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Filing a Complaint

Complaint of Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of Caltech to provide a work and academic environment free of unlawful harassment and retaliation.  Harassment is the creation of a hostile or intimidating environment in which inappropriate conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere significantly with an individual’s work, education, or living conditions.

Sexual harassment is a Title IX violation as well as a violation of Caltech’s Unlawful Harassment Policy.  Sexual harassment is taken very seriously by the Institute.  Caltech has a responsibility to address, end and protect the community from harassment.  There are several courses of action available to address complaints of unlawful harassment, each with different consequences and implications with respect to confidentiality and resultant action.

Complaint of Sexual Misconduct

All members of the Caltech community have the right to be treated, and the responsibility to treat others, with dignity and respect.  These principals are fundamental to the educational and intellectual mission of Caltech. 

Sexual misconduct accounts for a broad range of behaviors including:

  • A physical sexual act perpetrated forcibly and/or against a person’s will, or where the person is incapable of giving consent
  • sexual assault,
  • rape,
  • forced sodomy,
  • forced oral contact,
  • statutory rape,
  • sexual assault with an object,
  • sexual battery,
  • exploitation,
  • threat of sexual assault.

Sexual misconduct can committed by individuals of any gender, or the same gender, strangers, acquaintances, and people involved in intimate or sexual relationships. 

Sexual misconduct is a violation of Title IX and Caltech Policies.  Caltech will not tolerate sexual violence.  Caltech actively encourages reporting of violation of the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and is committed to responding promptly, and thoroughly investigating all complaint of sexual violence.

Informal Option:

An individual who believe that he or she has been harassed may choose to resolve his or her concerns informally. 

  • The goal of the informal option is to quickly end offending behavior without utilizing disciplinary action. 
  • Individuals with an official status at Caltech, such as faculty, managers or supervisors are expected to follow up with the complainant to make sure that the issue has been resolved.
  • For more information on Informal options for resolving unlawful harassment, please see Caltech’s Unlawful Harassment Policy
  • For more information on Informal options for sexual misconduct concerns, please see Caltech’s Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.

Formal Action:

A formal complaint is a request that Caltech take action. 

  • The complainant may file a formal complaint by reporting the offending conduct to individuals listed in the Policy (and below). 
  • The complaint is then taken to the appropriate person or office so that the Institute can initiate an investigation about incident(s). 
  • Caltech will not delay its investigations of complaints of inappropriate behavior because of a law enforcement investigation. 

Anonymous reports

Concerns about possible harassment may also be reported anonymously by calling the Caltech compliance hotline at (626) 395-8787 or (888) 395-8787 or the JPL Ethics hotmail at (818) 354-9999 or (866) GOJPLEP, or by submitting a report complaint via the hotline contact form


Anyone who witnesses or experiences - or is otherwise aware of conduct that he or she believes to be in violation of the Unlawful Harassment Policy or the Sexual and Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, including retaliation against someone for coming forward or reporting unlawful harassment, is urged to contact Caltech immediately. Reports can be made to the following people:

Caltech’s Title IX Coordinator: Hima Vatti
(626) 395-3132
Office: 205 Center for Student Services


Vice Provosts
Associate Deans
Student Affairs Directors
Master of Student Houses
Director of Employee & Organizational Development (EOD Director)
Employee Relations Consultants
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Division Chairs
Division Administrators


Director for Human Resources
Deputy Director for Human Resources
Employee Relations Manager
Employee Relations Consultants
Other JPL Managers

These individuals will ensure that the complaint reaches the appropriate investigating office. Caltech may initiate an investigation about an incident if it becomes aware that inappropriate conduct may have occurred. Caltech will not delay its investigation of complaints of inappropriate conduct because of a law enforcement investigation. Caltech encourages members of the community to seek the support of law enforcement when there is a report of sexual misconduct.

Individuals also may report harassment or violence anonymously by contacting the Caltech Hotline at (626) 395-8787 or (888) 395-8787 or the JPL Ethics Hotline at (818) 354-9999 or (866) G0JPLEO, or by submitting a compliance hotline form.

In addition, an employee who believes he or she has been harassed has the right to file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing which have the authority to remedy violations. Employees, students and others participating in Caltech’s educational programs and activities may file complaints with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (415) 486-5555 or or (800) 421-3481 or Beneficiaries of NASA funds can file a complaint at or find more information at For more information about nondiscrimination under grant-related civil rights laws including Title IX, visit

Beneficiaries of NSF funds can file a complaint the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at, (703) 292-8020 or find more information at

Filing a complaint with a federal agency under Title IX must be done within 180 days after an alleged discriminatory or harassing event and there is no requirement to exhaust remedies through Caltech's internal procedures before filing directly with a federal agency. Participants in programs funded by other federal agencies providing federal financial assistance to Caltech may file directly with those agencies.

No member of the Caltech community will be retaliated against for making a good-faith report of alleged harassment or for participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing conducted by Caltech, or by a state or federal agency.

Resources for the Community

Caltech also offers members of the Caltech community the choice of seeking confidential counseling outside Caltech’s formal mechanisms for resolving unlawful harassment complaints. These confidential counseling services are intended for the personal benefit of the individual and offer a setting where various courses of action can be explored. For a list of confidential resources, please see the Title IX website or or for JPL employees, the JPL Employee Assistance Program website hotline form.