Who is a Responsible Employee?
Generally, all Pitt employees are Responsible Employees unless their job requires professional confidentiality, as in the case of mental health counselors, physicians, nurses, and clergy. A “Responsible Employee” is a University employee who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other sexual misconduct, or who a University community member could reasonably believe has this duty. When a survivor tells a Responsible Employee about an incident of sexual misconduct, the survivor has the right to expect the University to take prompt and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably.
What is a Responsible Employee’s Obligation?
With respect to Confidentiality, a Responsible Employee must report all relevant details about the alleged sexual misconduct shared by the survivor to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX, and our office will provide the survivor with information regarding resources, support services, interim measures and accommodations, and options for resolution. A sexual misconduct incident can be reported to our office through our online Report Form or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the extent possible, information reported by a Responsible Employee will be shared only with those responsible for handling the University’s response to the report. A Responsible Employee should not share information with law enforcement or other reporting units without the survivor’s consent or if there is a health or safety emergency.
The University is committed to combatting sexual misconduct. As a result, you should know that University faculty and staff members are required to report any instances of sexual misconduct, including harassment and sexual violence, to the University’s Title IX office. What this means is that as your professor, I am required to report any incidents of sexual misconduct that are directly reported to me, or of which I am somehow made aware. After a report is made, you will be contacted by the Title IX Office for opportunities for support and options for proceeding.
There are two important exceptions to this requirement about which you should be aware:
- A list of the designated University employees who, as counselors and medical professionals, do not have this reporting responsibility and can maintain confidentiality, can be found here: https://www.diversity.pitt.edu/civil-rights-title-ix-compliance/make-report/information-responsible-employees
- An important exception to the reporting requirement exists for academic work and advocacy. Disclosures about sexual misconduct that are shared as part of an academic project, classroom discussion, course assignment or public awareness event, are not required to be disclosed to the University’s Title IX office.
If you are the victim of sexual misconduct, Pitt encourages you to reach out to these resources:
- Title IX Office: 412-648-7860
- SHARE @ the University Counseling Center: 412-648-7930 (8:30 A.M. TO 5 P.M. M-F) and 412-648-7856 (AFTER BUSINESS HOURS). This is a confidential resource.
- If you have a safety concern, please contact the University of Pittsburgh Police, 412-624-2121.
Other reporting information is available on the Make a Report page.
How should a Responsible Employee address a Disclosure?
Before a survivor reveals any information to a Responsible Employee, to the extent possible, the Responsible Employee should make sure that the survivor understands the employee’s reporting obligations—and, if the survivor wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the survivor to Confidential Resources.
If the survivor choose to disclose to the Responsible Employee what happened but also wants to maintain confidentiality, the employee should tell the survivor that the University will consider the survivor's request but cannot guarantee that the University will be able to honor it. In reporting details of the incident to the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX, the Responsible Employee will also inform the Title IX Coordinator in their report of the survivor’s request for confidentiality.
If you have questions regarding the Responsible Employee program, please contact the Office of Civil Rights & Title IX for additional information