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Discrimination and Harassment: Employees

Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) provides equal employment opportunities for all employees and prohibits any form of discrimination/harassment in all facets of employment, including, but not limited to, recruitment, job advertisement, employment, compensation, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination/discharge, or selection for district-sponsored training programs. These prohibitions apply to all employees (and students, as covered in a separate procedure ) and to third parties not directly subject to district-sponsored control. Examples of third parties include audiences and competitors at inter-district athletic competitions, service contractors, school visitors, and employees of businesses or organizations participating in cooperative work or school programs with the district.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX  of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the New Mexico Human Rights Act and APS Board policies prohibit discrimination.  Questions or concerns regarding any form of discrimination or harassment based on age (40+), color, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, HIV status, mental or physical disability, national origin, natural or protective hairstyles, or cultural or religious headdresses, pregnancy/lactation, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, spousal affiliation, serious medical condition, or veteran status, or any other protected class as defined by law should be directed to Equal Opportunity Services.

Definition and Examples of Harassment as Defined by Law

Generally, harassment is considered to have occurred when conduct:

  1. has the intent or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment, or

  2. has the intent or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an employee’s workplace opportunities

Harassment is offending behavior that creates a hostile environment. Both objective and subjective perspectives are considered in relation to a particular type of conduct, including age (40+), color, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, HIV status, mental or physical disability, national origin, natural or protective hairstyles or cultural or religious headdresses, pregnancy/lactation, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, spousal affiliation, serious medical condition, or veteran status, and/or other protected class as defined by law.

 

Individuals or groups violate district policy if they engage in the following types of behavior (not an all-inclusive list) toward an individual on school grounds, in the workplace, at school/work-sanctioned activities or in vehicles owned/dispatched by the district:

  1. making demeaning or derogatory remarks or comments directly to an individual or group because of age (40+), color, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, HIV status, mental or physical disability, national origin, natural or protective hairstyles or cultural or religious headdresses, pregnancy/lactation, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, spousal affiliation, serious medical condition, or veteran status, or any other protected status as defined by law

  2. displaying suggestive visual or written material of a sexual nature

  3. defacing APS property or materials by writing demeaning or derogatory words, letters, names or the like directly or indirectly to an individual or group because of age (40+), color, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, HIV status, mental or physical disability, national origin, natural or protective hairstyles or cultural or religious headdresses, pregnancy/lactation, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, spousal affiliation, serious medical condition, or veteran status staring or glaring or showing obscene gestures or suggestive gestures (such as touching your private parts in front of others)

  4. repeatedly asking someone for a date when he/she is not interested

  5. damaging, defacing, or destroying private property of any individual or group because of age (40+), color, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, HIV status, mental or physical disability, national origin, natural or protective hairstyles or cultural or religious headdresses, pregnancy/lactation, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, spousal affiliation, serious medical condition, or veteran status

Definition and Examples of Disability Harassment

Discriminatory behavior toward an individual with a disability may be considered harassment when that disability-focused behavior is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of the individual to participate in or benefit from the district’s programs or activities.

Examples of possible disability harassment are:  excluding an individual from activities because of appearance related to disability; severe, pervasive, or persistent name-calling based on disability or perceived disability; and threats or actions such as tampering with an employee’s equipment or workspace and physical intimidation.

Definition and Examples of Racial and National Origin and Ancestry Harassment

Harassment based on race or national origin may be oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct relating to an individual’s race, color, ethnicity, or national origin (including an individual’s ancestry, country of origin, or country of origin of a student’s parents, family members, or ancestors that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes with or limits the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the district’s programs or activities.  Harassment of an immigrant or of someone who speaks another language or has a foreign accent may constitute discrimination based on national origin or race, or both, depending on the circumstances. A racial or national origin basis for acts of harassment may be evident from the explicit statements of an individual or may be inferred from the surrounding circumstances.

Examples of possible race or national origin harassment are physical acts of aggression or assault upon another or damage to another’s property that is motivated by the individual’s race, color, ethnicity, or national origin; depending on the circumstances and context, demeaning racial jokes, taunting, racial slurs and derogatory racial “nicknames” innuendos, or other negative or derogatory remarks of a racial nature or relating to national origin; depending on the circumstances and context, graffiti and/or slogans or visual displays such as cartoons or posters depicting racial/ethnic slurs or racial/ethnically derogatory origin.

Definition and Examples of Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (Title IX)

Discrimination may occur when an individual or individuals are treated differently, specifically because of his/her/their gender, sexual orientation, or pregnancy. Additionally, unintended behavior or action that ultimately results in treating a group differently because of their gender, sexual orientation, or pregnancy or lactation may be a form of gender discrimination. 


Examples of possible sexual harassment are unwelcome pressure for sexual activity; unwelcome, sexually motivated, or inappropriate physical contact; unwelcome verbal or written words or symbols directed at an individual because of gender (whether that gender is the same as the harasser or not ); and use of authority to coerce sexual favors.

Sexual harassment generally may fall under one of three categories:  quid pro quo, hostile environment, and retaliatory harassment. 

Sexual violence is a broad term and includes conduct that is also criminal in nature, such as rape, sexual assault, stalking, child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, indecent exposure, and similar offenses.  Although sexual violence may also be considered sexual harassment, criminal sexual violence against employees within the district’s jurisdiction needs to be reported to the APS School Police Department and the district’s Title IX director in the Office of Equal Opportunity Services (OEOS). 

If needed, please review the complete district procedure for Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment for Employees (Title IX).

Definition and Examples of Harassment Based on Religion

Targeting an individual or individuals because of his/her/their religion or religious beliefs may be a form of harassment. Examples of possible harassment based on religion are making derogatory jokes regarding a particular religion and verbal, physical, or written intimidation of an individual because of his/her/their religion.

Definition of Harassment Based on Age

Targeting an individual or individuals because of his/her/their age may be a form of harassment. Generally, the law prohibits discrimination against and harassment of individuals over the age of 40. Examples of harassment based on age might include pervasive heckling of an individual by verbal negative references to age or pervasive name-calling using terminology such as "grandpa" or "old fogey" if this behavior creates a hostile environment for the individual.

Training

Albuquerque Public Schools is committed to effectively training its APS personnel to create and maintain a safe, civil, respectful, and inclusive school and work community. 

Reporting And Complaint Procedures

The following procedures apply to discrimination and harassment complaints by a student(s), parent(s), legal guardian(s), employee(s), or third parties.  Examples of third parties include audiences and competitors at inter-district athletic competitions, service contractors, school visitors and employees, and businesses or organizations participating in cooperative work or school programs with the district in relation to the incident(s) at issue.

These procedures will be available in every school site administrative office, posted on the district website, and included in the employee handbook.  Furthermore, a more detailed scope reporting and complaint procedure process can be found in the Office of Equal Opportunity Services Website. 

Who May File a Complaint

Anyone who believes he/she/they has been subjected to alleged discrimination and/or harassment by a student, teacher, administrator, or other school personnel or third parties should report the incident(s) immediately to their supervisor or an administrator with supervisory/administrative authority.  They may also directly report to the Office of Equal Opportunity Services or any civil rights entity, such as the New Mexico Human Rights Division or the Equal Employee Opportunity Commission.

Any APS employee who becomes aware of any alleged discrimination and/or harassment, whether by witnessing the incident, being told of it, or by another means, must report it to their immediate supervisor or to Equal Opportunity Services. APS employees may violate this policy if they encourage, tolerate, or ignore any discrimination or harassment based on any of the protected categories listed above.

How to file a complaint

Supervisors and administrators who have received a complaint from an employee(s) must report the alleged allegation(s) to the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.

Anyone may contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Services directly. 

When the district becomes aware of the existence of alleged discrimination and/or harassment, it is obligated by law to take prompt and appropriate action, whether or not the victim wants the district to proceed or not. 

For allegations that may rise to the level of sexual violence, parties may choose and/or be directed by the Office of Equal Opportunity Services to also file a police report. Individuals who file police reports should also report to the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.

Information related to EOS complaints is maintained for seven calendar years within Equal Opportunity Services unless EOS is directed to maintain this information longer due to state or federal agency notice, lawsuit, or other circumstances allowable by law.

Types of Complaints:

Informal complaint resolution process

Informal resolution may be an appropriate choice when the conduct involved is not of a serious or repetitive nature and disciplinary action is not required to remedy the situation.  The determination is made by Equal Opportunity Services or designee.  The informal resolution process can be ended by a complainant at any time to begin a formal complaint process.  The administrator or designee will document any informal resolution, and a copy of such documentation will be forwarded within three (3) business days of resolution to the Office of Equal Opportunity Services and, when appropriate, the Chief of Human Resources & Legal Services.

Formal complaint resolution process

Initiation of the formal complaint procedures requires a written complaint.  The complaint form can be accessed from the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.  Hard copy forms are available in the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.  Individuals can also request a school or department to provide a hard copy form.

Formal complaints must be submitted in writing to the Office of Equal Opportunity Services within 180 days from the date of the alleged act(s), in accordance with timelines set forth by the Office of Civil Rights, unless the time for filing is extended by the Office of Equal Opportunity Services for good cause (to be determined by the OEOS).  Failure of a complaint to comply with any time limitation in the complaint procedure may result in dismissal of the complaint and/or denial of the appeal.  Dismissal will not preclude the individual’s right to pursue the complaint through other appropriate external agencies. 

Opportunity Services will review the formal complaint to determine whether the matter falls within the scope of these procedures. Within ten (10) business days after the complaint submission date, Equal Opportunity Services will inform the complainant in writing whether the matters alleged in the complaint are within the jurisdiction or authority of Equal Opportunity Services to resolve. If the matters alleged fall within EOS’ jurisdiction, then EOS will determine appropriate resolution options and present them to the complainant. If the matters alleged are not within EOS’ jurisdiction or authority, EOS will notify the Complainant that Equal Opportunity Services does not have jurisdiction or authority over the matters and will not carry out any further actions. If the matter does not involve allegations of discrimination within the scope of these procedures, Equal Opportunity Services will forward the matter to the proper district administrative authority for review, if appropriate.

 

During either the informal or formal complaint processes, interim and/or supportive measures, such as schedule changes, placing employees on leave, and/or counseling support, may be implemented to protect parties in the work or educational setting, pending the outcome of the process. Supportive measures may be continued after a process is complete, depending on circumstances and as needed.

Investigation

The Office of Equal Opportunity Services will oversee that an adequate, reliable and impartial investigation of the complaint is conducted by an investigator at the work site and/or where the alleged discrimination occurred.

In conducting the investigation, the investigator will interview all parties identified in the complaint and other witnesses that the investigator determines may provide information relevant to resolving the complaint allegation(s).  Both the complainant and the respondent will have the opportunity to identify witnesses to be interviewed and provide documentation or other evidence for the investigator to review.

The investigator will consider the evidence compiled and take whatever additional actions are necessary to complete the investigation.

The complainant and/or respondent will be informed of the status of the investigation at regular intervals.  However, at any given time during the ongoing investigation process, the complainant and/or respondent may request a status update on the current complaint.  This may be requested in writing directly to the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.   

Notice of Resolution

The Office of Equal Opportunity Services will notify both the complainant and respondent in writing within forty-five (*45) business days from the complaint submission date of the results of the investigation.  In some cases, the investigation may take longer.  However, the Office of Equal Opportunity Services and the investigator will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the investigation is completed within the appropriate timeline.  The Office of Equal Opportunity Services will oversee this process. 

If an investigation reveals that discrimination or harassment occurred, APS will take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the discrimination and/or harassment, eliminate any hostile environment and its effects, and prevent the harassment from recurring.

Appeal Rights

A party unsatisfied with the resolution may submit a written appeal within ten (10) calendar

days to Equal Opportunity Services. Ten calendar days will be deemed effective on the person

served as the date of delivery if personally served, faxed, or emailed, or effective three calendar

days of deposit by first-class mail if delivered solely by mail. If a party receives notice both by

email and physical mail, the effective date will be deemed the date of the email sent. This written appeal will state with particularity the nature of the disagreement, the reasons underlying such disagreement and how the outcome would be changed by reconsidering the determination. The appeal will be heard by a panel of APS appointees who will conduct a review of the record to determine whether the preponderance of the evidence supports the determination. The panel will issue a written decision and provide it to the parties within fifteen (15) calendar days of the appeal panel’s hearing. The appeal panel’s decision is a final decision.

Complaints to an External Agency

If a party is unsatisfied at any time, including with the superintendent’s decision, the party may file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) in Denver, Colorado.  More information is available at the Office of Civil Rights, Federal Office, 1244 Speer Blvd, Suite 310, Denver, CO  80204-3582, (303) 844-5695. Individuals may also file complaints with any other civil rights entities, such as the New Mexico Human Rights Division or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Disciplinary Consequences   

Any individual who violates this policy by engaging in conduct defined throughout this policy that directly or indirectly causes intimidation, harassment, or physical harm to another student or employee will be subject to disciplinary action. 

False Complaints

If the investigation produces evidence that an individual knowingly and purposely filed a false or misleading complaint alleging harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, that complaint will be dismissed. Individuals who purposely file a false complaint or who produce falsified evidence during the investigation process may be subject to disciplinary action following the appropriate student or employee handbook.

 

Retaliation

Retaliation means some type of adversarial or punitive action taken against an individual or individuals as a result of filing a complaint, reporting discrimination, participating in the investigation or the complaint process (including informal resolutions), or otherwise engaging in protected civil rights activity. Anyone who engages in protected civil rights activity will be free from retaliation, coercion, and reprisal. Retaliation against an individual seeking assistance at/their work site, filing a complaint or participating in the investigation process is grounds for a

subsequent retaliation/harassment complaint.

Confidentiality

APS will respect the privacy of the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and witnesses as much as possible, consistent with the legal obligations to investigate, take appropriate action, and conform to any legal discovery or disclosure obligations. Any information gathered during an informal procedure may be used during a formal procedure if initiated. While there can be no assurances of complete confidentiality, complaints under this procedure will be treated as sensitive information not to be shared with others except in limited circumstances. Decisions regarding confidentiality will be made by the Office of Equal Opportunity Services.

 

Legal Compliance

The Office of Equal Opportunity Services has the responsibility to monitor the compliance of state and federal laws and regulations, as well as district policies and procedures, which follow requirements under state and federal laws, and regulations related to discrimination and harassment.

For discrimination and harassment claims, contact:
Office of Equal Opportunity Services
Albuquerque Public Schools, 6400 Uptown Blvd, NE
Albuquerque, NM  87110
https://www.aps.edu/equal-opportunity-services

Administrative Position: 

  • Associate Superintendent of Equity, Instruction, Innovation and Support

  • Chief Academic Officer

  • Chief of Human Resources & Legal Services

 Department Director:                      

  • Director of Title IX Programs

  • Director of Equal Opportunity Services

  • Executive Director of Student, Parent, and Employee Service Center

Cross References:

Legal Reference:

  • Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • Americans with Disabilities Act

  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

  • Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

  • New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMSA § 28-1-7)

  • CABQ CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act Ordinance

  • 6.10.3 NMAC

  • Children's Code Article 4: Child Abuse and Neglect, 32A-4-1 through 32A-4-34

Board Policy Cross Ref:           

Procedural Directive Cross Ref:

Forms:             
Discrimination and/or Harassment Complaint Form (Office of Equal Opportunity Manual)

Revised: January 2005
Reviewed: December 11, 2019
Revised: January 17, 2020

Reviewed: April 15, 2024

Revised: April 15, 2024