Sexual Harassment Policy
George F. Johnson Memorial Library is committed to maintaining a workplace free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of workplace discrimination. All employees are required to work in a manner that prevents sexual harassment in the workplace. This Policy is one component of George F Johnson Memorial Library’s commitment to a discrimination-free work environment. Sexual harassment is against the law and all employees have a legal right to a workplace free from sexual harassment and employees are urged to report sexual harassment by filing a complaint internally with George F. Johnson Memorial Library. Employees can also file a complaint with a government agency or in court under federal, state or local antidiscrimination laws.
- George F Johnson Memorial Library’s policy applies to all employees, applicants for employment, interns, whether paid or unpaid, contractors and persons conducting business, regardless of immigration status, with George F. Johnson Memorial Library. In the remainder of this document, the term “employees” refers to this collective group.
- Sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Any employee or individual covered by this policy who engages in sexual harassment or retaliation will be subject to remedial and/or disciplinary action (e.g., counseling, suspension, termination).
- Retaliation Prohibition: No person covered by this Policy shall be subject to adverse action because the employee reports an incident of sexual harassment, provides information, or otherwise assists in any investigation of a sexual harassment complaint. George F. Johnson Memorial Library will not tolerate such retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, reports or provides information about suspected sexual harassment. Any employee of George F. Johnson Memorial Library who retaliates against anyone involved in a sexual harassment investigation will be subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. All employees, paid or unpaid interns, or non-employees working in the workplace who believe they have been subject to such retaliation should inform a supervisor, board member, or library director. All employees, paid or unpaid interns or non-employees who believe they have been a target of such retaliation may also seek relief in other available forums, as explained below in the section on Legal Protections.
- Sexual harassment is offensive, is a violation of our policies, is unlawful, and may subject George F. Johnson Memorial Library to liability for harm to targets of sexual harassment. Harassers may also be individually subject to liability. Employees of every level who engage in sexual harassment, including managers and supervisors who engage in sexual harassment or who allow such behavior to continue, will be penalized for such misconduct.
- George F. Johnson Memorial Library will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation that ensures due process for all parties, whenever management receives a complaint about sexual harassment, or otherwise knows of possible sexual harassment occurring. George F. Johnson Memorial Library will keep the investigation confidential to the extent possible. Effective corrective action will be taken whenever sexual harassment is found to have occurred. All employees, including managers and supervisors, are required to cooperate with any internal investigation of sexual harassment.
- All employees are encouraged to report any harassment or behaviors that violate this policy. George F. Johnson Memorial Library will provide all employees a complaint form for employees to report harassment and file complaints.
- Managers and supervisors are required to report any complaint that they receive, or any harassment that they observe or become aware of, to the library director.
- This policy applies to all employees, paid or unpaid interns, and non-employees and all must follow and uphold this policy. This policy must be provided to all employees and should be posted prominently in all work locations to the extent practicable (for example, in a main office, not an offsite work location) and be provided to employees upon hiring.
What Is “Sexual Harassment”?
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Sexual harassment includes harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, self-identified or perceived sex, gender expression, gender identity and the status of being transgender.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct which is either of a sexual nature, or which is directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex when:
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, even if the reporting individual is not the intended target of the sexual harassment;
- Such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment; or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting an individual’s employment.
A sexually harassing hostile work environment includes, but is not limited to, words, signs, jokes, pranks, intimidation or physical violence which are of a sexual nature, or which are directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex. Sexual harassment also consists of any unwanted verbal or physical advances, sexually explicit derogatory statements or sexually discriminatory remarks made by someone which are offensive or objectionable to the recipient, which cause the recipient discomfort or humiliation, which interfere with the recipient’s job performance.
Sexual harassment also occurs when a person in authority tries to trade job benefits for sexual favors. This can include hiring, promotion, continued employment or any other terms, conditions or privileges of employment. This is also called “quid pro quo” harassment.
Any employee who feels harassed should report so that any violation of this policy can be corrected promptly. Any harassing conduct, even a single incident, can be addressed under this policy.
Examples of sexual harassment
The following describes some of the types of acts that may be unlawful sexual harassment and that are strictly prohibited:
- Physical acts of a sexual nature, such as:
- Touching, pinching, patting, kissing, hugging, grabbing, brushing against another employee’s body or poking another employee’s body;
- Rape, sexual battery, molestation or attempts to commit these assaults.
- Unwanted sexual advances or propositions, such as:
- Requests for sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning the target’s job performance evaluation, a promotion or other job benefits or detriments;
- Subtle or obvious pressure for unwelcome sexual activities.
- Sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks or jokes, or comments about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience, which create a hostile work environment.
- Sex stereotyping occurs when conduct or personality traits are considered inappropriate simply because they may not conform to other people's ideas or perceptions about how individuals of a particular sex should act or look.
- Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications anywhere in the workplace, such as:
- Displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional material, reading materials or other materials that are sexually demeaning or pornographic. This includes such sexual displays on workplace computers or cell phones and sharing such displays while in the workplace.
- Hostile actions taken against an individual because of that individual’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and the status of being transgender, such as:
- Interfering with, destroying or damaging a person’s workstation, tools or equipment, or otherwise interfering with the individual’s ability to perform the job;
- Sabotaging an individual’s work;
- Bullying, yelling, name-calling.
Who can be a target of sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment can occur between any individuals, regardless of their sex or gender. New York Law protects employees, paid or unpaid interns, and non-employees, including independent contractors, and those employed by companies contracting to provide services in the workplace. Harassers can be a superior, a subordinate, a coworker or anyone in the workplace including an independent contractor, contract worker, vendor, client, customer or visitor.
Where can sexual harassment occur?
Unlawful sexual harassment is not limited to the physical workplace itself. It can occur while employees are traveling for business or at employer sponsored events or parties. Calls, texts, emails, and social media usage by employees can constitute unlawful workplace harassment, even if they occur away from the workplace premises, on personal devices or during non-work hours.
Unlawful retaliation can be any action that could discourage a worker from coming forward to make or support a sexual harassment claim. Adverse action need not be job-related or occur in the workplace to constitute unlawful retaliation (e.g., threats of physical violence outside of work hours).
Such retaliation is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. The New York State Human Rights Law protects any individual who has engaged in “protected activity.” Protected activity occurs when a person has:
- made a complaint of sexual harassment, either internally or with any anti-discrimination agency;
- testified or assisted in a proceeding involving sexual harassment under the Human Rights Law or other anti-discrimination law;
- opposed sexual harassment by making a verbal or informal complaint to management, or by simply informing a supervisor or manager of harassment;
- reported that another employee has been sexually harassed; or
- encouraged a fellow employee to report harassment.
Even if the alleged harassment does not turn out to rise to the level of a violation of law, the individual is protected from retaliation if the person had a good faith belief that the practices were unlawful. However, the retaliation provision is not intended to protect persons making intentionally false charges of harassment.
Reporting Sexual Harassment
Preventing sexual harassment is everyone’s responsibility. George F. Johnson Memorial Library cannot prevent or remedy sexual harassment unless it knows about it. Any employee, paid or unpaid intern or non-employee who has been subjected to behavior that may constitute sexual harassment is encouraged to report such behavior to a supervisor, board member, or library director. Anyone who witnesses or becomes aware of potential instances of sexual harassment should report such behavior to a supervisor, board member, or the library director.
Reports of sexual harassment may be made verbally or in writing. A form for submission of a written complaint is attached to this Policy, and all employees are encouraged to use this complaint form. Employees who are reporting sexual harassment on behalf of other employees should use the complaint form and note that it is on another employee’s behalf.
Employees, paid or unpaid interns or non-employees who believe they have been a target of sexual harassment may also seek assistance in other available forums, as explained below in the section on Legal Protections.
All supervisors and managers who receive a complaint or information about suspected sexual harassment, observe what may be sexually harassing behavior or for any reason suspect that sexual harassment is occurring, are required to report such suspected sexual harassment to the library director.
In addition to being subject to discipline if they engaged in sexually harassing conduct themselves, supervisors and managers will be subject to discipline for failing to report suspected sexual harassment or otherwise knowingly allowing sexual harassment to continue.
Supervisors and managers will also be subject to discipline for engaging in any retaliation.
Complaint and Investigation of Sexual Harassment
All complaints or information about sexual harassment will be investigated, whether that information was reported in verbal or written form. Investigations will be conducted in a timely manner, and will be confidential to the extent possible.
An investigation of any complaint, information or knowledge of suspected sexual harassment will be prompt and thorough, commenced immediately and completed as soon as possible. The investigation will be kept confidential to the extent possible. All persons involved, including complainants, witnesses and alleged harassers will be accorded due process, as outlined below, to protect their rights to a fair and impartial investigation.
Any employee may be required to cooperate as needed in an investigation of suspected sexual harassment. George F. Johnson Memorial Library will not tolerate retaliation against employees who file complaints, support another’s complaint or participate in an investigation regarding a violation of this policy.
While the process may vary from case to case, investigations should be done in accordance with the following steps:
- Upon receipt of complaint, the library director will conduct an immediate review of the allegations, and take any interim actions (e.g., instructing the respondent to refrain from communications with the complainant), as appropriate. If complaint is verbal, encourage the individual to complete the “Complaint Form” in writing. If he or she refuses, prepare a Complaint Form based on the verbal reporting. If the complaint is against the library director, then the review of the allegations will be conducted solely by the George F. Johnson Memorial Library Board of Trustees.
- If documents, emails or phone records are relevant to the investigation, take steps to obtain and preserve them.
- Request and review all relevant documents, including all electronic communications.
- Interview all parties involved, including any relevant witnesses;
- Create a written documentation of the investigation (such as a letter, memo or email), which contains the following:
- A list of all documents reviewed, along with a detailed summary of relevant documents;
- A list of names of those interviewed, along with a detailed summary of their statements;
- A timeline of events;
- A summary of prior relevant incidents, reported or unreported; and
- The basis for the decision and final resolution of the complaint, together with any corrective action(s).
- Keep the written documentation and associated documents in a secure and confidential location.
- Promptly notify the individual who reported and the individual(s) about whom the complaint was made of the final determination and implement any corrective actions identified in the written document.
- Inform the individual who reported of the right to file a complaint or charge externally as outlined in the next section.
Legal Protections And External Remedies
Sexual harassment is not only prohibited by George F. Johnson Memorial Library but is also prohibited by state, federal, and, where applicable, local law.
Aside from the internal process at George F. Johnson Memorial Library, employees may also choose to pursue legal remedies with the following governmental entities. While a private attorney is not required to file a complaint with a governmental agency, you may seek the legal advice of an attorney.
In addition to those outlined below, employees in certain industries may have additional legal protections.
State Human Rights Law (HRL)
The Human Rights Law (HRL), codified as N.Y. Executive Law, art. 15, § 290 et seq., applies to all employers in New York State with regard to sexual harassment, and protects employees, paid or unpaid interns and non-employees, regardless of immigration status. A complaint alleging violation of the Human Rights Law may be filed either with the Division of Human Rights (DHR) or in New York State Supreme Court.
Complaints with DHR may be filed any time within one year of the harassment. If an individual did not file at DHR, they can sue directly in state court under the HRL, within three years of the alleged sexual harassment. An individual may not file with DHR if they have already filed a HRL complaint in state court.
Complaining internally to George F. Johnson Memorial Library does not extend your time to file with DHR or in court. The one year or three years is counted from date of the most recent incident of harassment.
You do not need an attorney to file a complaint with DHR, and there is no cost to file with DHR.
DHR will investigate your complaint and determine whether there is probable cause to believe that sexual harassment has occurred. Probable cause cases are forwarded to a public hearing before an administrative law judge. If sexual harassment is found after a hearing, DHR has the power to award relief, which varies but may include requiring your employer to take action to stop the harassment, or redress the damage caused, including paying of monetary damages, attorney’s fees and civil fines.
DHR’s main office contact information is: NYS Division of Human Rights, One Fordham Plaza, Fourth Floor, Bronx, New York 10458. You may call (718) 741-8400 or visit: www.dhr.ny.gov.
Contact DHR at (888) 392-3644 or visit dhr.ny.gov/complaint for more information about filing a complaint. The website has a complaint form that can be downloaded, filled out, notarized and mailed to DHR. The website also contains contact information for DHR’s regional offices across New York State.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act (codified as 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.). An individual can file a complaint with the EEOC anytime within 300 days from the harassment. There is no cost to file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate the complaint, and determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred, at which point the EEOC will issue a Right to Sue letter permitting the individual to file a complaint in federal court.
The EEOC does not hold hearings or award relief, but may take other action including pursuing cases in federal court on behalf of complaining parties. Federal courts may award remedies if discrimination is found to have occurred. In general, private employers must have at least 15 employees to come within the jurisdiction of the EEOC.
An employee alleging discrimination at work can file a “Charge of Discrimination.” The EEOC has district, area, and field offices where complaints can be filed. Contact the EEOC by calling 1-800-669-4000 (TTY: 1-800-669-6820), visiting their website at www.eeoc.gov or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If an individual filed an administrative complaint with DHR, DHR will file the complaint with the EEOC to preserve the right to proceed in federal court.
Many localities enforce laws protecting individuals from sexual harassment and discrimination. An individual should contact the county, city or town in which they live to find out if such a law exists. For example, employees who work in New York City may file complaints of sexual harassment with the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Contact their main office at Law Enforcement Bureau of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, 40 Rector Street, 10th Floor, New York, New York; call 311 or (212) 306-7450; or visit www.nyc.gov/html/cchr/html/home/home.shtml.
Contact the Local Police Department
If the harassment involves unwanted physical touching, coerced physical confinement or coerced sex acts, the conduct may constitute a crime. Contact the local police department.
 While this policy specifically addresses sexual harassment, harassment because of and discrimination against persons of all protected classes is prohibited. In New York State, such classes include age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, marital status, domestic violence victim status, gender identity and criminal history.
 A non-employee is someone who is (or is employed by) a contractor, subcontractor, vendor, consultant, or anyone providing services in the workplace. Protected non-employees include persons commonly referred to as independent contractors, “gig” workers and temporary workers. Also included are persons providing equipment repair, cleaning services or any other services provided pursuant to a contract with the employer.
Social Media Policy and Procedures
To establish rules, procedures and best practices for the use of social media for the George F. Johnson Memorial Library and to ensure the effective promotion of library resources and events to public. Social media refers to sites such as Facebook, Flickr, blogs, etc. and all such accounts will always contain the library logo and/or picture that clearly represents the library.
- The Library Director will be the managing authority and all social media accounts are created only with permission from him/her;
- All content is subject to editing or deleting according to the guidelines below by the library director and social media administrators. They may also remove any tags or links to other accounts at their discretion;
- All social media sites and content shall be monitored and updated as time allows by appointed library administrators. Daily monitoring of sites is expected to preserve the professionalism and integrity of posts.
When posting material and comments on the George F. Johnson Memorial Library social media accounts, staff will:
- Not represent any posting or statement as official policy unless it has been approved by the Library Director;
- Observe and abide by all copyrights, trademarks and service marks;
- Not make statements about patrons in any post;
- Not conduct personal business or activities on library social media accounts;
- Not post any content or pictures of library events on their personal social media accounts. Sharing previously published library posts is acceptable;
- Give information and/or photos about or from a library program to an account administrator for posting;
- Try to include a picture or graphic to highlight posted information;
- Not make any official public comments on personal social media accounts that reference any library events or policies;
- respect patron and co-worker privacy and refrain from posting identifiable information or comments regarding patrons or co-workers;
- Not spend an inordinate amount of time on personal or professional social media. This will be monitored by the Library Director.
Appropriate content for staff to post:
- Notices of upcoming meetings, programs or events;
- Highlights from past library programs;
- Information about library services, trends or technologies;
- Previously approved press releases directly concerning the GFJM Library;
- Changes in library policies or/and procedures;
- Notice of library closings, program cancellations or service interruptions;
- information about the Friends of the GFJM Library and their events;
- Training and educational opportunities for the public;
- Discussion of books, book reviews.
Postings that will not be permitted:
The following examples of postings and comments not permitted include, but are not limited to:
- Those containing obscene matter, cursing or of a sexual nature. Postings must be appropriate for audiences of all ages to read or see as library patrons vary greatly in age;
- Disparaging, harassing, abusive, profane, violent, threatening or hateful offensive postings;
- Postings which contain confidential information about any person, business or entity;
- Postings which violate or potentially violate local, state or federal laws;
- Postings which discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, age, sexual orientation, creed or ancestry;
- Postings which are sexually harassing including epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, rumors, innuendos, suggestions or jokes;
- Postings will not include contact information for people, businesses or agencies other than the library and shall not be linked to any other account unless pre-approved by the Library Director.
Statement of Purpose
Library employees are encouraged to further their professional education and training by attending library-related meetings, workshops, webinars, and conferences. The purpose of the Travel/Conference Policy is to ensure transparency, accountability, and clarity in granting time for conferences, as well as for covering costs associated with those conferences. For the purpose of this policy “conference” shall be used to identify a conference, workshop, webinar, or other continuing education or professional development opportunity.
Intent to Attend
The attached Intent to Attend form should be submitted to your department head or the director 90 days prior to the start of the conference. If this timeline is not possible, the form must be submitted as soon as possible and will be considered accordingly. Your supervisor will approve or deny this request in writing on the bottom portion of the form within 7 days of the request taking into consideration the annual budget, work schedule needs, learning outcomes of the conference, and equitable distribution among the staff.
Reimbursement of Applicable Expenses
Upon completion of the conference and submission of the required documentation, employees will be reimbursed for pre-authorized expenses, which may include:
- Registration & Conference Fees - If a discounted rate is available, staff must purchase their conference fees at that rate. One special event, meeting, or meal that is part of the conference may be purchased with registration. However, the cost of that meal will be subtracted from the daily allotment for meals and incidentals.
- Hotel Expenses - If a discounted rate is available for conference attendees, staff must book their hotel room at that rate. The Village of Endicott’s tax-exempt status must be used.
- Travel Expenses - Staff is reimbursed at the current Standard Mileage Rates for Business from the IRS for travel to and from conferences. These rates can be found at https://www.irs.gov/tax-professionals/standard-mileage-rates. For mileage reimbursement, your starting destination should be the library or your home, whichever is closest to your travel destination. In selecting the travel route to your destination, choose the route that is the least amount of miles to your destination. Instructions for determining the total reimbursement amount are located on the Conference Report
- Food - Meals eaten during the travel period can be reimbursed at the standard per diem rate found at gsa.gov/perdiem. To find the amount available, visit the above website and enter the location of the conference. Click “Meals & Incidentals (M&IE) Rates” and utilize the rates listed in the table. The allowable food allotment per day is the amount in the “M&IE Total” column; it is up to the attendee to decide how it can be divided between meals. This amount can be used toward tips; it cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.
Please note: Employees must attend at least 85% of the educational program sessions available during their time at a conference. This does not include time spent at trade shows, author signings, etc. while educational sessions are available.
Employees will receive their regular daily compensation while attending conferences, workshops, webinars, or other continuing education or professional development opportunities.
- Single Day Attendance - Employees will be required to work the remainder of their daily scheduled work hours if the training doesn’t meet or exceed their regular daily scheduled work hours. Travel to and from the training will count towards an employee meeting their daily hours requirement.
- Multi-day Attendance - If an employee is attending a multi-day conference, they will receive their regular daily scheduled compensation for the days at the conference. An employee cannot exceed daily compensation while attending conferences.
Within 14 days of completion of the conference, the attached Conference Report form must be submitted to your department head or the director. This should include your conference summary as well all supporting documentation as indicated on the form. These items should be submitted as one pdf file to be shared electronically with the Library’s Board of Trustees.