SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY
The Cayuga Community College Board of Trustees actively endorses the principle and spirit of equal opportunity in employment and education. It is the policy of this Board to recruit, hire, train, pay, promote, discipline, provide benefits and maintain all other conditions of employment in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local law without regard to gender. Any type of verbal or physical harassment or behavior that disrupts or interferes with another’s work or educational environment, or which creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile work or educational environment will not be tolerated. This includes employees, students, and any other individual engaged in business with the College, and individuals participating in a College-sponsored activity.
It is each employee’s responsibility to maintain a workplace and educational environment free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment reports will be thoroughly investigated, and violations of this policy treated as serious disciplinary infractions. No employee or student shall be subjected to retaliation for any good faith report of sexual harassment or for participating in an investigation.
Confidentiality of all sexual harassment reports is fundamental to the College’s procedures. However, since the reports may be subject to discovery in a lawsuit or a proceeding before the New York State Department of Human Rights, the College cannot guarantee that the reports will be kept confidential.
The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Cayuga Community College define sexual harassment as: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:
- submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment and/or a student’s participation in academic courses, programs, or activities.
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions and/or educational decisions affecting a student.
- such conduct has a purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, and/or a student’s educational experience or learning environment.
Examples of verbal or physical conduct include, but are not limited to:
- physical assault;
- direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, letters of recommendation, or salary.
- a pattern of conduct that would or is intended to cause discomfort or humiliation or both that include: comments of a sexual nature; sexually explicit verbal or written statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes; propositions of a sexual nature; subtle pressure for sexual activity; touching, patting, hugging, brushing against a person’s body; remarks about sexual activity, experience, or orientation; displays of inappropriate sexually-oriented material where others can see it; repeated or unwanted staring; impeding or blocking movement; gesturing.
- continuing to express sexual or social interest after being informed directly that the interest is unwelcome.
- Any instance of sexual harassment should be reported to the appropriate Affirmative Action Officer (AAO) as soon as possible. Students will report alleged incidents of sexual harassment to the Affirmative Action Officer for Students (Director of Student Engagement); employees, individuals doing business with the College or attending College-sponsored activities, will report alleged incidents of sexual harassment, when the alleged harasser (respondent) is an employee of the College, an individual doing business with the College or attending a College-sponsored activity, to the Affirmative Action Officer for Employees (Director of Human Resources). If the respondent is a student, the incident will be reported to the Student Affirmative Action Officer. In these instances, the College Student Code of Conduct and Judicial Affairs Policy and Procedures will be followed. A complaint should be filed as soon as possible, but no later than sixty (60)* calendar days after the most recent alleged incident. This limitation does not apply to additional incidents which may be applied to establish a pattern of persistent harassment.
Note: The complainant may also wish to file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and may need to do so even if a College investigation is still in progress. Be advised Federal and State laws impose specific deadlines from the date the sexual harassment occurred to the date by which the complainant must file a complaint.
- Any individual who believes she or he has been sexually harassed by another employee or student is encouraged, if appropriate, to discuss with the offender his/her perceptions of harassment in an effort to stop the offensive behavior.
- If the above step is not appropriate or does not resolve the complaint, the complainant is encouraged to report the alleged harassment to the appropriate AAO. Upon receiving this oral report the AAO will begin a written record of the complaint.
- The AAO will confer with the complainant to obtain a clear understanding of the facts surrounding the allegation of harassment. The AAO will determine if the initial information warrants an investigation. If the alleged behavior is consistent with the definition of sexual harassment, and in the judgment of the AAO, requires further investigation, the AAO shall request that the complainant submit an official written complaint. The AAO may attempt but is not required to negotiate a resolution to a complaint before a written complaint is submitted. An official complaint must be submitted in writing, using the form provided by the AAO, and contain the name and address of the complainant and a detailed description of the allegation(s) of the alleged incident(s).
- Any official investigation, as may be appropriate and consistent with the institutional and legal requirements of confidentiality, shall be conducted by the AAO following receipt of an official sexual harassment complaint. This procedure consists of thorough investigations affording all interested persons an opportunity to submit information and documentation regarding the complaint. If the respondent is an employee of the College, the immediate supervisor and the appropriate Vice President will be informed by the AAO that an investigation is in process.
- The AAO may hold as many meetings with the complainant and the respondent as are necessary to investigate the complaint. In addition, the AAO may meet with any witnesses to the alleged harassment. Employees represented by a collective bargaining unit are entitled to union representation. The complainant and respondent will notify the AAO within five (5) calendar days of a meeting if representatives will be present.
- The investigation shall be completed and a written report of its results communicated to the complainant, the respondent, and the appropriate Vice President within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of the official written complaint. The complainant will be informed in writing of his/her right to appeal the complaint.
- The complainant appeal shall be made in writing within fourteen (14) calendar days of the complainant’s verified receipt of the written determination and shall be submitted by employees to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs if the complainant is a student and to the Vice President of Administration if the complainant is an employee of the College. The Vice President to whom the complainant has appealed shall have access to case-specific and relevant information, inquire as necessary and appropriate to the case, and shall make a determination and inform the complainant of such, in writing, within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the request for reconsideration.
- Any complainant who is dissatisfied with the decision of the aforementioned Vice President may appeal that determination in writing to the Office of the President within seven (7) calendar days of verified receipt of said decision. Any appeal shall focus on the process by which a determination was made. Within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt of the appeal, the President of the College shall review the decision to determine that there was compliance with stated procedures, that the process was fair and equitable, and that the outcome satisfies due process. A written determination shall be issued to the complainant and other interested parties. Regardless of the final determination, the complainant shall be informed of the right to file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency. The right of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of a complaint submitted hereunder shall not be impaired by the person’s pursuit of other external remedies.
- Appropriate remedial action designed to stop the offending behavior shall be taken by the College. The discipline of any College employee would be pursuant to the College conduct regulations consistent with any relevant collective bargaining agreement and College policy.
- At any point during the investigation of a sexual harassment complaint, the College may, in good faith, negotiate a satisfactory resolution between the complainant and the respondent. If a satisfactory resolution is not mutually agreed upon, the investigation shall continue through all remaining steps outlined according to the policy.
- If a sexual harassment complaint involves the AAO, a Vice President will serve as temporary person, and the President of the College and the Chair of the College Board of Trustees will serve as receivers of appeals. If a sexual harassment complaint involves a Vice President or the College President, the Chair of the Board of Trustees shall appoint a temporary ombudsperson and shall serve as receiver of any reports or appeals.
* The Affirmative Action Officer may extend any and all timelines within this policy with good cause.