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Skidmore College
Human Resources

Exempt and Nonexempt Employees (includes members of unions)

Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Anti-Harassment: Policies and Procedures

 

I.  Introduction

II.  Summary Statements of Policy

III.  Review and Liability

IV.  Procedures Regarding Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity

V.  Anti-Harassment Policy

VI.  Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Harassment or Discrimination

VII.  Additional Expectations

 

I.         Introduction

This document communicates the philosophy and perspective of Skidmore College regarding issues of equal employment opportunity, diversity and anti-harassment. It also presents the college’s policies, objectives and plans for maintaining its status as an equal opportunity employer and educator and for supporting its goal of extending the diversity of our community. While some of the policies outlined are required for legal compliance, others are internally motivated and reflect our commitment to an inclusive and hospitable working and learning environment.

Equal Employment Opportunity laws and regulations prohibit discrimination against employees or applicants for employment based on race, traits historically associated with race, color, creed, religion, gender (including pregnancy), age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, military or veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, predisposition or carrier status, domestic violence victim status, familial status or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws. This policy further prohibits domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking, which need not be based on an individual’s protected status. The policy also prohibits complicity in knowingly assisting in an act that violates this policy and retaliation against an individual because of the individuals’ good-faith participation in the reporting, investigation or adjudication of violations of this policy. The College fully supports these prohibitions and has adopted policies reflecting its commitment to non-discrimination and equal opportunity in its employment and educational practices.

For more information on Equal Employment Opportunity laws please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/migrated_files/employers/poster_screen_reader_optimized.pdf .

Skidmore College’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity policies further apply to the recruitment and admission of its students, to the administration of its educational policies and programs and to the recruitment and retention of its faculty and staff. They apply, in addition, to all individuals and organizations associated with, or doing business with or for, Skidmore College.

These policies and philosophy constitute a firm commitment to the principles of equal opportunity for all members of the college.  For the purpose of administering these policies and procedures, the Human Resources Director may be contacted in the absence of the Assistant Director of Employment & Workforce Diversity (ADEWD).

 

II.         Summary Statements of Policy

A. Policy on Equal Employment Opportunity

Skidmore College affirms that its community members have the right to be free from acts of unlawful discrimination. The following statement of policy on equal employment opportunity affirms Skidmore College’s commitment to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment:

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

Skidmore College is committed to being an inclusive campus community and an equal-opportunity employer. The College therefore prohibits discrimination against any individual or group of its students, prospective students, employees or candidates for employment on the basis of race, traits historically associated with race, color, creed, religion, gender (including pregnancy), age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, military or veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, predisposition or carrier status, domestic violence victim status, familial status, dating violence, and stalking or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. The College also does not unlawfully discriminate against applicants or employees based on their prior arrest or criminal conviction records.  Domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking need not be based on an individual’s protected status to be a violation of this policy.

B. Policy on Diversity

The principal mission of Skidmore College is the education of predominantly full-time undergraduates—a diverse population of talented students who are eager to engage actively in the learning process (Skidmore College Mission Statement). Fulfillment of this mission entails building an academic community based upon mutual respect and openness to ideas, one in which individual's value differences in perspective. Fostering such a community requires the active recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff members of diverse backgrounds and cultural heritages.

To read the Skidmore College Mission Statement in its entirety, please visit here. Appreciation of diversity is fundamental to a liberal arts education that aims to foster the growth of the whole person in an environment of respect and understanding for different experiences and backgrounds. A diverse community provides each of us with the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others and to submit our own values and assumptions to critical examination. We learn to understand others and ourselves better in an environment that encourages deepened appreciation of other cultures, perspectives, and lived experiences.

The following statement of “Diversity Policy” affirms the college’s commitment to increasing the diversity within the various groups that constitute our academic community:

Diversity Policy

Skidmore College’s learning and working communities are strengthened by the diversity of their members. Accordingly, the college is committed to acting affirmatively to enhance the diversity of every population within the campus community: students, faculty and staff.

To place the commitment to diversity within the context of the college’s strategic goals and objectives, and as a further guide to hiring practices, please see the statement on Diversity in Hiring: Strategic Considerations

As a matter of policy, Skidmore College will work actively to increase the diversity of our community. We will address imbalances in both student and employee populations and meet our diversity-related objectives by recruiting the best candidates from as broad a pool as possible. As always, we will continue to be guided by our fundamental educational values: leading our students to develop robust cognitive abilities, enhanced critical and intercultural skills and an appreciation of their individual and social responsibilities as citizens of the world. Meeting these objectives is crucial to our achieving new levels of excellence.

C. Policies on Accessibility and Accommodations

Skidmore College is committed to supporting accessibility, with respect to both physical access and other forms of access, to all programs on campus.

  1. Accessibility and Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities and Pregnancy-Related Conditions

In accordance with applicable federal and state laws protecting qualified individuals with documented disabilities and pregnancy-related conditions, Skidmore College will reasonably accommodate such individuals (except in the rare case when doing so would create an undue hardship for Skidmore College).

Any staff member or administrator with a disability who requires accommodations to perform his/her duties effectively should contact their supervisor or the Assistant Director for Employment & Workforce Diversity (ADEWD).

For additional information on the College’s policy and procedure for workplace accommodations, please see the College’s Workplace Accommodation for Employees and Applicants with Disabilities Policy and Procedure.

  1. Accommodations for Religious Beliefs

The College respects the religious beliefs and practices of all employees.  If an employee’s religious beliefs or practices conflict with an aspect of their job, the College will work with the employee to determine an accommodation that will eliminate the conflict (except, in the rare instance, when doing so would cause an undue hardship on the College).  Any staff member or administrator who needs an accommodation should contact their supervisor or the ADEWD.

  1. Victims of Domestic Violence, Sex Offenses or Stalking

The College supports victims of domestic violence, sex offenses and stalking and encourages any employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses and/or stalking to seek help.  To ensure an employee’s job does not stand in the way of an employee’s safety and wellbeing, the College will provide reasonable accommodations to victims of domestic violence, sex offenses or stalking unless doing so would create an undue hardship on the College.

Reasonable accommodations may include modifications or adjustments that allow an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, and/or stalking to satisfy the essential requirements of their job.  Depending on the circumstances, accommodation also may include time off from work for reasons such as:

  • seeking medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence, including for a child who is a victim of domestic violence (provided that the employee is not the perpetrator of the domestic violence against the child);
  • obtaining services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center as a result of domestic violence;
  • obtaining psychological counseling related to an incident or incidents of domestic violence, including for a child who is a victim of domestic violence (provided that the employee is not the perpetrator of the domestic violence against the child);
  • participating in safety planning and taking other actions to increase safety from future incidents of domestic violence, including temporary or permanent relocation; or
  • obtaining legal services, assisting in the prosecution of the offense, or appearing in court in relation to the incident or incidents of domestic violence.
Employees should contact the ADEWD to request an accommodation.  The College will protect the privacy of any employee who makes an accommodation request and prohibits retaliation against any individual who makes such a request.

D. Policy on Anti-Harassment

Skidmore College affirms that its community members (faculty, staff, administration and students) have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect and to be free from acts of harassment based on the protected characteristics. The College’s Policy on Anti-Harassment prohibits harassment against students, prospective students, applicants, faculty, staff, administrators, interns, volunteers and independent contractors who do business with or on behalf of the College.  The responsibility to avoid, detect and eliminate harassment at Skidmore College is one that is shared by all community members.  To this end, the College strongly encourages all community members, and requires all supervisors, managers, department heads and program directors, to immediately report conduct prohibited by College policy.  The College’s Policy on Anti-Harassment provides multiple avenues for filing a written or verbal complaint, a prompt and equitable investigation procedure that ensures due process for all participants, and effective remedial action where violations of this or other College policy are found The College’s Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation against Staff Members are set forth in Section V, below. 

E. Policy Prohibiting Retaliation

Skidmore College prohibits any and all retaliation against any person who opposes a discriminatory practice, submits a good-faith report of harassment or discrimination or who furnishes information or participates in any investigation arising from such a report.  Retaliation includes any conduct, whether or not workplace or employment-related, directed at someone because they opposed a discriminatory practice, made a complaint of discrimination, or participated in such an investigation, which might deter a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of harassment or discrimination. Retaliation is unlawful and will not be tolerated. Any individual who believes that they have been subject to retaliation should file a complaint using the procedure set forth below.  Any individual who is found to have engaged in retaliatory conduct will be disciplined, up to and including separation from the College.

F. Policy on Consensual Sexual Relationships Involving Students

As an academic community, Skidmore College stands by principles of fairness, equal opportunity and nondiscrimination. These principles take on special meaning in the relationship between students and members of the faculty or others in an advising or evaluative relationship. Specifically, all students have the right to be treated fairly, held to the same requirements and standards and afforded equal opportunities based on their individual accomplishments. All employees are expected to maintain professional relationships with all college students, to act in accordance with standards of professional conduct and to avoid conflict of interest, favoritism, bias or creation of a hostile environment for any student of the College.

  1.  Policy on Consensual Sexual Relationships with Current Students

Sexual relationships, whether consensual or not, between College employees and their students (those whom they currently teach, advise, supervise, coach, evaluate or hold authority over in any way) violate the integrity of the College’s academic community and constitute grounds for disciplinary action up to and including separation from the College.

  1.  Policy on Consensual Sexual Relationships with Students When There Is No Formal Authority over the Student

Even if a College employee does not currently hold a position of authority over a student, any sexual relationship between an employee and a student of the College potentially jeopardizes the integrity of the academic or living environment of the Skidmore community. The College, therefore, absolutely prohibits any sexual relationship between an employee and any student of the College. In the event that any such relationship is found to undermine the trust, respect and fairness that are essential to the success of Skidmore’s educational mission, the college will take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including separation from the College.

G. Policy on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

Skidmore College is committed to promoting a campus environment where sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and exploitation are not tolerated, and where every member of the community is expected to do their part to prevent and address violence. The college also is committed to providing survivors and all community members affected by sexual and relationship violence support and avenues of redress as appropriate. Sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are violations of Skidmore College policy and crimes as defined by the state of New York.

III.        Review and Liability

A.  Policy Review

These policies may be modified by the President based upon recommendations by, and consultation with, members of the President’s Cabinet, the Chief Human Resources Officer, the ADEWD, the Institutional Policy and Planning Committee (IPPC), and the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC). The college leadership shall periodically review its practices and procedures regarding admissions, recruitment, hiring, promotion and other areas of concern to students, employees and the college as an employer and shall seek to redress any inequities or conditions related to prohibited practices that come to its attention.

B.  Employees’ Liability for Violations of These Policies

Any employee of Skidmore College who violates the policies described in this Policy is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including separation from the college. Additionally, any supervisor or manager who has information regarding possible violations of these policies, and takes no action to stop the misconduct or fails to report the possible violation to an appropriate individual, may also face disciplinary action, up to and including separation from the college. Employees who violate these policies and supervisors or managers who fail to address or report such possible violations may also be subject to civil or criminal liability.

Employees of the college are further advised that violation of these college policies by definition entails actions that fall outside the scope of their duties. This means that they may  not  be eligible  for  the  college’s  insured  or  uninsured  protection  should  their conduct become the subject of civil or criminal legal proceedings.

 

IV. Procedures Regarding Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity

This article establishes procedures for implementing the policies regarding equal employment opportunity and diversity at Skidmore College.

A.  Scope

1. Educational Environment and Title IX

In accordance with its policy on equal opportunity, Skidmore College prohibits discrimination against any students on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, military or veteran status, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, predisposition or carrier status, domestic violence victim status, familial status, dating violence, or stalking or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.

Complaints of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or gender-based violence may implicate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as well as other applicable nondiscrimination and harassment laws; Skidmore has designated certain individuals to address efforts in this area to comply with Title IX and other federal and state laws governing colleges and universities.. Questions or any concerns about Title IX should be directed to:

Title IX Coordinator
jaure@skidmore.edu
518-580-5708

Additional information about Title IX and how it applies to complaints of sexual harassment against employees, is set forth below.

2. Employment Environment

As stated above, the College prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, traits historically associated with race, color, creed, religion, gender (including pregnancy), age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, military or veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, predisposition or carrier status, domestic violence victim status, familial status, dating violence or stalking or any other category protected by applicable federal, state or local laws. To implement this policy, guidelines have been established to ensure equal opportunity in all employment policies and practices. These guidelines apply across the institution:

a. All position vacancies will be subject to equal employment opportunity search standards, which establish procedures for internal posting and external advertisement appropriate to a position’s relevant labor market. The scope of a search is determined by the ADEWD in consultation with the hiring department or office. The nature of the position dictates whether a qualified pool of candidates may most appropriately be recruited from a local, regional, or national market. When the opening is one of the College’s bargaining unit positions, the procedure outlined in the respective bargaining agreements will be followed.

b. In some situations, the ADEWD may waive the requirement for a full search. Normally, a waiver-of-search may be approved if one of the following three actions is proposed: filling a vacancy by promotion; filling a vacancy on a temporary basis (non-recurring appointment for a maximum of one year); or filling a vacancy as a result of internal reorganization. In these cases, or in the case of other extenuating circumstances, a full search may not be desirable, and the ADEWD will give careful consideration to requests for search waiver.

c. Human Resources maintains and updates lists of recruitment resources for all searches.

d. Human Resources routinely sends announcements of non-bargaining–unit position vacancies to local and regional organizations that represent historically underrepresented groups. Hiring managers are strongly encouraged to network through their own personal and/or professional contacts in an effort to broaden the diversity of candidate pools for all positions. Such outreach should occur on a regular basis, even in the absence of an immediate position vacancy.

e. All applicants for academic and nonacademic position vacancies will receive an acknowledgment of their interest in employment at Skidmore through a postcard, email or letter. Those applicants who file their applications on line will receive a confirmation number as their acknowledgement.

f. Before any candidate in a search is invited for an interview (whether on or off campus), the office or department responsible for hiring will contact the ADEWD to review the applicant pool. If the pool is not sufficiently inclusive, the ADEWD may recommend further steps. The process outlined in the bargaining unit contracts are followed for all union positions.

g. At the conclusion of the interviewing phase, the office or department responsible for hiring will contact the ADEWD to discuss the candidates interviewed. No oral or written commitment may be made to a candidate until the ADEWD has agreed that appropriate equal employment opportunity procedures have been followed. If such policies and procedures have been violated, the search may be deferred.

 

B.  Administration: Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Members of President’s Cabinet are responsible for the coordination of institutional efforts and resources to advance the strategic goals of increasing and retaining a diverse faculty and staff and of fostering an inclusive campus climate.
  2. The ADEWD, in consultation with President’s Cabinet, is charged with providing leadership in recommending and implementing strategies to secure and maintain a diverse campus community of faculty and staff; coordinating institution-wide equal opportunity and diversity employment efforts, including equal employment opportunity strategies and activity on all searches; planning and initiating all education for faculty and staff on matters of equal employment opportunity, unlawful discrimination and harassment; and coordinating this activity with related student education provided by Student Affairs staff. The ADEWD is responsible for coordinating and disseminating to the community an annual report on the state of diversity at the college.
  3. The ADEWD provides counsel to the President and President's Cabinet on issues of equal employment opportunity, diversity and anti-harassment. The ADEWD communicates as appropriate with the President, members of President's Cabinet, the Chief Human Resources Officer, and members of Academic Staff. The ADEWD is also available for consultation with any other member of the Skidmore community.

V.        Anti-Harassment Policy

Skidmore College affirms that its community members (faculty, staff, administration and students) have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect and to be free from acts of harassment based on their protected characteristics. This Policy applies to all applicants, employees, interns and independent contractors who do business with or on behalf of the College (“covered community members”).  It prohibits harassment against a covered community member, whether engaged in by an employee, a manager or supervisor, a student, a student’s parent, a volunteer, an alumna/us, a visitor or a third party who does business with the College (such as an outside vendor or consultant).  Harassment may take place in person, by phone or by means of print or electronic media. Skidmore College’s policy applies to all employees and students of the College whenever they are interacting with one another, whether on or off campus. Off-campus violations may occur at campus-sponsored events or programs, such as athletic events, internship arrangements, or professional meetings, or at private or social events (such as parties) or over the Internet.


A. Harassment Defined

Harassment on the basis of race, traits historically associated with race, color, creed, religion, gender (including pregnancy), age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, military or veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, predisposition or carrier status, domestic violence victim status, familial status, dating violence or stalking or any other category protected by federal, state or local laws is a form of discrimination and is prohibited by this Policy.  Harassment includes verbal, visual or physical conduct directed at an individual or group of individuals because of their protected status that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s or student’s work, professional or educational performance, productivity, physical security, living arrangements, extracurricular activities, academic or career opportunities, services or benefits—or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.

Examples of conduct constituting harassment may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Verbal conduct such as threats, epithets, derogatory comments or slurs;
  • Visual conduct such as derogatory images, gestures or postings on social media;
  • Physical conduct such as assault, unwanted touching or blocking normal movement.

Whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment will be determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account relevant factors, such as the nature of the conduct and the context in which the incidents occurred.

The fact that someone did not intend to harass another individual may not constitute an adequate defense in response to a complaint of harassment. Regardless of intent, the characteristics, context and effect of the behavior are what determine whether the behavior constitutes harassment.

This Policy prohibits harassment based on protected status, including sex.  In addition to this Policy, employees are also covered by the College’s Title IX Policy for Employees, which prohibits certain forms of sexual harassment covered by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the 2020 Title IX regulations.  Please note it is not the responsibility of an employee to determine which policy will apply to address an incident of sexual harassment.  All sexual harassment complaints involving an employee will be reviewed by the College’s Title IX Coordinator and Assistant Director for Employment & Workforce Diversity (ADEWD) or designee to determine whether the conduct alleged falls under this Policy, the College’s Title IX Policy and/or other College policies. 

B. Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of harassment and is strictly forbidden. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other gender-based verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct that subjects a covered community member to inferior terms, conditions or privileges of employment or education.  It includes harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, self-identified or perceived sex, gender expression, gender identity and the status of being transgender.  Any such conduct violates this policy. 

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: 

  • submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic advancement (quid pro quo harassment),
  • submission to, or rejection of, the conduct is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual (quid pro quo harassment), or
  • the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s or student’s work, professional or educational performance, productivity, physical security, participation in living arrangements, extracurricular activities, academic or career opportunities, services or benefits—or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.

The following examples of sexual harassment are intended to be instructive but not inclusive:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances or propositions;
  • Requests for sexual favors in exchange for a job, or promotion or some other employment or benefit (quid pro quo).
  • Verbal conduct, which may take oral or written form (e.g., social media posts, email, text messages) and may include gender-based profanity, derogatory comments, sexual jokes or teasing, whistling, catcalls, threats, repeated unwelcome requests for a date, or comments about an employee’s body or dress.
  • Nonverbal conduct, which may include staring, blowing kisses, winking, displaying material that is sexually suggestive or shows gender-based hostility in the work area, in the classroom, in lockers, as screen savers on one’s computer or handheld device, sending such material in email, text messages or notes, or posting such material on social media.
  • Physical conduct, which may include touching, bumping, grabbing, cornering, blocking passage or threats or acts of sexual assault or molestation.
C. Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Skidmore College is committed to promoting a campus environment where sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and exploitation are not tolerated, and where every member of the community is expected to do their part to prevent and address violence. The College also is committed to providing survivors and all community members affected by sexual and relationship violence support and avenues of redress as appropriate. Sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking are violations of Skidmore College policy and crimes as defined by the State of New York.

Sexual and gender-based violence can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in both long-term and brief intimate partnerships. Gender-based violence can be committed regardless of an individual’s sex, gender identity or expression or sexual orientation.

The following type of conduct is considered to be sexual and gender-based violence and is prohibited.

Sexual Assault is any nonconsensual sexual act prohibited by federal, tribal or New York State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to affirmatively consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, sexual penetration and sexual touching, disrobing and/or exposure.

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship and the frequency of the interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual, physical abuse, emotional violence or the threat of such violence and does not include acts that meet the definition of "domestic violence."

Domestic violence means felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the state.

Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. Examples of stalking include unwanted, intrusive and frightening communications by phone, mail and/or email; repeatedly leaving or sending unwanted items such as gifts; following or waiting for a person at places such as home, school or work; making direct or indirect threats of harm to a person, or the person's children, relatives, friends or pets; damaging or threatening to damage property; harassment through the internet or social media; and posting information or spreading rumors about a person.

Attempts to commit sexual or gender-based misconduct are also prohibited under this Policy, as is aiding the commission of sexual and gender-based violence as an accomplice.

In addition to reporting this conduct under the procedures set forth below, employees also have the right to make a report to Campus Safety, local law enforcement and/or state police or to choose not to report.  Employees also have the right to be protected from retaliation for reporting an incident and to receive assistance and resources from the College.

This Policy and the procedures outlined below apply to staff and administrators.  If any of the above gender-based violence involves student against student, it should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX Deputy Coordinator or Campus Safety.

D. Third-Party Harassment

It is important to recognize that prohibited harassment may occur under this Policy even when the conduct alleged is witnessed by, rather than directed at, an individual covered by this Policy.  Third parties and the work environment in general can be negatively impacted by incidents of harassment, even if the individual at whom the conduct is directed does not find the conduct unwelcome or offensive, but someone else does.  Such conduct violates this Policy, because of its impact on the campus environment, which the College strives to sustain as respectful and inclusive at all times.


VI.   PROCEDURES FOR RESOLVING COMPLAINTS OF Discrimination, HARASSMENT OR retaliation AGAINST STAFF MEMBERS

  • The responsibility to detect and eliminate discrimination, harassment and retaliation at Skidmore College is one that is shared by all community members.  Employees should report any instances they believe to constitute discrimination, harassment or retaliation. Disclosing such incidents provides the parties an opportunity for consultation with appropriate College personnel and the opportunity to resolve complaints promptly and effectively.

    Allegations against faculty will be resolved according to procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook. Allegations against students (including full-time students who are also employees) will be resolved according to procedures outlined in the Student Handbook. Allegations against staff members (including administrators) will be resolved according to procedures outlined below.

    Using the procedures outlined below, any staff member who believes they are the victim of  discrimination, harassment or retaliation, or who witnesses such conduct, should report the matter to one of the following individuals listed below, other than the alleged offender.. These individuals are available to provide information about this Policy, the resolution process that the College has adopted, and appropriate actions that might be taken.

    • Department director
    • Supervisor
    • Human Resources Director
    • Assistant Director for Employment and Workforce Diversity (ADEWD)

     

    Sexual harassment complaints may also be reported to the College’s Title IX Coordinator.  For additional information on Title IX and for contact information for the current Title IX Coordinator, please see here [add SGBM website reference].

A. Definition of Terms

In the process that follows, the following terms are used:

Complainant: The individual filing an informal or formal complaint of discrimination or harassment.

Respondent: The individual alleged to be responsible for a discriminatory or harassing action.

Appellant: The individual appealing the disposition of a complaint (either the complainant or respondent).

Inquiry: The process used in the informal stage of a complaint.

Investigation: The process used in the formal stage of a complaint.

Appropriate official:  The complainant’s or respondent’s department director, supervisor, or the Human Resources Director. If the appropriate official has a conflict of interest, the Human Resources Director will designate a replacement.

B. Reporting Suspected Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

Who should report
Any applicant for employment, employee or former employee who believes that he/she has been discriminated against, harassed or retaliated against should report such instances to the appropriate official.  The College strongly encourages bystanders who witness such conduct to also report such conduct to one of the College officials listed above.  All supervisors and managers must immediately report any knowledge of conduct that potentially violates this Policy (including if they receive a report of or witness such conduct) to the ADEWD.

Confidentiality
To the extent possible, those handling complaints will endeavor to maintain the confidentiality of all parties involved in the informal and formal process. This confidentiality extends to those seeking assistance, to those filing a complaint, to respondents, and to those serving as witnesses; confidentiality also extends to those creating or reviewing any documents related to the complaint. Information about the complaint is therefore provided only to those individuals within the college who have a need to know that information in order to investigate and/or resolve the complaint. This requirement of confidentiality does not mean that the details of the complaint will be withheld from the respondent.

Nevertheless, the College cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality. In order to ensure compliance with College policies and federal and state laws, the College may be required to disclose information about a complaint to agencies or to individuals not involved in the complaint. Moreover, when the complaint involves alleged acts of a criminal nature, the College may be required by law to notify law enforcement authorities. The College may also publicly divulge details of the outcome if one of the parties discloses selective portions of the proceedings or if the complainant or respondent contests the findings or results of the College’s investigation in the course of a lawsuit.

Prior to or concurrent with lodging a discrimination, harassment or retaliation complaint, individuals may find it helpful to consult with a counselor or otherwise seek assistance. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can provide advice and support to individuals who believe they are experiencing discrimination, harassment or retaliation. All information shared with these individuals will remain confidential to the extent permitted by law.. Discussions with representatives from EAP are confidential and not shared with the College.  As such, they will not be considered a report to the College regarding the problematic behavior and will not, without additional action by the complainant, result in intervention or corrective action.

 

Filing a Complaint
Reports of discrimination, harassment or retaliation may be made verbally or in writing.  Employees should report instances of alleged harassment or discrimination to one of the following:

  • The Department director
  • Supervisor
  • Human Resources Director
  • ADEWD

All the above officials will convey information received to the ADEWD, who will initiate an informal inquiry.

A written complaint may be made using this form and submitting it to the appropriate official.

When a complaint of discrimination, harassment or retaliation has been taken up by an agency outside of the College as a result of a possible violation of federal, state or local law or regulation, the College may decide to cancel or continue any internal inquiry/investigation already in process. The College may also conduct its own investigation once the external action is completed.

The College’s complaint process, for the purpose of meeting required deadlines, begins once the ADEWD conducts an initial interview with the complainant. During the initial interview, the ADEWD will discuss with the complainant whether or not the alleged incident(s) of harassment or discrimination constitute(s) a potential violation of the College’s policies. The complainant will also be told about their rights under the College’s complaint procedures.

The complainant will have the right to:

  • have a representative (not an attorney), including a shop steward if a member of a union, present as an observer during the complaint process;
  • be granted confidentiality, to the extent possible, throughout the process;
  • withdraw the complaint at any time during the process (with the understanding that the College may be required to pursue the issue);
  • review and sign his/her own statement and receive a copy;
  • review the ADEWD’s summary, which indicates whether the alleged misconduct was found to violate College policy;
  • file the complaint with a federal, state or local agency designated to hear/investigate EEO complaints;
  • request mediation; and
  • have a meeting with the ADEWD after the informal inquiry and, if the complaint proceeds, after the formal investigation.

The complainant will not have the right to:

  • have an attorney present;
  • use any mechanical device to record the proceedings (in case of disability, the representative may be delegated to take notes);
  • ask questions of the respondent or witness(es);
  • identify the penalty or corrective action for the respondent if that person is found to have violated a college policy;
  • review the complete complaint file and associated documents (e.g., witnesses’ statements); or
  • receive a copy of the complete complaint file.

Once a complaint is received, the ADEWD will meet with the respondent to inform them of the complaint. The respondent will also be told about their rights under the college’s complaint procedures.

The respondent will have the right to:

  • have a representative (not an attorney), or a shop steward if a member of a union, present as an observer during the complaint process;
  • receive a copy of the written complaint;
  • be granted confidentiality, to the extent possible, throughout the process;
  • respond to the complaint;
  • review and sign his/her own statement and receive a copy;
  • request mediation;
  • have a meeting with the ADEWD after the informal inquiry; and
  • review a copy of the final summary of the complaint in the presence of the appropriate official unless the complaint was withdrawn prior to final decision

The respondent will not have the right to:

  • have an attorney present;
  • use any mechanical device to record the proceedings (in case of disability, the representative may be delegated to take notes);
  • ask questions of the complainant or witness(es);
  • review the complete complaint file and all associated documents (e.g., witnesses’ statements); or
  • receive a copy of the complete complaint file.

Any discussion during the initial interviews with the complainant or the respondent will be documented and signed by the individual making the statement and the ADEWD. The individual making the statement will be given a copy of the signed document, and the ADEWD will enter the original in the complaint file.

C. Initial Inquiry

All concerns or complaints directed to the ADEWD will include an initial inquiry, the purpose of which is to determine whether the alleged conduct constitutes a potential violation of this Policy and, if so, whether the report can be resolved informally between the complainant and respondent. During this stage, the ADEWD or designee will meet separately with the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses who may have relevant information.  The ADEWD or designee will also review any relevant documentary or other evidence.

Witnesses to the complaint (other than the complainant or respondent) will have the right to:

  • have a representative (not an attorney), or a shop steward if a member of a union, present as an observer during the complaint process;
  • be granted confidentiality, to the extent possible, throughout the process (as described in B above); and
  • review and sign their own statements and receive copies.

Witnesses to the complaint (other than the complainant or respondent) will not have the right to:

  • have an attorney present;
  • use any mechanical device to record the proceedings (in case of disability, the representative may be delegated to take notes);
  • ask questions of the complainant or respondent;
  • review the complete complaint file and all associated documents; or
  • receive a copy of the complete complaint file.

Upon completion of the initial inquiry, the ADEWD will determine whether a violation of this Policy and/or another College policy has occurred.  If the ADEWD determines a violation of College policy occurred, it will recommend to the Human Resources Director and appropriate Department director whether the report should be resolved informally or if the College should move forward with a formal complaint under the procedures below.  Examples of informal resolution include, but are not limited to: counseling, education and training and/or mediation.   

Depending on the nature of the complaint, mediation may be offered as a remedial measure. If the complainant accepts this approach, the respondent will be encouraged to participate in the mediation process.

If the parties agree to an informal resolution, it will be documented in an agreement. Both parties will be given a copy of the agreement, and a copy will be retained with the complaint file by the ADEWD.  Parties may not appeal an informal resolution.

 

D. Formal Complaint Procedures

If no resolution/agreement is reached during the initial inquiry or if the matter is not appropriate for informal resolution, the College may proceed with a formal complaint and resolution.

The formal complaint will be prepared by the ADEWD and provide the respondent with a complete description of the alleged incident(s) or actions leading to the complaint with sufficient detail to allow the respondent to prepare a defense to the allegations.

When a staff member is formally accused of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, the ADEWD or designee will conduct the investigation independently or in conjunction with another trained professional.


E.  Advisory Panel

  1. When a faculty member is formally accused of harassment or discrimination, the college’s procedures establish opportunities for other faculty members to provide advice and recommendations.  Such faculty advice and recommendations will be provided through the Advisory Panel (AP).

    After receiving the formal complaint against a faculty member, the ADEWD will convene the Advisory Panel.

    In the case of complaints by staff members against faculty members, the AP will consist of two tenured faculty members selected by the ADEWD from the Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) and two staff members selected by the ADEWD from a Staff Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB, established by the Human Resources Director, consists of staff members trained in issues relating to discrimination and harassment.  FAB members are also trained in issues relating to discrimination and harassment.

    Faculty or staff members from the same department or office as either the complainant or the respondent may not serve on the AP. Any panelist with a conflict of interest may not serve. In addition, the complainant and the respondent each may request that one of the chosen panelists be replaced. In the event that a two- or four-person AP cannot be selected from these various boards, the VPAA and the Chair of FEC (in the case of faculty) or the Chief Human Resources Officer (in the case of staff) will provide replacements as needed. Any such replacements will receive training appropriate to the complaint.

F. Investigation

All information gathered during the informal process will continue to be used in the formal process. The ADEWD will provide the respondent with a copy of the formal complaint together with a letter to the respondent outlining the investigation process and clarifying the respondent’s rights as well as the College’s expectation of full cooperation. During the formal process, all witnesses identified by the complainant and respondent will be interviewed, if the ADEWD or designee determines that they may offer relevant facts. All witnesses will receive a letter outlining the role of a witness during the investigation as well as the College’s expectation of their participation.

The complainant will be required to provide any requested documents and respond to requests for additional information in a timely manner (within five work days of receipt of a request). After five days, the ADEWD will repeat the request in writing; if the complainant does not respond within 10 work days after this written request for information is made by the ADEWD, the College may proceed with the investigation without complainant’s participation or, when the complainant’s lack of participation prevents the College from collecting sufficient information to move forward with an investigation, may close the investigation and cancel the formal complaint.   Cancellation for lack of participation cannot be appealed by the complainant.

If the complaint involves a faculty member as a respondent, members of the AP will participate in the interviews, but the ADEWD will take the lead in questioning. When a complaint is filed against a staff member, the ADEWD or designee will conduct the investigation independently, or in conjunction with another trained professional. The AP will not participate in these types of investigations.

When possible, the investigation will be completed within 20 calendar days from the date the formal complaint is filed, unless more time is required by the ADEWD or designee. If the investigation will exceed this time limit, the ADEWD will provide written notification to the complainant, the respondent, and the appropriate official.

Upon completion of the investigation, the ADEWD will develop a complaint file consisting of all documents gathered during the investigation, along with statements from witnesses. The ADEWD will prepare a final report, including the summary, findings, and conclusions.

*Work days are defined as days the college’s administrative offices are open.

G. Legal Review

Upon completion of the investigation, the Human Resources Director will review the complaint file with the ADEWD and determine whether the report should be forwarded for legal review to the college’s attorney. In either case the ADEWD will meet with the appropriate official (relevant dean, vice president or supervisor) to report the results.

H. Administrative Review

Within five work days from the completion of the final report, the ADEWD, along with the Human Resources Director, will share the results with the appropriate official. The appropriate official (Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), Dean of the Faculty (DOF), Dean of Special Programs (DSP), or any other division head) in consultation with the Human Resources Director will consider the findings and determine the appropriate action(s). The Human Resources Director will work with the appropriate official to implement the actions.

I. Disposition of Complaint

Once the final report have been reviewed with the appropriate official, the ADEWD will have a final interview with the complainant within three work days after the administrative review. During this interview, the ADEWD will verbally share the summary, findings and conclusions and issue a letter. The letter will address the facts that were gathered and state whether any violation of the College’s policies was found.  If a violation of this Policy is found, the letter may also include what remedial action the College will take in response to the Policy violation.  The College reserves the right to maintain confidentiality of personnel decisions, including disciplinary action against a respondent.

Within three work days after the administrative review, the appropriate official will meet with the respondent to verbally share the summary, findings, conclusions and, if appropriate, disciplinary action and issue a letter.  The letter will address the facts that were gathered, state whether any violation of the College’s policies were found and, if a violation of College was found, what remedial action will be implemented by the College, including appropriate disciplinary action. Members of a union will have the option of having a shop steward present.

All associated notes and documents developed by the appropriate official will be forwarded to Human Resources to be kept in the complaint file. All complaint files will be housed in Human Resources as legally required or as stipulated by the sanctions.


J. Remedial Action

When a violation of this Policy has been found, appropriate remedial action may include: education or training, counseling, referral to EAP, or mediation as well as formal disciplinary action including formal verbal or written warning, a letter in the personnel file for a period of time, permanent letter in the personnel file, withholding of salary increases or stipends, suspension (with or without pay) or separation from the College.

Any supervisor or manager who fails to report harassment or knowingly allows such conduct to continue will also be subject to corrective action, up to and including separation from the College.

K. Appeals

Complainant
A complainant may appeal based on the following criteria: 1) procedural error that might have affected the outcome of the decision or 2) new evidence. If the complainant elects to appeal, they must file the appeal within 15 work days of the date of the final interview with the ADEWD.

Respondent
A respondent may appeal based on the following criteria: 1) procedural error that might have affected the outcome, 2) new evidence, or 3) severity of the sanction. If the respondent elects to appeal, they must appeal within 15 work days from the date of the respondent’s meeting with the appropriate official. A respondent who is a member of a union will follow the grievance procedure outlined in their collective bargaining unit agreement.

All appeals must be delivered in writing to the President, who will decide whether the appeal has merit based on the criteria listed above and who will make the final institutional decision based upon a review of the record and of the recommendations, findings, conclusions and sanctions related to the complaint.

The President will provide his or her decision in writing to the appellant, the other party to the original complaint as appropriate, the ADEWD, and the appropriate official. If the President reverses or modifies the recommendation(s), then the President will provide written reasons for the action. The President will make the decision within 10 work days of the President’s receipt of the appeal.

L. Legal Protections And External Remedies

Harassment is not only prohibited by Skidmore College but is also prohibited by state, federal, and, where applicable, local law.  Aside from the internal process at the College, employees may also choose to pursue legal remedies with governmental entities as described below.

State Human Rights Law (HRL)

The Human Rights Law (HRL), codified as N.Y. Executive Law, art. 15, § 290 et seq., applies to all employers in New York State with regard to harassment based on protected status, and protects employees, paid or unpaid interns and non-employees, regardless of immigration status. A complaint alleging violation of the Human Rights Law may be filed either with the Division of Human Rights (DHR) or in New York State Supreme Court.

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

Complaining internally (within the 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 harassment. 

You do not need an attorney to file a complaint with DHR, and there is no cost to file with DHR.

DHR will investigate your complaint and determine whether there is probable cause to believe that unlawful harassment has occurred. Probable cause cases are forwarded to a public hearing before an administrative law judge. If unlawful harassment is found after a hearing, DHR has the power to award appropriate remedies

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.  Employees may also 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.

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 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. In general, private employers must have at least 15 employees to come within the jurisdiction of the EEOC.

An employee alleging discrimination 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.

Local Protections

Many localities enforce laws protecting individuals from discrimination, including harassment. An individual should contact the county, city or town in which they live to find out if such a law exists.

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, and the employee may contact the local police department to file charges against the accused.

VII. Additional Expectations

A.  Cooperation with Investigations and Hearings

All members of the Skidmore community (students, faculty, administrators, and staff) are expected to cooperate fully with inquiries and investigations pertaining to alleged incidents of harassment or discrimination. Expected cooperation includes providing full and honest disclosure of known facts, providing oral or written testimony, and providing letters, emails, voice messages, notebooks, gifts or other evidence in any such proceeding. Finally, cooperation includes the expectation that all parties to a complaint, inquiry or investigation will maintain the confidentiality of the process and not attempt to influence any other party to the process.

B.  Extension of Time Periods

If circumstances warrant, the college reserves the right to extend any processing time period identified in this policy.

C.  False Allegations

The college will not tolerate false allegations of harassment. Complaints made in good faith that are found not to constitute harassment or discrimination will not be considered false allegations. However, any individual who knowingly, maliciously or frivolously makes a false allegation of harassment will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including separation from the college or, in the case of a student, to disciplinary action up to and including suspension or expulsion.

D.  For Additional Information or Assistance

Inquiries concerning the preceding policies and procedures or requests for assistance should be directed to either of the following:

Assistant Director for Employment Compliance and Workforce Diversity
Skidmore College
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632
Tel: 518-580-5800

Human Resources Director
Human Resources, Barrett Center
Skidmore College
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632
Tel: 518-580-5800

For the name and email address for the individuals currently in these roles, please visit the Human Resources Staff website.

EEO and Diversity