SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Office of Diversity & Inclusion
Complaint Procedure Process
The State University of New York Downstate Medical Center (DMC, Downstate, or the University,) in its continuing effort to seek equity in education and employment consistent with Federal and State anti-discrimination laws, has adopted a complaint procedure for the prompt and equitable investigation and resolution of allegations of unlawful discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, creed, ethnicity, national origin, alienage, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender (including pregnancy), military status, prior record of arrest or conviction (except as permitted by law), predisposing genetic characteristics, or status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual offenses, or stalking. Harassment on the basis of the above categories is unlawful discrimination.
Employees, who observe or become aware of sexual misconduct, should report this information to Downstate's Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI). Conduct that may constitute harassment is described below. More detailed information regarding discrimination and/or sexual misconduct may be obtained by emailing ODI at: AskODI@Downstate.edu or calling (718) 270-1738.
It is a violation of the University's non-discrimination/sexual misconduct policy for DMC employees to engage in behavior that subjects any employee or applicant for employment to discrimination and/or harassment at a worksite location or during a work-related function on the basis of any of the above-noted grounds where such conduct: (1) adversely affects any aspect of an employee's/applicant's employment or the compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment; or (2) creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment.
It is also a violation of this policy for DMC employees to engage in discriminatory behavior and/or harassment with respect to applicants for employment and other individuals who do business with the DMC, use DMC facilities or otherwise interact with DMC.
It is Downstate's policy to provide equal educational opportunities without regard to actual or perceived race, color, religion, age, creed, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender (pregnancy). It is also Downstate's policy to maintain an environment free of harassment on the basis of any of these grounds, including sexual harassment.
Accordingly, it is a violation of this policy for any DMC employee to discriminate against or create a hostile educational environment for a student by conduct and/or verbal or written acts on DMC property, or at a DMC sanctioned function on the basis of any of the above-noted grounds where such behavior: (1) has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student's ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program, University-sponsored activity or any other aspect of a student's education; or (2) has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student's mental, emotional or physical well-being; or 3) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his/her physical safety; or 4) reasonably causes or would be expected to cause physical injury or emotional harm to a student. It is also a violation of this policy for any DMC employee to engage in the behavior noted above off University property when such behavior creates or would foreseeably create a risk of disruption within the educational/campus environment.
It is Downstate's policy to prohibit retaliation against any individual who objects to discriminatory practices in the workplace, who complains of discrimination or harassment as described above, or who files or participates in the investigation of an internal or external complaint of discrimination. Any adverse act against individuals due to their participation in a protected activity is considered retaliatory.
In order to develop and maintain a positive and supportive learning and working environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and intimidation, the full cooperation of every staff member is necessary. Employees are expected to be exemplary role models in the academic programs and offices in which they serve.
Supervisors are required to maintain an environment free of unlawful discrimination or discriminatory harassment.
Behavior which violates this policy may serve as a basis for discipline, even if it does not rise to the level of a violation of federal, state or local discrimination laws.
This policy applies to conduct and comments, whether or not intentionally offensive or directed at a particular person or group, which constitute a violation of this policy.
Any employee found to be in violation of this policy may be subject to legal sanctions and appropriate disciplinary action.
All DMC employees are expected to cooperate with ODI investigations and are required to report if summoned to appear by ODI. Tampering with or impeding an ODI investigation constitutes a violation of the University's non-discrimination/sexual misconduct policy and may result in disciplinary action.
Supervisors (mandated reporter) are required to immediately report instances of any oral or written complaints of discrimination or discriminatory harassment committed by employees to ODI. Supervisors can make the report by calling ODI, e-mailing ODI or filling out a copy of ODI's Complaint Intake form. Advice and assistance on how to proceed will be provided as needed. A supervisor's failure to report complaints or instances of discrimination to ODI may constitute a violation of this policy.
Employees, applicants for employment, students, and others who do business with DMC, DMC facilities, or otherwise interact with the DMC may file complaints of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation as set forth below. Such complaints may be filed in writing or orally by contacting ODI at: (718) 270-1738 or Email: AskODI@Downstate.edu.
- Complainants should use the ODI non-discrimination/sexual misconduct policy complaint form to file a complaint. Complaint forms can be obtained directly from ODI or the Office of Human Resources. Upon receipt of a complaint, ODI will determine whether the complaint alleges a violation of this regulation. If ODI believes that irreparable harm will occur before the complaint can be fully investigated and resolved, ODI may recommend interim relief pending completion of the investigation of the complaint.
- Following the investigation, ODI will submit written recommended findings as to whether there has been a violation of the University's non-discrimination/sexual misconduct policy to the University President or the President's designee. The President/President's designee will issue a written determination within 90 working days of receipt of the complaint, unless circumstances warrant extension of the time period. Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) will be informed in writing of the determination by ODI.
- If a violation of this regulation is substantiated, the Respondent's supervisor/VP of Academic & Students will confer with ODI to determine if any disciplinary or corrective action is required.
- ODI will ensure that any corrective action required by the decision is implemented.
A complainant may file an anonymous complaint with ODI alleging that a particular practice or policy is discriminatory. ODI will review such complaints in order to determine how they should be processed in light of the information provided by the anonymous complainant.
It is ODI's policy to respect the privacy of all parties and witnesses regarding complaints brought under this regulation. However, the need for confidentiality must be balanced against the obligation to cooperate with lawful investigations, to provide due process to the accused, and/or to take necessary action to conciliate, investigate, or resolve the complaint. Therefore, information regarding the complaint may need to be disclosed in certain appropriate circumstances.
False Accusations of Discrimination
A complainant or witness who knowingly makes a false accusation of discrimination or knowingly provides false information in the course of an investigation of a complaint, may be subject to discipline. A complaint made in good faith, even if found to be unsubstantiated, will not be considered a false accusation.
Dissemination of These Procedures
Notice of DMC's non-discrimination/sexual misconduct policy and internal complaint procedures must be given to students and employees annually. In addition, each office and college must prominently post Downstate's non-discrimination/sexual misconduct policy (which provides contact information for ODI, and indicates where a copy of this policy may be obtained).
Alternative Complaint Procedures
These internal procedures do not deny the right of any individual to pursue other avenues of recourse that may include filing charges with any of the external agencies noted below. However, where appropriate, if a complaint is filed with an external agency, ODI may opt to not conduct an internal investigation, and may refer the matter to DMC's Office of the General Counsel.
- U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- New York State Division of Human Rights
The time frames for filing with these agencies may vary.
Inquiries pertaining to this regulation should be addressed to:
Victoria A. Ajibade, AVP of Diversity & Inclusion & Title IX
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
450 Clarkson Avenue, MSC 1220
Brooklyn, NY 11203
Tel (718) 270-1738
Fax (718) 270-2276