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 HARASSMENT AND OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
     
    1. POLICY STATEMENT
    2. SEXUAL HARASSMENT
    3. OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT
    4. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
    5. RECOMMENDED CORRECTIVE ACTION
    6. FALSE CHARGES
    7. RETALIATION
    8. CONFIDENTIALITY
    9. 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 HARASSMENT 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 and that anyone who engages in such behavior is subject to disciplinary procedures.

b) POLICY

SUNY Potsdam is committed to maintaining an academic, residential and working environment which is free of inappropriate and disrespectful conduct of a derogatory nature regarding any protected category: race, sex, age, national origin, religion, marital status, disability and sexual orientation. Especially when such conduct adversely affects a student's or an employee's work/educational environment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive college environment.

Discrimination and/or harassment are a prohibited personnel practice when it has the effect or purpose of abusing others based on direct or implied discrimination. It is also a prohibited personnel practice when it interferes with an individual's academic, social or work performance. The effect may include, but is not limited to: immobilizing anguish, withdrawal from a course, a major, a school, a residence, a department or a career.

This policy applies only to employee-employee or employee-student cases of discrimination or harassment. (Student-student discrimination or harassment cases must be reported to the Dean of Student Affairs and heard in the Student Judicial System.)

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2. SEXUAL HARASSMENT

a) INTRODUCTION

Sexual harassment 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 harassment in that it constitutes differential treatment on the basis of sex. (Title IX applies to any educational institution receiving Federal funds.)

b) DEFINITION

i) Sexual harassment is characterized by the imposition of unwelcome sexual activity including:

ii) Such unwelcome sexual activity often occurs in relationships of unequal power, between a faculty member and student or supervisor and employee. Sexual harassment can occur between a student and faculty member, with the latter as victim.

Consenting romantic and sexual relationships between a faculty member and student, or supervisor and employee, while not expressly forbidden, are generally deemed unwise. A faculty member who enters into a sexual relationship with a student (or a supervisor with an employee) where a professional power differential exits, 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.

iii) Such unwelcome sexual activity also occurs in relationships of equal power: between colleagues or between students.

iv) Sexual Harassment is defined as follows*: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when:

a) Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or a condition of instruction, employment, or participation in other college activity; and/or
b Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual; and/or
c) Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual's performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive college environment.

*This definition is an adaptation of the EEOC Guidelines prohibiting sexual harassment in employment under Title VII.

Examples of conduct that may constitute or support a finding of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following types of behavior:

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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 categories. 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 category. 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, sex, age, national origin, religion, marital status, disability and sexual orientation.

i) Intimidating verbal, written or symbolic communications or physical conduct that is abusive toward another individual based on direct or implied discrimination or harassment.

ii) Verbal, written or symbolic communications that have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive college environment.

Examples of individual and third party harassing conduct:

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4. DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT PROCEDURES -please contact the Affirmative Action Officer, Dr. Susan Stebbins, at 315-267-3372 or stebbisa@potsdam.edu for the most recent version.

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5. 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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6. FALSE CHARGES

If it has been determined that a complaint was made by a student with the knowledge that the facts were false, 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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7. RETALIATION

Retaliatory conduct against any individual who has filed a complaint, who has reported witnessing discrimination or harassment, who has participated in the Internal Grievance Procedure, who has been the subject of an investigation or the subject of a complaint is also a violation of the College's policy and is grounds for disciplinary or remedial action. Anyone who believes that they may be or has been the victim of retaliation should discuss their concerns with the Affirmative Action Officer.

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8. 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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9. RECORD KEEPING

Notice of all reports of discrimination or harassment must be forwarded to the Affirmative Action Officer by the supervisor receiving the complaint. The 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.

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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.