Dec 15, 2018  
2018-2019 College Catalog 
    
2018-2019 College Catalog

Anti-Discrimination and Harassment



Administered by: The Office of Affirmative Action and Human Resources Development

Equal Employment Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy Compliance Statement from the President

It is the policy of Hudson Valley Community College not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment or admission to the college as a student on the basis of their race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, protected Veteran Status, sexual orientation and gender identity, genetic information, if they are victims of domestic violence or stalking, familial status, and all other categories covered by law. This policy shall apply to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, upgrading, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, recall, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation and selection for training at all levels of employment. Hudson Valley Community College will not discharge or discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their own compensation or the compensation of another employee or applicant.

The College is very committed to EEO and Affirmative Action in all aspects of its business and will utilize affirmative action to make employment decisions so as to further the principle of equal employment opportunity. Personnel decisions are based only on valid job requirements, and we will make all reasonable accommodations necessary to employ and advance in employment qualified persons with disabilities, newly separated veterans, covered veterans, and disabled veterans.

Employees of and applicants to Hudson Valley Community College and the Educational Opportunity Center will not be subject to harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination because they have engaged or may engage in filing a complaint, assisting in a review, investigation or hearing or have otherwise sought to obtain their legal rights related to any Federal, State, or local law regarding EEO for qualified individuals with disabilities or qualified protected veterans.

As the President of Hudson Valley Community College, I wish to add my personal note of commitment to assuring that our College carries out our Equal Employment Opportunity policy and fulfills the obligations of our Affirmative Action Plan. I expect the commitment of all employees in attaining and maintaining our goals for a workplace free of discrimination. Equal employment and educational opportunities are not accomplished at the expense of any group or individual, but rather is good business practice and it contributes to an organization enriched by diversity and excellence.

If you would like to review the Affirmative Action Plan for Individuals with Disabilities or covered Veterans, or feel you have been harassed or discriminated against, please contact the Affirmative Action Officer during normal business hours in the Administration Building, room 130 or by telephone, 518–629–8110.

Hudson Valley Community College is determined to be in full compliance with the provisions of the Law and of the Affirmative Action Program.

Dr. Roger A. Ramsammy
President, Hudson Valley Community College

Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy

Hudson Valley Community College is committed to maintaining a workplace free from harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of workplace discrimination and is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Hudson Valley Community College is committed to providing an environment that is non-discriminatory, humane and respectful—one that supports and rewards employees and students on the basis of relevant considerations like merit, effort, competence, qualifications and business/academic necessity, and deters inappropriate conduct that occurs in the College’s activities or operations.

The following policy and procedure includes sexual harassment and also includes our Policy against harassment based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, protected Veteran Status, sexual orientation and gender identity, genetic information, victims of domestic violence and stalking, familial status, and all other categories covered by law.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is unlawful under federal, state, and local law. Sexual harassment includes harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and the status of being transgender.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct which is either of a sexual nature, or which is directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex when:

  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, even if the complaining individual is not the intended target of the sexual harassment;
  • Such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting an individual’s employment.

A sexually harassing hostile work environment consists of words, signs, jokes, pranks, intimidation or physical violence which are of a sexual nature, or which are directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex. Sexual harassment also consists of any unwanted verbal or physical advances, sexually explicit derogatory statements or sexually discriminatory remarks made by someone which are offensive or objectionable to the recipient, which cause the recipient discomfort or humiliation, which interfere with the recipient’s job performance.

Sexual harassment is unacceptable and in conflict with the mission and interests of the College. Sexually harassing conduct between supervisors and staff members or between faculty and students unfairly exploits the power inherent in the supervisor or faculty’s role. Through salary increases, performances appraisals, academic advisement and academic evaluation, a supervisor or faculty member can have a decisive influence on a staff member’s career or a student’s academic development. Sexual harassment in this context exhibits a lack of decency and integrity, and is considered an abuse of power. Any employee or individual covered by this policy who engages in sexual harassment or retaliation will be subject to remedial and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

While sexual harassment typically occurs in situations where positions of power differentials exist between individuals, this policy also recognizes that sexual harassment can occur between individuals where no such power differential exists, such as in faculty-faculty interactions, staff-staff and staff-faculty.

Either men or women can be sexual harassers and either men or women can be the victims of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can also occur between members of the same sex. Employees and students of either gender may make a claim of sexual harassment under this policy.

The College will not tolerate any forms of harassment including sexual harassment. The College will act promptly and equitably, within the framework of due process, to investigate alleged harassment and to affect a remedy when such allegations are determined valid. Further, this Harassment Policy and the complaint procedures provided herein, shall be distributed campus-wide and internal training sessions may be made available and mandatory to employees and students pertaining to sexual harassment.

No person covered by this Policy shall be subject to adverse employment action including being discharged, disciplined, discriminated against, or otherwise subject to adverse employment action because the employee reports an incident of harassment, provides information, or otherwise assists in any investigation of a sexual harassment, or any other types of an harassment based complaint. Hudson Valley Community College has a zero-tolerance for such retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, complains or provides information about suspected sexual harassment. Any employee of Hudson Valley Community College who retaliates against anyone involved in a harassment investigation will be subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  Any employee, paid or unpaid intern, or non-employee working in the workplace who believes they have been subject to such retaliation should inform a supervisor, manager, or the Affirmative Action Officer.

All employees are encouraged to report any harassment or behaviors that violate this policy. Hudson Valley Community College will provide all employees and students a complaint form to report harassment and file a complaint. The form can be found on the Hudson Valley Web-site under Human Resources.

Managers and supervisors are required to report any complaint that they receive, or any harassment that they observe to the Affirmative Action Officer. In addition to being subject to discipline if they engaged in sexually harassing conduct themselves, supervisors and managers will be subject to discipline for failing to report suspected sexual harassment or otherwise knowingly allowing sexual harassment to continue.

Supervisors and managers will also be subject to discipline for engaging in any retaliation.

Sexual harassment takes many forms, ranging from sexual innuendoes made in the context of humor to physical assault. The key to determining whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment is determining whether the behavior is unwelcomed and/or unreasonably interferes with an employee or student’s performance or creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment. Examples may include:

  • Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as:
    • Touching, pinching, patting, 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 victim’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, jokes or comments about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience, which create a hostile work environment.
  • 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, name-calling.

Where You Can Go For Help

To file a complaint of discrimination or harassment against an employee of HVCC, please contact:

Affirmative Action Officer
Administration Building, Room 140
(518) 629-8110
j.ogden@hvcc.edu

If you wish to file a complaint of discrimination or harassment against a student at HVCC, please refer to the Judicial System  section of the Catalog and contact either:

Public Safety
Campus Center, Room 100
(518) 629–7210

or

Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Development
Room 159
Guenther Enrollment Services Center
(518) 629–7307

For a list of further resources for student victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking please refer to the SaVE and Violence Against Women  provisions of the Catalog.

Procedure for Filing a Complaint of Discrimination

COVERAGE: Employees, students, and prospective applicants of the College may use these procedures if they believe that they have been the victims of any unlawful discrimination or harassment at the College by an employee of the College.

PURPOSE: The complaint procedure is provided for the review of complaints alleging unlawful discrimination or harassment in any Hudson Valley Community College policy or program when the alleged unlawful discrimination or Harassment is perceived to be based on the complainant’s race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status, familial status, or marital status or any category protected by civil statute or regulation.

Definitions

Affirmative Action/Sexual Harassment Advisory Council – Representatives of all levels of the College who advise the President and the Affirmative Action Officer on matters relating to Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Diversity.

Complainant - An employee, applicant for employment, or student of the College or student applicant who believes that he or she has been the victim of unlawful discrimination or harassment by a faculty member, staff member or employee of the college and submits a complaint.

Discriminatory Harassment - Discriminatory harassment is based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, protected Veteran Status, sexual orientation and gender identity, genetic information, victims of domestic violence and stalking, familial status or other protected characteristics, which is oral, written, graphic or physical conduct. The actions must be sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the College’s programs or activities. Such activities include actions that derogate or humiliate a person or group because of actual or supposed traits. Examples include, but are not limited to, ethnic or racial slurs or jokes, which have the purpose or effect of creating an offensive environment.

Sexual Harassment - Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964), sexual harassment is cited as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) Submission to such conduct is made explicitly an employment term or condition [or a condition on which one’s academic standing is predicated]; or (2) Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment [or academic] decisions; or (3) Such conduct has the purpose or the effect of unreasonably interfering with one’s [academic or] work performance, or creating an offensive, intimidating or hostile [academic or] work environment.

Respondent - An employee of the school or an entity that answers a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination or harassment or the person(s) accused of alleged unlawful discrimination or harassment.

Unlawful Discrimination - consists of:

  • harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, protected Veteran Status, sexual orientation and gender identity, genetic information, victims of domestic violence and stalking, familial status or any other protected class under State or Federal Law;
  • employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran or marital status or any other protected class under State or Federal Law; or retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices.

Applicability

This complaint procedure does not supplant nor duplicate any existing complaint procedure. It does not deprive the complainant the right to file with outside government agencies, such as the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR); U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); U.S. Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (OCR); the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) of the United States Department of Labor (DOL); or with a court of competent jurisdiction.

The procedure may be used even if a complaint based on the same facts and circumstances is filed with a State or Federal agency or with a court of competent jurisdiction, or if a complaint has been filed under any collective bargaining agreement. Any investigation underway will continue regardless of whether a complaint is filed with a state or federal agency or a collective bargaining representative, or a court action is initiated on the same complaint. It is the responsibility of the complainant to be aware of any filing deadlines for any outside agency or court even in the event he/she initially chooses to attempt to resolve the complaint through the College’s internal procedures.

Right to Counsel

Both the complainant and the respondent shall have the right to be assisted by an attorney at all stages of both the informal and formal stages of the College’s internal complaint process. The cost for legal council is at the expense of the employee.

Confidentiality

Unlawful discrimination or harassment complaints will be handled as confidentially as possible while enabling the College to fully investigate the complaint. Information about the complaint will only be divulged to individuals who have a legitimate need to know. All records pertaining to complaints shall be kept and maintained by the AAO.

Sanctions

Persons who are found to have engaged in unlawful discrimination and/or harassment may be subject to sanctions that are reasonably calculated to end the unlawful discrimination and prevent its reoccurrence. Sanctions that may be imposed include, but are not limited to: written warnings, letter of reprimands, suspensions, change of job or class assignments or termination.

Retaliation

Reprisal actions and encouraging others to retaliate against anyone involved in the investigation of an unlawful discrimination or harassment complaint is prohibited. This includes anyone who reports, is thought to have reported or cooperates in the investigation process. The College considers retaliation to be a violation of College policy and may be subject to sanctions as provided herein.

False Charges of Discrimination

Filing a false charge of unlawful discrimination or harassment is a serious offense. If an investigation reveals that a complainant knowingly filed false charges, appropriate actions and sanctions as provided herein may be taken.

PART A: Investigation

The AAO shall receive initial inquiries, reports and requests for consultation and counseling. Assistance will be available whether or not a written complaint is contemplated. It is the responsibility of the AAO to respond to all such inquiries, reports and requests as promptly as possible and consider all such facts in an objective manner and in a manner appropriate to the particular circumstances.

Note: It is the responsibility of the complainant to be certain that any complaint filed is filed within the 120 calendar days that is applicable under this paragraph.

Complaints or concerns that are reported to an administrator, manager or supervisor concerning an act of discrimination or harassment shall be immediately referred to the AAO for investigation and resolution by that administrator, manager, or supervisor.

A written complaint must be filed with the AAO within 120 calendar days following the last act or occurrence of an alleged unlawful discriminatory act or act of harassment. All such complaints must be submitted on the forms provided by the AAO.

If the AAO is the respondent in a complaint of discrimination, the President of the College shall designate a person to investigate and attempt to resolve the complaint. That person shall carry out the duties and responsibilities of the AAO in that specific complaint.

The complaint shall contain:

The name, local and permanent address(es) and telephone number(s) of the Complainant. (In appropriate cases, this information may be redacted from complaints before they are forwarded to the respondent.)

A statement of facts explaining what happened and what the complainant believes constituted the unlawful discriminatory act(s) in sufficient detail to give each respondent reasonable notice of what is claimed against him/her. The statement should include the date(s), approximate time(s) and place(s) where the alleged act(s) of unlawful discrimination or harassment occurred. If the act(s) occurred on more than one date, the statement should also include the last date on which the acts occurred as well as detailed information about any prior acts. The names of any potential witnesses should be provided, if appropriate.

The name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of the respondent(s), i.e., the person(s) claimed to have committed the act(s) of unlawful discrimination if known to the complainant.

Identification of the status of the person(s) charged, whether faculty, staff, or employee.

A statement indicating whether or not the complainant has filed or reported information concerning the incidents referred to in the complaint with a non-college official, court, or agency, under any other complaint or complaint procedure. If an external complaint has been filed, the statement should indicate the name of the court, person, department, or agency with which the information was filed and its address or to which it was reported.

Such other or supplemental information as may be requested.

If the complainant brings a complaint beyond the period in which the complaint may be addressed under these procedures, the AAO may terminate any further processing of the complaint or extend the deadline for filing if good cause can be shown for the delay.

The AAO shall investigate the complaint and shall review all relevant information, interview pertinent witnesses, and bring together the complainant and the respondent, if desirable.

PART B: The Determination

Upon conclusion of the investigation, the AAO makes a determination as to whether any state, federal or local laws, rules or regulations, or any collective bargaining agreement or any other contract or policy or procedure of HVCC was violated. If AAO determines such a violation occurred, (s)he will recommend an appropriate sanction to the Director of Human Resources.

If the Director of Human Resources is in agreement the employee will be disciplined accordingly.

Both the complainant and the respondent will receive written notification of the findings of AAO.

This procedure does not supplant any procedures available to any employee under their collective bargaining agreement or contract or any other right or remedy any student or employee may have available to them under the law.

In addition, a complaint alleging harassment in violation of the Human Rights Law may be filed either with New York State Division of Human Rights or in New York State Supreme Court, or the United States EEOC.

Complaints with DHR may be filed any time within one year of the harassment. If an individual did not file at New York State Division of Human Rights, they can sue directly in state court under the HRL, within three years of the alleged discrimination. An individual may not file with DHR if they have already filed a HRL complaint in state court. DHR’s main office contact information is:

NYS Division of Human Rights
One Fordham Plaza, Fourth Floor
Bronx, New York 10458
(718) 741-8400
www.dhr.ny.gov

Contact DHR at (888) 392-3644 or visit 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. 

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.). 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.

If an employee believes that he/she has been discriminated against at work, he/she 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 (1-800-669-6820 (TTY)), visiting their website at www.eeoc.gov or via email at info@eeoc.gov.

If 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.

Title IX Compliance Statement

Title IX (Department of Education Amendment 1972) prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, such as a Federal grant or loan. It encourages recipients to take affirmative action to overcome effects of conditions, which may have resulted in exclusion of women from participation in specific education programs or activities. Title IX applies to student admissions and student affairs policy and the employment of staff in connection with the recipient’s education programs/activities. It mandates the designation of a responsible employee to coordinate compliance with its provision, as well as the establishment of a complaint procedure to resolve student and employee complaints alleging unlawful discrimination.

It is the policy of the Board of Trustees of Hudson Valley Community College to ensure that persons associated with the College receives the fair and equal treatment prescribed within the tenets of equal opportunity. All decisions are made and will continue to be made on the job-related, objective bases of merit, competence, qualifications and business or academic necessity. Hudson Valley Community College does not discriminate with regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status, or marital status or any other category protected by statute or regulation.

The College prohibits discrimination in all programs, policies, standards and activities, maintains an established complaint procedure and assigns compliance responsibility to the AAO.