SECTION 1: PURPOSE
Wainscott Common School District believes in the dignity of the individual and recognizes the rights of all people to equal employment opportunities in the workplace. In this regard, Wainscott Common School District is committed to a policy of protecting and safeguarding the rights and opportunities of all people to seek, obtain and hold employment without subjugation to sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind in the workplace. It is Wainscott Common School District’s policy to provide an employment environment free from unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communications which have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
A. Scope of Policy. This policy applies to all Wainscott Common School District employees and all personnel in a contractual or other business relationship with Wainscott Common School District including for example, applicants, temporary or leased employees, independent contractors, vendors, consultants, volunteers, and visitors. Depending on the extent of Wainscott Common School District’s exercise of control, this Policy may be applied to the conduct of non-employees with respect to sexual harassment and/or sex discrimination of Wainscott Common School District employees in the workplace. The Policy applies with equal force on District property as it does at District-sponsored events, programs, and activities which take place off District premises.
B. Policy Objectives By adopting and publishing this Policy, it is the intention of the Wainscott Board of Education to:
(1) notify employees about the types of conduct which constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment based on gender or sexual orientation prohibited by this Policy;
(2) inform employees about the complaint procedures established by the District which enable any employee who believes (s)he is the victim of sex discrimination or sexual harassment to submit a complaint which will be investigated by the District;
(3) clearly advise all supervisory staff, administrators, and employees that discriminatory treatment based on sex, sexual orientation, or sexual harassment of employees is strictly prohibited and no such person possesses the authority to harass or discriminate; and
(4) notify all employees that the District has appointed Compliance Officers for each District building who are specifically designated to receive complaints of discrimination based on sex or sexual harassment and ensure compliance with this Policy.
NOTE: The names and office location of each Compliance Officer designated to receive and investigate for the 2005-2006 school year are listed below at the end of this Policy (Section 10). The name and office location of each new Compliance Officer designated to receive and investigate complaints in subsequent years will be listed in the Policy & Procedure Manual.
SECTION 2: DEFINITIONS
“Prohibited Discrimination of Employees” Prohibited discrimination of employees can take the form of any negative treatment of an employee, by either a District employee or official, or a third party engaged in school-sponsored activities which: (a) negatively impacts a employee’s employment opportunities and/or employment benefits; and (b) is based upon the employee’s sex or sexual orientation. Prohibited discrimination of employees can also take the form of harassment even where there is no tangible impact upon the employee’s employment opportunities and/or employment benefits. The phrase “prohibited discrimination” as used in this Policy includes all forms of “prohibited harassment” (defined below)
“Sexual Harassment” Sexual harassment is prohibited including, but not limited to inappropriate forms of behavior described by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as follows:
(1) Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
(2) Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual (e.g., promotion, transfer, demotion, termination); or
(3) Such gender-based conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Specific forms of behavior that Wainscott Common School District considers sexual harassment are set forth below. Every conceivable example cannot be delineated herein, and thus the descriptions below should not be interpreted in any way as being all-inclusive.
Verbal: Abusive verbal language including jokes, comments, teasing or threats related to an employee’s sex, sexual activity, sexual orientation and/or body parts whether or not said in that person’s presence including, but not limited to: sexual innuendos; slurs; suggestive, derogatory, or insulting comments or sounds; whistling; jokes of a sexual nature; sexual propositions; threats; comments on a person’s appearance that makes the person feel uncomfortable because of his or her sex or sexual orientation; continuing to ask someone for dates or to meet after work after the person has made it clear that he or she does not want to go; sexually-oriented comments about an employee’s anatomy that are unwelcome, unreasonably interfere with an employee’s work performance, or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment; and unwelcome sexual advances or demands for sexual favors.
Nonverbal: Abusive written language showing or displaying pornographic or sexually explicit objects or pictures; graphic commentaries; luring or obscene gestures in the workplace; staring at a person’s body in a sexually suggestive manner; sexually-related gestures or motions; sending sexually graphic material through the District e-mail system or other electronic communication devices (e.g., voice mail) or using the District’s mail or computers to view such material.
Physical: Unwelcome physical conduct, including but not limited to: petting, pinching, grabbing, holding, hugging, kissing, tickling, massaging, displaying private body parts, coerced sexual intercourse, assault, persistent brushing up against a person’s body, unnecessary touching and flashing or other unwelcome physical conduct.
While a single incident of these types of behavior may not create a hostile working environment, if such behavior is severe, persistent or pervasive, or if submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or receipt of employment benefits, such conduct constitutes prohibited sexual harassment.
SECTION 3: POLICY
As with discrimination involving race, color, creed, religion, national,origin,disability, political affiliation, age, arrest record, and veteran or marital status, Wainscott Common School District prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, or sexual orientation and will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment. Wainscott Common School District will take all steps necessary to prevent and stop the occurrence of sexual harassment and/or sex discrimination in the workplace.
While the overwhelming majority of unlawful sexual harassment is directed at women by men, the law equally protects men from sexual harassment by women, and same-sex sexual harassment.
All employees, including but not limited to, Wainscott Common School District officials and supervisory personnel, are responsible for ensuring a work environment free from sexual harassment and sex discrimination. All employees will be held responsible and accountable for avoiding or eliminating inappropriate conduct that may give rise to a claim of sexual harassment or sex discrimination. Employees are encouraged to report violations to one of the Compliance Officers listed in Section 10 of this Policy, in accordance with the Complaint Procedure set forth in this Policy. Officials and supervisors must take immediate and appropriate corrective action when instances of sexual harassment and/or sex discrimination come to their attention to assure compliance with this Policy.
Each employee is assured pursuant to Section 6 of this Policy, that retaliation against an individual who makes a complaint or report under this Policy is absolutely prohibited and constitutes, in and of itself, a violation of this Policy.
Any questions regarding the scope or application of this Policy should be directed to one of the Compliance Officers listed in Section 10 of this Policy.
SECTION 4: POLICY ENFORCEMNT
A. Complaint Procedure for Employees
1. Notification Procedure Prompt reporting of complaints or concerns is encouraged so that timely and constructive action can be taken before relationships become strained. Reporting of all perceived incidents of sexual harassment and/or sex discrimination is encouraged, regardless of the offender’s identity or position. An employee or other individual who feels aggrieved because of sexual harassment or sex discrimination has several ways to make his or her concerns known:
(a) An aggrieved person who feels comfortable doing so should directly inform the person(s) engaging in the harassment or discrimination that such conduct or communication is offensive and must stop.
NOTE: Confronting the offender is NOT required. All employees have the right to file a good faith complaint without first communicating with the offender.
(b) An aggrieved person who does not wish to communicate directly with the individual whose conduct or communication is offensive, or if direct communication with the offending party has been unavailing, shall contact his or her supervisor or a Compliance Officer listed in section 10 of this Policy, or a Building Principal, or the Superintendent of Schools.
(c) An aggrieved person alleging sexual harassment or discrimination by anyone with supervisory authority, or alleging failure of supervision to take immediate action on the individual’s complaint, shall contact one of the Compliance officers, a Building Principal, or the Superintendent of Schools.
(d) An aggrieved person who is a member of a collective bargaining unit, may also be entitled to file a grievance through the collective bargaining grievance procedure depending on the particular terms of the governing collective bargaining agreement. Such filing may not, in all cases, trigger an investigation pursuant to this Policy. Consequently, aggrieved persons are encouraged to simultaneously utilize the Complaint Procedure set forth herein, where appropriate.
2. Making a Complaint All complaints should be in writing. All employees are encouraged to use the District’s “Complaint of Alleged Discrimination” form. A copy of this form is attached to this Policy. Additional complaint forms can be obtained from any Principal’s office within the District, or from a Compliance Officer, with no questions asked. Because an accurate record of the allegedly objectionable behavior is necessary to resolve a complaint of prohibited discrimination, all complaints should be reduced to writing. If an employee has any questions or difficulty filling out the complaint form, (s)he can obtain assistance from any one of the Compliance Officers or a Principal. All complaints should include: the name of the complaining party, the name of the alleged offender(s), date of the incident(s), description of the incident(s), names of witnesses to the incident(s) and the signature of the complaining party.
Once the complaining party has completed and dated a complaint, with or without the assistance of one of the District’s Compliance Officers or Principals, the written complaint should be personally delivered to one of the District’s Compliance Officers or Principals or placed in their mailbox.
If for any reason an employee is uncomfortable submitting a written complaint to the Principal or Compliance Officer located in the building where the employee is generally assigned, the written complaint may be submitted, either by hand delivery or mail, to any one of the Compliance Officers listed in Section 10 below, to any Building Principal, or to the Superintendent of Schools who will then advise a Compliance Officer.
Complainants are expected to cooperate with the District’s investigation procedures by providing al relevant information relating to the complaint, as are other supervisory and non-supervisory employees having relevant or related knowledge or information.
B. Time for Reporting a Complaint Prompt reporting of all complaints is strongly encouraged. All employees should be aware that appropriate resolution of discrimination complaints and effective remedial action oftentimes is possible only when complaints are promptly filed. Furthermore, complaining parties should be aware that statutes of limitations may constrain the time period for instituting legal actions outside of this Policy.
C. Confidentiality and Privacy In recognition of the personal nature of discrimination complaint and the emotional impact of alleged discrimination, the District shall keep complaints as confidential as is consistent with a thorough investigation, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and other laws and regulations regarding employees. For the protection of all individuals who make complaints or are accused of prohibited discrimination, every witness interviewed during an investigation under this Policy will be advised of the confidentiality requirement and instructed not to discuss the complaint, the investigation, or the persons involved. To the extent complaints made under this Policy implicate criminal conduct, the District may be required by law to contact and cooperate with the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
D. Acknowledgment of Complaints Upon receipt of a written complaint, the Compliance Officer, Building Principal, or Superintendent of School should endeavor to contact promptly the complainant to confirm that the written complaint has been received. If the complainant does not receive such confirmation promptly, (s)he is encouraged to file a second written complaint or contact a Compliance Officer, Principal, or Superintendent. The purpose of this acknowledgement procedure is to ensure that all written complaints are received by authorized individuals, carefully processed and promptly investigated.
SECTION 5: INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES
A. Timing of Investigations The District will promptly investigate all allegations of sex discrimination and sexual harassment. The District will also attempt to complete investigations under this Policy promptly. The length of the investigation will depend upon the complexity and particular circumstances of each complaint.
B. Method of Investigation Investigations will be conducted by the District’s Compliance Officers, the District’s legal counsel, and/or other impartial persons designated by the Superintendent of Schools. The primary purposes of all investigations under this Policy will be to determine:
(1) Did the conduct complained of occur?
(2) Did the conduct complained of violate this Policy?; and
(3) What remedial or preventative steps, if any, are recommended?
Investigations may include: fact-finding interviews, document review, depositions, observations, or other reasonable methods. The District’s investigators should pursue reasonable steps to investigate each complaint in a thorough and comprehensive manner. Any notes, memoranda, or other records created by the District employees or agents conducting an investigation under this Policy shall be deemed confidential and privileged to the extent allowed by law.
C. Notification to Complaining Party and the Accused Party The Superintendent or his or her designee, shall notify the complainant of the outcome of the investigation promptly. Such notification shall be in writing, include a brief summary of the factual findings and, wherever possible, shall include a summary of any remedial measures that have been or will be taken by the District.
While reasonable efforts will be made to inform the complaining party about the outcome of investigations, the District will nonetheless consider the privacy rights of all parties involved in disseminating information obtained during and through the investigation.
The Superintendent or his or her designee, shall promptly notify the person accused of violating this Policy whether a violation of this Policy was found and what remedial measures, if any, will be taken by the District.
D. Remedial Measures The Wainscott Common School District’s primary goal in responding to complaints of prohibited discrimination under this Policy is prevention. This Policy is intended to prevent all forms of sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the District and put an end to any prohibited discrimination that is found to have occurred. While disciplinary action may be appropriate in certain instances, punitive measures are not the exclusive means for responding to prohibited discrimination. During the pendency of any investigation being conducted pursuant to this Policy, remedial measures may be taken if appropriate and necessary.
Any individual who is found to have engaged in prohibited discrimination or conduct which may be prohibited by this Policy, may receive education, training, counseling, warnings, discipline, or other measures designed to prevent future violations of this Policy. Disciplinary action may include: warnings, suspension, or discharge from employment. Any third party found to have engaged in sexual discrimination of an employee may be barred from District property.
SECTION 6: PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION AND ABUSE OF THE
Retaliation is strictly prohibited by this Policy and by law against anyone who in good faith reports a suspected violation of this Policy, who assists in making such a complaint, or who cooperates in a harassment or discrimination investigation. Retaliation means taking any adverse action in a response to a complaint being made.
Complaints of retaliation should be brought directly to a Compliance Officer, Building Principal or the Superintendent of School. Such complaints will be promptly investigated. If retaliation is found, the person retaliating will be subject to corrective action up to and including termination from employment, or in the case of a non-employee, an appropriate remedy up to and including termination of the business relationship.
Because of the damage that can be done to someone falsely accused, any individual who in bad faith knowingly makes a false complaint of sexual harassment or sex discrimination will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination from employment, or in the case of a non-employee, an appropriate remedy up to and including termination of the business relationship.
Because of the damage that can be done to someone falsely accused, any individual who in bad faith knowingly makes a false complaint or report of sexual harassment or sex discrimination will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination in accordance with legal guidelines, District policy, and any applicable bargaining agreement(s).
SECTION 7: APPEALS
Any complainant or accused party who wishes to appeal the procedures which the District followed in investigating a written complaint filed under this Policy, may do so within ten (10) days of receipt of the appellant’s notification of the investigation outcome. Untimely submissions shall not receive consideration. Such appeal must be made in writing to the Board of Education by submission to the District Clerk. The appellant shall be entitled to present evidence as to why the investigation procedures were flawed, improper, or otherwise not in compliance with this Policy. The Board’s consideration and review of any such appeal shall be conducted confidentially in executive session. Following a review of that evidence, as well as the information obtained in the investigation process and conclusions derived therefrom, the Board of Education, or its designee, shall render a decision. The Board’s decision shall be final. The appellant shall be notified of the decision in writing.
Nothing set forth in the Appeal Process above shall be construed to in any way confer upon either the complainant(s) or the person(s) accused of violating this Policy any right to appeal the District’s determination as to appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective action to be taken on meritorious complaints. In this regard, the District at all times retains sole discretion to determine the appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective action to be taken with regard to a meritorious complaint.
SECTION 8: RECORD KEEPING
The District shall maintain a written record of all complaints of sex discrimination and/or sexual harassment for a period of at least six years. The District shall also document the steps taken with regard to investigations, as well as conclusions reached and remedial action taken, if any. The District shall also maintain these documents for, at a minimum, six years.
The District records regarding alleged discrimination shall be maintained separate and apart from personnel records.
SECTION 9: QUESTIONS
Any questions by employees of the District about this Policy or potential discrimination should be brought to the attention of one of the District’s Compliance Officers or the Superintendent of Schools. The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the District’s Compliance Officers are listed in Section 10 of this Policy.
SECTION 10: COMPLIANCE OFFICERS
Name Dr. Dominic Annacone Location Wainscott School
Telephone Number (631) 537-1080
SECTION 11: EFFECTIVE DATE AND POLICY DISSEMINATION
The effective date of this Policy shall be __________________. The Superintendent of School shall ensure that this Policy is adequately disseminated and made available to all employees of the District. This Policy shall be distributed at the beginning of each school year. In addition, copies of this Policy and Complaint Form shall be maintained in the office of each Compliance Officer and in the office of the Wainscott School building.
Upon the effective date of this Policy, the provisions of this Policy shall supersede and replace all prior District policies and regulations regarding employee sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and related complaint procedures.