It is a goal of the UW Board of Regents to be recognized as a national leader in the prevention of sexual violence and this goal is shared by UWM leadership. In pursuit of that goal, the Regents passed Resolution 11038 which requires the modification of human resources policies regarding:
- Documenting sexual harassment allegations and investigations.
- Maintaining personnel files and conducting reference checks.
- Exchanging personnel files between all UW institutions and State
of Wisconsin agencies.
The specific UW System polices being modified are UW System Administrative Policy SYS 1275 (formerly TC 1), Recruitment Policies, and UW System Administrative Policy SYS 1261 (formerly HR 13), Personnel Files. The modifications apply to all employee categories except student employees and graduate assistants.
Modifications to SYS 1275, Recruitment Policies, will require:
That finalists for UWM positions, determined via recruitment, ad hoc hiring, short term academic staff or via recruitment waiver; the finalist’s most recent employer; and any UW or State agency the finalist has worked for in the last seven years be asked:
- Have you (or the candidate) ever been found to have engaged in any sexual violence or sexual harassment?
- Are you (or the candidate) currently under investigation for allegations of sexual violence or sexual harassment against you, and/or have you (or the candidate) ever left employment during an active investigation into allegations of sexual violence or sexual harassment that were made against you (or the candidate)?
These questions will be asked and documented by designated HR professionals in each School/College/Division. Supervisors and/or members of search and screen committees will not be expected to ask these questions.
Modifications to SYS 1261, Personnel Files, will require:
- In the event of an active investigation into sexual violence or sexual harassment, a placeholder indicating that the investigation has commenced will be inserted into the personnel file of the employee under investigation.
- When the investigation is complete, if there is no finding of sexual violence or sexual harassment, the placeholder will be removed and nothing of the investigation will remain.
- When the investigation is complete and there is a finding, the finding will be inserted into the personnel file of the employee under investigation.
Obligations of Supervisors under the policy modifications include:
- When conducting a reference check of a candidate for hire, please indicate that if it has not already occurred, a separate reference check regarding any possible sexual misconduct by the candidate will be forthcoming from a UWM HR professional.
- When contacted as a reference for a current or former UWM employee and you are/were the employee’s supervisor, please state:
- “We inform all employers calling for a reference check that questions related to any open investigations for allegations of sexual misconduct or any findings related to sexual misconduct are addressed by our human resources staff. Please understand that by telling you this I am not suggesting that there are any issues, only that by University policy, I cannot answer any such questions if you have them. Please address further inquiries regarding any potential sexual misconduct to (INSERT NAME OF DESIGNATED HR PROFESSIONAL or email@example.com).”
- This language must be stated whether you are asked about sexual misconduct or not.
- If you are unsure who should be contacted in your division please refer callers to the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UWM employees contacted as a reference for a current/former UWM employee and who are/were not the supervisor are not obligated to relay the language regarding sexual misconduct. If asked about sexual misconduct by the current/former employee while serving as a reference, simply request that the person conducting the reference check contact your school/college/division PREP or HR Partner or direct them to email@example.com.