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Equal Opportunity Programs

Informal Resolution

The University of South Carolina offers informal resolution as an option to resolve a complaint of discrimination or harassment. The informal resolution process is voluntary and employs alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation, facilitated dialogue, or conferencing. 

Terms of the Informal Resolution Process

Both the Complainant and Respondent must agree to pursue informal resolution, and this agreement must be voluntary, informed, and in writing. 

Neither the Complainant nor Respondent are required to engage in Informal resolution as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right.

At any time before the completion of the Informal resolution process, the Complainant and/or Respondent may choose to withdrawal from informal resolution. Then the mediator will refer back to the investigation process per the applicable policy.

Informal resolution is never available to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.

Support Persons may attend any meetings as part of the Informal Resolution.

The content of discussions held as part of the Informal Resolution process will be kept confidential and not used by anyone as part of any Formal Resolution should Informal Resolution be unsuccessful.

The decision by the Complainant or Respondent to participate, refuse to participate, or request to end Informal Resolution and return to the investigation or to resolve the complaint using the formal resolution process will not be a factor in any determination made by the decision-maker(s) as to whether a policy violation occurred.

 

How to Request Informal Resolution

The Complainant and/or Respondent may request a specific form of Informal Resolution by submitting the online form or alerting the investigator assigned to the complaint.  Once the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs has received a request for informal resolution, our team will share the request with the other party, who may choose to move forward with Informal Resolution or decline to do so.  Both parties must consent to Informal Resolution by submitting the online form (link) before any attempts at Informal Resolution.

Parties may attempt more than one form of Informal Resolution. For example, suppose the individual attempts to participate in a facilitated dialogue, but the results are unsatisfactory. In that case, the Complainant or Respondent may request a transition to a Formal Mediation.  If both parties agree, we will move for with an attempt at Formal Mediation.

 

Once an Informal Resolution is Completed

Once an Informal Resolution process is completed with the assistance of EOP, the terms of the agreement are binding on both parties. Failure to abide by the terms of the resolution is subject to another investigative or review process and possible application of corrective action(s) or sanction(s). The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs will keep records of any Informal Resolution, either after both parties confirm their agreement to the terms of the Informal Resolution.


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