Domestic violence permeates the lives and compromises the safety of thousands of New York State employees each day, with tragic, destructive, and often fatal results. Domestic violence occurs within a wide spectrum of intimate and interpersonal relationships. Domestic violence often spills over into the workplace, compromising the safety of both victims and co-workers and may result in lost productivity, increased health care costs, increased absenteeism, and increased employee turnover.
The State University of New York at Geneseo (SUNY Geneseo), to the fullest extent possible without violating any existing rules, regulations, statutory requirements, contractual obligations or collective bargaining agreements, will take all appropriate actions to promote safety in the workplace and respond effectively to the needs of victims of domestic violence.
SUNY Geneseo shall take all reasonable actions to educate employees regarding the effects of domestic violence, ways to prevent and curtail violence, and methods to report such violence to authorities.
It is the policy of SUNY Geneseo that information on domestic violence and available resources shall be posted and, if necessary, replaced or reposted annually in areas where other employment policies and information are traditionally posted. This information shall include the topics addressed in the appendix.
Non-Discriminatory and Responsive Personnel Policies for Victimized Employees
SUNY Geneseo shall ensure that personnel policies and procedures do not discriminate against victims of domestic violence and are responsive to the needs of victims of domestic violence.
- New York State law makes it a crime for employers to penalize an employee who, as a victim or witness of a criminal offense, is appearing as a witness, consulting with a district attorney, or exercising his/her rights as provided in the Criminal Procedure Law, the Family Court Act, and the Executive Law. This law requires employers, with prior day notification, to allow time off for victims or subpoenaed witnesses to exercise his/her rights as provided in the Criminal Procedure Law, the Family Court Act, and the Executive Law [Penal Law §215.14]. If there are any questions or concerns regarding the leave that must be granted to victims or subpoenaed witnesses, contact the Affirmative Action Office at 585-245-5616 or the Attendance and Leave Unit at the Department of Civil Service.
- SUNY Geneseo, upon request, will assist the employee in determining the best use of his/her attendance and leave benefits when an employee needs to be absent as a result of being a victim of domestic violence. If an employee requests time off to care for and/or assist a family member who has been a victim of domestic violence, SUNY Geneseo will evaluate the employee’s request for leave for eligibility under existing law and collective bargaining agreements applicable to the employee and the attendance rules.
- SUNY Geneseo understands that victims of domestic violence may sometimes lack the required documentation or have difficulty obtaining the required documentation to justify absences without compromising their safety. Therefore, the Director of Affirmative Action or his/her designee will consult with the employee to identify what documentation she/he might have, or be able to obtain, that will not compromise his/her safety-related needs and will satisfactorily meet the documentation requirement of the employer. Because there are confidentiality issues associated with the submission of documentation in these instances, SUNY Geneseo may choose to consult with the Attendance and Leave Unit at the Department of Civil Service when questions arise.
- Employees who are victims of domestic violence and who separate from a spouse (or terminate a relationship with a domestic partner, if covered), shall be allowed to make reasonable changes in benefits at any time during the calendar year where possible, in accordance with statute, regulation, contract and policy.
- SUNY Geneseo will not make inquiries about a job applicant's current or past domestic violence victimization, and employment decisions will not be based on any assumptions about or knowledge of such exposure.
- In cases in which it is identified that an employee's work performance difficulties are a result of being a victim of domestic violence, said employee shall be afforded all of the proactive measures outlined in this policy, and shall be provided clear information about performance expectations, priorities, and performance evaluation. If a disciplinary process is initiated, special care will be taken to consider all aspects of the victimized employee's situation. SUNY Geneseo shall utilize all reasonable available options to resolve work-related performance problems, and may make a referral to the Employee Assistance Program, consistent with existing collective bargaining unit agreements, statute, regulations and agency policy.
- 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 [§593 of NYS Labor Law.] Therefore, when SUNY Geneseo is notified by an employee who is separating service, either voluntarily or involuntarily, that the separation is due to a domestic violence related issue, SUNY Geneseo shall inform the employee of his or her potential eligibility for unemployment insurance and will respond quickly to any requests for information that may need for the claims process.
Workplace Safety Plans
By means of a domestic violence workplace safety response plan, SUNY Geneseo shall make employees aware of their options and available resources and help employees safeguard each other and report domestic violence to designated officials.
- The designated liaison between SUNY Geneseo and SUNY System Administration is the assistant vice president for human resources or the director of affirmative action. This liaison will ensure campus wide implementation of this policy, and serve as the primary liaison with System Administration regarding this policy. The System Administration designated liaison will communicate with the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) on behalf of campuses as it relates to reporting.
- Additionally, the following individuals/offices are designated as available to support those in need of assistance concerning domestic violence:
- Employee Assistance Program Coordinators can be contacted at 585-245-5740
- University Police can be contacted at 585-245-5651
- Human Resources can be contacted at 585-245-5616
- SUNY Geneseo complies with enforcement of all known valid court orders of protection that are brought to the attention of SUNY Geneseo. SUNY Geneseo shall comply with Federal and State Law when information is requested by domestic violence victims or law enforcement regarding an alleged violation of an order of protection.
- SUNY Geneseo maintains an emergency security response plan, which includes procedures for contacting University Police and possibly other appropriate law enforcement agencies, and which provides employees with clear instructions about what to do and who to contact if they observe anyone engaging in threatening behavior.
- SUNY Geneseo will discuss with a known victim of domestic violence the limitations on confidentiality under New York State Law (See Section VII [h]; NYS Agencies Responsibility 4-7).
- As part of an emergency security response plan, SUNY Geneseo shall take actions to assist in mitigating reoccurrence of domestic violence in an effort to protect all employees including the victim. These actions may include, but are not limited to, advising co-workers and, upon request, the employee's bargaining representative, of the situation; setting up procedures for alerting University Police; temporary relocation of the victim to a secure area; options for voluntary transfer or permanent relocation to a new work site; change of work schedule, reassignment of parking space; escort for entry to and exit from the building; responding to telephone, fax, email or mail harassment; and keeping a photograph of the abuser and/or a copy of any existing court orders of protection in a confidential on-site location and providing copies to the University Police Department. SUNY Geneseo will address any additional concerns raised by a situation in which both the victim and offender are employed by SUNY Geneseo.
- This policy shall be reviewed annually. Any substantive policy revisions and updates shall be forwarded to OPDV.
Accountability for Employees Who Are Offenders
SUNY Geneseo will hold employees accountable for engaging in the following behavior: (1) using state resources to commit an act of domestic violence; (2) committing an act of domestic violence from or at the workplace or from any other location while on official state business; or (3) using their job-related authority and/or state resources in order to negatively affect victims and/or assist perpetrators in locating a victim and/or in perpetrating an act of domestic violence.
- In cases in which SUNY Geneseo has found that an employee has threatened, harassed, or abused an intimate partner at the workplace using state resources such as work time, workplace telephones, FAX machines, mail, e-mail or other means, said employee may be subject to corrective or disciplinary action in accordance with existing collective bargaining unit agreements, statutes and regulations.
- In cases in which SUNY Geneseo has verification that an employee is responsible for a domestic violence-related offense, or is the subject of any order of protection, including temporary, final or out-of-state order, as a result of domestic violence, and said employee has job functions that include the authority to take actions that directly impact victims of domestic violence and/or actions that may protect abusers from appropriate consequences for their behavior, SUNY Geneseo shall determine if corrective action is warranted, in accordance with existing collective bargaining unit agreements, statutes and regulations.
- In cases in which any employee intentionally uses his/her job-related authority and/or intentionally uses state resources in order to negatively impact a victim of domestic violence, assist an abuser in locating a victim, assist an abuser in perpetrating acts of domestic violence, or protect an abuser from appropriate consequences for his behavior, said employee may be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, in accordance with existing collective bargaining unit agreements, statutes and regulations.
Pursuant to New York State and federal law, a person convicted of a domestic violence related crime or subject to an order of protection that is related to a domestic-violence incident, under certain circumstances, forfeits the right to legally possess a firearm or long gun. Additionally, federal law contains prohibitions relating to shipping, transportation, or receiving firearms or ammunition.
- In addition to complying with the law, employees who are authorized to carry a firearm as part of their job responsibilities are required to notify the campus if they are arrested on a domestic violence-related offense and/or served with an order of protection. Under certain circumstances, such employees are responsible for surrendering their firearms to the firearm-issuing agency or to the appropriate police agency.
- Should an employee fail to comply with the requirements set forth in (Firearms 1.), said employee may be subject to corrective or disciplinary action, in accordance with existing collective bargaining unit agreements, statute or regulations. In addition, the appropriate law enforcement agency shall be notified for possible criminal action.
The director of affirmative action, the chief of police or designee, and all personnel designated to provide support for those in need of assistance shall complete OPDV’s one-day training on Domestic Violence and the Workplace. All appropriate managers, supervisors, employee assistance professionals, human resources personnel, union and labor representatives and security staff will be encouraged to attend OPDV’s training on Domestic Violence and the Workplace. Additionally, SUNY Geneseo shall make available for staff training on domestic violence and its impact on the workplace using materials provided by OPDV through the campus, OPDV and/or a local domestic violence service provider when scheduling permits.
- SUNY Geneseo believes that domestic violence is behavior that cannot be tolerated and, to that end will, actively provide information and support to employees who are victims of such abuse.
- SUNY Geneseo will disseminate copies of this Domestic Violence and the Workplace Policy to all employees upon implementation and to all new employees upon hiring or appointment.
- SUNY Geneseo encourages all employees to review and follow this policy and the procedures set forth herein.
- SUNY Geneseo will, consistent with applicable law and campus policy, document all incidents of domestic violence that happen in the workplace. Such documents should be provided to the designated liaison to System Administration as soon as practicable. Such documents shall be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law and campus policy and the provisions of number 7 detailed below.
- All SUNY Geneseo employees providing domestic violence information and support services shall document, consistent with applicable law and agency policy, the number of employees who report domestic violence, the number of employees that request information/services, and the number of referrals made to domestic violence service providers. All information about employees who seek assistance shall be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law and campus policy and the provisions of section g detailed below, and documentation should not include any personal information. The number of employees seeking assistance as outlined above shall be reported to the designated liaison to System Administration by the director of affirmative action.
- The designated liaison to System Administration shall, consistent with applicable law and SUNY Geneseo policy, provide information about the number and general nature of domestic violence incidents that happen in the workplace, the number of employees who report domestic violence, the number of employees that request information/services, and the number of referrals made to domestic violence service providers, with no personally identifying information, to OPDV at the time and in a manner determined by OPDV.
- Information related to an employee being a victim of domestic violence shall be kept confidential, to the extent permitted by law and campus policy, and shall not be divulged without the written consent of the victimized employee, unless the campus determines that maintaining said confidentiality puts the victim or other employees at risk of physical harm, is required by law, or is deemed necessary to enforce an order of protection. In such circumstances where a determination has been made that maintaining confidentiality puts the victim or other employees at risk of physical harm, only those individuals deemed necessary by the campus to protect the safety of the victim and/or other employees or to enforce an order of protection shall be given such information. SUNY Geneseo shall disclose only the minimum amount of information necessary to protect the safety of the victim and/or other employees or enforce an order of protection. Where possible, SUNY Geneseo will provide to the victim of domestic violence notice of the intent to provide information to other employees and/or safety personnel. Nothing herein shall prevent SUNY Geneseo from investigating an act or acts of domestic violence occurring in the workplace. Some examples of situations where confidentiality cannot be maintained include the following:
- Supervisors/managers may be informed about a domestic violence incident that happens in the workplace, or a report of domestic violence, if it is necessary to protect the safety of the employee or the employee’s co-workers.
- First aid and safety personnel may be informed about a domestic violence incident that happens in the workplace or a report of domestic violence, if it is necessary to protect the safety of the employee or the employee’s coworkers.
- Government officials investigating a domestic violence incident that occurs in the workplace, or a report of domestic violence, shall be provided relevant information upon request and in accordance with legal requirements.
- While reported information is kept private to the greatest extent possible by Federal law, State law, and campus policy, New York State law includes clear limitations on legal confidentiality. Information reported to anyone not in a position listed below may have to be disclosed pursuant to a subpoena, where otherwise required by law or in accordance with Section VII, paragraph g above. Such confidentiality exists in certain (but not all) instances for certain medical personnel and counselors, social workers, clergy, attorneys, and rape crisis counselors and may in fact be required to be turned over in these cases through a subpoena or court order. Please note that where medical information is received from an employee who is the victim of domestic violence, such medical information shall be kept confidential to the extent required by and permitted by New York State and Federal laws including, but not limited to, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, if they apply to the employee’s situation.
Frequency of Review and Update
Date of Approval