How to Respond to Incidents
The Framingham Public Schools (FPS) are committed to providing equal educational opportunities and a safe learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff. Our School Committee Policy against all forms of discrimination is clear and can be found here. Any form of discrimination based on race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability or any other category protected by state or federal law is not tolerated. FPS will promptly report, investigate and respond to all allegations of discrimination, including harassment and retaliation, to the fullest extent possible and take appropriate disciplinary, corrective, and remedial measures necessary to ensure a safe and equitable learning and workplace environment for all school community members. As necessary, FPS will also report such incidents the Assistant Superintendent for Diversity, Equity and Community Development as we as to the appropriate authorities and share major incidents and patterns with the community affected.
Below please find specific questions related to faculty and staff reporting and responding to specific incidents.
WHAT IS EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION?
WHAT IS AN INCIDENT OF DISCRIMINATION OR BIAS?
WHAT IS HARASSMENT?
WHAT IS RETALIATION?
WHAT IS A HATE CRIME?
WHAT IS A PROTECTED CLASS?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT?
Harassment is a form of discrimination. As with discrimination, there are different types of harassment, including unwelcome behavior by a co-worker, manager, client, or anyone else in the workplace, that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), nationality, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful when:
(1) Enduring the offensive conduct becomes a prerequisite to continued employment, or
(2) The conduct is severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would consider the workplace intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
Also, if a supervisor’s harassment results in an obvious change in the employee’s salary or status, this conduct would be considered unlawful workplace harassment. Harassing conduct may include offensive jokes, slurs, name-calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule, insults, offensive pictures, and more.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION?
The following are different types of employment discrimination: Age, Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Skin Color, National Origin, Mental or Physical Disability, Genetic Information, Relationship to someone who may be discriminated against, and Pregnancy or Parenthood.
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION?
- Stating or suggesting preferred candidates in a job advertisement
- Excluding potential employees during recruitment
- Denying certain employees compensation or benefits
- Paying equally-qualified employees in the same position different salaries
- Discriminating when assigning disability leave, maternity leave, or retirement options
- Denying or disrupting the use of company facilities
- Discrimination when issuing promotions or lay-offs
WHAT IS A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT?
The reality is that for a workplace to be hostile, certain legal criteria must be met. A hostile work environment is created by a boss or coworker whose actions, communication or behavior make doing your job impossible. This means that the behavior altered the terms, conditions, and/or reasonable expectations of a comfortable work environment for employees.
Additionally, the behavior, actions or communication must be discriminatory in nature. So, a coworker who talks loudly, snaps her gum, and leans over your desk when she talks with you, is demonstrating inappropriate, rude, obnoxious behavior, but it does not create a hostile work environment. On the other hand, a coworker who tells sexually explicit jokes and sends around images of nude people is guilty of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. This is especially true if you asked the individual to stop and the behavior continues. This, by the way, is always the first step in addressing inappropriate behavior at work—ask the inappropriately behaving supervisor or coworker to stop. A boss who verbally berates you about your age, your religion, your gender, or your race is guilty of creating a hostile work environment. Even if the comments are casual, said with a smile, or played as jokes, this does not excuse the situation.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT?
HOW SHOULD I DEAL WITH A HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT?
WHAT IS A COMPLAINT?
WHAT TYPES OF INCIDENTS SHOULD BE REPORTED?
WHAT IS FRAMINGHAM’S PROTOCOL FOR RESPONDING TO SUCH INCIDENTS?
HOW CAN I REPORT AN INCIDENT OF DISCRIMINATION OR A PATTERN OF BIASED BEHAVIOR?
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM A FPS EMPLOYEE AND THE TARGET OF HARASSMENT, HATE SPEECH, BIAS, DISCRIMINATION OR RETALIATION?
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I WITNESS HATE SPEECH, HARASSMENT, BIAS, BIAS, DISCRIMINATION OR RETALIATION INCIDENT?
WHO IN THE SCHOOL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR RECEIVING COMPLAINTS OF HARASSMENT, BIAS, DISCRIMINATION OR RETALIATION?
HOW ARE INCIDENTS REPORTED AND INVESTIGATED?
HOW LONG DOES AN INVESTIGATION TAKE?
IS THE RESPONSE THE SAME EVERY TIME?
(1) Discipline for the person responsible;
(2) Remedial or supportive actions to assist those directly impacted; and/or
(3) Corrective action or education steps for the individual and potentially the larger school community to ensure that similar events do not happen in the future.