Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy

October 9, 2018

The Colleges will not condone any verbal or physical harassment of or discrimination against any employee by another employee, non-employee (e.g. contractors and vendors), student, or guest on any basis including, but not limited to, age, race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, physical or mental disability, national origin, religion, military or veteran status, marital or familial status, pregnancy, genetic information or any other status protected by law. The purpose of this policy is to assure that, in the workplace, no employee harasses another or discriminates against another on the basis of any protected status. Discrimination and verbal or physical harassment will not be tolerated and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

The Colleges’ commitment to non-discrimination applies, but is not limited, to decisions made with respect to hiring, placement, compensation, benefits, promotions, demotions, tenure, transfers, terminations, administration of benefits, and all other terms and conditions of employment.  Likewise, employees are responsible for not engaging in discriminatory behavior toward their co-workers.

Prohibited verbal harassment includes but is not limited to slurs, epithets, derogatory comments, unwelcome jokes, teasing, and threats.

Prohibited physical harassment includes but is not limited to hitting, pushing, groping, touching, or other unwelcome physical contact.

Other forms of prohibited harassment include posting of offensive or discriminatory letters, emails, texts, notes, posters, or invitations.

If you feel you are being discriminated against or harassed on any basis, you should follow the steps outlined in this policy. Your complaint will be promptly investigated and the investigation will be conducted as confidentially as possible, consistent with the Colleges’ obligation to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation that ensures due process for all involved parties. Adverse action will not be taken against you for reporting or participating in the investigation of a violation of this policy in good faith.

Like all other forms of harassment, the Colleges will not condone any sexual harassment of its employees. All employees, including supervisors and managers, will be subject to severe discipline, up to and including termination, for any substantiated act of sexual harassment they commit.  Likewise, managerial personnel who knowingly allow such behavior to continue will be subject to severe discipline, up to and including termination. The Colleges’ sexual harassment policy can be found in the SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY, attached as Appendix 3.

Sexual harassment can include, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances or propositions, preferential or derogatory treatment based on gender, unnecessary touching, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, the display of sexually suggestive materials or pictures, and explicit or offensive comments or jokes with a sexual content or based upon gender.  The Sexual Misconduct Policy contains a detailed description of what constitutes sexual harassment.

Procedures for Making, Investigating and Resolving Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Complaints

Employees who feel they are being discriminated against or harassed are encouraged to report the suspected discrimination or harassment to their supervisor immediately.  Although not required, employees may choose to utilize the complaint form attached to this handbook and/or complete the form available online.  Any suspected discrimination, harassment, or retaliation should be reported verbally and in writing. If the employee’s immediate supervisor is the source of the alleged discrimination or harassment, or the employee otherwise feels uncomfortable speaking with his or her supervisor, the employee should report the problem to the supervisor’s superior, the Title IX Coordinator, or to the Office of Human Resources.  All complaints involving discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression will be handled under the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Complaints

Supervisors and managers who receive a discrimination or harassment complaint should inform the Office of Human Resources after which an investigation will be undertaken. Confidentiality of a discrimination or harassment complaint will be maintained, to the extent possible, and only those who need to know about such a complaint will be advised of its existence.

Investigations

Complaints will be investigated as expeditiously as possible. All employees who may have knowledge of either the incident in question or similar problems may be interviewed. Both the complaint and the investigative steps and findings will be documented as thoroughly as possible.

Cooperation

An effective harassment and non-discrimination policy requires the support and example of all Colleges’ employees. Colleges’ agents or employees who engage in discrimination, harassment, or retaliation or who fail to cooperate with investigations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation may be disciplined, up to and including termination.

Investigation Outcome

Any employee of the Colleges who has been found to have discriminated against or harassed another employee will be subjected to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including immediate discharge.

Protection Against Retaliation

An employee who, in good faith, reports or participates in the investigation of an alleged incident of discrimination or harassment will under no circumstances be subject to reprisal or retaliation of any kind.  Such retaliation is unlawful.  Any employee who feels he or she has been subjected to such adverse actions should report the incident to his or her supervisor or the Office of Human Resources. Any employee, however, who is found to have knowingly made a false accusation of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Legal Protections and External Remedies

While the Colleges encourage all employees who believe they have experienced or witnessed discrimination, sexual harassment, or harassment based on any other status protected by this policy or applicable law to notify the Colleges of any such violations, employees may choose to pursue remedies under the following laws:

  • The New York Human Rights Law (HRL), N.Y. Executive Law, art. 15, § 290 et seq., applies to employers in New York State.  The HRL prohibits many forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment.  A complaint alleging violation of the Human Rights Law may be filed either with the Division of Human Rights (DHR) or in New York State Supreme Court.  Complaints with DHR may be filed any time within one year of the alleged discrimination. If an individual did not file at DHR, they can sue directly in state court under the HRL, within three years of the alleged discrimination.  An individual may not file with DHR if they have already filed a HRL complaint in state court.  DHR will investigate your complaint and determine whether there is probable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred. Probable cause cases are forwarded to a public hearing before an administrative law judge. If discrimination is found after a hearing, DHR has the power to award relief, which varies but may include requiring the Colleges to take action to stop the harassment, or redress the damage caused, including paying monetary damages, attorney’s fees and civil fines.  DHR’s main office contact information is: NYS Division of Human Rights, One Fordham Plaza, Fourth Floor, Bronx, New York 10458, (718) 741-8400, www.dhr.ny.gov.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq, also prohibits many forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment.  An individual can file a complaint with the EEOC anytime within 300 days from the alleged harassment.  The EEOC will investigate the complaint, and determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred, at which point the EEOC will issue a Right to Sue letter permitting the individual to file a complaint in court.  The EEOC does not hold hearings or award relief, but may take other action including pursuing cases in court on behalf of complaining parties.  Courts may award remedies if discrimination is found to have occurred.  If an employee believes that he/she has been discriminated against at work, he/she can file a “Charge of Discrimination.”  The EEOC has district, area, and field offices where complaints can be filed.  Contact the EEOC by calling 1-800-669-4000 (1-800-669-6820 (TTY)), visiting their website at www.eeoc.gov or via email at info@eeoc.gov.
  • Many localities enforce laws protecting individuals from sexual harassment and discrimination. An individual should contact the county, city or town in which they live to find out if such a law exists.

CONTACT

337 Pulteney Street
1st Floor, Gulick Hall
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, NY 14456

Ph: (315) 781-3312
Fax: (315) 781-3314


Office Hours:
Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.