Institute Anti-Harassment Policy for Employees & Students

NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering is committed to a work and learning environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work and learn in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment and academic opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices, including harassment. Therefore, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering expects that all relationships among persons at the Institute (in the workplace and in the classroom) will be business-like and free of bias, prejudice and harassment.

Definitions of Harassment
Individuals and Conduct Covered
Retaliation Is Prohibited
Reporting an Incident of Harassment, Discrimination or Retaliation
The Investigation
Responsive Action

Definitions of Harassment

a. Sexual harassment constitutes discrimination and is illegal under federal, state and local laws. For the purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined, as in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines, as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when, for example: (i) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic experience; (ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting such individual; or (iii) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.

Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and not so subtle behaviors and may involve individuals of the same or different gender. Depending on the circumstances, these behaviors may include, but are not limited to: unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; sexual jokes and innuendo; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies; leering, catcalls or touching; insulting or obscene comments or gestures; display or circulation in the workplace, or anywhere within the confines of the Institute, of sexually suggestive objects or pictures (including through e-mail); and other physical verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature. Sex-based harassment — that is, harassment not involving sexual activity or language (e.g., male manager yells only at female employees and not males) — may also constitute discrimination if it is severe or pervasive and directed at employees (or students) because of their sex.

b. Harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also strictly prohibited. Under 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, national origin, age, disability, alienage or citizenship status, marital status, creed, genetic predisposition or carrier status, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law or that of his/her relatives, friends, or associates, and that:

(i) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or learning environment;
(ii) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance; or
(iii) otherwise adversely affects an individual’s academic or employment opportunities. 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, or anywhere within the confines of the Institute, of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group (including through e-mail).

Individuals and Conduct Covered

These policies apply to all applicants, employees and students, and prohibit harassment, discrimination and retaliation whether engaged in by a faculty member, staff member or student, by a supervisor or manager, or by someone not directly connected to NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering (e.g. an outside vendor or consultant).

Conduct prohibited by these policies is unacceptable in the workplace, in the classroom, and in any work related setting outside the workplace, such as during Institute trips, meetings, and social events.

Retaliation Is Prohibited

NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or harassment or participates in an investigation of such reports. Retaliation against an individual for reporting harassment or discrimination or for participating in an investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination is a serious violation of this policy and, like harassment or discrimination itself, will be subject to disciplinary action.

Reporting an Incident of Harassment, Discrimination or Retaliation

NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering strongly urges the reporting of all incidents of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, regardless of the offender’s identity or position. Individuals (including, but not limited to, students, faculty and staff) who believe they have experienced conduct that they believe is contrary to Institute policy or who have concerns about such matters should file their complaints with their immediate supervisor, a member of the Human Resources Department (x3840), the Affirmative Action Officer or the Dean of Student Affairs (cmcnear@poly.edu and x3800). Individuals should not feel obligated to file their complaints with their immediate supervisor first before bringing the matter to the attention of one of the other Institute-designated representatives identified above.

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL EMPLOYEES: Employees who have experienced conduct they believe is contrary to this policy have an obligation to take advantage of this complaint procedure. An employee’s failure to fulfill this obligation could affect his or her rights in pursuing legal action. Also, please note, federal, state and local discrimination laws establish specific time frames for initiating a legal proceeding pursuant to those laws.

Early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of harassment. Therefore, while no fixed reporting period has been established, the Institute strongly urges the prompt reporting of complaints or concerns so that rapid and constructive action can be taken. The Institute will make every effort to stop alleged harassment before it becomes severe or pervasive, but can only do so with the cooperation of its staff/employees and students.

The line between acceptable social conduct and harassment is not always clear. For that reason, the Institute encourages individuals who feel they are being or may have been harassed to communicate politely, clearly and firmly to the offending party that the conduct is unwelcome, offensive, intimidating or embarrassing; to explain how the offensive behavior affects the employee’s work; and to ask that the conduct stop. If the individual is uncomfortable with making a direct approach to the offending party or has done so, but the perceived harassment has not stopped, the individual may use this complaint procedure to address and resolve the problem.

The Investigation

Any reported allegations of harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be investigated promptly, thoroughly and impartially. 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. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent consistent with adequate investigation and appropriate corrective action.

Responsive Action

Misconduct constituting 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 such as warning, reprimand, expulsion or suspension from the Institute, withholding of a promotion or pay increase, reduction of wages, demotion, reassignment, temporary suspension without pay or termination of employment, as the Institute believes appropriate (and subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreement or other contract) under the circumstances.

Individuals who have questions or concerns about these policies should talk with the Affirmative Action Officer, the Assistant Director of Human Resources or the Dean of Student Affairs.

Finally, these policies should not, and may not be used as a basis for excluding or separating individuals of a particular gender, or any other protected characteristic, from participating in business, student, or work-related social activities or discussions in order to avoid allegations of harassment. The law and the policies of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering prohibit disparate treatment on the basis of sex or any other protected characteristic, with regard to the terms, conditions, privileges and perquisites of employment and of being a student at the Institute. The prohibitions against harassment, discrimination and retaliation are intended to complement and further these policies, not to form the basis of an exception to them.