The procedure for resolving a case of psychological or sexual harassment can involve either an informal resolution or a formal complaint.
Informal resolution includes the steps taken by the person concerned and by the parties within the Trust and Support Network with the aim of responding effectively to the problem without a formal complaint being lodged. As far as possible, EPFL will seek to resolve situations through dialogue and managerial action.
Managerial action includes all actions taken by people and departments in charge (a line manager or immediate supervisor, Human Resources, Student Affairs department, Doctoral School) to promote best practices and resolve situations requiring intervention.
However, sometimes these measures may not be appropriate or may not resolve a situation. In these cases, a formal approach is required.
What is the procedure for lodging a formal complaint?
The Respect Cell or Ombudsperson will examine your complaint and decide whether to open a formal internal or external investigation. The decision to open such a procedure is taken by the EPFL President. A formal complaint can lead to official sanctions.
You will be notified of decisions and your options for recourse at every stage of the process.
EPFL applies a zero-tolerance policy to situations of harassment, regardless of the status or position of the person accused of committing the acts. People responsible for psychological or sexual harassment may face consequences. These will depend on the severity of the situation and may range from censure to dismissal or exclusion.
Anyone who intentionally and abusively accuses an innocent person of harassment will face the same consequences.
Protection against reprisals
EPFL will protect all persons having reported, in good faith, acts perceived as harassment. No form of reprisals brought against them will be tolerated.
Mandated by EPFL’s Office of the President, the Respect Cell is the body that evaluates formal complaints relating to psychological and sexual harassment at EPFL.
The ombudsperson is an independent authority external to EPFL. Its task is to examine reports of breaches of conduct by EPFL members submitted to it and to examine, from a legal point of view, their admissibility.