CAP), a free and confidential resource who can assist before and throughout the reporting process.
Please note that the form:
- Can be used by anyone (students, volunteers, employees, patients, applicants for educational programs, applicants for employment, and others) to express concerns about OHSU.
- Is for reporting what happened to you or on behalf of another OHSU community member.
- Is only received and reviewed during business hours.
- Is different from and does not mean that you have filed a criminal (police) report.
Other reporting options
You can make a report to any of several departments at OHSU. The right one depends on your circumstances, and whether you wish to remain anonymous (meaning there will be no record of your identity and/or your identity will not be shared with others).
However, please be aware that if you discuss your situation with a work or academic supervisor or HR representative or another person with a duty to report, they may be obligated to inform OCIC of what you share. If you wish to remain anonymous, consider another option, such as the Ombudsman, Confidential Advocacy Program, or call the OCIC office and explain you are seeking advice but wish to remain anonymous as you decide next steps.
Reports can be submitted to OHSU Integrity.
- The Integrity Office contracts with an independent company to provide a fully-staffed hotline available 24 hours/day, 365 days/year.
- Initiate a report by calling 877-733-8313 toll-free. You may also submit a report online.
- You can provide your name or choose to remain anonymous. Be sure not to include any identifying information in your report if you want to keep it anonymous.
- Please note that filing an anonymous complaint may result in the reporter’s identity becoming known due to the facts reported to Integrity.
Reporting to Public Safety:
- Is the same as reporting to law enforcement.
- Results in the incident being reported to OHSU officials.
Call 24 hours a day:
- 503-494-4444 (emergencies)
- 503-494-7744 (non-emergency dispatch)
Please note that this is a non-confidential option.
You can make a report to Human Resources:
- Look up your HR Business Partner, the contact assigned to your department or education program, at the HR Contact List by Organization O2 page (search first for your organization name by acronym, for example: SM, for School of Medicine).
Please note that this is a non-confidential option.
You can report any concerns of discrimination to the supervisor or department head most directly connected to the situation or parties involved. In addition, you may report to any academic or administrative official.
Please note that this is a non-confidential option.
If you experienced discrimination as a patient at OHSU, Patient Relations staff are here to help. They should be able to answer questions and assist you with a formal Patient Complaint Process if appropriate.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 328
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (ASFCME) assists its members (including non-dues paying members) with workplace concerns, including investigations, pre-discipline conferences, layoffs or Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity issues. Learn more about your local chapter, AFSCME Local 328.
AFSCME Graduate Researchers United
Graduate Researchers United, represented by AFSCME, is a bargaining unit of nearly 300 individuals pursuing their Ph.D. degree, while receiving a stipend, in OHSU's schools of medicine, nursing and public health. GRU members have a dual role as students and employees in support of OHSU's public missions. Learn more about AFSCME Graduate Researchers United (on O2).
Oregon Nurses Association
The ONA is the labor union serving nurses at OHSU. Learn more about the ONA and specifically the OHSU bargaining unit of ONA, including representatives and the grievance committee and grievance process and forms.
OHSU Police Association
The OHSU Police Association represents commissioned police officers at OHSU within the Department of Public Safety. The unit was established in 2015 to meet the needs of a university campus police agency. Learn more about the OHSU Police Association (on O2).
Process and procedures
Find information below about the specific terms confidentiality and retaliation; what is required of managers (hearing of an incident may entail reporting), and what happens when an OCIC or Title IX complaint is filed. You can also find policies, procedures, protocols, forms, and more on our Policies and Downloadable resources page.
To the extent possible, OHSU treats as confidential all information received in connection with reports of discrimination. It may become necessary, however, to disclose particulars in the course of the investigation. All individuals who participate in an investigation have an obligation to maintain confidentiality of the matters discussed.
State law, federal law, and OHSU policy prohibit retaliation for reporting discrimination or harassment, and/or filing a complaint of prohibited discrimination or harassment, or participating in the investigation of such a complaint.
Retaliation is a serious offense that can result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment for employees and suspension or dismissal for students.
This protection exists even if a complaint is eventually dismissed or is deemed to lack merit. (However, intentionally false accusations will not be tolerated, and a person will be held accountable for making intentionally false claims of prohibited discrimination or harassment.)
Colleagues or students who assist others in raising a complaint of prohibited discrimination or harassment or give testimony or documentary evidence in support of a complaint, are similarly protected.
Retaliation includes intimidation, threats, coercion, or adverse employment or educational actions taken against an individual because of the individual’s participation in the reporting, investigation, or resolution of a complaint. Retaliation can be committed by complainants, respondents, or any other individual or group of individuals
Attempted or actual acts of retaliation should be reported to OCIC at 503-494-5148 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
If you want to talk about a case of discrimination and have it remain confidential, be aware that this cannot be respected if you talk to someone who is deemed a Responsible Employee.
Responsible Employees are supervisors, managers, faculty members, leaders, and executives; if they receive a report of discrimination or harassment—including sexual misconduct, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, interpersonal violence, and retaliation—OHSU requires them to promptly notify OCIC or Human Resources.
Who must report: mandatory reporters
OHSU requires all supervisors, managers, department heads, faculty members, executives and administrators who receive a report of discrimination, harassment or retaliation — including sexual misconduct, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and interpersonal violence — to promptly notify OCIC, the Title IX Coordinator, or their HR Business Partner. If you are unsure whether you need to report a concern, call OCIC at 503-494-5148.
Download this flyer to learn more about responding to disclosures of discrimination.
Discrimination from patients
Sometimes patients or their family members behave or appear to be behaving in a harassing and/or discriminatory manner towards others.
For more information, see our flyer on patient discrimination
Safety concerns and resources
Always assess the situation for safety concerns. If there are any safety concerns, you should immediately discuss the issue with your supervisor and promptly contact any or all of the following:
- Public Safety, 503-494-4444
- the Administrator on Duty (AOD)
- Patient Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-494-7959
- Requests for, or refusals of, Healthcare Providers with Specific Characteristics - OHSU Healthcare Policy (HCRI-133-POL) (Limited access PDF)
- Talking Points: How to respond to a Requests for, or refusals of, Healthcare Providers with Specific Characteristics (Limited access PDF)
- Respect for All Guidebook
- Respect For All Flowchart
Confidential support, advice and resources
There are many confidential resources available to help you figure out how to respond to an incident of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation or other unwanted behavior.
OCIC and Title IX
Both OCIC and Title IX departments are responsible for ensuring OHSU’s compliance with federal and state laws regarding discrimination and harassment, affirmative action and equal employment opportunity. They have official reporting requirements, but you can also call them, anonymously, for help in clarifying your options while you are deciding what you should do. Additionally, the Confidential Advocacy Program, while supported by Title IX, is a separate program that does not share any confidential information with Title IX or OCIC.
The Ombuds is available as a resource for any OHSU student, employee, volunteer, patient or visitor to informally discuss concerns of any nature. For example, if you believe you may be experiencing discrimination and you want to talk it over informally before reporting. Nic Lendino is OHSU’s Ombuds and can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Center for Diversity and Inclusion
The Center for Diversity and Inclusion leads and supports institution-wide initiatives to create an environment of respect and inclusion for all people.
Learn more about the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
Employee Resource Groups and Committees
Many employee committees and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) exist on campus. Learn more about Committees and Employee Groups.
Student Resources and Student Interest Groups
The Center for Diversity and Inclusion has compiled a list of Student Resources and Student Interest Groups
The Confidential Advocacy Program provides support services to OHSU employees, students, and volunteers who have experienced any form of sexual misconduct: sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, or stalking, whether at OHSU or outside the university. Learn more about the Confidential Advocacy Program.
The Student Health and Wellness Center offers many types of services for OHSU students, postdoctoral fellows and their adult dependents on the Student Health Insurance Plan. Some services offered include routine primary and preventive care services, in addition to behavioral health services including counseling and crisis support. There is no charge to visit a Student Health and Wellness Center provider or nurse. The Student Health and Wellness Center is located in the lower level of Baird Hall. You can reach them at 503-494-8665.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all benefit-eligible employees and their dependents, regardless of medical plan enrollment. The EAP provides you and eligible members of your household 24/7 access to confidential counseling, as well as other services; the most commonly used benefit of the EAP is three free face-to-face visits (no copay or other out of pocket cost to you) with a counselor for you and/or your dependents. Other services includes a 24-hour crisis line, legal consultations, and more.
The Resident & Faculty Wellness Program provides residents, fellows, and primary School of Medicine faculty free, confidential counseling and coaching services. You do not need to be in crisis; you may just want to talk or consult with someone. Over the past 10 years, hundreds of OHSU physicians have participated in this program and the RFWP team currently provides over 100 visits every month. Experienced psychologists and psychiatrists provide professional services in a private location. They have a tremendous emphasis on confidentiality. They do not document in Epic. Visits are confidential with the only exceptions being if the individual is a danger to oneself or others, or impaired. Schedule an appointment with any one of their providers. Urgent Consultation? Page 10975.
Other services that are free:
- Multnomah County Crisis Line: 503-988-4888 (24/7 crisis line)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
Supporting yourself or another
If you feel you have been harassed or discriminated against, or know a friend or family member who's been harassed or discriminated against, here are some concrete actions you can take to protect yourself or resolve the issue. Please note that this is a large collection of possible ideas and approaches, but what actions are appropriate completely depends on the situation. Any idea could be appropriate for one situation but inappropriate for another. Consider consulting an appropriate resource for advice (such as those listed above) to help you navigate your choices.
Overview of what you can do
Keep notes of what happened: when, where, what happened, and who was present. Consider if direct resolution may work. We encourage you to seek help. You may contact OCIC to inform us of the situation.
You can file an OCIC report online or print, and submit completed the Prohibited Conduct Complaint Form.
Send, deliver, or fax your completed complaint form to OCIC, along with any notes or materials you would like us to review. It is helpful for OCIC to have a written statement from you addressing the detailed nature of your allegations, including what occurred, who was involved or witnessed the incident(s), when, where and why the incident(s) occurred.
Keep OCIC informed of subsequent developments, particularly threats or retaliatory conduct.
Besides OCIC, there are also options for confidential support, advice and services and other reporting options. Understand the process so you know what to expect. If you submitted a complaint to OCIC, see OHSU Policy: Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedure.
Being there for someone else
Some tips if you are trying to be a friend to someone who has been the target of discrimination or harassment. These tips will not apply to every situation but highlight your role in listening and supporting someone else.
- Listen and acknowledge what they are sharing with you.
- Reserve judgment and do not make light of the situation.
- Ask how best you can support them. Let them know that they have options (reporting, talking with a confidential advocate, interim supportive measures, protection orders).
- Do not attempt to investigate or resolve the situation on your own. Instead, ask questions to determine current safety (“Do you feel safe now?”) and offer assistance (“Is there anything I can help you with?”).
- Never tell the complainant to ignore the behavior.
- Thank them for sharing with you.
Keep the information confidential. Confidentiality protects the interests of the alleged respondent, the person making the report, and protects you from responding to a complaint of retaliation.
- I'm sorry this happened to you.
- It wasn't your fault.
- Thank you for telling me.
- I'm always here if you want to talk.
- Can I do anything for you?
- How can I support you?
- It was your fault.
- It's been so long! Get over it!
- It's not that big of deal; it happens to lots of people.
- I don't believe you.
- They are such a good person. I can’t imagine they would do that.
- Why are you getting so upset about this?
- Just ignore them.
- You can’t be serious.
- I know their character. They’re not like that.
For sexual misconduct situations:
- You could have avoided it had you... (been sober, stayed with your friends, locked your door, not led them on).
- You should not have... (walked alone at night, dressed provocatively, gone to their room, had so much to drink, kissed them).
- They are such a nice person and couldn't have done something like that.
- What did you do to provoke them?
- If you report them, you will ruin their career.
DO respect the reporter enough to not pity them.
DON'T assume the reporter does or does not want to be touched. Some people can't stand a hug at this point. Others can't make it without one. Always ask before hugging or touching in any way.
DO comfort the reporter. Make the environment comfortable.
DON'T try to solve all of their problems.
DO allow them to tell as much or as little as they need.
DON’T assume you know how the reporter feels.
- Refer your friend to this website.
- Do offer to gather information about options and who may be able to help. Once you educate yourself and have information to share, encourage them to take a step. It’s okay to offer your support in taking a step but be mindful of not taking over or pressuring your friend to do what you think they should do. Whatever step they take will reinforce that they can take another.
- Be willing to say nothing. If you don't know what to say, that's okay. The most powerful statement a friend can make is by simply being there, not trying to fix everything or pretending it's okay. Silence often says more than words.
- Do not judge. An individual is likely self-examining very critically during this time. Asking questions regarding details of the incident (such as why the individual was at a specific place or behaving a certain way) only works to place blame on them for the behavior of the perpetrator. No matter what their behavior was prior to the incident, they are NOT responsible—the perpetrator is.
- In cases of sexual violence/harassment, an individual may try to understand her/his role in what happened but it’s important to be clear that s/he/they are not responsible for the actions of others. Examine your own attitudes and feelings about sexual violence/harassment. Don't allow the myths to affect how you perceive your friend.
- Do not attempt to impose your explanation of why this has happened or try to “fix” the situation. It may come across as victim-blaming. The only real explanation is that the perpetrator chose to act as they did. Additionally, you don’t have to fix the situation; you just have to be supportive.
- Remind your friend that their feelings are understandable. There are many symptoms that the individual may experience; these are typical reactions to traumatic events. If they are experiencing feelings, emotions, or physical symptoms that are out of the ordinary, it is due to the fact that they just experienced a horrific and traumatic event.
- Do not attempt to reassure the person that everything is “okay” or tell them you know how they feel. At this time, everything is not “okay.” Making statements such as “Don’t worry about it,” “You’re going to be fine,” etc., may serve to minimize the victimized person’s feelings and downplay the seriousness of the event(s) which occurred. Also, chances are you don’t know exactly how they feel. You may know what it feels like to be hurt, to be violated, or to be angry. However, you probably don’t know quite how they feel at this moment.
- Do not feel intimidated by the intense emotions. Remember: you don’t have to fix the situation; just be supportive. There are many people at our university and in the community who can help support.
- Encourage your friend to seek counseling and post-trauma services. There are specially trained mental health professionals that can assist your friend on many levels. Counseling is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and of taking control of the situation.
- Find your own support. You are also affected by this situation. You can’t support someone else if you aren’t supported as well. Find other friends, support people, or counseling to share your own feelings related to what happened to your friend.
When you've been accused
Being accused of discrimination or harassment, including any gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual assault, can be a worrisome and confusing experience. There are campus resources available to answer your questions and offer you support throughout the investigation process. Please don’t be afraid to utilize these resources during the process.
A “reporter” is the person who reports concerns to OHSU. If you are accused of misconduct or a policy violation, you are referred to throughout this website as the “respondent.” Under OHSU Policy and Title IX, both the reporter and respondent have the right to a fair and equitable adjudication process.
OCIC can assist you with understanding OHSU policies. If applicable, respondents will receive a timely notice of the allegations against them and will be provided with a meaningful opportunity to respond to those charges.
The OCIC investigation process is guided by the OHSU Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policy, AAEO Prohibited Complaint Procedure and OHSU Discrimination Claim Investigation Protocol. An investigation may be formal or informal, depending on the nature of the claim.
During a formal investigation, the standard of evaluation that will be used is the preponderance of evidence standard, which means that the evidence obtained during the investigation must demonstrate that it is “more likely than not” the respondent has violated OHSU policy.
All parties (complainant and respondent) to a formal investigation are entitled to the same rights, including, but not limited to:
- The right to be treated with respect and dignity by OHSU officials and to be provided the same level of support as the complainant
- The right to a fair, thorough, neutral and impartial investigation of the incident
- The right to an advisor who can offer passive assistance during an interview as well as any OHSU meeting related to the adjudication that involves the complainant or the respondent
- The right to provide relevant evidence and witnesses
- The right to be silent in response to questions
- The right to notification, in writing, of the outcome of the investigation
Your primary resource is your advisor. An advisor is any person of your choosing who serves as a passive support person during an official meeting that is part of the investigation process. This person provides emotional support and may help as you navigate the process but may not speak on your behalf.
Respondents who need academic assistance or other interim measures should contact the Interim Title IX Coordinator, Kimberly Anderson, J.D. (she/her/hers) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-494-5148.
Supporting someone else who has been accused
Some tips if you are trying to be a friend to someone who has been accused of discrimination or harassment. These tips will not apply to every situation but highlight your role in listening and supporting someone else.
- Listen from your friend’s point of view
- Accept your friend as a person, even if you have questions about your friend’s behavior.
- Provide an atmosphere where your friend can express honest feelings.
- Be honest with your friend about how much support you can provide.
- Help your friend generate alternatives and options for dealing with emotions and the situation.
- Let your friend make the ultimate decision about what to do.
- Direct your friend to campus resources (see above).
- Realize that you may also be affected, and seek counseling if necessary.
- Don’t try to tell your friend what to do.
- Don’t offer insincere help or support.
- Don’t blame your friend for what happened.
- Don’t blame the person who has brought the complaint.
- Don’t assume you know how your friend wants to be treated.
- Don’t break your friend’s trust by telling others what might have happened in conversation or on social media.