Non-Discrimination/Anti-Harassment Policy

Sponsor:

Office of the President, Affirmative Action Office

Contact:

Affirmative Action Officer

Category:

Collegewide

Number:

100.004

Effective Date:

2012/01/01

Review Date:

2013/01/01

Implementation History:

Revised January 2012; Original March 2007

Keywords:

Nondiscrimination Policy, Anti-harassment, Sexual Harassment, Harassment, Discrimination

Background Information:

Previous policy entitled "Anti-Discrimination Policy"

Purpose

SUNY Empire State College is an equal-opportunity employer committed to an educational and employment environment in which all individuals (faculty, staff, students and visitors) are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work or study in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal treatment and addresses discriminatory practices, including harassment. The college expects that all relationships among persons at the college are professional and free of bias, prejudice and harassment.

Empire State College strictly prohibits sexual harassment of either employees or students. The college accepts the proposition that sexual harassment, like any civil rights violation, generates a harmful atmosphere. The college acts positively to investigate alleged sexual harassment and to affect a remedy when an allegation is substantiated.

Definitions

Sexual Harassment constitutes discrimination and is illegal under federal and state law. For the purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is definedin the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines as: 

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when, for example:

  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic treatment
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or study performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.

Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and overt behaviors and may involve individuals of the same or different gender. Depending on the circumstances, these behaviors may include, but are not limited to unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; sexual jokes and innuendo; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies; leering, catcalls or touching; insulting or obscene comments or gestures; display or circulation on college email of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; and other physical, verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature.

Harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is strictly prohibited. Under this policy, harassment is verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, domestic violence victim status, or any other characteristic protected by law or that of his/her relatives, friends or associates, and that:

  1. has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or study environment
  2. has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or study performance
  3. otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment or learning opportunities.

Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation on the campus of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group (including through email).

Protected Categories of Discrimination
Discrimination can take many forms. For the purpose of this policy, the protected categories under discrimination are race and color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, military status, domestic violence victim status, arrest or conviction record, or predisposing genetic characteristics.

Statements

It is the policy of Empire State College to provide an educational and employment environment free from all forms of intimidation, hostility, offensive behavior and discrimination, including sexual harassment. Such behavior or tolerance of such behavior on the part of an administrator, supervisor, faculty or staff member violates this policy and may result in administrative action, civil and/or legal action. The college will not tolerate retaliation against any individual who makes a complaint of discrimination, harassment or who participates in an investigation. Concerns of retaliation will be investigated and are subject to disciplinary action.

Individuals and Conduct Covered

This policy applies to faculty, staff and students, and prohibits harassment, discrimination and retaliation with respect to applicants, employment, programs or activities at the college whether engaged in by fellow employees, faculty, supervisors or administrators, or by someone not directly connected to the college (e.g., an outside vendor, consultant or customer).

Conduct prohibited by these policies is unacceptable in the workplace/academic class and in any college-related setting, including business trips, meetings and college-related social events.

Retaliation is Prohibited

It is unlawful to retaliate against an individual when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits and any other term or condition of employment.  In addition, it is illegal to retaliate against any individual who reports acts of discrimination or harassment or participates in an investigation of such reports. Retaliation against an individual for reporting harassment or discrimination or for participating in an investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination is a serious violation of this policy and, like harassment or discrimination itself, will be the subject of disciplinary action.

Information and Reporting 

Questions regarding harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination may be addressed to Affirmative Action Officer Mary Morton, Office of the President, 2 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866; or mary.morton@esc.edu. All allegations of harassment or discrimination are taken very seriously and are investigated. Supervisors and other college officials are required to report any known or perceived incidences of harassment or discrimination to the affirmative action officer. 

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Empire State College complies with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and sexual harassment including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Governor’s Executive Order No. 33 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and the Age Discrimination Act. 

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

Empire State College, in prohibiting discrimination and sexual harassment based on sex or other protected characteristics, provides a confidential grievance procedure for students and employees to file complaints of discrimination and/or harassment.  A copy of the Discrimination Complaint Procedure can be found on the college’s Affirmative Action Office website (www.esc.edu/affirmative-action-office). Appendix A of this document provides specific information on prohibited acts and behaviors. 

The college’s Affirmative Action Plan describes initiatives undertaken to prevent discrimination and harassment and nurture an inclusive, respectful and collegial environment among employees, students and visitors. The Affirmative Action Plan has been prepared in accordance with State University of New York policy and the regulations promulgated by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), U.S. Department of Labor, 41 CFR Chapter 60 and Executive Order 11246, Governor’s Executive Order No. 28 that prohibits discrimination relating to employment based on sexual orientation, Executive Order 19 pertaining to victims of domestic violence, and the State University of New York’s Policies of the Board of Trustees.