Town of Albion, NY
Orleans County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Albion 11-9-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
General References
Defense and indemnification of officers and employees
See Ch. 11.
Code of Ethics
See Ch. 15.
019a Local Law

§ 19-1 Purpose and intent.

The Town of Albion affirms its commitment to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination and recognizes its responsibility to provide for all Town employees an environment that is free of discrimination or harassment based on sex (with or without sexual conduct), race, color, creed, national origin, age, marital status, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status, disability or other category protected by law. The Town also does not tolerate any actual or attempted reprisals or retaliation against an employee who raises a sincere and valid concern regarding harassment or discrimination. All such discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation is, therefore, strictly prohibited by the Town. Anyone engaging in such conduct is subject to disciplinary action up to and including discharge.

§ 19-2 Harassment prohibited; term defined.

A. 
As used in this chapter, the term "harassment" refers to conduct relating to a person's race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status, disability or other category protected by law.
B. 
Harassment that is forbidden by this chapter can take several forms, including but not limited to:
(1) 
Sexual harassment.
(a) 
This includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where the individual is made to feel as if he or she must agree to the request or submit to the advance in order to get favorable treatment at work. Sexual harassment also includes sexually oriented conduct and communications which unreasonably interfere with an employee's work performance or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
(b) 
This chapter protects and covers the conduct of all employees. In other words, unwarranted sexual advances violate this chapter even if directed at a co-worker or supervisor. While not exhaustive, the following is a list of some examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment:
[1] 
Unwanted sexual advances.
[2] 
Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
[3] 
Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual harassment.
[4] 
Visual conduct such as leering, making sexual gestures, displaying or distributing sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons or posters,
[5] 
Verbal conduct such as making or using sexually derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, or jokes.
[6] 
Verbal sexual advances or propositions.
[7] 
Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations.
[8] 
Physical conduct such as touching (fear of unwanted touching), assault or impeding or blocking movements.
[9] 
Any act of retaliation against an individual who reports a violation of this chapter or who participates in the investigation of a complaint made pursuant to this chapter.
(2) 
Harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status, disability or other category protected by law.
(a) 
Harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status, disability or any other category protected by law can include any verbal, written or physical act in which such protected categories are used to make an employee uncomfortable at work or interferes with an employee's ability to perform his or her job.
(b) 
Harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status or any other category protected by law may take many forms. While it is impossible for the Town to provide an exhaustive list, the following is a list of some examples of harassing behavior that the Town will not tolerate:
[1] 
Jokes that refer to race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status, disability or any other category protected by law.
[2] 
Posting or distributing cartoons, drawings or any other material that negatively reflects a person's race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status, disability or any other category protected by law.
[3] 
The use of slurs or other offensive language.
[4] 
Practical jokes, horseplay or teasing that makes fun of or insults a person's race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age marital status, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status, disability or membership in any other category protected by law.
[5] 
Any act of retaliation against an individual who reports a violation of this chapter or who participates in the investigation of a complaint made pursuant to this chapter.
C. 
It should further be noted that some conduct, even though consensual, may violate the harassment policy because it creates a hostile environment for others (e.g., a third party overhearing a joke).

§ 19-3 Reporting and investigating of complaints.

A. 
Any employee who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation shall report all incidents of such conduct to the Town Supervisor (the Town's designated complaint officer). If the complaint is first received by someone other than the designated complaint officer, that person shall relay the complaint to the complaint officer as soon as possible but no later than seven working days. In the event that the complaint officer is the offender, the complainant shall report his or her complaint to the Town Clerk. All such reports will remain confidential to the extent possible during the investigatory process.
B. 
Upon receipt of an informal/formal complaint, the Town will conduct an immediate investigation of the charges. However, if the Town has knowledge of or has reason to know of any alleged harassment, the Town is obligated, even in the absence of a complaint, to investigate such conduct promptly and thoroughly.

§ 19-4 Corrective actions; retaliation prohibited.

A. 
Based upon the results of the Town's investigation, immediate and corrective action will be taken, up to and including termination of the offender's employment in accordance with contractual and legal guidelines. Employees are hereby placed on notice that if an employee engages in acts which the Town determines to be acts of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, such acts are outside of the course and scope of the employee's employment. Such conduct may result in the employee having to obtain his or her own legal counsel, and may result in a money judgment against the employee personally or the filing of criminal charges.
B. 
The Town prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants and/or witnesses. Any such retaliation may result in discipline up to and including discharge. Follow-up inquiries shall be made to ensure that the targets and/or witnesses have not suffered retaliation.

§ 19-5 Chapter availability; acknowledgement of receipt.

A. 
A copy of this chapter shall be available for inspection in the Town Clerk's office.
B. 
Each Town employee will also receive a copy of this chapter and shall be required to sign a form acknowledging receipt.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: The acknowledgement form is located at the end of this chapter.