Anti-Bullying Policy

Policy number09-02
Responsible officeHuman Resources
Enforcement officialGeneral Counsel
ClassificationBoard of Trustees-delegated Policy
Category09. Employment: Faculty and Staff

Statement of policy

This policy documents the University’s commitment to provide an environment free from bullying behavior and provides a process for addressing behavior that constitutes bullying.

Summary of contents/major changes

This is a new policy.

1. Purpose of Policy 

Western Michigan University is committed to ensuring an environment that is free from harassment, bullying, and discrimination. Claims of harassment or discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, protected disability, veteran status, height, weight, or marital status should be submitted to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). This policy does not address harassment that is based on protected class membership. This policy only applies to employees. Bullying by Students is governed by the Student Code. 

2. Stakeholders Impacted by the Policy 

WMU employees. 

3. Key Definitions 

3.1. Bullying. Repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment). This includes but is not limited to: creating web pages with a negative focus; posting insults on social networking sites; and/or spreading rumors with malicious intent. 

3.2. Harassment: unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, protected disability, veteran status, height, weight, or marital status. 

3.3. Protected Speech means speech that is relating to a matter of public concern and is permitted by the First Amendment. 

4. Full Policy Details 

4.1. Bullying can take the following forms, but is not limited to: using obscene or intimidating gestures, using personal insults, engaging in public humiliation, or subjecting the target to attacks indirectly through an empowered assistant/associate. 

4.2. Employees may not engage in severe or repeated behavior or speech that a reasonable person would consider bullying by definition in this policy. 

4.3. The Office of Human Resources and/or the Office of the General Counsel will investigate and address complaints of bullying that are submitted either through the EthicsPoint Hotline or that come in from other sources. 

4.4. An allegation of violation of this Policy and the basis of the allegation shall be communicated confidentially, preferably (but not necessarily) in writing, to the next higher administrator in the employee's supervisory line who is at least at the level of director or department chairperson. Measures shall be taken to ensure that no adverse action is taken, either directly or indirectly, against an individual who makes allegations in good faith. Any University Employee who believes they have been subject to retaliation for making a good faith report pursuant to this Policy should immediately notify pursuant to the Whistleblower Policy. 

4.5. The investigation may include informal dispute resolution including mediation and facilitation. 

4.6. This policy does not prohibit Protected Speech unless such speech meets the definition of workplace harassment set out in applicable anti-discrimination laws. As noted above, such complaints of harassment should be referred to OIE. 

4.7. This policy will be implemented by inclusion on the University Policy website and by notice from Marketing and Strategic Communications. 

5. Accountability 

Employees engaging in bullying will be subject to appropriate discipline up to and including termination. This policy does not replace or supersede provisions of a collective bargaining agreement. All provisions in any collective bargaining agreement will be adhered to and this policy does not erode any such provisions. 

6. Related Procedures and Guidelines 

Human Resources Employee Handbook Section 9.1.H  

WMU EthicsPoint Reporting Hotline 

7. FAQs  

7.1. Where do I report a claim of bullying? 

Answer: Contact the employee’s supervisor. If that is unsuccessful, contact your Human Resources representative to report a claim of bullying or submit through the EthicsPoint hotline. 

7.2. May I report bullying on behalf of someone else? 

Answer: Yes 

7.3. Does this Policy apply to behaviors between WMU employees that occur outside of work? 

Answer: This policy applies to any bullying behavior that manifests itself in the workplace, even if it occurs off campus and outside of work


Effective date of current versionMarch 1, 2020
Date first adoptedMarch 1, 2020
Proposed date of next reviewMarch 1, 2023


Certified by

Warren Hills
Associate Vice President of Human Resources

At the direction of

Edward Montgomery