[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Westbury 9-14-1995. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Grievance procedure — See Ch. 35.
The Village of Westbury believes in the dignity of the individual and recognizes the rights of all people to equal opportunities. In this regard, the village has had a long-standing policy of protecting and safeguarding the rights and opportunities of all people to seek, obtain and hold employment without being subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind in the workplace.
As with discrimination involving race, color, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability and national origin, the Village of Westbury also prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment of its employees in any form. The village will take all steps necessary to prevent and stop the occurrence of sexual harassment in the workplace.
This policy applies to all village employees and all personnel in a contractual relationship with the village. Depending on the extent of the village's exercise of control, this policy may be applied to the conduct of nonvillage employees with respect to sexual harassment of village employees in the workplace.
This sexual harassment policy prohibits conduct, including but not limited to inappropriate forms of behavior described in § 58-3 herein, Definition of sexual harassment.
Commissioners, department heads and supervisory personnel are responsible for ensuring a work environment free from unsolicited, unwelcome and intimidating sexual overtures. Supervisors must take immediate and appropriate corrective action, when instances of sexual harassment come to their attention, to assure compliance with this policy.
Any employee who is found to have committed an act of sexual harassment may be subject to disciplinary action as provided by village operating procedures, which may include termination. Additionally, retaliation against any employee who has filed a sex discrimination or sexual harassment complaint is illegal and may result in disciplinary action. Intimidation, coercion, threats, reprisals or discrimination against any employee for complaining about harassment, as described in this policy, is prohibited.
All employees will be held responsible and accountable for avoidable or eliminating the prohibited conduct. Employees are to be encouraged to report violations of this policy to their supervisor or to a member of the Sexual Harassment Committee. The Sexual Harassment Committee shall consist of three members of the Board of Trustees, to be appointed annually by the Mayor.
Sexual advances that are not welcome, 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, such as promotion, transfer or termination, 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.
Sexual harassment refers to behavior that is not welcome, that is personally offensive, that fails to respect the rights of others, that lowers morals and that, therefore, interferes with an employee's work performance and effectiveness or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. Specific forms of behavior that the village considers sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:
Abusive verbal language related to an employee's sex, including sexual innuendos, slurs, suggestive, derogatory or insulting comments or sounds, whistling, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual proposition and threats.
Sexually oriented comments about an employee's body that are unwelcome and/or unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance, or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Any sexual advance that is unwelcome or any demand for sexual favors.
Nonverbal. Abusive written language, showing or displaying pornographic or sexually explicit objects or pictures, graphic commentaries, leering or obscene gestures in the workplace such that it unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Physical. Physical contact which is not welcome, including touching, petting, pinching, coerced sexual intercourse, assault or persistent brushing up against a person's body.
Employees are encouraged to report incidents of sexual harassment to their department head and/or to the Sexual Harassment Committee as soon as possible after their occurrence. However, if the employee's department head is believed to be involved in the incident, the report should be made directly to any member of the Sexual Harassment Committee.
If an employee believe he/she has been sexually harassed and would like to obtain guidance as to how to proceed in filing a complaint, that employee should review the attached Complaint Procedure or contact any member of the Sexual Harassment Committee.
When a complaint is filed, the procedures of the Sexual Harassment Committee must be followed, including the time limit of 180 days. The Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure is attached. It describes the procedural steps to be taken when an employee has filed a complaint, details the responsibilities of all involved parties, and provides the time frames for actions to be taken.
All complaints will be handled in a timely and confidential manner. In no event will information concerning a complaint be released by the village to any third party or to anyone within village employment who is not directly involved in the investigation.
Investigation of a complaint will normally include conferring with the parties involved and any named or apparent witnesses. The particular facts of the allegation will be examined individually, with a review of the nature of the behavior and the context in which the incident(s) occurred. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process. The Sexual Harassment Committee will also investigate cases in which a supervisor requests or requires assistance.
Employees who believe they have been unjustly charged with sexual harassment will be afforded every opportunity to offer and present information in their defense. Such information will be confidential.
Any employee who participates in this procedure may do so without fear of retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who has filed a sex discrimination or sexual harassment complaint is illegal and may result in disciplinary action.
An employee who is found to have committed an act of sexual harassment may be subject to disciplinary action as provided by village operating procedures and such action may include termination.
Nothing in this policy should be construed as in any way limiting any employee's existing right to file a grievance, or to file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights or the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or to take any legal action which he or she may deem advisable.