[Added 4-13-2015 by Ord. No. 4-2015]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. III, Sexual Harassment Policy, added 9-27-1993 by Ord. No. 18-1993, as amended.
The City of Newburgh continues to have a zero tolerance for unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation in the workplace.
All employees are required to comply with the City's policy. Any employee who violates this policy will be subject to the full weight of disciplinary sanctions, up to and including discharge. Any department head or supervisor violates this policy if, having been made aware of conduct by an employee that violates this policy, that department head or supervisor knowingly allows the conduct to continue.
This policy applies to all applicants and employees, and prohibits unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation, whether engaged in by or with fellow employees, a supervisor or someone not directly connected to the City (e.g., an outside vendor, contractor, consultant or resident). Conduct prohibited by the policy is unacceptable in the workplace and in any work-related setting outside the workplace, including during business trips, business meeting and business-related social events. It is the responsibility of supervisory personnel to be aware of and sensitive to conditions, situations or circumstances which, left unresolved, could potentially rise to the level of unlawful harassment, discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, and to take appropriate remedial action to address the conditions, situations or circumstances as soon as possible.
The City Manager will carry out those duties necessary to ensure compliance with this policy. The City Manager will designate, in writing, one or more Harassment Complaint Officers, to receive and investigate complaints of violations of this policy. Copies of this policy and the written designation of Harassment Complaint Officer (including his or her contact information) will be posted in conspicuous places and be available to employees and applicants for employment.
The City is committed to a policy of ensuring equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without unlawful discrimination with regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital status, citizenship status, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, domestic violence victim status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. In accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, this commitment to equal employment opportunity extends to all employment decisions, including, but not limited to, recruitment, hiring, compensation, benefits, training, promotion, demotion or downgrading, transfer, layoff and recall, termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment. The City prohibits and will not tolerate this kind of discrimination.
[Amended 11-13-2018 by Ord. No. 5-2018]
Harassment on the basis of protected characteristics.
Harassment on the basis of any protected characteristics is strictly prohibited by the City.
Pursuant to this policy, harassment is verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital status, citizenship status, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law and that:
Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to: epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation in the workplace of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group (including through e-mail). The City prohibits and will not tolerate all of these types of harassment.
The City prohibits retaliation against any individual who in good faith reports discrimination or harassment or participates in an investigation of those reports. Retaliation against an individual for in good faith reporting harassment or discrimination or for participating in an investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination is a serious violation of this policy. Violators will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Reporting an incident of prohibited harassment, discrimination or retaliation.
The City strongly urges the reporting of all alleged incidents of harassment, discrimination or retaliation, regardless of the alleged offender's identity or position. Individuals who believe they have experienced conduct that they believe to be contrary to the City's policy or who have concerns about these matters should file their complaints before the conduct becomes severe or pervasive. The complaint may be filed with the employee's immediate supervisor or any individual designated in writing by the City Manager as a Harassment Complaint Officer. If the complaint involves one of the Harassment Complaint Officers, it may be filed with the City Manager. If the complaint involves the City Manager, it may be filed with the Mayor. Individuals should not feel obligated to bring their complaints to their immediate supervisor before bringing the matter to the attention of the Harassment Complaint Officer, the City Manager or the Mayor. Employees can submit claims in writing, by e-mail or by meeting in person. All oral complaints or reports must be documented in writing by the City. A department head or supervisor who observes harassment, discrimination or retaliation, or receives a complaint of same, must immediately make a report to the Harassment Complaint Officer, the City Manager or Mayor, respectively.
[Amended 11-13-2018 by Ord. No. 5-2018]
Early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of prohibited harassment. Therefore, while no fixed reporting period has been established by this policy, the City strongly urges the prompt reporting of complaints or concerns so that rapid and constructive action can be taken. The City will make every effort to stop alleged harassment before it becomes severe or pervasive, but can only do so with the cooperation of its employees. The availability of this complaint procedure does not preclude individuals who believe they are being subjected to harassing conduct from promptly advising the offender that his or her behavior is unwelcomed and requesting that it be discontinued.
Any reported allegations of harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be investigated promptly, thoroughly, and impartially pursuant to the direction of the City Manager or, if the complaint involves the City Manager, pursuant to the direction of the Mayor. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and, where necessary, with individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge. No individual who is the subject of a harassment, discrimination or retaliation complaint will play a role in the decision-making process with respect to the resolution of the complaint.
The City Manager (or Mayor) will make best efforts to ensure the investigation of all complaints of harassment, discrimination or retaliation, preparation of written findings of the results of each investigation and the remedial actions proposed. This report will be considered an internal memorandum and one protected by personal privacy rights so as to not be subject to disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law. The City Manager (or Mayor) will communicate with the complaining party about the results of the investigation and remedial actions taken, if any, all within a reasonable period of time consistent with the circumstances of the complaint.
Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent consistent with adequate investigation and appropriate corrective action. If, after investigating any complaint of harassment or discrimination, it is determined that an employee has intentionally made a false claim of harassment or has intentionally provided false information regarding a harassment or discrimination complaint, disciplinary or legal action may be taken against that individual.
No record of a complaint will be kept in the complaining employee's personnel file, unless the investigation concludes that the employee intentionally made a false claim of harassment or intentionally provided false information regarding a harassment or discrimination complaint.
Misconduct constituting prohibited harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be dealt with promptly and appropriately. Responsive action may include, for example, training, referral to counseling, monitoring of the offender and/or disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, a warning, reprimand, withholding of a promotion or pay increase, reduction of wages, demotion, reassignment, temporary suspension without pay or termination, as the City believes to be appropriate given the circumstances, and in accordance with applicable law.
Individuals who have questions or concerns about these policies should contact the City Manager.
Nothing in this policy will be construed in any way in order to limit an employee's rights before the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights or the Orange County Human Rights Commission, or to take any other legal action which the employee may deem advisable to pursue.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this article shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.