Policy GBAA: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

In accordance with the requirements of Chapter 278 of the Acts of 1996, the school district hereby affirms its commitment to promoting a workplace free of sexual harassment.

It is the goal of the Amherst-Pelham, Amherst and Pelham School districts to promote a workplace that is free of sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment of employees occurring in the workplace whether it be in the form of physical or verbal harassment and regardless of whether committed by administrative or non-administrative personnel, teachers, consultants, or community member is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the school districts.  Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated.  To achieve our goal of providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, the conduct that is described in this policy will not be tolerated and we have provided a procedure by which inappropriate conduct will be treated.

We will respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and where it is determined that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective action as is necessary, including disciplinary action where appropriate.

DEFINITION:  Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151C, Section S.1 (e) defines sexual harassment as “sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:  (a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions;  or (b) such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive educational environment.”

While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness:

  • Sexual advances - whether they involve physical touching or not;
  • Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to an individual’s sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life; comment on an individual’s body, comment about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons;
  • Leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments;
  • Inquiries into one’s sexual experiences; and,
  • Discussion of one’s sexual activities.

CONSEQUENCES:  Staff members found to have engaged in acts of sexual harassment will face one or more of the following consequences:  (1) written reprimand and warning, (2) suspension without pay, (3) dismissal, and/or (4) referral to the police.

Reprisals, threats or intimidation of the victim will be treated as serious offenses, which could result in dismissal from employment.

PROCESS FOR FILING INTERNAL COMPLAINTS:  Because of the important nature of this problem, immediate and direct attention will be given to complaints.

Please contact the Assistant Superintendent for Diversity, Equity and Human Resources, 413-362-1807, or Damany Gordon, Equity and Diversity Specialist, 413-362-1872, for information about filing a complaint or refer to the “Complaint Procedure for Allegations of Discrimination.”

If you believe you have been subjected to unlawful sexual harassment or discrimination, you may also file a formal complaint with either of the government agencies set forth below.  Using the district’s internal reporting process does not preclude you from filing a complaint with these agencies.  Each agency has a short time period for filing a claim (300 days).

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

John F. Kennedy Federal Building

475 Government Center

Boston, MA  02203

(800) 660-4000

 

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)

Boston Office:                                                      Springfield Office:

One Ashburton Place, Room 601                     436 Dwight Street, Suite 220

Boston, MA  02108                                            Springfield, MA  01103

(617) 994-6000                                                    (413) 739-2145

 

New Bedford Office:                                          Worcester Office:

800 Purchase Street, Room 501                       484 Main Street, Room 320

New Bedford, MA  02740                                 Worcester, MA  01608

(508) 990-2390                                                    (508) 453-9630

 

 

Region Voted to Approve: 6/4/04   Revised and Approved 2/25/19

Amherst Voted to Approve: 6/15/04

Pelham Voted to Approve: 9/2/04

Effective Date: 6/4/04