Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

Every employee is entitled to a work environment free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has devastating economic, psychological, and physical effects on its victims, and the cost to the employer in human and financial terms may be enormous. Sexual harassment is also illegal. Victims of sexual harassment have protection under the law, and an employer may be held liable for sexual harassment in the workplace under certain circumstances. To protect potential victims of sexual harassment, and to protect our agency, we are taking affirmative steps to increase awareness of and sensitivity to sexual harassment, and to maintain a workplace free of its deleterious effects.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has amended its guidelines on sex discrimination to include sexual harassment as an unlawful employment practice under Section 703 of Title VII. In accordance with these guidelines, which became effective November 10, 1980, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature will constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to the conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment; or
  • Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision affecting the person rejecting or submitting to the conduct; or
  • The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an affected person’s work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Such harassment is a violation of Title VII and the New York State Human Rights Law and will not be tolerated within the State University of New York College of Optometry. Sexual harassment is considered a form of employee misconduct which may lead to disciplinary action. Supervisory personnel have an obligation to take all possible steps to ensure that this Sexual Harassment Policy is distributed, understood, and adhered to.

Questions and problems may be discussed in confidence with Douglas Schading, Director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action, Office of Human Resources at 212-938-5882. Any individual who believes that he or she is being or has been sexually harassed may refer to the State University of New York Discrimination Complaint Procedure for information on filing a complaint which is found online at www.sunyopt.edu/offices/human_resources. To the fullest extent possible, investigation of complaints will be conducted with due regard to confidentiality.