XI: Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action

  1. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION POLICY OF SUNY  
  2. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION POLICY OF SUNY AT POTSDAM  
  3. COMMITMENT TO QUALITY  
  4. RECRUITMENT PROCEDURES  
  5. POLICY ON SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION AND OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
     
    1. POLICY STATEMENT
    2. SEXUAL HARASSMENT
    3. OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
    4. RECOMMENDED CORRECTIVE ACTION
    5. FALSE CHARGES
    6. RETALIATION
    7. CONFIDENTIALITY
    8. RECORD KEEPING

  6. SUMMARY OF FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS AND GUIDELINES

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A. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION POLICY OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK (SUNY)

The State University of New York Board of Trustees adopted an Equal Opportunity policy in 1971 calling for the development of a University-wide Affirmative Action Program to "detail actions designed to realize our University's commitment to equal employment; analyze employment patterns within the University; set forth plans to rectify any deficiencies; identify and remove impediments to equal opportunity;...provide for internal and external dissemination of University policy; pursue the commitment to equal opportunity throughout the institution; and provide for the review, assessment, evaluation, and improvement of University action in carrying out...Affirmative Action Programs. The SUNY Office for Diversity and Affirmative Action, a part of the Chancellor's Office has responsibility for implementation of this policy. In addition to the matters listed above, the Office also has responsibility for administering the SUNY Internal Discrimination Grievance Procedure, programs for people with disabilities, and programs to encourage minority business development.

Employees of the State University of New York are assured equal opportunity without regard to race, sex, age, national origin, religion, marital status, disability, or sexual orientation. In addition Vietnam  Era Veterans, disabled veterans, and Armed Forces service medal veterans are ensured equal opportunity under the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974.

Any employee of the State University of New York who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in any personnel decision or condition of employment may file a complaint with his or her campus Affirmative Action Officer using the University's Internal Discrimination Grievance Procedures. A copy of the procedures is available from the campus Office of Human Resources. Externally, complaints may be filed with the local office of the New York State Division of Human Rights or the applicable federal agency. Complaints of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation may be filed with the Governor's Office for Employee Relations in Albany.

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B. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION POLICY OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, AT POTSDAM

SUNY POTSDAM is committed to the principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity in all of its personnel procedures and practices. The College recruits, selects, hires, trains and promotes staff and provides benefits without regard to race, sex, age, national origin, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation except where sex is bona fide occupational qualification.

It is the policy of SUNY Potsdam to provide equal opportunity in employment and upward mobility for all qualified persons, to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, sex, age, national origin, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

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C. COMMITMENT TO QUALITY

The standing of SUNY Potsdam as a leading liberal arts college in the State of New York and in the nation requires that it recruit staff of the highest possible caliber. Its faculty and staff should be highly qualified for their positions and they should show promise of achievement in the future. They should exhibit breadth as well as depth of talent and they should be drawn from diverse backgrounds.

The search for new talent should, under normal circumstances, be national in scope. It should include advertising in leading professional journals, contact with major centers of excellence and a systematic attempt to bring to the campus the most talented and promising candidates. The College should avoid settling for less than the best.

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D. RECRUITMENT PROCEDURES

The college recruits its faculty and staff through an on-line recruitment system. Procedures related to that process are contained on the employment sight under supervisors guide.

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E. SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION AND OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT

1. POLICY STATEMENT

a) INTRODUCTION

An atmosphere of mutual respect among members of the academic community is necessary for SUNY Potsdam to function as a center of academic freedom and intellectual advancement. Any violation of mutual trust, any form of intimidation or exploitation, damages the institution's educational process by undermining the essential freedoms of inquiry and expression. Students, staff, and faculty must feel personally secure for real learning to take place.

As a place of work and study, SUNY Potsdam must be free of discrimination and harassment in all of its forms, including intimidation and exploitation. All students, staff, and faculty must be assured that the College will take action to prevent such misconduct, prevent its recurrence, remedy its discriminatory effect on the victim(s) and others (if appropriate) and ensure that anyone who engages in such behavior is subject to disciplinary procedures.

b) NON-DISCRIMATION NOTICE/POLICY

Pursuant to the State University of New York policy, SUNY Potsdam is committed to fostering a diverse community of outstanding faculty, staff, and students, as well as ensuring equal educational opportunity, employment, and access to services, programs, and activities, without regard to an individual’s race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction.  Employees, students, applicants, or other members of the campus community (including, but not limited to, vendors, visitors, and guests) may not be subjected to harassment that is prohibited by law or treated adversely or retaliated against based upon a protected characteristic.

The University’s policy is in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination and harassment.  These laws include the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the New York State Human Rights Law.  These laws prohibit discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and other laws, regulations, and policies prohibiting discrimination may be directed to Title IX Coordinator & Affirmative Action Officer Stacey Basford at (315) 267-2516/ basforsl@potsdam.edu. Inquiries may also be directed to the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, 32 Old Slip 26th Floor, New York, NY  10005-2500; Tel. (646) 428-3800; email OCR.NewYork@ed.gov.

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2. SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION

a) INTRODUCTION

Sexual discrimination (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence) is not simply inappropriate behavior; it is against the law. Title VII (Section 703) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from sexual harassment in that it is a form of unlawful sex discrimination. Title IX, enforced by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, protects both students and employees from sexual discrimination in that it constitutes differential treatment on the basis of sex. (Title IX applies to any educational institution receiving Federal funds.)

The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (Campus SaVE) Act provides mandatory procedures for reporting of sexual misconduct and protecting student rights in the context of investigations and disciplinary proceedings. Its enactment reflects a greater tendency to treat certain forms of Title IX sexual misconduct as a crime rather than a less serious civil offense

b) DEFINITIONS

i) Sex Discrimination – behaviors and actions that deny or limit a person’s ability to benefit from, and/or full participate in the educational programs or activities or employment opportunities because of a person’s sex. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence by employees, student, or third parties. Employees should report sexual discrimination that they observe or become aware of to the Title IX Coordinator.

ii) Sexual Harassment in the Educational Setting – unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include:
• unwelcome sexual advances;
• requests for sexual favors; and
• other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment of a student denies or limits, on the basis of sex, the student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in the educational institution’s program.

Such unwelcome sexual activity often occurs in relationships of unequal power: between a faculty member and a student, but it can also occur between a student and faculty member, with the latter as victim. Consenting romantic and sexual relationships between a faculty member and student, while not expressly forbidden, are generally deemed unwise. A faculty member who enters into a sexual relationship with a student, where a professional power differential exists, must realize that, if a charge of sexual harassment is subsequently lodged, it will be exceedingly difficult to prove a defense on grounds of mutual consent. Such unwelcome sexual activity also occurs in relationships of equal power: between students.

Examples of conduct that may constitute or support a finding of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following types of behavior:
• verbal or written sexually-suggestive, insulting, or obscene comments, jokes, or propositions including letters, notes, email, or comments
• visual contact, such as leering or staring at another's body
• sexually-suggestive cartoons, posters, magazines, or social media posts
• unwanted physical contact such as intentional touching, grabbing, pinching, or blocking movement.
• Using sexual gestures or touching oneself sexually in front of others
• Discussing one’s sexual thoughts, fantasies, or activities

iii) Sexual Harassment in the Employment Setting – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when any of the following occurs:
• Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s continued employment, promotion, or other condition of employment.
• Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an employee or job applicant.
• Such conduct is intended to interfere, or results in interference, with an employee’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Such unwelcome sexual activity often occurs in relationships of unequal power: between a supervisor and employee. Consenting romantic and sexual relationships between a supervisor and employee, while not expressly forbidden, are generally deemed unwise. A supervisor who enters into a sexual relationship with an employee, where a professional power differential exists, must realize that, if a charge of sexual harassment is subsequently lodged, it will be exceedingly difficult to prove a defense on grounds of mutual consent. Such unwelcome sexual activity also occurs in relationships of equal power: between colleagues.

Examples of conduct that may constitute or support a finding of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following types of behavior:
• verbal or written sexually-suggestive, insulting, or obscene comments, jokes, or propositions including letters, notes, email, or comments
• visual contact, such as leering or staring at another's body • sexually-suggestive cartoons, posters, magazines, or social media posts

• unwanted physical contact such as intentional touching, grabbing, pinching, or blocking movement.
• Using sexual gestures or touching oneself sexually in front of others
• Discussing one’s sexual thoughts, fantasies, or activities

iv) Sexual Assault – a physical sexual act or acts committed against a person’s will and consent or when a person is incapable of giving active consent, incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct, or incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, a sexual act or acts. Sexual assault is an extreme form of sexual harassment and includes what is commonly known as “rape,” whether forcible or non-forcible, “date rape,” and “acquaintance rape.” Nothing contained in this definition shall be construed to limit or, conflict with the sex offenses enumerated in Article 130 of the New York State Penal Law, which shall be the guiding reference in determining if alleged conduct is consistent with the definition of sexual assault.

v) Sexual Violence – physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent.

vi) Preponderance of the Evidence – the standard of proof in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases, which asks whether it is “more likely than not” that the sexual harassment or sexual violence occurred. If the evidence presented meets this standard, then the accused should be found responsible.

c) REPORTING SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION

If you experience, see, or otherwise learn of any conduct that you believe is sexual discrimination (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and/or sexual violence), you should report the conduct immediately to a Title IX Coordinator listed below or in case of imminent danger contact University Police at (315) 267-2222.

• Stacey Basford, VanHousen 392, (315) 267-2516, basforsl@potsdam.edu

If safe to do so, tell the person who is engaging in the conduct that you consider it unwelcome and would like it to stop.

d) DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

SUNY Potsdam has opted to use the SUNY-Wide Discrimination Procedure to provide prompt and equitable resolution of complaints of alleged sexual discrimination. The SUNY-Wide Discrimination Complaint Procedure can be found at: http://www.suny.edu/sunypp/documents.cfm?doc_id=451

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3. OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT

a) INTRODUCTION

Sexual harassment has been more thoroughly defined in the law than harassment based on other protected characteristics. Because harassment and discrimination can take many forms, an expanded definition and examples are provided herein. Intimidating, threatening, and harassing behavior can also occur without reference to a protected characteristics. This type of behavior may fall under the College's Workplace Violence Policy and should be followed-up through the Office of Human Resources.

b) DEFINITION

These definitions apply to any of the protected classes. Protected classes are defined as: : race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction.

i) Harassment on the Basis of Protected Characteristic(s) Other Than Sex/Gender – harassment based on race, color, age, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics is oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct relating to an individual’s protected characteristic(s) that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the educational institution’s programs or activities.

Examples of individual and third party harassing conduct:

c)  REPORTING OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
If you experience, see, or otherwise learn of any conduct that you believe is discrimination or harassment on the basis of protected characteristic(s) other than sex/gender, you should report the conduct immediately to the Affirmative Action Officer listed below or in case of imminent danger contact University Police at 315-267-2222.

  • Stacey Basford, Physical Plant/Service Center, Room 9, (315) 267-2516, (315) 267-3372, basforsl@potsdam.edu.
  • If safe to do so, tell the person who is engaging in the conduct that you consider it unwelcome and would like it to stop.

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    d) DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

    SUNY Potsdam has opted to use the SUNY-Wide Discrimination Procedure to provide prompt and equitable resolution of complaints of alleged discrimination. The SUNY-Wide Discrimination Complaint Procedure can be found at: http://www.suny.edu/sunypp/documents.cfm?doc_id=451

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    4. RECOMMENDED CORRECTIVE ACTION

    The purpose of any action to resolve a complaint will be to correct or to remedy the injury, if any, to the complainant and to prevent further discrimination or harassment. Recommended action may include written or verbal reprimand of the harasser; suspension, dismissal, or transfer of the harasser; a change of grade or other academic record for a student who has been the victim of harassment; a change in personnel action (such as a promotion) for an employee who has been victimized; or other appropriate action with the understanding that the imposition of sanctions against an employee can occur only after completion of contractual disciplinary procedures.

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    5. FALSE CHARGES

    If it has been determined that a complaint was made by a student with the knowledge that the facts were false, Title IX Coordinator or the Affirmative Action Officer shall so notify the Dean of Student Affairs. In the case of a false complaint made knowingly by an employee, this finding shall be stated in the recommendation to the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources for possible disciplinary action.

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    6. RETALIATION

    Retaliation against a person who files a complaint, serves as a witness, or assists or participates in any manner in this procedure is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action. Retaliation is an adverse action taken against an individual as a result of complaining about unlawful discrimination or harassment, exercising a legal right, and/or participating in a complaint investigation as a third-party witness. Participants who experience retaliation should contact a Title IX Coordinator or Affirmative Action Officer.

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    7. CONFIDENTIALITY

    The College shall maintain confidentiality to the extent possible within the requirements of conducting reasonable investigations. Only those who have a need to know will be told the identity of the parties to a complaint. In some instances, a grievant may choose to take no action or to defer such action until a later date in order to maintain anonymity. In these instances, the College reserves the right to limited disclosure and to take appropriate action in order to ensure the safety and well being of other members of the College community.

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    8. RECORD KEEPING

    Notice of all reports of discrimination or harassment must be forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator or Affirmative Action Officer by the supervisor receiving the complaint. The Title IX Coordinator or Affirmative Action Officer will keep a record of all informal and formal complaints. This information will be used to monitor repeated complaints within the same division or against the same individual. This information will also be used to document the incidence of discrimination or harassment in the College community.

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    F. SUMMARY OF FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS AND GUIDELINES

    1. EXECUTIVE ORDER 11246, as amended, prohibits job discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin and requires Affirmative Action to ensure equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment.

    2. TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color or national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance.

    3. TITLE VII OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964, as amended, prohibits job discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

    4. SECTION 503 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973 prohibits job discrimination because of handicap and requires Affirmative Action to employ and advance in employment qualified handicapped workers.

    5. SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of physical or mental handicap in every federally assisted program or activity in the country.

    6. SECTION 402 OF THE VIETNAM ERA VETERANS' READJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1974 (as amended) prohibits job discrimination and requires Affirmative Action to employ and advance in employment (1) qualified Vietnam Era Veterans during a period which ends December 31, 1991, and, (2) qualified Special Disabled Veterans throughout their working life if they have a 30 percent or more disability; or a disability rated at 10 or 20 percent in the case of a veteran who has been determined under Section 1506 of Title U.S. Code to have a serious employment handicap; or a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service connected disability. Amended 2006 Armed Forces service medal veterans would include any veteran who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a US. Military operation for which a service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive order 12985. Disabled veterans would include any veteran who: (1) is entitled to compensation or who but for the receipt of military retired pay, would be entitled to compensation under laws administered by the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, or (2)was discharged or released from active duty because of a service connected disability.

    7. NEW YORK STATE HUMAN RIGHTS LAW guarantees equal opportunity to obtain employment without discrimination because of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or marital status; guarantees the use of places of public accommodation and the ownership, use and occupancy of housing accommodations and commercial space without discrimination because or age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or marital status. Also prohibits discrimination on the basis of ex-offender status.

    8. EQUAL PAY ACT requires the same pay for men and women doing substantially equal work, requiring substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions in the same establishment.

    9. AGE DISCRIMINATION ACT OF 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

    10. AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT OF 1967, as amended, prohibits discrimination based on age in all aspects of employment against persons at least age 40.

    11. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION GUIDELINES ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT prohibits unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical requests of a sexual nature which impose requirement of sexual co-operation as a condition of employment or advancement; prohibits behavior which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

    12. IMMIGRATION REFORM AND CONTROL ACT OF 1986

    SUNY Potsdam, in co-operation with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, fully complies with employment provisions as outlined in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

    Only those persons who are professionally qualified for employment and who are American Citizens or aliens authorized to work in the United States will be offered the opportunity to accept employment at the College when vacancies are authorized to be filled.

    14. AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, public service, public accommodation, transportation, and telecommunications.

    15. EXECUTIVE CHAMBER MEMORANDUM OF 1996 reaffirms commitment to the ADA.

    16. CAMPUS SEXUAL VIOLENCE ELIMINATION (CAMPUS SAVE) ACT provides mandatory procedures for reporting of sexual misconduct and protecting student rights in the context of investigations and disciplinary proceedings. Its enactment reflects a greater tendency to treat certain forms of Title IX sexual misconduct as a crime rather than a less serious civil offense.

     

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    For more information, please contact the Office of Human Resources, Assistant Vice President Mary Dolan
    or e-mail: dolanmk@potsdam.edu.