Employee Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

Manhattan College is a community that embraces and affirms individuals of all faiths, cultures, and traditions.  Among the hallmarks of our Lasallian heritage are respect for human dignity and an emphasis on ethical conduct. Manhattan College is committed to maintaining a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. Harassment is a form of workplace discrimination. Discrimination and harassment in any form has no place in the Lasallian educational mission. All employees are required to work in a manner that prevents discrimination and harassment in the workplace. All employees have a legal right to a workplace free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, marital status, domestic violence victim status, gender identity and criminal history, and alienage or citizenship status, partnership status, pregnancy, arrest or conviction record, caregiver status, credit history, unemployment status, and salary history.

Policy

  1. Discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated. Any employee or individual covered by this policy who engages in discrimination, harassment or retaliation will be subject to remedial and/or disciplinary action (e.g., counseling, suspension, termination).
  2. Retaliation Prohibition: No person covered by this Policy shall be subject to adverse action because the employee reports an incident of discrimination or harassment, provides information, or otherwise assists in any investigation of a discrimination or harassment complaint. Manhattan College will not tolerate such retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, reports or provides information about suspected discrimination or harassment. Any employee of Manhattan College who retaliates against anyone involved in a discrimination or harassment investigation will be subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. All employees or non-employees, as described below in Section 8, working in the workplace who believe they have been subject to such retaliation should inform a supervisor, manager, Vicki Cowan, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer (cowan@manhattan.edu; 718-862-7398; Memorial Hall 305), or Sheetal Kale, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Chief Title IX Coordinator (sheetal.kale@manhattan.edu; 718-852-7512; Manuel Hall 100). All employees and non-employees, as described below in Section 8, who believe they have been a target of such retaliation may also seek relief in other available forums, as explained below in the section on Legal Protections.
  3. Discrimination and harassment are offensive, are violations of our policies, are unlawful, and may subject Manhattan College to liability for harm to targets of discrimination or harassment. Those engaged in discrimination or harassment may also be individually subject to liability. Employees of every level who engage in discrimination or harassment, including managers and supervisors who engage in discrimination or harassment or who allow such behavior to continue, will be penalized for such misconduct.
  4. Manhattan College will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation that ensures due process for all parties, whenever management receives a complaint about discrimination or harassment, or otherwise knows of possible discrimination or harassment occurring. Manhattan College will keep the investigation confidential to the extent possible. Effective corrective action will be taken whenever discrimination or harassment is found to have occurred. All employees, including managers and supervisors, are required to cooperate with any internal investigation of discrimination or harassment.
  5. All employees are encouraged to report any discrimination, harassment, or other behaviors that violate this policy. Manhattan College will provide all employees a complaint form for employees to report discrimination or harassment and file complaints.
  6. Managers and supervisors are required to report any complaint that they receive, or any discrimination or harassment that they observe or become aware of, to Sheetal Kale.
  7. Manhattan College’s policy applies to all employees and applicants for employment with Manhattan College. Any provisions covering sexual harassment also apply to non-employees.
  8. If Sheetal Kale is unavailable, please contact Vicki Cowan, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer (vicki.cowan@manhattan.edu; 718-862-7398; Memorial Hall 305)1

What Is Harassment?

Harassment is a form of discrimination, and is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Unlawful harassment includes any unwelcome conduct that is based on one of the protected characteristics listed above, in the Introduction, if 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. A hostile work environment may include, but is not limited to, words, signs, jokes, pranks, intimidation or physical violence regarding an individual’s protected characteristic(s), or which are directed at an individual because of that individual’s protected characteristic(s).

Examples of Harassment

Harassment can take many forms. The following list is intended to underline the breadth of potentially unlawful actions, and is not an exhaustive list of protected categories or types of harassment:

  • Racial harassment (e.g. derogatory name calling, insults and racist jokes, display of racially offensive material and abusive language, verbal attacks, incitement of others to commit any such acts)
  • Harassment due to an individual’s religion (e.g. offensive jokes, ridicule, or displays of offensive objects)
  • Disability harassment (e.g. offensive or patronizing actions, language or behavior)
  • Age-based harassment (e.g. constant assumptions regarding the ability to learn new tasks, exclusion based on age)

What Is “Sexual Harassment”?

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 sex, sexual orientation, self-identified or perceived sex, gender expression, 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 reporting 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 includes, but is not limited to, 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 also occurs when a person in authority tries to trade job benefits for sexual favors. This can include hiring, promotion, continued employment or any other terms, conditions or privileges of employment. This is also called “quid pro quo” harassment.

Any employee who feels harassed should report so that any violation of this policy can be corrected promptly. Any harassing conduct, even a single incident, can be addressed under this policy.

Examples of sexual harassment

The following describes some of the types of acts that may be unlawful sexual harassment and that are strictly prohibited:

  • 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, name-calling.

Who can be a target of harassment?

Harassment can occur between any individuals, regardless of their sex, gender, or other inclusion in a protected class. New York State Law protects all employees, and non-employees as described above in Section 8. Harassers can be a superior, a subordinate, a coworker or anyone in the workplace, including an independent contractor, contract worker, vendor, client, customer or visitor.

Where can harassment occur?

Unlawful harassment is not limited to the physical workplace itself. It can occur while employees are traveling for business or at employer sponsored events or parties. Calls, texts, emails, and social media usage by employees can constitute unlawful workplace harassment, even if they occur away from the workplace premises, on personal devices or during non-work hours.

Retaliation

Unlawful retaliation can be any action that could discourage a worker from coming forward to make or support a discrimination or harassment claim. Adverse action need not be job-related or occur in the workplace to constitute unlawful retaliation (e.g., threats of physical violence outside of work hours).

Such retaliation is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Any individual who has engaged in “protected activity” is protected under the law and this policy. Protected activity occurs when a person has:

  • made a complaint of discrimination or harassment, either internally or with any anti-discrimination agency;
  • testified or assisted in a proceeding involving discrimination or harassment under an anti-discrimination law;
  • opposed discrimination or harassment by making a verbal or informal complaint to management, or by simply informing a supervisor or manager of discrimination or harassment;
  • reported that another employee has been discriminated against or harassed; or
  • encouraged a fellow employee to report discrimination or harassment.

 Even if the alleged discrimination or harassment does not turn out to rise to the level of a violation of law, the individual is protected from retaliation if the person had a good faith belief that the practices were unlawful. However, the retaliation provision is not intended to protect persons making intentionally false charges of discrimination or harassment.

Reporting Discrimination or Harassment

Preventing discrimination and harassment is everyone’s responsibility. Manhattan College cannot prevent or remedy discrimination or harassment unless it knows about it. Any employee or non-employee who has been subjected to behavior that may constitute discrimination or harassment is encouraged to report such behavior to a supervisor, manager or Sheetal Kale. Anyone who witnesses or becomes aware of potential instances of discrimination or harassment should report such behavior to a supervisor, manager or Sheetal Kale.

Reports of discrimination or harassment may be made orally or in writing.  Employees are encouraged to use this complaint form to submit a written complaint. Employees who are reporting discrimination or harassment on behalf of other employees should use the complaint form and note that it is on another employee’s behalf.

Employees, and non-employees as described above in Section 8, who believe they have been a target of discrimination or harassment, may also seek assistance in other available forums, as explained below in the section on Legal Protections.

Supervisory Responsibilities

All supervisors and managers who receive a complaint or information about suspected discrimination or harassment, observe what may be discriminatory or harassing behavior or for any reason suspect that discrimination or harassment is occurring, are required to report such suspected discrimination or harassment to Sheetal Kale. There is no exception to the reporting requirement, even if the complainant asks to keep the complaint confidential.

In addition to being subject to discipline if they engaged in discriminatory or harassing conduct themselves, supervisors and managers will be subject to discipline for failing to report suspected discrimination or harassment or otherwise knowingly allowing discrimination or harassment to continue.

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

Complaint and Investigation of Discrimination or Harassment

All complaints or information about discrimination or harassment will be investigated, whether that information was reported in verbal or written form. Investigations will be conducted in a timely manner, and will be confidential to the extent possible.

An investigation of any complaint, information or knowledge of suspected discrimination or harassment will be prompt and thorough, commenced immediately and completed as soon as possible. The investigation will be kept confidential to the extent possible. All persons involved, including complainants, witnesses and alleged harassers will be accorded due process, as outlined below, to protect their rights to a fair and impartial investigation.

Any employee may be required to cooperate as needed in an investigation of suspected discrimination or harassment. Manhattan College will not tolerate retaliation against employees who file complaints, support another’s complaint or participate in an investigation regarding a violation of this policy.

Investigations include the following steps:

  • Upon receipt of complaint, Sheetal Kale will conduct an immediate review of the allegations, and take any interim actions (e.g., instructing the respondent to refrain from communications with the complainant), as appropriate. If complaint is verbal, encourage the individual to complete the “Complaint Form” in writing. If he or she refuses, prepare a Complaint Form based on the verbal reporting.
  • If documents, emails or phone records are relevant to the investigation, take steps to obtain and preserve them.
  • Request and review all relevant documents, including all electronic communications.
  • Interview all parties involved, including any relevant witnesses;
  • Create a written documentation of the investigation (such as a letter, memo or email), which contains the following:
    • A list of all documents reviewed, along with a detailed summary of relevant documents;
    • A list of names of those interviewed, along with a detailed summary of their statements;
    • A timeline of events;
    • A summary of prior relevant incidents, reported or unreported; and
    • The basis for the decision and final resolution of the complaint, together with any corrective action(s)
  • Keep the written documentation and associated documents in a secure and confidential location.
  • Promptly notify the individual who reported and the individual(s) about whom the complaint was made of the final determination and implement any corrective actions identified in the written document.
  • Inform the individual who reported of the right to file a complaint or charge externally as outlined in the next section.

Legal Protections and External Remedies

Discrimination and harassment are not only prohibited by Manhattan College but are also prohibited by state, federal, and, where applicable, local law.

Aside from the internal process at Manhattan College, 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.

In addition to those outlined below, employees in certain industries may have additional legal protections.

State Human Rights Law (HRL)

The New York State Human Rights Law (NYS HRL) applies to all employers in New York State with at least 4 employees; and with regard to sexual harassment, covers all NY employers regardless of the number of employees. It protects employees, and non-employees as described above in Section 8. A complaint alleging violation of the NYS HRL may be filed either with the Division of Human Rights (DHR) or in New York State Supreme Court.

Complaints of discrimination or harassment may be filed with DHR any time within one year of the discrimination or 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 discrimination or harassment. An individual may not file with DHR if they have already filed a HRL complaint in state court.

Complaining internally to Manhattan College 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 discrimination or harassment.

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 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 discrimination or harassment.

An employee alleging discrimination or harassment 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 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

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."  Employees with questions about the applicability of Title IX to their complaint may contact Sheetal Kale, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Chief Title IX Coordinator (sheetal.kale@manhattan.edu; 718-852-7512; Manuel Hall 100) with any questions; or visit Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Local Protections

Many localities enforce laws protecting individuals from discrimination or harassment. An individual should contact the county, city or town in which they live to find out if such a law exists. For example, employees who work in New York City may file complaints of discrimination or harassment with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Contact their main office at Law Enforcement Bureau of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, 40 Rector Street, 10th Floor, New York, New York; call 311 or (212) 306-7450; or visit www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/html/home/home.shtml.

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.

 [1] A non-employee is someone who is (or is employed by) a contractor, subcontractor, vendor, consultant, or anyone providing services in the workplace. Protected non-employees include persons commonly referred to as independent contractors, “gig” workers and temporary workers. Also included are persons providing equipment repair, cleaning services or any other services provided pursuant to a contract with the employer.