Any employee who cannot resolve an incident of sexual harassment on an individual basis or who does not/can not bring the matter to the attention of the alleged harasser, is strongly encouraged to report any incident of sexual harassment to his/her immediate supervisor, unless the complaint is about that individual, in which case the matter should be brought to the attention of any member of the supervisory staff or the next person in the chain of command. Under no circumstances will an employee be denied the attention of the Superintendent of Schools. Initial complaints shall be filed in writing with the Acting Assistant Superintendent of Schools, whose office is located at 26 Central Street, West Springfield, MA 01089-2777; (413)263-3298.
Once a supervisor is made aware of a situation which may constitute an incident or pattern of sexual harassment, it shall be the responsibility of that supervisor to report the matter directly to the Assistant Superintendent of Schools. If possible, the supervisor being notified of sexual harassment shall be responsible for the following actions:
1. Encouraging the victim of sexual harassment, and any witnesses to any incident of sexual harassment, to make full disclosure of the incident;
2. explaining to the victim of sexual harassment, or any witnesses, that while they will be protected from retaliation for filing a good faith complaint, confidences may not be maintained in reporting the matter to the Superintendent;
3. informing only those who need to know;
4. documenting all investigative efforts and interviews in an internal memorandum which is to be directed to the attention of the Assistant Superintendent of Schools;
5. acting in an affirmative manner to ensure no further occurrences of sexual harassment take place and there is no form of retaliation.
C. Responsibilities of the Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent of SchoolsIt shall the responsibility of the Superintendent of Schools to promulgate policies, procedures and training programs, which are designed to eliminate any form of harassment in the work place. Further, when any form of harassment is brought to the attention of the Assistant Superintendent, or his/her designated representative; all such complaints will be fully investigated under the direction of that office. Additional duties of the Assistant Superintendent of Schools with regard to this policy may also include the following:
1. directly supervise the investigation of any complaints alleging sexual harassment
2. ensure that all investigative efforts and findings are made part of an administrative report;
3. determine whether it is necessary to submit a report to the Superintendent of Schools or the School Committee;
4. ensure that disciplinary action (to include, but not be limited to, verbal and/or written warnings; suspension and/or termination of employment) is taken when it has been determined there is basis for the complaint or such action is warranted;
5. take action to protect the victims and witnesses of sexual harassment complaints from any further occurrence or retaliation;
6. strive to create an atmosphere in the work place which makes it clear to all employees that discrimination or harassment of any kind will not be tolerated under any circumstances;
7. schedule periodic appropriate training sessions for supervisors and all other employees aimed at eliminating sexual harassment from the work place;
8. ensure the posting of copies of this policy on bulletin boards in the faculty and staff rooms within all school department buildings.
Disciplinary ActionIf it is determined that conduct which violates this policy has occurred, or that retaliation has occurred, the West Springfield Public Schools will take disciplinary action that is appropriate under the circumstances. Action may range from counseling to termination of employment or discipline, up to and including termination.
State and Federal Remedies
In addition to the above, employees who believe they have been subjected to discrimination and/or harassment, may file a formal complaint with the respective state agency and/or the EEOC. Using the West Springfield Public School’s complaint process does not prohibit you from filing a complaint with these agencies. Each agency has a specific time period for filing a claim. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) allows at least 180 days (may be longer in some circumstances) to file a complaint, and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) allows at least 300 days to file a complaint.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
JFK Federal Building
Room 475 1801 L Street, N.W.
Boston, MA 02203 Washington, DC 20507
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
Boston Office; Springfield Office
One Ashburton Place 436 Dwight Street
Room 601 Room 220
Boston, MA 02108 Springfield, MA 01103
Rewritten: Atty Tate (November 2010 & Revised January 21, 2011)
First Reading: Policy Subcommittee (December 27, 2010)
Second Reading: January 11, 2011, February 28, 2011 (revisions only)
Approval: February 28, 2011
Policy Subcommittee review and approve: March 13, 2013