Know Your OEO Rights
September 19, 2022
Re: OEO Know Your Rights and Responsibilities in the Workplace (Fall 2022)
As we begin a new semester, the Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity Management (OEO) reminds you of your rights and responsibilities regarding a nondiscriminatory, harassment-free work environment that is respectful, equitable, and professional.
Please view OEO’s website to access important information about CUNY’s policies and procedures on equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, sexual misconduct, and reasonable accommodations.
We recommend that you take a few minutes to review the OEO Notice of Nondiscrimination, to better understand OEO’s jurisdiction concerning civil rights categories and the campus’s procedures and forms to address complaints of discrimination and sexual misconduct. Also, on OEO’s website, you will find some additional information regarding nondiscrimination and sexual harassment, including a Stop Sexual Harassment Act Factsheet, OEO Sexual Misconduct Training materials, KCC’s Affirmative Action Plans, and information on Gender and Preferred Name Changes.
As Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX/ADA Coordinator, I would like to remind you of a few important points:
- All employees are expected to maintain a professional work environment that is free from discrimination and sexual misconduct, and that is supportive of Kingsborough Community College’s values, especially those values concerning respect and diversity. It is important that each of us model professional and respectful behavior at work.
- Workplace bullying is unprofessional conduct and, depending on the circumstances, can violate civil rights laws if the bullying is based upon a legally-protected category such as the victim’s race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, age, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Managers and supervisors should promptly address workplace bullying before such incidents become a potential OEO violation.
- Although not an exhaustive list, the following are examples of prohibited conduct at work:
- Treating employees or students discriminatorily on account of their age, race, religion, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity
- Making fun of someone’s accent, English language skills, or immigration/undocumented status
- Using derogatory words or slurs regarding someone’s age, race, religion, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity
- Inappropriate or nonconsensual touching of a sexual nature
- Any form of sexual harassment, including harassment based on one’s gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity
- Mocking someone’s religious beliefs or disability status, or engaging in anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim bias.
- All employees are required, by law, to complete E-SPARC, an online sexual harassment training module, each and every year. Please contact Human Resources if you have not successfully completed this mandatory course.
- Employees who experience discrimination or sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, or sexual violence, may bring their complaints directly to OEO. Our office investigates these complaints in a fair and impartial manner and, in cooperation with other offices, can provide you with supportive services and assistance, if warranted.
- Certain employees, including managers and supervisors, are deemed “responsible employees” and are required to report sexual misconduct instances to OEO. Sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct, and an employee who engages in such conduct, or a manager or supervisor who knowingly allows such behavior to continue, shall be subject to discipline in accordance with applicable rules, policies and collective bargaining agreements. Managers and supervisors are also required to report discrimination matters to OEO.
- Retaliation is strictly prohibited for reporting or opposing discrimination or sexual misconduct, cooperating or participating in an OEO investigation of a discrimination or sexual misconduct complaint, or requesting an accommodation.
- Appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action will be taken to address violations of CUNY’s nondiscrimination and sexual misconduct policies.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office at AskOEO@kbcc.cuny.edu or 718-368-6896.
Michael J. Valente, Esq.
Chief Diversity Officer & Title IX/ADA Coordinator
Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity Management
Kingsborough Community College