Policy Number: HR-5
Effective Date: October 1, 2003
Responsible Officer: Associate Dean for Administration and Chief of Staff
Certain relationships may arise in the work and educational environment that have the potential for compromising or appearing to compromise the fairness and objectivity of a supervisor, faculty member or caregiver in relation to subordinates, students or patients and which may result in a conflict of interest. The College of Medicine recognizes that all individuals are entitled to freely choose their personal associations and relationships. However, when a faculty member, or supervisor enters into a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a student, staff member, patient or subordinate, a power differential may exist which can compromise an individual’s exercise of such choice in personal relationships. Others may also perceive such a relationship as one of preferential treatment that may be detrimental to themselves or others. Consequently, romantic and/or sexual relationships among faculty members, managers, staff, patients and students – even though consensual – are discouraged. If such relationships are entered into, they should be approached in a sensitive manner and with an understanding of how they may be perceived by others. Similarly, relationships among individuals on the same level, where there is no component of authority by one individual over another, may be misinterpreted by others and should be approached in a sensitive manner.
II. SEXUAL HARASSMENT CHARGE
It is no defense to a sexual harassment charge or complaint that at one time a relationship was consensual. If there is disagreement as to whether behavior was affirmatively consensual between the involved individuals, the burden will be on the individual against whom the charge or complaint is made to prove mutual consent.
III. REQUIRED REPORTING
If a supervisor or faculty member is engaged in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a subordinate or student, the supervisor or faculty member is required to notify his or her immediate supervisor of the relationship and to make alternate arrangements for supervision of the subordinate or student, including especially decision making regarding any employment or educational action pertaining to the subordinate or student.