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FTJC Harassment Policy & Procedure

As part of our ongoing commitment to being a welcoming and inclusive community, the Board at FTJC would like to re-publicize our Harassment Resolution Policy, Team and Complaint Procedure. This document was created in 2018 after intensive work and review and has been revisited for clarity in the past few months. This Policy & Procedure offers a process for recourse should an unfortunate incident of harassment occur. It also reflects research about strong practices within other organizations. This document may be revised in the future as we learn from experience

We would like to clarify that the publication of this document is not in response to any recent complaints and it is our sincere hope that it may never need to be used. That said, it is an important policy to have publicly in place for the safety of our community. Additionally, we commit to reminding the community via email of its existence on a yearly basis. 

Our current Harassment Resolution team consists of: President Jessie Pressman, Ray Levi, and congregant Rachael Fried who, in her professional life serves as the executive director at JQY (Jewish Queer Youth). Any changes to this team will be denoted on the website and in the yearly reminder. 

May we continue to treat each other with dignity and respect.

Standing in community with you, 

The FTJC Board

FTJC Harassment Resolution Policy

Intent

The Fort Tryon Jewish Center (FTJC) is committed to fostering and maintaining a religious and communal environment focused on Torah and Mitzvot, mutual respect, safety, commitment, understanding, learning, participation and diversity. In order to provide our members, employees, and guests with a safe environment that fosters these values, our community must be free of discrimination, retaliation, discrimination and harassment of all types, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a discriminatory practice which is unethical, unprofessional, and threatening to our communal well-being and health and will not be tolerated. Individuals who are found to be engaging in such conduct will be subject to the sanctions set forth in this Policy, up to and including loss of membership.  

 

Definition

Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct – whether physical, verbal, or visual – that is based on a person’s status, such as their gender, sex, color, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, or marital status.

Sexual harassment is conduct based on gender or sex, whether directed towards a person of the same or another gender. Sexual harassment can be described as (1) unwelcome sexual advances, (2) requests for sexual favors, and (3) other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when the submission to or rejection of this conduct affects an individual's employment or standing in the community, or unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or presence in the community, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. All of these behaviors prevent or impair an individual's full enjoyment of spiritual, religious or programmatic rights, benefits, environments, or opportunities. Sexual harassment may include the following behaviors:

 

  • unwelcome flirting and repeatedly asking or pressuring someone to accept unwelcome social invitations;
  • displaying or circulating sexually suggestive written or graphic materials;
  • propositioning another for sexual favors in exchange for or in the absence of a benefit; 
  • any unwelcome leering, touching, patting, pinching, grabbing or squeezing, sexist remarks, sexually suggestive jokes, behavior or gestures;
  • sexual innuendos and unwelcome sexual advances, including unwanted touching;
  • sexual assault, including attempted or completed physical sexual assault;
  • the use of professional or other authority to inappropriately draw attention to the gender, sexuality or sexual orientation of a person in the community

 

These behaviors are unwelcome in this community, and although not always intended to hurt others, almost always amount to sexual harassment. FTJC’s policy protects employees, members, contractors, and guests from sexual harassment regardless of the harasser’s gender, or the nature of their position or status in the community. 

 

All people have the right to:

  • Be treated with dignity and respect
  • Participate in a process that is fair, courteous, impartial, respectful, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard
  • Be free from an assumption that the complainant is at fault when disclosing misconduct
  • Have disclosures and/or accusations of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual harassment or assault treated seriously
  • Describe the incident to as few FTJC representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident(s)
  • Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure by the FTJC
  • Be protected from retaliation by FTJC or any party within the FTJC community, the accused and/or the complainant, and/or their friends, family, and acquaintances 
  • Be accompanied by a friend or representative when speaking with FTJC leadership regarding the reported behavior. 

All members, employees, contractors, vendors, and guests are expected to act responsibly: As part of the FTJC community, it is your responsibility to behave in a manner that is respectful to everyone in our community and in our space. FTJC trusts that all people in the community, whether employees or members or guests will act respectfully and responsibly in maintaining a supportive spiritual environment free of harassment.

 

Employees of Fort Tryon Jewish Center are obligated to report any misconduct of which they become aware. Failure to report misconduct is grounds for dismissal with the exception of rabbinic staff, who may use their discretion to maintain confidentiality in connection with norms of clergy confidentiality.

 

If a community member confides to clergy about misconduct by another community member, yet asks the clergy not to report and/or does not wish to initiate a full complaint and investigation procedure, then the clergy should inform the member of the clergy's obligation to report, and try to reach agreement with the member about parameters for what the clergy will report to the Harassment Resolution Team.

 

Please remember that the very nature of harassment makes it virtually impossible to detect unless a complaint is made. Do not assume that FTJC leaders are aware of the situation. If you become aware of harassment or any other misconduct, you are strongly encouraged to report it in order to ensure that the issue can be promptly investigated and resolved.

 

Harassment Resolution Team and Complaint Procedure

 

Harassment Resolution Team

The Harassment Resolution Team is accountable and reports to the Executive Committee. As much as possible, it should be representative of the diversity of the FTJC board with regards to age, gender identification, and sexual orientation.

  1. FTJC President
  2. Additional FTJC Officer
  3. Other member chosen by the Executive Committee, preferably with specialized knowledge regarding sexual harassment, discrimination, counseling, or gender issues. 

 

The Rabbi does not serve as a formal part of the investigation, but will be informed of the complaint. At the discretion of the Resolution Team, the Rabbi may be brought into any meeting, and may be consulted or be a part of the resolution or relief measures. 

Except for providing all facts pertinent to the investigation of the allegations of a complaint, no complainant or person who has been accused in the complaint will participate in the investigation or evaluation of the complaint.

  1. If any member of the Harassment Resolution Team is named in the complaint, they are replaced by an appointment from the President. If the President is named in the complaint, the Secretary will act as a replacement for the President.
  2. If someone comes forward with a complaint against the Rabbi, that complaint should be directed to  the FTJC President, and the Rabbi will not be consulted in connection with the resolution and relief measures.

 

Complaint Procedure

  1. The complainant should present their complaint to any member of the Harassment Resolution Team as promptly as possible after the alleged harassment occurs. The current members of the Harassment Resolution Team will be made available on the website. 

 

It is the right of the complainant to determine whether and when to make a complaint, but please bear in mind that not reporting misconduct may result in similar misconduct against others. Anyone who experiences or witnesses misconduct is strongly encouraged to promptly report such misconduct in order to protect other members of the community.

 

a) The initial discussion between the complainant and Harassment Resolution Team will be kept confidential to the extent possible. However, Fort Tryon Jewish Center cannot promise absolute confidentiality. The duty to investigate and take corrective action may require the disclosure of information to individuals with a need to know. In particular, if an investigation occurs, it is likely that any persons named in the complaint will become aware of the substance of the complaint and the identity of the complainant.

b) The Harassment Resolution Team will gather all facts pertinent to the allegations of the complaint. Complaints will be:

i. Responded to in a timely manner

ii. Kept confidential to the extent possible

iii. Investigated impartially in a timely manner

iv. Documented and tracked for reasonable progress

v. Given appropriate options for remedial action and resolution

vi. Closed in a timely manner

 

2. Following any investigation, the Harassment Resolution Team will provide a written response to the complainant, and where appropriate, will pursue remedial or restorative measures to resolve the complaint.  Applicable conclusions to an investigation may include the following resolutions:

 

a) If the Team concludes that on the basis of the investigation insufficient evidence of harassment exists to warrant any action, it may close the investigation and so notify the complainant and alleged offender in writing.

b) If the Team concludes on the basis of the investigation that misconduct has occurred they may require remedial measures, which may include:

i. Counseling the applicable individuals and/or suggesting outside resources that may be helpful in facilitating rehabilitation and communication with other affected parties. The Resolution Team may require any individual to participate in counseling programs, or other restorative measures, as a condition to resuming or to their continuing membership at FTJC or participation in community events.

ii. Modify the standing in the community of any persons found to have committed misconduct by limiting participation in services or community events as appropriate.

iii. Removing or suspending any person found to have committed misconduct from a position of authority in the community, including any employment status.

iv. Rescinding or suspending any person found to have committed misconduct from attendance or participation in FTJC services, events and functions, or revoking such individual’s membership in the community

The foregoing are guidelines only, and nothing shall restrict the Harassment Resolution Team from using its discretion to determine alternative remedial measures, based on the outcome of the investigation and the needs of any individuals who are harmed by misconduct.

 

3. FTJC will not tolerate retaliation, coercion, intimidation, interference, discrimination, or harassment of or against any member or employee/contractor of FTJC for making a good-faith complaint of harassment or for providing information related to such a complaint.

Thu, February 29 2024 20 Adar I 5784