Harvard Business School is firmly committed to maintaining an environment free from sexual harassment.


This section regarding procedures describes the options available to members of the Harvard Business School community who believe that they have been sexually harassed. This statement (together with the related materials to which it refers) is intended to provide procedures for dealing with sexual harassment in both the educational and employment settings. It is the School’s policy that no one will be reprimanded or discriminated against in any way for initiating an inquiry or a complaint in good faith. It is also the School’s policy to protect the rights of any person against whom a complaint is lodged. Once an inquiry or complaint is made, every effort will be made to resolve the problem within a reasonable period of time. Anyone who wishes clarification or further information about any of these procedures is encouraged to speak with the Chief Human Resources Officer Ellen Mahoney or the Associate Dean Angela Crispi. Please note that members of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers are covered by the sexual harassment policies agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement and described in the Personnel Manual. For Union members, these policies take precedence over the policies governing other members of the University community.


In many instances, informal discussion and mediation can be useful in resolving perceived instances of harassment. Problems are sometimes easier to resolve when an informal atmosphere encourages people to identify the difficulty, talk it out, and agree on how to deal with it.

1. Whom to Contact

Problems, questions, and grievances may be discussed with anyone in a supervisory position, for example an instructor, section chair, course head or unit head. In cases of employment-setting harassment, Ellen Mahoney, the Chief Human Resources Officer, or any member of her staff, would be an appropriate person to contact. In addition, officers designated by the Dean under 4.a below are particularly well informed and well placed to help. These officers may be especially useful in advising and aiding an individual’s own efforts to resolve a problem. Such help may involve coaching the individual in preparation for a conversation with the person causing the problem, or assisting the individual in writing a letter to that person describing the offending behavior and requesting that it stop. Alternatively, the individual may ask the officer to meet with the person causing the problem. Merely discussing a complaint with one of these officers does not commit one to making a formal charge.

2. Confidentiality

Throughout the advising process, these officers will ordinarily hold information in confidence unless or until the initiating individual agrees that another party or parties must be informed to facilitate a solution. Anyone with an inquiry, concern, or complaint is welcome to bring another member of the HBS community to discussions with a designated officer.

Formal Complaint Procedures: Harassment Involving Students

Complaints about harassment committed by students (whether against other students, faculty, staff members, or other members of the HBS community) should be brought to the attention of the appropriate contact person of the relevant Program, be it MBA, Doctoral, or Executive Education. Such complaints will be handled in accordance with each program’s customary student disciplinary procedures.

Formal Complaint Procedures: Harassment Involving Staff

Complaints that a staff member has engaged in harassment should be brought to the attention of Ellen Mahoney, the Chief Human Resources Officer, or Denis Collet or Sally Robinson, Associate Directors in Human Resources. Procedures for harassment complaints against non-unionized, non-faculty employees are set forth in Section 2-2 (p. 2) of the Harvard University Personnel Manual. Copies of the Personnel Manual are available at the Harvard University Office of Human Resources, Holyoke Center, 6th Floor and in the Employment Policies and Contracts section of HARVie.

Formal Complaint Procedures: Harassment Involving a Faculty Member

Anyone who believes himself or herself to be the subject of sexual harassment involving a faculty member may choose, either initially or after having sought an informal resolution through a designated officer, to bring a complaint through the faculty’s formal procedures, with the possible outcome of disciplinary action against the accused. Faculty members themselves are strongly encouraged to take action if they feel they are being sexually harassed by any member of the HBS community - faculty, student, participant of an executive program, or staff.

All three types of complaint procedures seek to protect, insofar as possible, the privacy of individuals involved in a complaint. Both in fact-finding and in the final disposition of a complaint, every effort will be made to carry out procedures confidentially.

3. When to File a Complaint

Prompt reporting is strongly urged, as it is often difficult to trace the facts of an incident long after it has occurred.

4. How to File a Complaint

a. MBA students, doctoral students, executives in HBS programs, faculty, and administrative and research staff may bring formal complaints to designated officers. An investigative officer should then be appointed. For MBA students with a complaint, the officer is Brit Dewey, Executive Director, MBA Program or Maureen Walker, Director, MBA Program Support Services. For doctoral students with a complaint, the officer is John Korn, Executive Director, Doctoral Programs. For executives in HBS programs with a complaint, the officer is Nancy DellaRocco, Executive Director, Executive Education. For Faculty with a complaint, the officers are Jan Hammond, Senior Associate Dean, Director of Faculty Planning, and Valerie Porciello, Executive Director, Division of Research and Faculty Development. For staff with a complaint, the officers are Ellen Mahoney, Chief Human Resources Officer, or Sally Robinson or Denis Collet, both are Associate Directors, Human Resources.

NOTE: Once the complaint has been received, an investigative officer will be appointed. Any one of the officers named above may be appointed to investigate a complaint. Other investigative officers may be designated as needed.

b. The individual may wish to have another member of the HBS community present at discussions of the complaint.

c. After discussion with the designated officer, the individual files a signed petition describing the complaint and requesting a formal investigation. This petition will be shown to the accused person, who will then file a written response. This response will in turn be shown to the complainant. If appropriate, the investigative officer will also conduct follow-up interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and other witnesses with relevant knowledge, to ascertain the facts.

d. Use of the internal complaint procedure does not foreclose subsequent legal action. Individuals may wish to obtain legal advice as they consider the courses of action open to them. However, the proceedings described here are not those of a court of law and the presence of legal counsel is not permitted during these discussions.

5. Protection of the Complainant and Respondent

Throughout the complaint process, every effort will be made to protect the individual bringing the complaint (hereafter referred to as "complainant") from reprisals and to protect the accused (hereafter referred to as "respondent") from irresponsible complaints.

6. The Complaint Process

a. The timetable set forth below is approximate. The Dean or Dean’s designate may, at his or her discretion, allow additional time for any of the steps noted.

b. Within ten days of receiving the written complaint, the investigative officer will consult with the complainant and with the respondent, and others if appropriate, in order to ascertain the facts and views of both parties. The University General Counsel’s Office may also be consulted.

c. Within 120 days from the date on which the complaint was filed, the investigative officer will conduct an inquiry and prepare a report, in confidence, summarizing the relevant evidence. A draft of the report will be shown to the complainant and the respondent in order to permit them the opportunity to respond before a final report is made.

d. Within 30 days thereafter, the final report, presenting the findings in summary, will be sent to the Dean’s designate and shown to the complainant and the respondent.

e. Within ten days thereafter, the complainant and the respondent may each submit a statement to the Dean’s designate concerning the report.

f. The investigative officer may at any point dismiss a complaint if it is found to be clearly without merit.

g. Within 30 days after the submission of any final statements from the complainant and the respondent, the Dean will decide to:

1) take whatever action he believes is warranted by the evidence; or

2) ask the investigative officer or panel to consider the matter further and submit a supplementary report.

h. Following the disposition of a case, any party who is dissatisfied with the decision may appeal by submitting a statement to the Dean or the Dean’s designate, within 30 days, stating with specificity the reasons for his or her dissatisfaction. The Dean or Dean’s designate, within 30 days of submission of such a request, may decide whether reconsideration is appropriate or, at his or her discretion, submit the matter for further investigation.

i. In certain cases, it may be appropriate for the Dean to modify the procedures set forth above in light of the nature of the charges and the Procedures for Discipline of Officers in cases involving grave misconduct or neglect of duty arising under the Third Statute of the University.

7. Penalties

The penalties for sexual harassment depend on the nature of the offense. Sanctions may range from reprimand to dismissal.

8. What Happens Following the Disposition of a Case

a. The facts about individual cases and their dispositions are confidential. The Dean or Dean’s designate will, however, inform the complainant and respondent, in confidence, of his or her conclusions in the case.

b. The investigative officer will ensure that any action determined by the Dean is carried out.

c. A permanent, written record of the formal complaint process and its outcome is ordinarily retained by the Dean of the Faculty.

Harvard’s policy against discrimination is consistent with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and 34 CFR Part 106. In addition to contacting the persons listed at the end of these Procedures, persons with inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and 34 CFR Part 106 may contact the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202, or the Regional Director, Office of Civil Rights, J. W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse, Room 222, Post Office Square, Boston, MA 02109.