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  3. Policy Prohibiting Unlawful Harassment Including Sexual Harassment

Policy Prohibiting Unlawful Harassment Including Sexual Harassment

Policy Author:
Employee Engagement

Responsible Office – Department:
Employee Engagement

Effective Date of Policy:
September 2015

A. Purpose. Daemen College is committed to offering educational and employment opportunity based on ability and performance in a climate free of discrimination. Discrimination is prohibited at this institution not only because it is unlawful, but because it is wrong. Please refer to the College’s Policy on Nondiscrimination, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action for a comprehensive statement of the College’s commitment in this regard. Among the forms of discrimination prohibited by the College is unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment, by employees as discussed in this policy. In addition, the College will endeavor to protect students and employees, to the fullest extent possible. This includes instances of reported harassment at the College and in the workplace by students, vendors, or other non-employees. When appropriate, the College will take steps to prevent College employees from harassing non-employees.

B. Definition of Terms. For the purpose of this policy terms such as sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation are defined pursuant to the applicable state and federal law.

C. Sexual Harassment. It is the policy of Daemen College not to discriminate on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment, in its educational programs, activities or employment policies as required by Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations, and other applicable antidiscrimination laws. Sex discrimination in the form of harassment on the basis of sex includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature when:

a) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education status; or

b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for educational or employment decisions affecting such individuals; or

c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.

Daemen College will take all steps necessary to prevent such discrimination and effectively address incidents of unlawful harassment, including the imposition of appropriate sanctions. As examples, the following kinds of conduct, or others with a similar harassing effect, are absolutely prohibited if such conduct falls within the definition stated above:

1. Abusing an employee or student through insulting or degrading sexual remarks, jokes, innuendoes, or other sexually oriented conduct (including, among other things, graphic or descriptive comments relating to an individual’s body or physical appearance, sexually oriented teasing or pranks, improper suggestions, objects or pictures, or unwanted physical contact); or

2. Threats, demands or suggestions that an employee’s or student’s status depends in any way upon tolerating or accepting sexual advances or sexually oriented conduct.

3. Sexual violence, defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s age, use of drugs or alcohol, or intellectual or other disability.

Any harassment of Daemen College employees, students, or applicants, or third parties (such as  participants in College sponsored events) in violation of these rules is absolutely prohibited and will not be tolerated. Interim protective measures may be made while a complaint is investigated. Both complainant and alleged offender shall be treated equitably throughout the investigation. Conduct that occurs off campus, including but not limited to that perpetrated electronically, by social networking or email, is also subject to investigation and an appropriate response under the Policy to the extent that such conduct contributes to a sexually hostile environment on campus. Sexual harassment is illegal under both state and federal law. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX, New York State law 129-B, and all other state and federal discrimination laws may be directed to the Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator (Duns Scotus Hall Rm 118, 716.839.8249, who is also the College’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Officer.

D. Other Unlawful Harassment. Unlawful harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct which denigrates or shows hostility or aversion to an individual because of his or her sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, color, creed, religion, veteran or military status, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, status as an ex-offender, arrest record, predisposing genetic characteristics or genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by federal or New York State law, or that of his or her relatives, friends, or associates, and which:

1. Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment; or

2. Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance; or

3. Otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities. As examples, the following kinds of conduct, or others with similar harassing effect, are absolutely prohibited if such conduct falls within the definition stated above:

1. Abusing an employee or student through epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts (even if claimed to be “jokes” or “pranks”) which relate to sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, color, creed, religion, veteran or military status, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, status as an ex-offender, arrest record, predisposing genetic characteristics or genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by federal or New York State law; and

2. Written or graphic material which denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, color, creed, religion, veteran or military status, national origin, age, disability, familial status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, status as an ex-offender, arrest record, predisposing genetic characteristics or genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by federal or New York State law, and is displayed or circulated (including electronically) in the workplace or educational environment. Any harassment of Daemen College employees, students or applicants in violation of these rules is absolutely prohibited and will not be tolerated.

E. Retaliation. Retaliation against employees, students, third parties (such as participants in College sponsored events) or applicants for exercising their rights under this policy is also strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. This includes retaliation against employees, students, third parties (such as participants in College sponsored events) or applicants for inquiring about their rights, or for making an honest complaint of a violation or possible violation, or for truthfully assisting in a complaint investigation. Claims of retaliation should be reported to the Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator (Duns Scotus Hall Rm 118, 716.566.7880), who is also the College’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Officer.

F. No One Has Authority To Violate This Policy. Under no circumstances does any faculty member, administrator, trustee, other employee, or student of the College or any other person, including vendors and subcontractors, have any authority whatsoever to engage in discriminatory, harassing, or retaliating conduct in violation of this policy. If anyone claims to have such authority, or if an employee, student, third party (such as participants in College sponsored events) or applicant has a question about whether objectionable conduct is authorized by the College, the College’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Officer (DS 118, 716.566.7880), should be contacted.

G. Academic Freedom. As an institution of higher education, Daemen College, its employees and students also must be aware of the need for freedom of inquiry and openness of discussion in its educational and research programs, and must strive to create and maintain an atmosphere of intellectual seriousness and mutual understanding in which these essential features of academic life can thrive. No college can or should guarantee that every idea expressed in its classrooms or laboratories will be inoffensive to all; pursued seriously, education and scholarship necessarily entail raising questions about received opinions and conventional interpretations. Daemen College does guarantee, however, that credible accusations of inappropriate remarks or conduct that may violate the College policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment will be investigated promptly, thoroughly, and fairly.

H. Procedures. Employees, students, and applicants are encouraged to promptly report any conduct that they believe violates this policy. If the College does not know about the conduct, it cannot act. Complaints or inquiries should be made confidentially to the Chief Diversity Officer, who is the College’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Officer and Title IX Coordinator . In the case of student-on-student conduct, complaints or inquiries should be made confidentially to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students (Wick Center, 716.839.8519) for investigation and adjudication under the Student Conduct (Disciplinary) Procedures outlined in the Student Handbook. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students will report any allegations of Title IX violation to the Title IX Coordinator. Alternatively, an individual may initially discuss the matter with any other employee of the College, or involve any other person to help in bringing the complaint forward, provided the complaint is promptly brought to the attention of the Chief Diversity Officer, to ensure consistency and centralized decision-making in the application of this policy. Complaints may also be made anonymously through U.S. or campus mail to the Title IX Coordinator, Daemen College, 4380 Main Street, DS 118, Amherst, New York, 14226. Discrimination and harassment complaints will be handled pursuant to the Grievance Procedure in Discrimination and Harassment Cases or Student Conduct (Disciplinary) Procedures as applicable. Ordinarily, the AVP for Student Affairs and Dean of Students will investigate complaints of student-on-student harassment; the Chief Diversity Officer, will investigate any complaints involving employees. Complainants will be encouraged to express their wishes for resolution of the matter. Complainants of sexual violence shall be entitled to necessary interim actions to protect them. When complainant and alleged violator are both members of the campus community, interim measures will be taken to ensure safety and equitability during the investigation. Both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator shall have equal opportunity to present relevant evidence and to appeal determinations as provided for in the above policies. Both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator will receive in writing the outcome of the investigation. Complaints and inquiries will be kept confidential to the extent practicable and consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation. Reasonable steps will be taken to honor a party’s request regarding confidentiality and/or pursuit of investigation, but such requests must also be evaluated in the context of the College’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all persons and/or to warn the College community of possible danger. The College will inform the parties if confidentiality cannot be ensured.

Any employee or student who is found to have violated this policy will be subjected to appropriate disciplinary measures up to and including termination or expulsion. Individuals with complaints of discriminatory harassment may also have the right to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education. An employee may also have the right to file a charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”), or the New York Division of Human Rights (“SDHR”). A charge should be filed with the EEOC within 300 days of the most recent date that the unlawful conduct occurred, or if filed with the OCR, within 180 days, or if filed with the SDHR, within one (1) year. Reporting to the College is critical, however, if the College does not know about the conduct, it cannot act. No one should allow conduct that may violate this Policy to continue unreported. It is extremely important that this be reported so that the College can act to stop such conduct at the earliest possible time. Daemen College provides training for employees on recognizing and preventing unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment: all employees are expected to participate in such training.

Updated on September 2, 2021

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