Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct Support Information for Supervisors and Managers

The University of Michigan is committed to creating and sustaining a safe, harassment-free working and learning environment for all. As an institution, U-M has a responsibility to equip supervisors/managers with the proper tools, information and support in order to model and sustain a respectful community for all. 

As a leader, one of your most important responsibilities is to be a steward of U-M’s desired culture. You are pivotal in ensuring that U-M employees work in an environment that allows them to succeed in their work-life by bringing their complete skills to work, without the fear of sexual harassment. 

Your Responsibilities as a Manager or Supervisor

As a supervisor, It is critical that you understand your responsibilities as a leader so that you can respond appropriately if an employee initiates a discussion about sexual harassment. 

  • All supervisors, regardless of how many employees they supervise  including student employees and GSI’s  are considered Individuals with Reporting Obligations (IRO). As such, they must respond appropriately when they learn of allegations of workplace harassment or discrimination from employees or about employees. Additional resources for IRO’s are included at the end of this section.

  • If you learn of a concern of possible sexual harassment or misconduct relating to a staff or faculty member within your role as a supervisor/manager you have an obligation to make a report to the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX office. This means that a conversation with your faculty/staff member about these matters cannot be confidential, and you should inform them of this fact should the question arise. You can explain that you take their concerns seriously, the goal is to stop the behavior, and the most effective way to do that is to report their concerns so that the matter may be reviewed. You can also let them know that they have options with respect to what happens next, and they will always be able to choose whether they want to participate in any next steps that may be necessary.

  • A list of confidential resources for the staff/faculty member to discuss the experience of sexual harassment and misconduct is available. These resources can help an employee understand their options for moving forward and provide support in that process should they choose to make a report. Be sure that the staff/faculty member knows that only those resources on the list of confidential resources are confidential for this matter. Human Resources and ECRT will address all concerns that are brought to them.

  • If, after providing this information, your staff/faculty member still wishes to share their information with you, let them know that you will partner with them to support the required reporting process that is in place. If the behavior was of a sexual nature, or involves dynamics related to a protected class, consult with the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX (ECRT) Office. An investigator who is specially trained to handle these situations can determine if a formal complaint should be filed.

  • If the behavior was not sexual in nature or otherwise based on a protected class but is behavior not conducive to a healthy working environment (e.g., insulting someone, harshly criticizing someone or offensive joking), consult with HR. If you have any questions about which office is most appropriate to respond, contact ECRT for consultation.

  • Whether the staff/faculty member decides to share their information with you or not, thank them for coming forward and express how much you appreciate the trust they exhibited in approaching you. Reiterate your commitment to maintaining a workplace environment where all can flourish. Let them know that you welcome their feedback about any actions that can be taken to improve the workplace culture (in more general terms).

Resources for Individuals with Reporting Obligations (IROs)

Visit ECRT’s IRO page to find:

  • Information about the important role of an IRO
  • How to identify if you are an IRO
  • Training and resources

Learning and Development Opportunities for Your Team

In 2019, the university introduced a new sexual harassment educational module Cultivating a Culture of Respect. This training is required for all faculty and staff on all U-M campuses. Additionally, based upon the particulars of your work environment, you may consider some learning and development opportunities for your team.