Non-Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment Policy: U.S. Employees
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Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
Equal employment opportunity is the law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, ethnicity, sex and national origin and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sexual harassment of students and employees in educational programs and activities. Other federal, state, and local laws prohibit various forms of discrimination and harassment. NYIT is committed to providing equal opportunity in accordance with the law, a positive working environment where diversity is embraced, and a workplace free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. For that reason, NYIT has developed a policy on workplace discrimination and harassment and is committed to its enforcement. NYIT's policy applies to all employees throughout the organization, as well as non-employees that you or your employees may come in contact with, including: contractors, consultants, delivery persons, guest speakers, students, vendors, and visitors.
NYIT prohibits all forms of unlawful discrimination. View our Non-Discrimination Statement.
In accordance with this Statement, all employees will be treated in a manner free of any bias or prejudice prohibited by law. NYIT will insure that all decisions concerning the terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to recruitment, decisions to hire, promotions, compensation, benefits, transfers, reductions in staff, and rehire, will be made in accordance with the laws defining equal employment opportunity. Consistent with applicable law, no employment decision will be based on: race or color, ethnicity, sex or gender, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability (where otherwise qualified), creed, religion, reproductive health decisions of the employee or their dependent, or any other protected classification.
In accordance with New York State Labor Law 203-E, reproductive health decisions of the employee or their dependent which are protected from discriminatory and retaliatory action include, but are not limited to, using or accessing a particular drug, device or medical service. Employees will never be asked to sign a waiver or other document denying the right to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions. The institution will not access an employee's personal information regarding the employee's or the employee's dependent's reproductive health decision making without the employee's prior informed affirmative written consent. Employees have the right under New York State law to bring a civil action against the institution for alleged violations of these rights.
Discriminatory Harassment Including Sex Harassment
Discriminatory harassment is defined as subjecting an individual, on the basis of the individual's membership in a protected class, to humiliating, abusive, or threatening conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment; alters the conditions of employment; or unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance. Harassment includes but is not limited to: epithets or slurs; negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; and display or circulation in the working, learning and living environment (including through email) of written or graphic material. Sexual harassment, which is described in further detail below, is a form of discriminatory harassment. Sexual harassment is also a violation of NYIT's Gender Based Misconduct Policy, which applies to all NYIT employees and is incorporated by reference into this Employee Handbook.
NYIT's policy prohibits any harassment based on race or color, ethnicity, sex or gender, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, creed, or religion. Sexual harassment in the workplace includes unwelcome conduct which is either of a sexual nature or which is directed at an individual because of that individuals' sex or gender (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), gender identity or gender expression (including transgender status) and/or sexual orientation when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating hostile or offensive working environment.
Sexual harassment can be verbal (e.g. words, jokes, insults or teasing), visual (e.g., offensive posters, symbols, cartoons, drawings, computer displays, text messages, social media posts or e-mails) or physical conduct (e.g., unwanted touching, physically threatening another) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual based on sex or gender, gender identity, gender expression and/or sexual orientation.
Examples of conduct that violate this policy include:
- unwelcome sexual advances, flirtations, advances, leering, whistling, touching, pinching, assault, blocking normal movement
- requests for sexual favors or demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment
- obscene or vulgar gestures, posters, or comments
- sexual jokes, noises, or comments about a person's body, sexual prowess, sexuality, sexual experience, or sexual deficiencies
- propositions, or suggestive or insulting comments of a sexual nature
- derogatory cartoons, posters, and drawings
- sexually-explicit e-mails, text messages, posts or voicemails
- conversation about one's own or someone else's sex life
- conduct or comments consistently targeted at only one gender, even if the content is not sexual
- teasing or other conduct directed toward a person because of the person's gender
- sex stereotyping
Sexual harassment may involve individuals of the same or different sex. The complainant does not necessarily have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
This policy adheres to New York State sexual harassment standards and is intended to comply with New York State and federal Title VII laws for all discriminatory harassment. However, sexual harassment may also constitute a violation of federal law under Title IX, subject to certain jurisdictional and definitional requirements.
This policy and the procedures below only apply to sexual (and other discriminatory) harassment that is not covered under Title IX, as determined by the Title IX Coordinator. For Title IX-covered sexual harassment definitions and procedures, see the Gender Based Misconduct Policy and accompanying Title IX Procedure.
Reporting Policy Violations
If you are an employee and believe that this policy has been violated you are encouraged to promptly report the offensive conduct immediately to the Office of Human Resources, and in the case of Gender Based Misconduct, to the Title IX Coordinator, or to any supervisor with whom you feel comfortable. Complaints that a student has engaged in offensive conduct should be reported immediately to the Office of Student Life, which has the authority to commence student disciplinary proceedings according to disciplinary procedures set forth in the Student Code of Conduct. In the case of Gender Based Misconduct, reports involving students should be made to the Title IX Coordinator. Every supervisor who learns of any employee's concern about conduct in violation of this policy, whether in a formal or informal complaint, must immediately report the issues raised to the designated offices set forth above.
Reports may be made orally or in writing. Written complaints may be submitted internally using the complaint form appearing at the end of this policy.
Confidentiality and Non-retaliation
Confidentiality will be protected to the maximum extent possible, consistent with a fair and thorough investigation and NYIT's obligation to ensure the safety of the community. The investigation of such complaints will generally require limited disclosure on a need-to-know basis.
Retaliation is adverse conduct taken because an individual reported an actual or perceived violation of this policy, opposed practices prohibited by this policy, participated in the reporting and investigation process set forth in this policy or testified or assisted in an investigation or proceeding involving an actual or perceived violation of this policy. Adverse conduct includes, but is not limited to any action that would keep an employee from reporting discrimination or discriminatory harassment; shunning and avoiding an individual who reports such misconduct; express or implied threats or intimidation intended to prevent an individual from reporting such misconduct; and denying employment benefits because an applicant or employee reported or encouraged another employee to report under this policy or participated in the reporting and investigation process.
Retaliation against individuals who complain of discrimination or harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving discrimination or harassment is unlawful and prohibited by this policy. Offending employees will be subjected to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or termination of employment.
All complaints or grievances reported as set forth above or information about suspected discrimination or discriminatory harassment will be investigated. NYIT will initiate an investigation within 5 business days of receipt of the complaint or grievance and will complete investigations with reasonable promptness, depending upon the complexity of the matter and the number and availability of witnesses, but generally in no more than 60 days. NYIT will keep parties abreast of the status of the investigation and its anticipated completion, and will notify the parties of the outcome of the investigation within 10 business days of the completion of the investigation. All persons involved, including complainants, witnesses and alleged perpetrators will be accorded adequate procedures to protect their rights to a fair and impartial investigation, including the ability to offer their own evidence and identify relevant witnesses. Any employee may be required to cooperate as needed in an investigation. Upon receipt of a complaint, Human Resources (or the Compliance & Title IX Office, where appropriate) will conduct an immediate review of the allegations and will determine if any interim actions are appropriate. If the complaint is oral, the complaint will be documented by NYIT.
The accused will receive notice of the investigation, and both the complainant and the accused will be interviewed as part of the investigation, except in rare circumstances where either party may be unavailable or refuse to be interviewed. The complainant and the accused will have the opportunity to provide witnesses and evidence, and NYIT will conduct interviews and review documents or other information the investigator believes are relevant. The investigation will be documented by NYIT. Upon conclusion of the investigation, both parties will be notified of the final determination and any appropriate sanctions. NYIT will take all necessary steps to prevent further harassment and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate.
Upon completion of the investigation, NYIT will determine whether the policy has been violated based upon its reasonable, good-faith evaluation of the information gathered during the investigation. NYIT will inform the complainant and the accused of the results of the investigation.
Any employee found to have engaged in conduct in violation of this policy will be considered to have engaged in employee misconduct. Individuals who violate this policy (which includes supervisory or management personnel who fail to report or knowingly allow sexually harassing behavior to continue) will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination from employment. Individuals who engage in conduct that rises to the level of a violation of law can be held personally liable for such conduct. Nothing shall limit the right of the institution to remove an employee immediately from job responsibilities, duties, or from the premises in the event that a violent or egregious act is claimed, or if the health and safety of NYIT community members is at risk. Nothing shall prevent the institution or any of its representatives from reporting criminal or violent acts or threats to civil or law enforcement agencies in order to protect the safety and well-being of members of the NYIT community. Such a report may be made regardless of whether a formal complaint has been submitted.
If after investigating any complaint of discrimination or discriminatory harassment, the institution determines that knowingly false information has been provided, disciplinary action may be taken against the employee who has knowingly provided false information.
Legal Protections And External Remedies
Discrimination and discriminatory harassment (including retaliation) is not only prohibited by NYIT but is also prohibited by state, federal, and, where applicable, local law. Aside from the internal process at NYIT, employees may also choose to pursue legal remedies with the following governmental entities at any time. Harassers may also be subject to individual liability.
New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR)
The DHR enforces the New York State Human Rights Law (HRL), codified as N.Y. Executive Law, art. 15, § 290 et seq., which protects employees, paid or unpaid interns and non-employees regardless of immigration status from unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation. The DHR has the power to award relief, which varies but may include requiring an employer 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
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act (codified as 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.). If an employee believes he/she has been subjected to harassment, he/she can file a “Charge of Discrimination.” The EEOC has district, area, and field offices where complaints can be filed. The EEOC does not hold hearings or award relief, but may take other action including pursuing cases in federal court on behalf of complaining parties. Federal courts may award remedies if discrimination is found to have occurred.
Many localities also enforce laws protecting individuals from discrimination and discriminatory harassment, including Nassau County and New York City. Employees may be able to file complaints in these localities.
Contact the Local Police Department
If the harassment involves unwanted physical touching, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts, the conduct may also constitute a crime. In such cases, employees may contact the local police department or, in an emergency, dial 911.
Discrimination And Discriminatory Harassment Complaint Form