CLINTON COUNTY NON-DISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICY Revised: December 2014

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1 CLINTON COUNTY NON-DISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICY Revised: December 2014 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Clinton County is an equal opportunity employer. The County is dedicated to complying with the requirements and spirit of the law in recruitment, hiring, placement, training, promotion, transfer, compensation, benefits, employee activities and general treatment during employment. The County does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental handicap/disability, medical condition, marital status, veteran status, citizenship status, sexual orientation or any other protected status under the applicable local, state, or federal law. Clinton County is committed to complying fully with the New York State Human Rights Law. All employees are expected to comply with our Equal Opportunity Policy. If you have a question or a concern about discrimination in the workplace, you should bring your concerns to the attention of your supervisor or the Clinton County Personnel Director. You may raise such concerns without fear of reprisal. Anyone found to be engaged in any type of unlawful discrimination will be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination of employment in accordance with applicable Civil Service Law, County policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s). CLINTON COUNTY DISCRIMINATION POLICY STATEMENT Harassment Clinton County is committed to maintaining a work environment free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. Unlawful discrimination and harassment have no place in the work environment. It is the County s policy that the work environment shall be free from all forms of unlawful discriminatory practices and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental handicap/disability, medical condition, marital status, veterans status, citizenship status, sexual orientation, or any other protected status under the applicable local, state, or federal law, whether the discrimination or harassment is caused by another employee, a supervisor, a manager, vendor, client, service recipient, visitor or another. A copy of this policy shall be distributed to all employees and posted in appropriate places. Workplace harassment can take many forms. Under this policy, prohibited harassment is verbal or physical conduct that is offensive to or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her protected status and that (1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment; (2) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual s work performance; or (3) otherwise adversely affects an individual s employment opportunities. Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to: slurs, epithets, threats, derogatory comments, unwelcome jokes, cartoons, pictures, pranks, intimidation, physical assaults or contact or violence.

2 If you experience or witness unlawful harassment in the workplace; report it immediately to your direct supervisor or the Personnel Director. If the employee is uncomfortable reporting to either his/her supervisor or the Personnel Director or if the supervisor or Personnel Director is directly involved in the matter, the employee is directed to report the matter to the Clinton County Administrator. Employees can raise concerns and make reports without the fear of reprisal or retaliation. Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other physical, verbal, or visual conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to the conduct is an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment; (2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision affecting such individual; or (3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, explicit sexual propositions, sexual innuendo, suggestive comments, sexually oriented kidding or teasing, practical jokes, jokes about gender-specific traits, foul or obscene language or gestures, displays of foul or obscene printed or visual material, and physical contact such as patting, pinching, or brushing against another s body. It is important to note that sexual harassment crosses age and gender boundaries and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same sex as the harasser. If you experience or witness sexual or other unlawful harassment in the workplace; report it immediately to your direct supervisor or the Personnel Director. If the employee is uncomfortable reporting to either his/her supervisor or the Personnel Director or if the supervisor or Personnel Director is directly involved in the matter, the employee is directed to report the matter to the Clinton County Administrator. Employees can raise concerns and make reports without the fear of reprisal or retaliation. Confidentiality The County will investigate all complaints of harassment promptly, thoroughly and discretely, with the degree of confidentiality necessary for proper resolution of the complaint but, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. If an investigation confirms that harassment has occurred, the County may take disciplinary action up to and including termination, in accordance with applicable Civil Service Law, County policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s). Retaliation It is a violation of County policy to retaliate against any employee who has made a good faith harassment or discrimination complaint or for cooperating in a harassment or discrimination investigation. Any employee who knowingly retaliates against an employee who has reported workplace harassment and/or discrimination or who has assisted with the County s investigation of the same will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, in accordance with applicable Civil Service Law, County policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s). Employees who knowingly made false accusations against another individual regarding discrimination or harassment may also face appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including

3 termination, in accordance with applicable Civil Service Law, County policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s). CLINTON COUNTY NON-DISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-HARASSMENT REGULATIONS SECTION 1: CONSTRUCTION 1.1. Policy Definitions for the purpose of this policy: Days means calendar days. Complainant means an employee, who has made an oral or written complaint under the County s Discrimination Policy. The Complainant and Alleged Offender are collectively referred to as the Parties. Employee means all personnel employed by the County. Complaint means formal notice that a person believes that he or she has experienced discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation in the workplace. Alleged Offender means an individual who is alleged to have engaged in conduct that violates the County s Discrimination Policy Publication of Policy The County shall promulgate this policy as follows: A copy of this policy statement shall be given to each new employee at the time of hire. A copy of this policy statement shall be published as part of any employee handbook. A copy of this policy is available on the County Intranet and a hard copy is available at the Clinton County Personnel Department. All such distributions or publications shall contain the name, business address and telephone number of the current contact person designated in the policy Policy Information A copy of the Administrative Regulations shall be provided to any interested person upon request to the County Personnel Director Other Discrimination and Harassment Information

4 to: Further information concerning discrimination and harassment in employment may be made New York State Division of Human Rights One Fordham Plaza, 4 th Floor Bronx, New York New York State Department of Human Rights Office of Sexual Harassment Issues 55 Hanson Place, Suite 307 Brooklyn, NY Equal Employment Opportunity Commission New York District Office 33 Whitehall Street, 5 th Floor New York, NY SECTION 2: STATEMENT OF PROHIBITED CONDUCT AS TO HARASSMENT, INCLUDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT The County considers the following conduct to represent some of the types of acts which violate the County s policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment. The below lists are illustrative only. They should not be viewed as restrictive or as an exhaustive enumeration of the various forms of conduct that constitute violations of the County s policy Physical Conduct a) Physical assault (including hitting, pinching, slapping, poking, and squeezing) and intentional physical conduct of a harassing nature of any kind (including obstructing a person s freedom of movement, stalking and staring) is prohibited. b) Rape, sexual battery, molestation or attempts to commit these assaults; and c) Intentional physical conduct which is sexual in nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against another employee s body, or poking another employee s body 2.2. Verbal Conduct a) Derogatory or demeaning gestures, noises, remarks, jokes or comments about a person s color, race, ancestry, religion, national origin, age, physical or mental handicap/disability, medical condition, marital status, veteran status, citizenship status, sexual orientation or other such trait or characteristic protected by law are prohibited. b) Unwanted sexual advances, propositions or other sexual comments, such as: (1) Sexually-oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, or comments about a person s sexuality or sexual experience directed at or made in the presence of any employee

5 who indicates or has indicated in any way that such conduct in their presence is unwelcome. (2) Preferential treatment or promise of preferential treatment to an employee or student for submitting to sexual conduct, including soliciting or attempting to solicit any employee to engage in sexual activity of compensation or reward; and (3) Subjecting, or threats of subjecting, an employee to unwelcome sexual attention or conduct or intentionally making performance of the employee s job more difficult because of that employee s sex Displays a) Discriminatory displays or publications anywhere on County property by a County employee or visitor are prohibited, such as: (1) Displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects promotional materials, reading materials, or other materials of a derogatory or demeaning nature; bringing such materials into the County work environment; and possessing such material to read, display or view while at work. (2) Displaying signs or other materials purporting to segregate an employee by protected characteristic in any area of the workplace. b) Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications anywhere in the County s workplace by an employee such as: (1) Displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional materials, reading materials, or other materials that are sexually suggestive, sexually demeaning, or pornographic; bringing such material into the County s work environment; possessing any such material to read, display or view at work. A non-educational picture will be presumed to be sexually suggestive if it depicts a person of either sex who is not fully clothed or in clothes that are not suited to or ordinarily accepted for the accomplishment of routine work in or around the County s workplace and who is posed for the obvious purpose of displaying or drawing attention to private portions of their body. (2) Reading or otherwise publicizing in the work environment materials that are in any way sexually revealing, sexually suggestive, sexually demeaning or pornographic.

6 2.4. Retaliation (3) Displaying signs or other materials purporting to segregate an employee by sex in any area of the workplace (other than restrooms and similar semi-private lockers/changing rooms). Retaliation for discrimination complaints, such as: a) Disciplining, changing work assignments, providing inaccurate work information, or refusing to cooperate or discuss work-related matters with an employee because that employee has complained about or resisted harassment, discrimination or retaliation or because that employee has cooperated with and/or assisted in the County s discrimination and/or harassment investigation. b) Intentionally pressuring, falsely denying, lying about or otherwise covering up or attempting to cover up conduct such as that described in this section. c) Knowingly making false accusations against another individual regarding discrimination and/or harassment. SECTION 3: PROCEDURES FOR MAKING, INVESTIGATING AND RESOLVING DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT AND RETALIATION COMPLAINTS 3.1. Definition of Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Any person who believes that he or she has been subjected to or witnessed discrimination, harassment or retaliation in violation of this policy is encouraged to immediately bring a complaint to his/her supervisor, the Clinton County Personnel Director or other designated contact person(s). If the employee is uncomfortable reporting either to his/her supervisor or the Personnel Director or if the supervisor or Personnel Director is directly involved in the matter, the employee is directed to report the matter to the Clinton County Administrator or designee Filing a Discrimination Policy Complaint The County encourages the prompt reporting of complaints or concerns as early reporting and intervention are to be the most effective method of resolving complaints. Complaints can be filed with an employee s supervisor or the Personnel Director. The Personnel Director or his/her designee will investigate all allegations of unlawful discrimination and harassment. In the event the Personnel Director is accused or otherwise implicated in the complaint, the County Administrator or his/her designee will investigate the complaint. The name, responsibilities, work location, and phone number of the Clinton County Personnel Director or other designated contact person(s) will be routinely and continuously posted. Complaints of acts of unlawful discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation will be accepted in writing or orally, and all such complaints, will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. However, it

7 is preferred that complaints be made in writing and signed by the complainant to facilitate the investigation process. The complainant should identify the action, decision, conduct or other basis that constitutes an alleged act or practice of unlawful or prohibited conduct and the protected status upon which the action, decision or conduct was alleged to have been based upon. An employee who in bad faith knowingly makes a false complaint or report of harassment and/or discrimination will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination in accordance with applicable Civil Service Law, County policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s) Right to Alternative Complaint Procedures These procedures do not deny the right of any person to pursue other avenues of recourse available to him/her which may include filing an administrative charge, initiating a civil action, seeking redress under state criminal statues and/or any applicable federal provisions Designated Contact Person Notifications A supervisor will notify the Clinton County Personnel Director promptly upon receipt of any complaint. The Clinton County Personnel Director will promptly notify the Clinton County Administrator and the Board of Legislators as to the County s receipt of any complaint. If the complaint is made to the Clinton County Administrator in the first instance, the Administrator shall promptly notify the Board of Legislature Investigation The Personnel Director or his/her designee shall create an investigation file which is kept separately from personnel files. The file will contain the complaint or in the event of an oral complaint, a written description of the complaint, the investigation documentation, the complaint s resolution and any follow-up documentation, including notification of the resolution of the complaint. The Personnel Director or his/her designee will investigate all complaints or appoint an investigative officer to conduct an investigation. An investigative officer may be a third party designated by the County. The parties shall be entitled to representation of their choice, and at their own expense, at all meetings regarding the complaint. The parties shall notify the investigative officer in writing of the name and title of any representative at least two (2) days prior to the meeting. Only those persons who have an immediate need to know, including the Personnel Director or his/her designee and/or the assigned investigative officer, the complainant, the alleged offender and any witnesses or persons with knowledge involved in the investigation will have access to the identity of the complainant during the course of the investigation. All employees contacted in the course of an investigation shall be advised that all the parties involved are entitled to respect and that any

8 retaliation or reprisal against any complainant, alleged offender or employee or who has provided information in connection with a complaint or its investigation shall constitute a violation of the County s policy provisions prohibiting retaliation, and such person shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. This complaint process shall be administered consistently with federal and state labor law when bargaining unit members are involved. All complaints shall be investigated promptly and thoroughly by the Personnel Director or his/her designee or the assigned investigative officer. The amount of time that it will take to complete the investigation will depend on the particular circumstances of each case. It may be necessary to undertake intermediate measures before completing the investigation to ensure that further discrimination and/or harassment does not occur, including, but not limited to, scheduling changes to avoid contact between the parties; transferring the alleged offender; or placing the alleged offender on administrative leave with pay pending the conclusion of the investigation, in accordance with Civil Service Law, County policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s). The County will ensure that the individual who conducts the investigation will objectively gather and consider the relevant facts. The alleged offender must not have supervisory authority over the individual who conducts the investigation and must not have any direct or indirect control over the investigation Investigation Report Once all of the evidence is in, interviews are finalized, and credibility issues are resolved, the Personnel Director, his/her designee or the assigned investigative officer will make a determination as to whether the complaint is founded or unfounded. In some circumstances, it may be difficult for the Personnel Director or his/her designee or to reach a determination because of evidence contradictions or a lack of documentary or eye-witness corroboration. In such cases, a credibility assessment may form the basis for a determination. The Personnel Director, his/her designee or the assigned investigative officer shall prepare a written investigation report upon the conclusion of the investigation, which shall summarize the investigation findings. The Personnel Director, his/her designee or the assigned investigative officer may make recommendations to the appointing authority of the alleged offender as to appropriate remedial measures based upon the information gathered in the investigation of the complaint. In the event the Personnel Director is implicated in a complaint, the County Administrator shall assign an investigative officer and his/her investigation report will be forwarded directly to the County Administrator for review and action. SECTION 4: DISCRIMINATION POLICY COMPLAINT RESOLUTION 4.1. Notification of Parties and Response Procedures At the conclusion of the investigation, the Personnel Director (or the County Administrator, if applicable) shall notify the parties in writing as to whether the complaint is founded or unfounded.

9 The appropriate appointing authority shall promptly consider and act upon the investigative report and any recommendations contained therein. The appropriate appointing authority and/or County will undertake prompt and appropriate corrective action whenever it determinates that discrimination has occurred in accordance with the provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements and/or state law, if applicable. Remedial measures will be designed to stop the discrimination, correct its effects on the employee, and ensure that the discrimination does not recur. These remedial measures need not be those that the employee requests or prefers, as long as they are effective. Any County action taken pursuant to this policy will be consistent with requirements of applicable collective bargaining agreements, federal and state statutes and county policies. The County will take such corrective action it deems necessary and appropriate to end discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation and prevent its recurrence up to and including termination Complaint Resolution Appeal If complainant and/or the alleged offender disagrees with the resolution of the complaint, he/she may appeal to the County Administrator by forwarding a signed Statement of Appeal to the County Administrator or his/her designee within ten (10) calendar days of his/her receipt of the notification Appeal Meeting with County Administrator In an attempt to resolve the appeal, the County Administrator or his/her designee shall meet with the complainant and/or the alleged offender appealing and any representative within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of such Statement of Appeal Appeal Disposition and Notification The County Administrator or his/her designee s written disposition of the appeal shall be sent to the party appealing the resolution of the complaint and representative within thirty (30) days of the meeting County Administrator Action Appeal The decision of the County Administrator or his/her designee may be appealed by contacting: Regional Director NYS Division of Human Rights One Fordham Plaza, 4 th Floor Bronx, New York Investigative File Access Investigative files will be available to federal, state and local agencies charged with equal employment or affirmative action enforcement and as required by law. The name(s) of complainant(s) shall be kept under separate file.

10 4.7. Non-Retaliation Policy An effective policy requires support and leadership by the example of all County personnel in positions of authority. County supervisors or employees who engage in harassment or retaliation or who disrupt County-sponsored investigations of harassment or retaliation may be disciplined as appropriate up to and including suspension or termination in accordance with applicable state law, County policy and applicable collective bargaining agreement(s). Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any forms of intimidation, reprisal or harassment. In addition, County officials who refuse to implement remedial measures, obstruct remedial efforts of other County employees and/or retaliate against harassment complainants, witnesses or participants in an investigation or related proceeding may be immediately sanctioned as appropriate, including sanctions of suspension or termination. SECTION 5: PENALTIES FOR MISCONDUCT Corrective action at the County is progressive. That is, the action taken in response to a new infraction or violation of standards typically follows a pattern increasing in seriousness until the infraction or violation is corrected. Though committed to a progressive approach to corrective action, the County considers certain rule infractions and violations of standards as grounds for immediate termination. A written record of each disciplinary action taken pursuant to this policy will be placed in the employee s personnel file consistent with applicable Civil Service Law, County policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreement(s). The record will reflect the conduct and the Counseling Memorandum, or other formal discipline imposed. SECTION 6: PROCEDURES AND RULES FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING 6.1. Education and Training Education and training of County employees at each level of the workforce is critical to the success of this policy Education and Training Components Education and training include the following components: a) For all employees: As part of general orientation, each employee will be given a copy of the County s Discrimination Policy and Regulations and be requested to read them and sign an acknowledgment so that they are on notice of the standards of behavior expected. In addition, the Personnel Director or his/her designee will explain orally at least one (1) time

11 per year at departmental staff meetings, or other such appropriate times, the County s commitment to eliminating and preventing sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination or harassment in the workplace, the possible penalties for engaging in discrimination and/or harassment, and the procedures for reporting incidents of possible discrimination and/or harassment. b) For all other supervisory employees: Each supervisor will be trained in the administration of this policy and training will be refreshed as necessary. The Personnel Director shall attend the training sessions to introduce the seminar with remarks stressing the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment. Each participant will be informed that he/she is responsible for knowing the contents of the County s Policy and Regulations. c) The Personnel Director, his/her designee(s) and/or routinely assigned investigative officers will attend training seminars conducted by experienced discrimination and harassment educators and/or investigators to teach them about the problems of harassment in the workplace and techniques for identifying, investigating and addressing discrimination and harassment.

12 CLINTON COUNTY DISCRIMINATION POLICY COMPLAINT FORM Clinton County maintains a firm policy prohibiting all forms of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment against employees is a form of sex discrimination. All persons are to be treated with respect and dignity. Unwelcome sexual advances or other forms of harassing behavior which create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment will not be tolerated. Complainant: Home Address: Home Phone: Target(s) of the discrimination or harassment: Date(s) of the discrimination or harassment: Name of person(s) responsible for the discrimination or harassment: List any person(s) with knowledge of the discrimination or harassment: Where did the discrimination or harassment occur? Describe the discrimination or harassment as clearly as possible, including such things as verbal statements, threats, requests, demands and what, if any, physical contact was involved. Attach additional pages if necessary.

13 Resolution desired: This complaint is made based on my honest belief that conduct prohibited under the County s Discrimination Policy has occurred. I hereby certify that the information I have provided in this complaint is true, correct and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief. Complainant Signature Date Received By Date

14 CLINTON COUNTY DISCRIMINATION POLICY COMPLAINT RESOLUTION APPEAL FORM Person filing appeal: Date of appeal: Date of original complaint: List prior appeals, if any: Description of decision being appealed: Describe why decision is being appealed (Attach additional pages if necessary): Requested action to be taken: Appellant Signature Date Received By Date Send to County Administrator within ten (10) days of receipt of written notification of whether complaint is founded or unfounded.

15 REPORTING PROCEDURES CONTACT PERSONS: Kim Kinblom Clinton County Personnel Director Clinton County Government Center 137 Margaret Street Plattsburgh, NY (518) Or Mike Zurlo Clinton County Administrator Clinton County Government Center 137 Margaret Street Plattsburgh, NY (518)

16 DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE PREVENTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT Conduct yourself in a business-like manner at all times. Know the County policy on sexual harassment. Be aware of your attitudes concerning sexual harassment. Never ignore sexual harassment. It won t go away on its own. Set a positive example by treating everyone with respect. Let others know what you expect and insist upon the same from them. Do not assume that sexually explicit jokes, cartoons, or pictures, friendly gestures, etc., are harmless or inoffensive. Refrain from making jokes at someone else s expense. Carefully consider whether personal comments or questions are appropriate before you speak. Don t go along with the crowd or accept behavior that is inappropriate in the workplace. Be supportive of people who are sexually harassed. Don t hesitate to seek help. Weigh your options carefully. Remaining silent, transferring or quitting are rarely the best solutions. Do not use negative behavior to get attention. Immediately stop any behavior which you may even remotely suspect may be interpreted as sexual harassment. Consider whether you would want your remarks quoted or your actions videotaped. If not, reconsider whether your behavior is appropriate for the workplace.

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