5121 - SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION: PERSONNEL
5000 - PERSONNEL
5121 SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION: PERSONNEL
Adoption Date: 11/6/2008
Revisions History: Revised: 10/6/2011; Revised: 09/04/2014; Revised 11/08/2018
The Board is committed to providing an educational and working environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality and that is free from all forms of sexual harassment. To this end, the Board condemns and strictly prohibits all forms of sexual harassment on BOCES property, school grounds, school buses and at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events, including those that take place at locations off campus or outside the school setting (for example, on social media) if the harassment impacts the individual’s education or employment.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Sexual harassment includes harassment on the basis of actual or perceived or self-identified sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and transgender status.
- submission to that conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or a student's education;
- submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s employment or a student's education; or
- the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's or "non-employee’s" work or student's school performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment, even if the complaining individual is not the intended target of the sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment can occur between persons of all ages and genders.
Examples of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can
include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other
verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature (e.g., touching,
jokes or displays), or verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation
or hostility that is based on actual or perceived sex, gender and/or sexual
stereotypes. Additional examples of sexual harassment can be found in the
accompanying regulation 5121R.
Alternative Avenues to Report Concerns
It is essential that all targets of potential sexual harassment and persons with knowledge of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment report the concerns immediately. Any individual who experiences or witnesses conduct or behavior that may constitute sexual or other unlawful harassment must report it immediately to a program administrator or supervisor and/or a Compliance Officer.
Prompt and Thorough Investigation / Confidentiality
The BOCES will promptly and
thoroughly investigate all complaints of sexual harassment, whether formal or
informal, verbal or written. To the
extent practicable under the circumstances, confidentiality will be maintained.
Limited disclosure may be necessary to complete a thorough investigation and/or
comply with other legal or other requirements. All persons involved will be afforded due process to protect their
rights to a fair and impartial investigation. While the scope and nature of each investigation may vary depending on
the allegations and parties involved, generally speaking, investigations will
include: an immediate review of allegations by a program administrator or
supervisor and/or a Compliance Officer and interim actions as deemed by BOCES
to be appropriate; interviewing relevant witnesses; collecting and reviewing
any related documents and other relevant information; taking corrective and/or
other remedial action whenever unlawful harassment is found to have occurred;
informing the involved parties of the outcome of the investigation and that
corrective and/or remedial action has been taken, where applicable; and documenting
the investigation and any corrective and/or remedial action. Employees and others in the workplace may be
required to cooperate as needed in investigations of suspected sexual
Sanctions / Corrective and/or Remedial Action
Acts of sexual
harassment constitute misconduct and are considered serious violations of BOCES
policy. Sanctions will be enforced
against individuals engaging in unlawful harassment (including sexual
harassment). If the BOCES finds that an
individual has violated this policy, prompt corrective and/or remedial action
will be taken in accordance with any applicable collective bargaining
agreement, contract, policy and/or state law.
Condoning Harassment Constitutes Misconduct
for enforcing this policy (including but not limited to supervisors and administrators)
who fail to do so and/or condone or knowingly allow harassment and/or allow
harassment to continue are guilty of misconduct. Supervisors and administrators will be held
accountable if they knew, or should have known, of the misconduct and did not
take immediate and appropriate action, in accordance with this policy. Sanctions will be enforced against
individuals who fail to promptly and appropriately address harassment and/or
concerns of alleged harassment in accordance with this policy.
Retaliation is Unlawful and Prohibited
All complainants and those who participate in the investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment, a related proceeding or other protected activity have the right to be free from retaliation of any kind, when they do so with a good faith belief that sexual harassment has occurred. Such prohibited retaliation can include, but is not limited to, discipline, discrimination, demotion, denial of privileges, or any action that would keep a person from coming forward to make or support a sexual harassment claim. Such actions need not be job-related or occur in the workplace to constitute unlawful retaliation. Any such retaliatory act violates this policy and will result in appropriate corrective action.
If you feel you have
been subjected to retaliation due to your use of any part of this policy (such
as raising concerns of harassment) or due to your good faith participation in
any protected activity, please report such concerns to a program administrator
or supervisor and/or a Compliance Officer.
Fraudulently Reporting Concerns of Harassment
Individuals who report
concerns of harassment to BOCES must do so in good faith based on genuinely
held concerns. Individuals who
fraudulently report concerns and/or who report concerns in bad faith (e.g.,
without a sincere belief that inappropriate conduct has occurred) may be
subject to corrective or remedial action.
Questions Regarding this Policy / Right of Redress
If you have questions regarding this policy and/or its requirements, please a contact program administrator or supervisor and/or a Compliance Officer. Contact information for these individuals is provided on the BOCES website.
Information regarding the federal and state laws prohibiting harassment in the workplace, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and in New York State, the New York State Human Rights Law, are available here: (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) https://www.eeoc.gov/ (800) 669-4000 and here: (New York State Division of Human Rights) https://dhr.ny.gov/ (888) 392-3644. Additional information is available in the accompanying regulation 5121R. There may also be applicable local laws. You may also contact the federal agency and state agency to discuss your rights to pursue a claim administratively and/or judicially (for example, in federal or state court), as well as available remedies (e.g., civil penalties or fines and attorney’s fees if the policy is not followed).
Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX, 20 U.S.C.§ 1681 et seq.
Regulation 5121R - Sexual Harassment Prevention: Personnel
Examples of sexual harassment
following describes some of the types of acts that may be unlawful sexual
harassment and that are strictly prohibited in accordance with Policy Number
- Physical acts of a sexual nature, such as:
- Touching, pinching, patting, kissing, hugging, grabbing, brushing against another employee’s body or poking another employee’s body;
- Rape, sexual battery, molestation or attempts to commit these assaults.
- Unwanted sexual advances or propositions, such as:
- Requests for sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning the target’s job performance evaluation, a promotion or other job benefits or detriments;
- Subtle or obvious pressure for unwelcome sexual activities.
- Sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks or jokes, or comments about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience, which create a hostile work environment.
- Sex stereotyping occurs when conduct or personality traits are considered inappropriate simply because they may not conform to other people's ideas or perceptions about how individuals of a particular sex should act or look.
- Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications anywhere in the workplace, such as:
- Displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional material, reading materials or other materials that are sexually demeaning or pornographic. This includes such sexual displays on workplace computers or cell phones and sharing such displays while in the workplace.
- Hostile actions taken against an individual because of that individual’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and the status of being transgender, such as:
- Interfering with, destroying or damaging a person’s workstation, tools or equipment, or otherwise interfering with the individual’s ability to perform the job;
- Sabotaging an individual’s work;
- Bullying, yelling,
Legal Protections and External Remedies
Sexual harassment is not only prohibited by BOCES but is also prohibited by state, federal, and, where applicable, local law.
Aside from the internal process at BOCES, employees may also choose to pursue legal remedies with the following governmental entities. While a private attorney is not required to file a complaint with a governmental agency, you may seek the legal advice of an attorney.
addition to those outlined below, employees in certain industries may have
additional legal protections.
State Human Rights Law (HRL)
The Human Rights Law (HRL), codified as N.Y. Executive Law, art. 15, § 290 et seq., applies to all employers in New York State with regard to sexual harassment, and protects employees, paid or unpaid interns and non-employees, regardless of immigration status. 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 harassment. If an individual did not file at DHR, they can sue directly in state court under the HRL, within three years of the alleged sexual harassment. An individual may not file with DHR if they have already filed a HRL complaint in state court.
Complaining internally to BOCES does not extend your time to file with DHR or in court. The one year or three years is counted from date of the most recent incident of harassment.
You do not need an attorney to file a complaint with DHR, and there is no cost to file with DHR.
DHR will investigate your complaint and determine whether there is probable cause to believe that sexual harassment has occurred. Probable cause cases are forwarded to a public hearing before an administrative law judge. If sexual harassment is found after a hearing, DHR has the power to award relief, which varies but may include requiring your employer to take action to stop the harassment, or redress the damage caused, including paying of 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. You may call (718) 741-8400 or visit: www.dhr.ny.gov.
Contact DHR at (888) 392-3644 or visit www.dhr.ny.gov/complaint for more information about filing a complaint. The website has a complaint form that can be downloaded, filled out, notarized and mailed to DHR. The website also contains contact information for DHR’s regional offices across New York State.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (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.). An individual can file a complaint with the EEOC anytime within 300 days from the harassment. There is no cost to file a complaint with the EEOC. 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 federal court.
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. In general, private employers must have at least 15 employees to come within the jurisdiction of the EEOC.
An employee alleging discrimination at work 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 (TTY: 1-800-669-6820), visiting their website at www.eeoc.gov or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
an individual filed an administrative complaint with DHR, DHR will file the
complaint with the EEOC to preserve the right to proceed in federal court.
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 the Local Police Department
If the harassment involves unwanted physical touching, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts, the conduct may constitute a crime. Contact the local police department.