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Discrimination and Harassment: Staff and Employees

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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 directive) 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.

Why EOS?

Title VII of the Civil Right 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 Age Discrimination in Employment 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 disability, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, religion, age, veteran status, HIV status, pregnancy,  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 the victim’s age, race, gender, disability, and/or other protected class as defined by law.

Individuals or groups are in violation of 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 his/her/their disability, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, religion, age, 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 his/her/their disability, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, religion, age, veteran status or any other protected status as defined by law
  4. staring or glaring or showing obscene gestures or suggestive gestures (such as touching your private parts in front of others)
  5. repeatedly asking someone for a date when he/she is not interested
  6. damaging, defacing, or destroying private property of any individual or group because of his/her/their disability, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, religion, age, veteran status or any other protected status as defined by law

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:

  1. excluding an individual from activities because of appearance related to disability
  2. severe, pervasive or persistent name-calling based on disability or perceived disability
  3. 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:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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 may be a form of gender discrimination.

Sexual harassment/bullying is a form of gender discrimination that generally is considered a misuse of power. Examples of possible sexual harassment are:

  1. unwelcome pressure for sexual activity
  2. unwelcome, sexually motivated or inappropriate physical contact
  3. unwelcome verbal or written words or symbols directed at an individual because of gender (whether that gender is the same as the harasser or aimed at the opposite sex)
  4. 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, 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 Equal Opportunity Services (EOS).

If needed, please review the complete procedural directive for Employee Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (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:

  1. making derogatory jokes regarding a particular religion
  2. 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 40. Examples of harassment based on age might include:

  1. pervasive heckling of an individual by verbal negative references to age
  2. 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 train 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 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 shall be available in every school site, administrative office, posted on the district website and included in the employee handbook.  Furthermore, a more detailed in scope reporting and complaint procedure process can be found in Equal Opportunity Manual:

Who may file a complaint

Any employee 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 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 an alleged discrimination and/or harassment incident, whether by witnessing the incident or being told of it, must report it to their immediate supervisor or to Equal Opportunity Services. 

How to file a complaint

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

An employee may contact Equal Opportunity Services directly.

When the district becomes aware of the existence of an 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 Equal Opportunity Services to also file a police report. Individuals who file police reports should also report to Equal Opportunity Services.

Informal concerns can be reported through the fillable Report a Concern form to discover what options are available. For formal complaints, please use the PDF complaint form(s) that's found on the Reporting a Complaint page.

Types of Complaints

Informal complaint resolution process

Informal resolution may be an appropriate choice when the conduct involved is not a serious or repetitive nature and disciplinary action is not required to remedy the situation.  The determination is made by an administrator 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 shall document any informal resolution, and a copy of such documentation shall be forwarded within three (3) business days of resolution to 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 Equal Opportunity Services’ webpage.  Hard copy forms are available in 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 Equal Opportunity Services within 180 days from the date of alleged act(s), in accordance with timelines set forth by the Office of Civil Rights, unless the time for filing is extended by Equal Opportunity Services for good cause (to be determined by the EOS).  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 shall not preclude the individual’s right to pursue the complaint through other appropriate external agencies. 

Equal Opportunity Services shall 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 shall initiate an investigation of the matters alleged, or inform the complainant in writing that the matters alleged in the complaint are not within the jurisdiction or authority of the district to investigate and that the district will not carry out any further investigations.  If the matter does not involve allegations of discrimination within the scope of these procedures, Equal Opportunity Services shall forward the matter to the proper district administrative authority for review, if appropriate.

During either the informal or formal complaint processes interim measures, such as schedule changes, placing employees on leave and/or counseling support may be implemented to protect employees in the educational setting, pending the outcome of the process. 

Physical Access Request

If you or others have had problems accessing Albuquerque Public Schools properties, programs, activities, and facilities because of your or their disabilities, please let us know by filling out the Physical Access Request Fillable Form.

Legal Compliance

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:
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 Operations 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 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
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • New Mexico Human Rights Act (NMSA § 28-1-7)
  • 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: