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 filed. 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, 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 to file a formal complaint?
To file a formal complaint, you must send it in writing:
- If you are directly concerned, to the Respect Compliance Office (RCO, the internal body at EPFL);
- If you are a witness, to the Ombudsperson (body external to EPFL).
The RCO or Ombudsperson will examine your complaint and evaluate whether to open a formal internal or external investigation. The decision to open an external investigation is taken by the EPFL President. A formal complaint can lead to 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.
The Respect Compliance Office (RCO) can be contacted by any person who feels that his or her physical or mental health and/or personal integrity have been affected.
The ombudsperson examines reports of breaches of conduct by EPFL members submitted to it. Ombudsperson is an independent authority external to EPFL.