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Gender-Based Violence & the Workplace Policy

Policy Information

Policy Number Policy Owner
8027.1 Human Resource Services


  • 4.0 Policy

    Non-Discrimination & Responsive Personnel Policies

    All SUNY Plattsburgh policies and procedures should be trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and culturally responsive to victims' needs, and should not discriminate. Under the New York State Human Rights Law, all persons covered by this Policy are protected from discrimination in the workplace on the basis of status as a victim of domestic violence, and on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

    1. Subdivision 34 of section 292 of the Executive Law of New York State establishes persons who qualify as a “victim of domestic violence.”
    2. Victims of domestic violence are a protected class under New York State Human Rights Law (Executive Law § 296(22)).
      1. Employers may not refuse to hire or license and may not terminate someone solely based on their status as a victim of domestic violence.
      2. Employers may not discriminate against victims of domestic violence in compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
      3. Employers must prohibit inquiries about an applicant's status as a current or past victim of domestic violence and may not make any employment decisions based on assumptions or actual knowledge about someone's status as a current or past victim of domestic violence. Employers may inquire about status as a victim of domestic violence in order to provide reasonable accommodations.
    3. Employers must allow any employee who has disclosed their status as a victim of domestic or gender-based violence (or disclosed that a family member is a victim of domestic or gender-based violence) and must be out of work for a reasonable time to use accrued sick leave for the following purposes:
      1. to obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, rape crisis center, or other services program;
      2. to participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocate, or take other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee's family members;
      3. to meet with an attorney or other social services provider to obtain information and advice on, and prepare for or participate in any criminal or civil proceeding;
      4. to file a complaint or domestic incident report with law enforcement;
      5. to meet with a district attorney’s office;
      6. to enroll children in a new school;
      7. to address issues relating to technology or financial abuse; or
      8. to take any other actions necessary to ensure the health or safety of the employee or the employee's family member or to protect those who associate or work with the employee.
    4. Employees can choose to use appropriate leave accruals to cover any absences, if available. If the employee does not have adequate leave accruals to cover the absence or chooses not to charge leave accruals, the absence shall be treated as leave without pay.
    5. Any employee who must be absent from work to utilize accommodations in this section is entitled to the continuation of any health insurance coverage provided by the employer to which the employee is otherwise entitled during any such absence, in accordance with any existing collective bargaining agreements, regulations, and SUNY policy.
    6. Employees who must be absent to utilize accommodations as listed in this section shall provide their employer with reasonable advanced notice of the absence whenever possible.
    7. Employers are also required to grant time off, with prior day notification, and may not penalize any employee who, as a victim or witness of a criminal offense, is appearing as a witness; consulting with a district attorney; or exercising their rights as provided by law. Employees can choose to use appropriate leave accruals to cover any absences, if available. If the employee does not have adequate leave accruals to cover the absence or chooses not to charge leave accruals, the absence shall be treated as leave without pay. Any questions regarding leave that must be granted to victims or subpoenaed witnesses should be directed to Human Resource Services.
    8. Employers should be aware that there may be occurrences when an employee is absent due to incidents of domestic or gender-based violence where they are unable to follow SUNY protocol to report the absence. In that situation, the employee may lack documentation, may be unable to obtain documentation or may not want to share documentation containing confidential information. An employer may not require the disclosure of confidential information relating to an absence from work due to domestic violence, a sexual offense, stalking, or human trafficking, as a condition of providing sick leave.
    9. Employees who are victims of domestic violence or gender-based violence who separate from a covered family member due to an incident or incidents of domestic or gender-based violence shall be allowed to make reasonable changes in benefits at any time during the calendar year, where possible and in accordance with statute, regulation, contract, and policy.
    10. SUNY Plattsburgh recognizes that victims of domestic and gender-based violence may experience temporary work performance difficulties or be unable to complete certain job aspects because of safety reasons. (Examples include overnight travel, "off" hour shifts, etc.) If it is found that the employee's work performance is being affected as a result of being a victim of domestic or gender-based violence, SUNY Plattsburgh will work with the employee to try to create a satisfactory resolution, including, but not limited to, specific work plans, the ability to take leave, provision of reasonable accommodations, referrals to the campus level Domestic Violence Agency Liaison (DVAL) designee, EAP, and/or the local domestic violence service provider. The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) is available for case specific technical assistance as needed. Employees will be given clear information of performance expectations, priorities, and performance evaluations. Employees should be made aware that not all employees requests for resolutions can be accommodated. If a disciplinary process is initiated, special care should be taken to consider all aspects of the victimized employee's situation, and all available options in trying to resolve the performance problems should be exhausted, including making a referral to the System DVAL and/or the campus level DVAL designee, EAP, domestic violence program or other relevant services, consistent with existing collective bargaining unit agreements, statute, regulations, and SUNY Plattsburgh policy.
    11. If all reasonable measures have been exhausted to resolve related performance problems of employees who are victims of domestic or gender-based violence, but the performance problems persist and the employee is terminated or voluntarily separates from employment, the employee shall be informed of their potential eligibility for unemployment insurance and SUNY Plattsburgh shall respond quickly to any requests for information that may be needed in the claims process. New York State law provides that a victim of domestic violence who voluntarily separates from employment may, under certain circumstances, be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
    12. New York State law prohibits insurance companies and health maintenance organizations from discriminating against domestic violence victims by prohibiting status as a domestic violence victim to be considered a "pre-existing condition." Insurance companies may not deny or cancel an insurance policy or require a higher premium or payment because the insured party is a current or former victim of domestic violence.
    13. Sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are all protected classes under the New York State Human Rights Law. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is unlawful under the New York State Human Rights Law § 296.1, Human Rights Law § 296-c (for interns), and Human Rights Law § 296-d (for non-employees working in the workplace), and Title VII, the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual harassment includes harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, self-identified or perceived sex, gender expression, gender identity and the status of being transgender (see Section 5.0 for definition of sexual harassment). Gender-based violence may constitute sexual harassment when it subjects an individual to inferior terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
      1. Every employer in New York State must have a policy on sexual harassment prevention, which includes a procedure for the receipt and investigation of complaints of sexual harassment. The sexual harassment policy and procedure should be distributed to new employees and made available to all staff regularly. SUNY Plattsburgh’s Sexual Harassment & Sexual Violence Policy can be found at: https://www.plattsburgh.edu/about/offices-divisions/administration-finance/policies-procedures/campus-handbook/section-ii-affirmative-action-equal-opportunity/sexual-violence-policy.html

    N. For all forms of discrimination and harassment, if an employee, including an intern or contractor working in a SUNY workplace, experiences sexual harassment or discrimination on the basis of their status as a victim of domestic or other gender-based violence, or observes discrimination in the workplace, the employee may file a complaint in accordance with SUNY Plattsburgh’s Non-Discrimination Policy available at: https://www.plattsburgh.edu/about/offices-divisions/administration-finance/policies-procedures/campus-handbook/section-ii-affirmative-action-equal-opportunity/notice-of-non-discrimination-policy.html

      1. Any complaint of potential discrimination, whether verbal or written, must be investigated. Furthermore, any supervisory or managerial employee who observes or otherwise becomes aware of conduct of a sexually harassing nature must report such conduct so that it can be investigated. SUNY Plattsburgh shall maintain the confidentiality of the complainant to the extent practical.

    Non-Retaliation Policy

    SUNY Plattsburgh shall not engage in any retaliatory practices against any employee that discloses they are a victim of domestic or gender-based violence, or any employee seeking accommodations or to exercise their rights under this Policy.

    SUNY Plattsburgh will not retaliate, tolerate retaliation by any superiors, terminate, or discipline any employees for reporting information about alleged incidents of domestic violence that may have been committed by an employee, including those in management positions.

    Retaliatory practices may include, but are not limited to, fewer promotions, inappropriate jokes, snide comments, excluding employee from conversations, etc., and may be carried out by everyone, not just the original perpetrator. Retaliation includes commencing discipline against victimized employees for actions taken to promote their safety.

    Any employee of SUNY Plattsburgh engaging in retaliatory practices may be subject to disciplinary actions. If you believe you have been subject to retaliatory practices, please contact Human Resource Services.

    Workplace Safety Plans

    SUNY System Administration and campuses shall have workplace safety response plans in place, including procedures for reporting to supervisors or contacting law enforcement, if necessary, should an event take place in the workplace. Additional information is contained in the SUNY Workplace Violence Prevention Policy.

    A. SUNY System and its campuses shall comply and assist with enforcement of all known Orders of Protection (OP).

      1. If requested by the victim, or by law enforcement, SUNY System or the relevant campus will provide any relevant information regarding an alleged order of protection violation.

    B. Employees are encouraged to disclose any active orders of protection to the campus DVAL designee, Michael Thompson or Human Resource Services. Copies of orders of protection will be maintained in a locked, confidential location, separately from the employee's personnel file. In the event of an emergency or that the OP needs to be presented to law enforcement, the liaison, other designated staff member, director of human resources, or a member of executive staff shall retrieve and present the order. Employees should be made aware that they are responsible for notifying the liaison in the event of a relevant modification or revocation of the OP.

    C. When requested by the victim, the campus level DVAL designee, and/or Human Resources staff will work with the employee to develop a plan to how best increase safety for the victim, other employees, and the workplace. Options may include, but are not limited to:

      1. Providing front desk security or reception staff with a copy of the Order of Protection with a photo of the perpetrator;
      2. Protocols for reporting to law enforcement;
      3. Allowing the employee to work staggered hours, an "off shift", or move to a different work location, either temporarily or permanently;
      4. Temporary reassignment of certain duties, such as overnight travel;
      5. Reassignment of parking space;
      6. Providing employees an escort for entry and exit from the worksite;
      7. Allowing security to escort perpetrator out of the building and off the worksite premises;
      8. Working with the employee to address any identified concerns about the use of technology;
      9. Assigning a new email account or phone number if the perpetrator has been able to access the existing accounts;
      10. Creating a personalized safety plan in consultation with the local domestic or sexual violence program;
      11. Allowing the employee to work from an alternate work station until further action is taken, if the employee works directly with the perpetrator; or
      12. If an Order of Protection is in place and has been violated (i.e. by perpetrator showing up at workplace of victim), requiring security to report the violation to law enforcement.

    D. If the circumstances indicate a need for SUNY Plattsburgh to take steps to increase safety for the victim, other employees, and the workplace, SUNY Plattsburgh should follow their Workplace Violence Policy.

    Accountability For Employees Who Perpetrate Acts of Domestic or Gender-Based Violence

    SUNY will hold accountable any employee who is found to have engaged in behaviors including but not limited to:

    1. Used state resources, including time, to commit an act of domestic or gender-based violence;
    2. Committed an act of domestic or gender-based violence from or at the workplace, or from any location conducting state business, except for locations where employees are telecommuting; or
    3. Used their job-related authority and/or state resources in order to negatively affect victims of domestic or gender-based violence and/or assisted perpetrators in locating a victim and/or in perpetrating an act of domestic or gender-based violence;
    4. Acts of domestic or gender-based violence that occur outside of the workplace can subject a person to administrative and/or disciplinary action.
    5. If SUNY has found that an employee has committed any act of gender-based violence, including making threats or harassment at or from the workplace using any state resources such as work time, state owned telephones or cell phones, e-mail, or by any other means, the Supervisor, in conjunction with Human Resources and Labor Relations, shall take any and all steps necessary to hold the employee accountable through administrative and/or disciplinary action in accordance with existing collective bargaining agreements, applicable statutes and/or regulations. This should include referrals to Accountability Programs for Those who Cause Harm.
    6.  Actions may include, but are not limited to:
      1. Administrative leave;
      2. Cease and desist memo;
      3. Removing/modifying chain of supervision pending an official report;
      4. Relocation of employee alleged to abuse to another work site;
      5. Surrender of work cell phone, laptop, etc.;
      6. Revocation of permanent employment status (reverting to contingent or probationary status);
      7. Mandated participation in an Accountability Programs for Person who Cause Harm; and/or
      8. Termination.

    G. SUNY Plattsburgh shall determine if corrective action or disciplinary action is warranted, in accordance with existing collective bargaining agreements, relevant statutes, and regulation if they have received verification that an employee is responsible for any gender-based violence related offense, or is the respondent on any order of protection, including temporary, final, and/or out of state orders because of a gender-based violence related offense, and said employee has any job functions that include:

      1. the authority to take actions that directly impact victims of gender-based violence domestic violence; and/or
      2. actions which may protect perpetrators from appropriate consequences for their behavior;
      3. Any employee who intentionally uses the authority of their employment and/or misuses any state resources in order to:
          1. negatively impact any victim of gender-based violence;
          2. assist a perpetrator in locating a victim;
          3. assist a perpetrator in perpetrating any act of gender-based violence; or
          4. protect a perpetrator from receiving appropriate consequences shall be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, in accordance with existing collective bargaining agreements; applicable statutes, and regulations.

    H. Any employee who would like to report information about an alleged act of gender-based violence committed by an employee may do so by contacting the campus DVAL, Michael Thompson ([email protected] or 518-564-5067).

    Data Collection & Reporting to OPDV

    1. Campus DVALs shall provide the System DVAL with information regarding campus employees who are a victim of domestic or gender-based violence, as well as those who are disciplined for violating this Policy. The System DVAL shall report such aggregated campus information, along with information from SUNY System Administration, to OPDV on a bi-annual basis, and at any time, upon request from OPDV.
    2. Reporting to OPDV shall be done in aggregate form without any personally identifying information. Data from January through June will be due no later than July 30, and data from July through December will be due no later than January 30. Campus DVAL are required to respond to requests for data collection from the System DVAL in order to fulfill SUNY's data collection and reporting requirements under this Policy.
    3. The System DVAL shall collect the following information:
      1. All incidents of gender-based violence that take place at a workplace, or while the employee is on SUNY time, shall be documented to the best of SUNY's ability, consistent with applicable law and SUNY policy, categorized by domestic violence and sexual violence;
      2. The general nature of the incidents that occurred in the workplace;
      3. The number of employees who report being a victim of current or past domestic violence;
      4. The number of employees who make contact with the liaison with concerns that a co-worker is experiencing domestic violence or gender-based violence;
      5. The number of employees who are referred for discipline as a result of violating the Firearms section of this Policy;
      6. The number of employees who contact the DVALs to request information on domestic violence services;
      7. The number of referrals made to domestic violence service providers, employee assistance programs (EAP), or other applicable services; and
      8. The number of orders of protection that are reported to SUNY.


    Pursuant to New York State and Federal law, any person convicted of a domestic violence-related crime, or who is subject to any order of protection, forfeits the right to legally possess a firearm or long gun under certain circumstances. Additionally, federal law contains prohibitions relating to shipping, transportation, or receiving firearms or ammunition.

    In addition to complying with State and Federal law, employees who are authorized to carry a firearm as part of their job-related duties are required to notify SUNY Plattsburgh if they are arrested for a domestic violence-related offense and/or are served with an order of protection. Under certain circumstances, such employees are responsible for surrendering their firearms to the issuing agency or to the appropriate police agency.

    Should an employee fail to comply with the above listed requirements of this Policy, they would be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, in accordance with existing collective bargaining unit agreements, statute, or regulations. In addition, law enforcement may be notified for possible criminal action.

    Violations of Policy

    Any employee who would like to report any alleged violations of this Policy may do so by contacting the campus DVAL, Michael Thompson ([email protected] or 518-564-5067) or Human Resource Services ([email protected] or 518-564-5062).

    For complaints of workplace discrimination, an employee may contact the Affirmative Action Officer and complete a Charge of Discrimination Form.

For additional information about this policy, please contact the policy owner listed above.

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