11.6 Procedures

(Amended 7/1/17; 9/21/18; 1/20)

Effective January 2020, this policy has been revised. For individual changes, see the redlined version

Individuals who believe that they have experienced retaliation are encouraged to report it, even if they are not certain whether a violation of this policy has occurred. The impacted party and/or third-party reporter may then utilize procedures for informal or formal resolution.

  1. Informal resolution. The University encourages the informal resolution of complaints. The procedures used to resolve complaints informally may vary from department to department depending upon whether the responding party is a faculty member, staff member, or student. However, individuals who are handling informal complaints should follow the following guidelines:
    1. Inform the impacted party or third-party reporter of formal procedure options and that the identity of the complainant and the nature of the charge will be disclosed to the responding party if a formal investigation commences.
    2. Inform the impacted party that any time they not satisfied with the informal process, they may initiate a formal complaint.
    3. Prior to hearing details of a complaint, inform the impacted party or third-party reporter that in some cases the University has a legal obligation as a mandatory reporter to inform outside agencies of University-related misconduct, e.g., informing federal agencies of federal-grant-supported activities that resulted in scientific misconduct.
    4. To the extent possible, work with the parties in a confidential manner to achieve an informal resolution.
    5. Investigation of informal complaints should be concluded within 30 calendar days of their inception. When this is not reasonably possible, the person processing the complaint should notify the impacted party and any third-party reporter in writing that conclusion of the complaint will be delayed and indicate the reasons for delay.
    6. When the impacted party is advised to proceed with formal action due to the apparent serious nature of the violation of University policy, additionally inform the impacted party in writing of this recommendation.
    7. Contact the respective supervisor, Human Resources Unit Representative, Senior Human Resources Leadership Representative, or the Office of General Counsel when unclear about responsibilities in handling an informal complaint.
  2. Formal resolution.
    1. Filing Procedures. A person may choose among a number of offices when filing a formal complaint. If, however, the complaint involves alleged retaliation in connection with research misconduct, the person may only file their complaint with the University of Iowa Research Integrity Officer. In these cases, the University of Iowa Anti-Retaliation Policy for Reporting Misconduct in Research is in effect and supersedes this policy (see II-27.8).

      An impacted party and/or third-party reporter who wishes to receive the protections described by this policy shall file their formal retaliation complaint with an appropriate University official as described below within 180 days from the date the impacted party and/or third-party reporter became aware or should have become aware of the alleged retaliation. After that time, any request must reflect extenuating circumstances, but in any event, the complaint must be filed no later than 12 months from the date when the impacted party and/or third-party reporter became aware or should have become aware of the alleged retaliation. Any person may file a formal complaint against a student, staff member, or faculty member (including teaching assistants) for violating the Anti-Retaliation Policy. Depending upon the status of the responding party, a complaint may be filed with one of the following offices:
      1. Faculty or instructor. If the responding party is a faculty member, teaching assistant, or other instructor, impacted parties and/or third-party reporters may contact the dean of the college, or in such cases when the responding party is a dean, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost;
      2. Staff member. If the responding party is a staff member (professional and scientific or merit staff), impacted parties and/or third-party reporters may contact the responding party's Senior Human Resources Leadership Representative or department head, or in such cases when the responding party is a department head, the dean or vice president responsible for the unit employing the responding party; or
      3. Student. If the responding party is a student, impacted parties and/or third-party reporters may contact the Dean of Students or the Dean of the Graduate College.
    2. ​In lieu of the offices listed above, retaliation complaints may be made to the office that handled the original report of University-related misconduct. In the case of issues dealing with financial matters, complaints may be filed at the Office of the Internal Audit by contacting them directly or via the confidential online reporting resource, EthicsPoint. Complaints of retaliation that stem from sexual harassment, sexual misconduct involving students, discrimination, and civil rights violations may be filed at the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. A person may also seek assistance from the Office of the Ombudsperson to discuss concerns about retaliation and to get help in filing a complaint of retaliation.
    3. Time period for investigating formal complaints. Investigations of formal complaints should be concluded within 60 calendar days of their inception. When it is not reasonably possible to conclude the investigation within that amount of time, the responsible University official will notify the impacted party, any third-party reporter, and the responding party in writing that conclusion of the investigation will be delayed and indicate the reasons for the delay.
    4. Resolving a complaint. Ordinarily the person who is assigned to resolve a complaint will interview the responding party and, as needed, others in order to determine if there is a reasonable basis to believe that a violation of policy has occurred. During the investigation process, the complaint may be resolved informally by mutual agreement of the responding party and the impacted party. If the complaint is not resolved informally by mutual agreement and the impacted party wants to proceed, then the matter shall be referred to the appropriate administrator as described below. In the event that the appropriate administrative official as described below concludes that there is a reasonable basis for believing that the Anti-Retaliation Policy was violated, and if an informal resolution of the complaint still has not been achieved, formal action will be taken.
    5. Persons responsible for taking formal action and governing provisions. The decision to take formal action will be made by one of the following persons or their respective designees:
      1. Faculty. In cases involving faculty members, formal action decisions are made by the chief academic officer of the University. Governing procedures for tenure track, clinical track, and research track faculty are the general Faculty Dispute Procedures (III-29) and that portion of those procedures dealing with faculty ethics (III-29.7); governing procedures for instructional track faculty are III-10.11 Instructional Faculty Policy and the grievance procedures therein; 
      2. Graduate assistants, including teaching assistants. In cases involving graduate assistants, formal action decisions are made by the chief academic officer of the University or their designee;
      3. Professional and scientific staff. In cases involving professional and scientific staff members, formal action decisions are made by the vice president (or Executive Vice President and Provost) responsible for the unit employing the responding party. Governing grievance procedures are described in III-28 Conflict Management Resources for University Staff;
      4. Merit staff. In cases involving merit staff members, formal action decisions are made by the vice president (or Executive Vice President and Provost) responsible for the unit employing the responding party. Governing grievance procedures are those available under  III-28 Conflict Management Resources for University Staff; or
      5. Students. In cases involving students, formal actions are taken by the Dean of Students. The governing procedures are the Code of Student Life and Student Misconduct Procedure.
  3. At any time before the complaint is fully resolved, the impacted party may submit a request to the responsible official to take interim actions to protect the impacted party against any adverse action.

(See II-27.8 Anti-Retaliation for Reporting Misconduct in Research.)