Employment Discrimination Complaints
CUNY Non Discrimination Policies and Procedures
A. Treating members of a protected class less favorably because of their membership in that class. The protected groups are set forth in CUNY's non-discrimination policy.
B. Harassment is a type of discrimination involving oral, written, graphic or physical conduct relating to an individual's race, color, or national origin (including an individual's ancestry, country of origin, or country of origin of the individual's parents or other family member) or other protected characteristic that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to work for, participate in or benefit from the educational institution's programs or activities.
RESPONSIBLE OFFICES AND INDIVIDUALS
A. Responsibilities of the Presidents
The President of each college of the University, the Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer at the Central Office, the Deans of the Law School, Graduate School of Journalism and Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education shall have ultimate responsibility for overseeing compliance with the Non-Discrimination Policy (hereinafter the "Policy") at his or her respective unit of the University. Each President shall:
• Appoint a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), a Sexual Harassment Coordinator and at least one Deputy Coordinator, a 504/ADA Compliance Coordinator and a Title IX Coordinator. The CDO may be appointed to perform one or more of these functions.
• Ensure that the individuals appointed to handle allegations of discrimination/harassment, including sexual harassment, are fully trained and equipped to carry out their responsibilities.
• Assure that supervisors receive orientation on the University's Non-Discrimination Policy and Policy Against Sexual Harassment.
• Annually disseminate to all employees the Non-Discrimination Policy, the Policy Against Sexual Harassment, and the Form for Notification of Protected Categories, and include the names, titles, telephone numbers, and office locations of the CDO, the Sexual Harassment Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator(s), the 504/ADA Compliance Coordinator, and in addition, to students, the Title IX Coordinator, and the Chief Student Affairs Officer. Such information should be widely disseminated and included in all orientations (including supervisory orientation sessions), handbooks, newsletters, and on the colleges' websites. In addition, the Policies and Procedures on Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment should be incorporated into the training curriculum for employees that are involved in investigating discrimination complaints.
• Submit annually to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Faculty and Staff Relations an annual report on non-discrimination, which shall include information on complaints filed within the past year and their resolution, and other information.
B. Responsibilities of the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and the Chief Student Affairs Officer.
• The CDO is responsible, as the President's designee, for providing confidential consultation, informal complaint resolution and investigation of all internal complaints of discrimination/harassment.
• The CDO and the Chief Student Affairs Officer or his/her representative are responsible, as the President's designees, for handling and providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student discrimination/harassment complaints under applicable laws, rules, and/or regulation.
C. Responsibilities of the Sexual Harassment Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator.
• It is the responsibility of the President to appoint the college CDO as either the Sexual Harassment Coordinator or a Sexual Harassment Deputy Coordinator. Further, a faculty member should be appointed as one of the Coordinators.
• The Sexual Harassment Coordinator is responsible, as the President's designee, for reviewing all complaints of sexual harassment from any member of the college community, and for making efforts to resolve those complaints informally, if possible. When informal resolution is not possible, the Sexual Harassment Coordinator shall investigate the complaint. The Sexual Harassment Coordinator shall report to the President (and the Chief Student Affairs Officer, if the accused/complainant is a student) the results of the investigation. A Deputy Coordinator may also assume responsibility for the informal resolution or investigation of complaints, as assigned by the Sexual Harassment Coordinator. The Coordinators have an obligation to maintain confidentiality to the fullest extent possible.
• Submit annually as part of the report on non-discrimination, a summary of the sexual harassment educational activities undertaken at the college, as well as a summary of the number of complaints filed and the general outcomes thereof.
C1.Responsibilities of the Sexual Harassment Awareness and Intake Committee
• The Sexual Harassment Awareness and Intake Committee is responsible for educating employees about sexual harassment and its potential consequences to the University community, and for overseeing sexual harassment training.
• It is recommended that the Sexual Harassment Awareness and Intake Committee consist of six to eight persons, all of whom shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the President. Further, it is strongly recommended that the Committee reflect the diversity of the college, and be composed of at least two faculty members, as well as administrators, staff, and students.
• All members of the Sexual Harassment Awareness and Intake Committee shall be available to receive complaints of sexual harassment from any member of the college community, to explain the University complaint procedures, and to refer individuals and/or the complaint to the Sexual Harassment Coordinator.
• All members of the Sexual Harassment Awareness and Intake Committee have an obligation to maintain confidentiality to the fullest extent possible
D. Responsibilities of Supervisory Personnel
Supervisory personnel exercise authority on behalf of the University. They include deans, directors, department chairpersons, executive officers, administrators, or other persons with supervisory responsibility. They must take steps to create a workplace free of discrimination and harassment, and must take each and every complaint seriously.
• Each supervisor must arrange for the posting, in his or her area, of the University's Non-Discrimination Policy with the names, titles, telephone numbers, and office locations of the CDO, the Sexual Harassment Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator(s), the Chief Student Affairs Officer, the 504/ADA Compliance Coordinator and the Title IX Coordinator.
E. Responsibilities of the University Community-at- large
Members of the University community, who become aware of allegations of discrimination including sexual harassment, should encourage the aggrieved individual to report the alleged act to the CDO or the Sexual Harassment Coordinator, as applicable.
The privacy of individuals who bring complaints of discrimination, who are accused of discrimination, or who are otherwise involved in the complaint process should be respected, and information obtained in connection with the filing, investigation, or resolution of complaints should be handled as confidentially as possible. It is not possible, however, to guarantee absolute confidentiality and no promise of complete confidentiality should be made to University employees or students who are involved in the complaint process.
MAKING A COMPLIANT OF DISCRIMINATION
Any applicant for employment or individual who is employed by or enrolled at The City University of New York may file a complaint of discrimination. The University places a strong emphasis on prompt action to resolve complaints alleging discrimination. Members of the University community who believe they have been discriminated against or harassed are strongly encouraged to report allegations as promptly as possible. Delay in making a complaint may make it more difficult for a unit of the University to investigate the allegations.
The complaint procedure that follows applies to all job applicants and employees and in some instances, former employees of The City University of New York. Students employed by CUNY have the right to equal employment opportunity in their capacity as employees.
Sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination, is prohibited under the University's Policy Against Sexual Harassment. Members of the University community who believe they have been sexually harassed are strongly encouraged to report their allegations as promptly as possible to the Sexual Harassment Coordinator (who in most cases is the CDO). For details on reporting a complaint of sexual harassment see Section IV.
WHOM TO CONTACT
Any employee, applicant for employment, or student, may file a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment.
Individuals who believe they are being or have been discriminated against or harassed in violation of university policy are encouraged to contact, as soon as possible, the CDO.
At the time the individual makes his/her complaint, the CDO should provide the complainant with the complaint form (Attachment A) and with information about the various internal and external mechanisms through which the complaint may be filed (Attachment B).
In the event that an employee on an assignment off campus files a complaint of discrimination the CDO should investigate the complaint promptly, including coordinating, when necessary, with the off campus entity. Students who participate in field placement assignments should be informed, prior to reporting to the assignment, of CUNY's procedures regarding complaints of discrimination while on field placement assignments.
PRELIMINARY REVIEW OF DISCRIMINATON COMPLAINTS
Individuals who believe they have been victims of discrimination/harassment may contact the CDO to discuss issues relating to discrimination, with or without filing a complaint. The CDO may conduct a preliminary fact-finding review. At its conclusion, the CDO shall inform the complainant of the options available. These include seeking informal resolution to the problems the complainant has encountered or asking that a full investigation be conducted. Based upon the facts of the case, the CDO may also advise the complainant that his or her case is more suitable for adjudication by another entity within the University.
Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against may choose to resolve their complaints informally. Informal resolution is a confidential process where parties can participate in a search for fair and workable solutions. Informal resolution requires the consent of both parties and suspends the complaint procedure for up to thirty (30) working days, which can be extended, at the discretion of the CDO, upon consent of both parties. The CDO should determine if informal resolution is appropriate in light of the nature of the complaint.
All complaints, whether formal or informal, should be made in writing. The parties may agree upon a variety of resolutions, including but not limited to modification of work assignment, training for a department, or an apology. Resolutions should be agreed upon, signed by, and provided to the complainant(s) and respondent(s). Once both parties reach an informal agreement, it is final. Because informal resolution is voluntary, sanctions may be imposed against the accused only for a breach of the executed voluntary agreement.
The complainant may advise the CDO at any time during the informal resolution process that he or she wishes to withdraw a complaint.
The CDO or either party may at any time, prior to the expiration of thirty (30) working days, declare that attempts at informal resolution have failed. Upon such notice, the CDO may commence a full investigation.
If no informal resolution of a complaint is achieved, the individual shall refer the matter to the CDO to conduct a more through investigation of the complaint. Individuals must complete the form annexed as Attachment A.
INVESTIGATION OF COMPLIANTS
a. Full investigation of a discrimination complaint may occur when:
1. The CDO determines, upon review of a complaint, that an investigation is warranted, or
2. Informal resolution has failed.
b. It is recommended that the investigation include the following, to the extent feasible:
1. Interviewing of the complainant by the CDO.
2. Informing the complainant that an investigation is being commenced, that interviews of the accused and possibly other people shall be conducted, and that the President shall determine what action, if any, to take after the investigation is completed.
3. Interviewing of the accused by the CDO. The accused should be advised that a complaint of discrimination has been received, that an investigation has begun, which may include interviews with third parties, and that the President shall determine what action, if any, to take after the investigation is completed. The accused should be given a copy of the complaint (with sensitive information such as the complainant's home address and telephone number redacted) and an opportunity to respond. An accused employee who is covered by a collective bargaining agreement may consult with a union representative and have a union representative present during the interview.
4. Determining if, in addition to the complainant, the accused, and those persons named by them, there are others who may have relevant information regarding the events in question and whether there is documentary evidence that may be relevant to the complaint. Persons interviewed should be advised that information related to the complaint should be kept confidential and not disclosed further, except as necessary during the complaint process.
5. Informing the accused that retaliation against any person who files a complaint of discrimination, participates in an investigation, or opposes a discriminatory employment or educational practice or policy is prohibited under University policy and federal and state and city law. The accused should be informed that if retaliatory behavior is engaged in, he/she shall be subject to severe discipline, up to and including termination of employment or, if the accused is a student, permanent dismissal from the University.
6. Informing the complainant of the right to file a complaint with the appropriate federal or state or city agency and requesting that the complainant advise the CDO if he or she has filed a complaint with an external agency. In the event that the CDO learns that the complainant has filed a complaint with an external agency, he or she should inform the Office of General Counsel and coordinate the investigation accordingly.
c. Withdrawing a complaint.
1. A complaint of discrimination may be withdrawn at any time. Only the complainant(s) may withdraw a complaint. Requests for withdrawals must be submitted to the CDO in writing. The CDO, prior to making the determination to end the investigation, will consider whether evidence has been found that may lead to the conclusion that the University has an obligation to take action to correct unlawful discriminatory behavior. If there is such evidence, the investigation will continue.
In either event, the CDO will notify the respondent(s) in writing that the complainant(s) has withdrawn the complaint and whether it has been determined by appropriate University officials to continue the investigation for corrective action purposes.
d. In the event that a complaint is anonymous, the complaint should be investigated as thoroughly as possible under the circumstances.
e. Timeframe: While some complaints of discrimination may require extensive investigation, whenever possible, the investigation of most complaints should be completed within 60 days of the receipt of the complaint. In cases where the investigation is not completed within 60 days, a Delay Notification Letter (Attachment D) should be sent to the parties and the reason for the delay should be noted in the file.
8. ACTION FOLLOWING INVESTIGATION OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLIANTS
a. Promptly following the completion of the investigation, the CDO shall report his or her findings to the President, and in the event that the accused is a student, to the Chief Student Affairs Officer.
b. Following such report, the President shall review the complaint investigation report and authorize such action as he or she deems necessary to properly correct the effects of or to prevent further harm to an affected party or others similarly situated. The President's review of the report and authorization that action be taken shall be documented in writing, which may be issued electronically. This can include commencing action to discipline the accused under applicable University Bylaws or collective bargaining agreements. Disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to, termination of employment and/or dismissal from the University, demotion, reassignment, suspension, reprimand, training or granting a benefit wrongfully withheld.
c. The complainant(s) and respondent(s) to an investigation should be apprised in writing of the outcome and action taken as a result of the complaint.
d. For each investigation, the President will sign a form that will go into the investigation file, stating: "I have reviewed the report of the investigation of the discrimination complaint filed by [complainant] on [date] and authorize the Chief Diversity Officer/Sexual Harassment Coordinator to take appropriate action based on the findings in the report." The action authorized by the President shall be final.
e. If the President is the accused, the Vice Chancellor of Faculty and Staff Relations shall appoint an investigator who shall report his/her findings to the Chancellor. The Chancellor shall determine what action shall be taken. The Chancellor's decision shall be final.
9. IMMEDIATE PREVENTIVE ACTION
The President may, in extreme cases, take whatever action is appropriate to protect the college community.
10. FALSE AND MALICIOUS ACCUSATIONS
Members of the University community who make false and malicious complaints of discrimination, as opposed to complaints, which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, shall be subject to disciplinary action.
11. RECORDS AND REPORTS
a. The CDO shall keep the President informed regarding complaints of discrimination and shall provide the information necessary to prepare the annual non-discrimination report referenced above in II 2(a).
b. Records regarding complaints of discrimination shall be maintained in a secure location.
12. APPLICABILITY OF PROCEDURES
a. These Procedures are applicable to all of the units and colleges of the University. The Hunter College Campus Schools may make modifications to these procedures, subject to approval by the University, as appropriate to address the special needs of their elementary and high school students.
b. These Procedures are intended to provide guidance to the Presidents for implementing the University policy of non-discrimination; these procedures do not create any rights or privileges on the part of any others.
The University reserves the right to alter, change, add to, or delete any of these procedures at any time without notice.
LIST OF RESOURCES
New York City Commission on Human Rights
40 Rector Street
New York, NY 10006
(212) 306-7686 (TDD)
New York State Division of Human Rights
One Fordham Plaza, 4th Floor
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 741-8304 (TDD)
New York State Division of Human Rights
55 Hanson Place, 3rd Floor, Room 304
Brooklyn, NY 11217
New York State Division of Human Rights
20 Exchange Place, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10005
(718) 741-8304 (TDD)
Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building
163 W. 125th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10027
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
(202) 514-0383 (TTY)
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. (NYA)
Washington, D.C. 20530
Employer Hotline (1-800-255-8155)
Worker Hotline (1-800-255-7688)
U.S. Department of Education
Office of Civil Rights, Region II
75 Park Place, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10007
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
New York District Office
33 Whitehall Street
New York, NY 10004
(212) 336-3620 or 1-800-669-4000
(212) 336-3622 or 1-800-669-6820 (TTY)
GRADUATE CENTER CONTACT FOR DISCRIMINATION COMPLIANTS
Employees and Students
Ms. Edith Rivera
Chief Diversity Officer
Rm. 7301 / 1.212.817.7410
THE GRADUATE CENTER SEXUAL HARASSMENT AWARENESS AND INTAKE COMMITTEE
Prof. Michelle Fine
Coordinator Ph.D. Program in Psychology
Rm. 6304.17 / 1.212.817.8710
Prof. Glenn Burger
Ph.D. Program in Theatre
Rm. 3112 / 1.212.817.8871
Ms. Edith Rivera
Chief Diversity Officer
Rm. 7301 / 1.212.817.7410
Mr. Colin Ashley
Ph.D. Program in Sociology
Ms. Anick Boyd
Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature
Ms. Sharon Lerner
Director of Student Affairs
Rm. 7301 / 1.212.817.7413
Ms. Rhonda Palant
Assistant Program Officer
Ph.D. Program in Educational Psychology
Rm. 3204.07 / 1.212.817.8295
Ms. Tawana Spellen
Assistant Director for Administration
Office of Information Technology
Rm. 8311 / 1.212.817.7353
The Graduate Center Ombuds Officer
Professor Martin R. Gitterman
Room 7313 1.212.817.7191