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New York State Senate

Policy to Prevent Discrimination and Harassment

The New York State Senate is committed to providing and maintaining a work environment for all
Senate Members and employees which is free from any form of harassment or discrimination based on
race, age, creed, color, religion, gender, military status, sexual orientation, familial status, national origin,
predisposing genetic characteristics, or physical or mental disability, domestic violence victim status, or
any other protected class by law.

Discrimination or harassment based upon any of these characteristics is a form of misconduct that
undermines the integrity of the employment relationship and will not be tolerated. Accordingly, such
conduct is prohibited in the work environment, as well as each and every situation that directly impacts
the work environment. As such, the Senate expressly prohibits any form of employee discrimination or
harassment based on race, age, creed, color, religion, gender, military status, sexual orientation, familial
status, national origin, predisposing genetic characteristics, or physical or mental disability, domestic
violence victim status, or any other protected class by law. Improper interference with the ability of our
employees to perform their expected job duties will not be tolerated.

Senate Members and employees are expected to appropriately respond to and report any activity which
they feel constitutes such conduct. Harassing conduct by anyone, whether in the Senate's offices, at work
assignments outside the office, or at office-sponsored social functions, may be unlawful and will not be
tolerated.

This policy applies to all applicants, employees, persons involved in the operation of the New
York State Senate, and prohibits unlawful or improper harassment, discrimination and retaliation whether
engaged in by any Member, employee of the New York State Senate or someone not directly connected to
the New York State Senate (e.g. outside vendors, consultants, etc.).

Definitions

"Sexual Harassment" is unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requesting sexual favors, or any
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 the person’s
employment; or
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment
decisions that affect such individual; or
3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work
performance or creating a work environment that is intimidating, hostile, offensive or coercive to a
reasonable person.

"Sexual harassment" is not limited to male-female interaction, is gender neutral and may involve
individuals of the same or different gender.
The following is a partial list of examples of behavior which could be considered sexual harassment and
is not exhaustive:
 Threats or insinuations, either explicit or implicit, that an individual's refusal to submit to,
acquiesce in, or rejection of, sexual advances or sexual conduct will adversely affect his or her
employment, evaluation, wages, advancement, assigned duties, benefits or any other aspect of
employment or career advancement;
 Favoring any applicant or employee because that person has performed or shown a willingness to
perform sexual favors for a supervisor or manager;
 Unwelcome, profane or offensive jokes, language, epithets, advances or propositions, by any
means of communication, including e-mail;
 Written or verbal abuse of a sexual nature or use of sexually degrading or sexually vulgar words to
describe an individual;
 Display of sexually suggestive objects, images, posters or cartoons;
 Asking questions about sexual conduct or sexual relationships;
 Unwelcome touching, leering, whistling, brushing against the body, pinching or suggestive,
insulting or obscene gestures or comments; and
 Assault or coerced sexual acts.

"Other Unlawful Harassment" is defined as discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, age, creed,
color, religion, gender, military status, sexual orientation, familial status, national origin, predisposing
genetic characteristics, or physical or mental disability, domestic violence victim status or any other
protected class or characteristic, and is also prohibited.

Such prohibited conduct includes communicating, sharing, or displaying written or visual material or
making verbal comments or engaging in any other conduct which is demeaning or derogatory to a person
because of his or her race, age, creed, color, religion, gender, military status, sexual orientation, familial
status, national origin, predisposing genetic characteristics, or physical or mental disability, domestic
violence victim status that:

i. Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment;
ii. Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance;
or
iii. Otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment opportunities.

Examples of other unlawful harassment can include, but is not limited to:

 Distributing or saying epithets, slurs, jokes, remarks or negative stereotypes that are derogatory
and/or demeaning to an individual’s protected class; or
 Threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; or
 Displaying offensive materials in the workplace.

The use of Senate facilities, property or equipment to disseminate, duplicate or display such materials is
prohibited. Also, the claim that the alleged conduct “meant no harm” or was “just a joke” is not an excuse.

No Retaliation

The New York State Senate will not permit retaliation of any kind against anyone who complains
about harassment, furnishes information or participates in any manner in any investigation of a
harassment complaint. Such retaliation is unlawful and will not be tolerated. Any individual found to have
engaged in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of
employment. Employees who feel they are being subjected to retaliation as a result of their filing a
complaint or cooperating in an investigation should immediately report such conduct to the Senate
Personnel Officer.

Responsibility of Individual Employees

The New York State Senate encourages individuals who feel they are being, or have been,
harassed to communicate to the offending party that such conduct is harassing and to ask that the conduct
stop. However, you are not required to do so. If the individual is uncomfortable with making a direct
approach to the offending party, or has done so but the offending conduct has not stopped, the individual
may take the following actions to address and resolve the problem:

1. As soon as possible after the harassing conduct, go directly to his or her immediate supervisor,
the immediate supervisor of the offender, the appropriate department head, or to his or her appointing
authority.

2. If your complaint concerns any of the above-mentioned officials, or you are otherwise
uncomfortable about making your report to any of these individuals, you may go to the Senate Personnel
Officer, or the Secretary of the Senate.

Responsibility of Management and Supervisors

All employees, supervisors, department heads and appointing authorities are responsible for
ensuring a harassment-free workplace, and ensuring that employees are aware of this policy on preventing
harassment and discrimination.

If any employee of the Senate witnesses or is notified of violations of this policy, he or she must
give immediate attention to such violation by notifying his or her supervisor, department head, appointing
authority, the Senate Personnel Officer, or the Secretary of the Senate. Failure of supervisors and/or
management staff to report such conduct to their respective supervisor, Senate Personnel Officer, or
Secretary of the Senate, may result in disciplinary action being taken.

Investigation Procedures

The policy of the New York State Senate is to investigate all complaints promptly and to take
appropriate remedial action. An investigator may be designated by the Secretary of the Senate, in
consultation with the Senate Personnel Officer, to carry out such responsibility. The investigator shall ask
the individual complainant to provide details such as the identity of the alleged offender, the nature,
date(s) and location(s) of the harassing conduct. Thereafter, the investigator shall meet individually with
the alleged offender to inform him or her of the substance of the complaint, and to allow him or her to
respond. If there is a significant dispute of fact, the investigator may give each party an opportunity to
identify persons who can support or corroborate his or her version of the facts. The investigator may also
investigate the matter further by contacting those other individuals whom the investigator feels may have
additional information regarding the issues raised in the complaint.

The matter in investigation will be handled with as much confidentiality as is possible under the
circumstances, and with due regard to the rights and wishes of all parties. The investigator will report his
or her investigation findings to the Senate Personnel Officer, who will then review the investigation
findings. Upon review, the Senate Personnel Officer will determine, if the record warrants, whether
inappropriate conduct has occurred and whether disciplinary or other action should be taken in order to
ensure that the offensive behavior ceases and make any appropriate recommendations to the Secretary of
the Senate.

Appropriate disciplinary or other action may include an apology, direction to stop the offensive
behavior, counseling, verbal warning, written warning which may be included in the offender's personnel
file, transfer, suspension, or termination of employment. If the offender is a Senate member, the
legislative body may take such action as appropriate under the Constitution, or relevant New York State
Law.

The complaining employee will be notified of the written resolution by the Senate Personnel
Officer when the investigation is completed, and will be encouraged to report if further incidents occur.
The alleged offender shall also receive notification in writing of the resolution of the investigation, either
from the Senate Personnel Officer or the Secretary of the Senate.

Reporting a false complaint is a serious act. Therefore, if, after the investigation is complete, the
investigator determines that any employee has knowingly made false accusations or provided false
statements during the investigation, he or she may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including
termination.

Right to Appeal

Any employee, who is a complainant or alleged offender, who is dissatisfied with the written
resolution of a complaint by the Secretary of the Senate may file a written appeal to the Counsel to the
Majority within fifteen (15) days of the receipt of the written resolution from the Personnel Officer. No
appeal will be entertained thereafter.

Additional Complaints

In addition to filing a complaint with the Senate, a complaint may be filed with the New York
State Division of Human Rights (http://www.dhr.state.ny.us/) or the United States Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (http://www.eeoc.gov/) as provided by law. Complainants may also visit those
offices personally. The Personnel Office, upon request, will assist in advising how to file a complaint.
Reasonable administrative leave time may be granted to a complainant or an alleged offender, at the
discretion of the Senate Personnel Officer, for purposes of filing, maintaining, or defending a complaint.
Employees and Senate Members are urged to take advantage of the above internal Senate procedures prior
to filing with these agencies.

For further information:


Dawn L. Harrington
Personnel Officer
New York State Senate
Albany, NY 12247
(518) 455-3376

Secretary of the Senate January 2, 2018

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