[Adopted 9-15-1994; amended in its entirety 2-15-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018]
It is the purpose and policy of the Town of Ghent to provide and maintain a work environment that is free from all forms of unlawful harassment and discrimination based upon sex, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, military status, domestic violence victim status, arrest or conviction record, genetic characteristics or any other class protected by law (referred to hereinafter as "discriminatory harassment" or "harassment").
Discrimination and harassment are forms of misconduct that undermine the integrity of the employee relationship and will not be tolerated. The Town of Ghent prohibits any form of employee discrimination or harassment based upon the protected classes identified above. As such, improper interference with an employee's ability to perform his or her job duties will not be tolerated.
This policy applies to all applicants and employees of the Town of Ghent and prohibits discrimination and/or harassment whether engaged in by a coworker, supervisor, manager, or someone not directly connected to the Town but with whom you must interact for your job (i.e., outside vendor, customers, citizens, consultants).
This policy applies to the workplace and in any work-related setting outside of the workplace (i.e., business trips, work-sponsored social events, work trainings).
All Town employees will be expected to comply with this policy and with all applicable laws and regulations prohibiting sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination or harassment, and must take appropriate measures to ensure that such conduct does not occur. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any employee who violates this policy.
Each department head as well as all employees of the Town of Ghent have a responsibility to maintain the workplace free of sexual harassment and other discriminatory harassment or retaliation. Department heads and/or the Town Board will also take appropriate steps to resolve employee complaints in a fair, expeditious, and confidential manner whenever they become aware of potential violations of this policy.
Each employee is expected to uphold these standards, to utilize established complaint resolution guidelines, and to maintain confidentiality in matters that are under review and investigation. False accusations made by an employee against another individual are a serious act and will result in appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Copies of this policy will be conspicuously posted.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- OTHER UNLAWFUL HARASSMENT
- Discrimination or harassment on the basis of any protected characteristic is also prohibited. Prohibited discrimination or harassment is verbal or physical conduct that is offensive to, or shows hostility or aversion toward, an individual because of his/her race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or any of the protected statuses enumerated above, and that:
- A. Unwelcome conduct that unreasonably interferes with an individual's ability to perform his or her job duties. Specifically, unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- (1) Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment (e.g., promotion, training assignments, etc.);
- (2) Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
- (3) Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
- B. No person shall threaten or insinuate, either verbally, physically, explicitly, or implicitly, that an employee's refusal to submit to sexual advances will adversely affect the employee's employment, evaluation, wages, advancement, assigned duties, shifts, or any other condition of employment or career development. In addition, no employee, male or female, should be subjected to unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtures or conduct, either verbal or physical in nature.
- C. Sexual harassment is gender neutral and may involve members of the same or different gender. It is no excuse that the alleged conduct "meant no harm" or was "a joke."
The Town of Ghent will not condone or tolerate retaliatory conduct against a Town employee or an individual for making a complaint concerning harassment under this policy, or for assisting in the investigation of such complaint. This type of treatment will be dealt with severely and is considered a serious violation that may result in disciplinary action. Thus, an employee that believes that he or she is being subjected to retaliation should immediately report such conduct.
Any employee who believes that he or she is being subjected to harassment, discriminatory harassment, or discrimination is encouraged to confront his or her harasser and advise that his or her conduct is unwelcome. It is recognized, however, that this may not be feasible. In such circumstances, employees should then file a complaint of harassment, discriminatory harassment, or retaliation as soon as possible after the alleged incident. While written complaints are helpful, employees can always make a verbal complaint.
The employee may make the complaint to his or her supervisor, manager, department head or the Town Supervisor.
Supervisors and managers shall report that information to their department head or Town Supervisor.
The Town of Ghent shall take all reasonable steps to investigate complaints with the appropriate department head based upon the facts and circumstances of the particular complaint. The Town reserves the right to assign such investigations to a third party as it deems appropriate, so long as the assigned investigator agrees to conduct the investigation in accordance with the policy.
If the person against whom such complaint has been made is a department head or Town Board member, then such person shall not take part in the investigation or in the reviewing process provided for herein, but this shall not preclude such person from offering his/her version of the matter to the appropriate reviewing authority.
The investigator shall issue a written finding of his or her investigation to the department head, unless the department head is the investigator or the subject of the complaint. If either is applicable, the written finding will be issued to the Town Supervisor, unless he/she is the subject of the investigation or the investigator, at which point it will be issued to the Town Board.
Investigations will be conducted in a confidential manner to the extent possible.
The party receiving the investigation results shall issue a final determination and ensure that the complaining party receives notification of the conclusion of the investigation and the general determination.
If as a result of the investigation it is determined that disciplinary charges shall be brought, the provisions of Civil Service Law § 75 shall control or any applicable collective bargaining unit.