Guidelines on Fairness in Searches

  1. The college HR Director shall meet with the Search Committee to provide training about fairness in job searches and determine in what ways her/his office can be of assistance in the search.
  1. In search committee deliberations, committee members or others may not take into consideration or speak about religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, past or current military status, or a determinable physical or mental characteristic of an individual that may result from disease, injury, congenital condition of birth, or functional disorder if it is unrelated to the individual’s ability to perform the duties of a particular job and if it is unrelated to the individual’s qualifications for employment.

    [Note that the key criterion here in terms of whether discussion can take place is whether characteristics are “unrelated to the individual’s ability to perform the duties of a particular job.” The College’s legal advisor has indicated that given the College’s mission it is permissible to consider the degree to which an individual can make a contribution to campus diversity when engaging in deliberations, and to that end it is permissible to speak about these characteristics when they are relevant to a candidate’s ability to contribute to campus diversity.]
  1. In the event that an inappropriate comment is made during a search committee meeting or an interview, it shall be the duty of other committee members or interviewers to call to the attention of the person who has made the comment and to the other members or interviewers the inappropriateness of the comment. If the person who made the comment recognizes his/her error and agrees not to allow the illegal or unethical bias implied by the comment to influence his/her decision, and if the other committee members or interviewers feel that the person is sincere in his/her agreement, then the search process shall continue without interruption.
  1. If one or more member(s) of the search committee feel(s) that the person who made the inappropriate comment is not sincere in his/her agreement that the implied bias will not influence his/her decision, then that member or those members shall call for an interruption of the search process and shall immediately report the incident to the HR Director for investigation. That investigation shall be carried out quickly enough to keep the search going forward within a reasonable span of time.
  1. If, upon investigation of the incident, the HR Director believes that the individual who made the inappropriate comment is incapable of acting fairly in the search, he/she shall remove that person from the search committee and the search process shall then continue without that person.
  1. If, upon investigation, the HR Director believes that several committee members have displayed an illegal or unethical bias such that the entire search is unfair, he/she shall dissolve the search committee. The search may be postponed for a certain period of time. If it is still possible for the search to go forward within the previously stated time-frame, the appropriate administrator shall appoint a new search committee.
  1. Possible sanctions include:
    • (a) If the offending person is a faculty member, he/she shall be suspended, either permanently or for a specified period of time, from participating on search committees, serving on the Faculty Personnel Committee, serving as a departmental or divisional chairperson, and chairing any faculty committee, since all these positions involve influencing personnel decisions.
    • (b) If the offending person is a non-faculty member, he/she shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge.
    • (c) A letter shall be placed in the personnel file of the offending faculty member or staff member if he/she has been removed from a search committee on account of illegal or unethical bias.