SUNY Empire State College is committed to ensuring an environment for all employees and students which is fair, humane and respectful. It is college policy that sexual harassment of either employees or students will not be tolerated.
Sexual harassment is a form of illegal discrimination. It is any unwanted verbal, written, or physical sexual advance, request for sexual favors, sexually explicit statements or sexually discriminating remarks made by someone in the workplace or classroom, which:
Quid Pro Quo is Latin for "this for that" or "something for something." Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment is when a more powerful person (a boss or a professor) tells a less powerful person (an employee or a student), "I'll give you a good grade/a good performance evaluation if you let me kiss you." Or the more powerful person makes a threat, "I'll fail you/fire you unless you go out with me."
A hostile environment is when unwelcome and demeaning behavior or conduct that “substantially interferes” with a person’s performance or creates an “intimidating, hostile or offensive” exist. For example, the harasser may continually remark on someone's body or clothing, post sexually explicit photos or make sexually oriented comments. A peer, a superior or a subordinate can create a hostile environment.
An employee or student who complains about discrimination or harassment, exercises a legal right such as obtaining a reasonable accommodation and/or participates in a complaint investigation as a third-party witness has the right to do so without fear of retaliation. Retaliation against an employee or a student, who has filed a discrimination complaint or a person who serves as a witness, may result in appropriate sanctions or other disciplinary action as covered by collective bargaining agreements and/or applicable college policies.
It is the policy of the State University of New York, Empire State College, to provide an environment where faculty, staff and students are free from harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination. Harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of the law (§703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as amended, Title IX Education Amendments of 1972, and the New York State Human Rights Law) and will not be tolerated.
Civility, trust, respect and openness are professional behaviors that are expected from all members of the college community. Harassment, including sexual harassment, breaks the bonds of civility, trust, respect and openness. Harassment may create a hostile environment. Harassment can be created by verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct that is severe, persistent and/or pervasive and interferes or limits the ability(ies) of a person or persons to work or learn.
The college will not condone actions, writings, publications or words which a reasonable person would regard as sexually harassing. It is the responsibility of every administrator, supervisor and faculty member to create and maintain an environment that is free of discrimination and allows full access and opportunity for participation to all members of the college community. To this end, no member or group of the college community shall harass another member or group. Should inappropriate behaviors be identified, the manager or supervisor is required to take prompt and corrective action.
Empire State College prohibits sexual harassment. It is official college policy that sexual harassment of employees, students or visitors will not be tolerated. The college accepts the position that sexual harassment, like any civil rights violation, generates a harmful atmosphere. The college will act positively to investigate alleged harassment and to affect remedy when an allegation is substantiated.
Sexual harassment is usually defined as repeated unwelcome and unwanted sexual advances or sexual allusions, unwarranted references to sexuality or sexual activities, requests for sexual favors and other speech or conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can occur among peers, supervisors and supervisees, faculty/staff and students and can involve visitors or guests of the college.
Sexual harassment may include:
This policy applies regardless of the complainant’s or respondent’s sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, gender expression, age, race, nationality, class status, ability or religion. Further, the college does not condone retaliation. Retaliation is against the law and will subject the individual(s) to sanctions.
Isolated instances, such as a sexual overture, comment or joke, ordinarily will not constitute sexual harassment unless the circumstances are egregious. Such sexual behavior does not constitute harassment if it is welcomed (i.e., voluntary and consensual). It is important to note that conduct in the workplace or educational setting may fall short of the legal standard for sexual harassment but may still be addressed as unprofessional and/or inappropriate.
If/when disciplinary action is found necessary, the appropriate procedures in current collective bargaining agreements or college conduct system will be followed.
Use of the complaint procedures does not deprive any complainant of the right to pursue the complaint with outside enforcement agencies. The filing of an internal complaint or participating in this process does not suspend the time limitation periods to file an unlawful complaint with the courts or agencies.
The deadline for filing a complaint is 90 calendar days following the alleged act or from the time the complainant first knew or reasonably should have known of such unlawful discriminatory act. Employees who wish to discuss the grievance procedure in more detail may contact the Affirmative Action/Title IX Officer, located at 2 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY. Students who wish to discuss the complaint procedure in more detail may contact the Director of Student Services or the Affirmative Action /Title IX Officer.
A person who knowingly and/or intentionally files false complaint under this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.
The Affirmative Action/Title IX Officer (518-587-2100, ext. 2265) has responsibility for investigating claims of discrimination under this policy.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
EEOC Definition of Sexual Harassment
NYS Executive Order No.19: "New York State Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace”
SUNY Empire State College has a discrimination grievance procedure that is available for use by any employee or student who feels that he or she has been the victim of sexual harassment or other unlawful discrimination.
GOER M-C Handbook Appendix G – Sexual Harassment – Labor Relations
GOER Sexual Harassment Online Training
GOER - Supervisor's Guide to Counseling (PDF 649kB)
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