[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Bath as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the policy of the Mayor and Board of Trustees of the Village of Bath to maintain a work environment free of unlawful discrimination for all employees. "Discrimination" is defined as unequal treatment because of race, color, sex, religion, age, marital status, Vietnam Era status or sexual orientation. The Mayor and Board of Trustees of the Village of Bath recognize that harassment based on the above is, among other things, disruptive to good business practice in that it distracts from the Village's goal of providing the best possible service to the residents and visitors of our community at the lowest possible cost. Therefore, the Village Board's policy is that sexual harassment of its employees is prohibited. This policy not only applies to internal interactions between employees, but to employees' action toward and treatment to external contacts, such as the public. Sexual harassment is a violation of Section 703 (Part 1604) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the basis of gender. It is also a violation of § 296 of the New York Executive Law (Human Rights Law) on the basis of sex/gender.
Federal and state case law has determined that unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's employment;
Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
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.
Courts have also held employers legally liable for:
Sexual harassment by coworkers where the employer knew or should have known of the conduct but failed to take immediate corrective action to prevent further conduct;
Sexual harassment by nonemployees on the employer's premises, unless the employer proves it took immediate and corrective action; or
Retaliation against any person for making a sexual harassment allegation.
The Village of Bath is also cognizant of its exposure to legal liability for quid pro quo and hostile environment sexual harassment and seeks to protect/limit such exposure to liability by using preventive measures such as, but not limited to:
Expressing strong disapproval of inappropriate conduct which may be construed as sexual harassment.
Establishing a Board policy prohibiting sexual harassment that is posted and well publicized.
Showing employees how to file complaints with assurances of confidentiality, impartiality and quick/thorough resolution.
Making counseling available for both the alleged harasser and the victim.
Village of Bath department heads, managers, supervisors, and employees must refrain from such conduct or behavior. Allegations of sexual harassment will be investigated immediately and thoroughly. The facts, when compared to the legal standard for evaluating sexual harassment claims, will determine the response to each allegation. Substantiated claims of sexual harassment will be met with appropriate corrective/disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. All information gathered in the deposition of each allegation will be handled in a confidential manner.
Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful sex discrimination and will not be tolerated in any Village department any more than harassment based upon gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, and other EEOC protected categories.
When an employee has a complaint of sexual harassment, the complaint should be brought promptly to the attention of his or her immediate supervisor. If the employee does not prefer, or does not feel comfortable discussing the complaint with his or her supervisor, the employee should refer the matter to his or her respective department head or to the Mayor and Board of Trustees. The department head or the Mayor and Board of Trustees have the authority and the responsibility to reach a resolution to the complaint. If the complaint cannot be successfully resolved, the employee has the right to contact the New York State Division of Human Rights, and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The complaint will be investigated, and if the complaint is substantiated, prompt action will be taken to stop the harassment immediately and prevent recurrence.
Time frames. Concerns and complaints of harassment and other forms of discrimination will normally be reviewed and resolved with 15 working days from the point at which the employee notifies his or her respective department head or the Mayor and Board of Trustees.
Confidentiality. All concerns and complaints of harassment and other forms of discrimination will be resolved confidentially by the respective department head or Mayor and Board of Trustees. All persons contacted by the department head or Mayor and Board of Trustees in his/her/their efforts to resolve the matter shall hold discussions and documents, if any, in a confidential manner. A breach of this confidentiality requirement by the Village's agents (e.g., department heads, managers, and supervisors) will be treated as retaliation resulting in disciplinary action up to and including discharge.
Notification to employees.
All Village employees will be informed of the availability of these internal grievance/complaint procedures and their right to bring their concerns of harassment and other forms of discrimination to their respective department head or Mayor and Board of Trustees.
Village employees may also exercise their legal options to file complaints with the New York State Division of Human Rights, and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and any other state, federal or local enforcement agencies.
Recordkeeping. All records of informal complaints/grievances and dispositions thereof shall be maintained and reviewed on a regular basis by the department head and/or the Mayor and Board of Trustees to detect any patterns in the nature of the grievances. Records so retained shall be confidential except where disclosure is required by law.