EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
The Smithfield School Committee has adopted an Affirmative Action Policy and Plan designed to meet the rights granted to all persons under the law.
This document spells out the efforts that the Smithfield School Department shall undertake to promote equality of opportunity. The Smithfield School Committee has the overall objective to provide and maintain a work force that can provide the highest quality of educational services to the Town of Smithfield. In preparing the Plan, we seek to ensure that all people have an equal opportunity to compete for jobs.
Article I: Policies
The Smithfield School Department does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, handicap/disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, or veteran status.
The Smithfield School Department is committed to providing an equal employment opportunity in all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The Smithfield School Department will, at a minimum, post all employment vacancies and will recruit, hire, train, and promote persons in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, or veteran status.
All employment-related activities will be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner. Hiring, salaries/wages, layoffs, transfers, promotions, demotions, work assignments, requests for leaves, training, recall from layoffs, appointments, and disciplinary actions will be administered without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, or veteran status and will promote the principles of equal opportunity.
The Smithfield School Department is committed to identifying and eliminating past and present effects of discrimination in employment. To achieve equal opportunity, the Smithfield School Department recognizes the need to take affirmative action to identify classifications with an under-representation of minorities, females, or the disabled; to set goals and timetables for increasing the employment of under-represented groups; and to develop an Affirmative Action Plan for implementing those reasonable goals through outreach, recruitment, training, and other special activities and commitments.
The Smithfield School Department has posted, in prominent locations, a copy of the grievance procedure, which provides for prompt and fair resolution of complaints alleging discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, or veteran status. The Smithfield School Department has developed procedures for providing an internal response to complaints or inquiries of discrimination.
POLICY ON RELIGIOUS ACCOMODATIONS AND NATIONAL ORIGIN
The Smithfield School Department is committed to providing accommodations for religious observances and practices in response to an employee’s request. Religious accommodations will be in conformance with the appropriate labor agreement provisions.
The Smithfield School Department does not discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of national origin in conformance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Rhode Island General Laws 28-5.1.
POLICY ON SEX DISCRIMINATION
The Smithfield School Department, in conformance with state and federal sex discrimination guidelines, shall provide an equal opportunity for employment to applicants of both sexes for placement in any available position that they are qualified to perform. Such opportunity shall include, but not be limited to, recruitment, selection, promotion, job assignment, salaries/wages, hours of work, employee benefits, job policies and practices, hiring, layoffs, recall from layoffs, transfers, demotions, leaves, training, appointments, discipline, or any other condition of employment.
POLICY ON AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990, As Amended
It is the policy of the Smithfield School Department to be an equal opportunity employer. The School Department shall not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, and Rhode Island Executive Order No. 92-2, dated January 23, 1992, or any subsequent amendment thereto.
POLICY ON REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION
It is the policy of the Smithfield School Department to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment. The Smithfield School Department will adhere to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, Chapters 28-5.1 and 42-87 of the Rhode Island General Laws, as amended, Executive Order No. 93-1 and all other applicable regulations and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations, as required, to afford equal employment opportunity to qualified individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations shall be provided in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Reasonable accommodation shall include making accommodations usable and accessible to individuals with disabilities. It may also include modifying work schedules, acquiring modifying devices, training, and providing available supports and other similar accommodations.
POLICY ON PROHIBITING RACIAL HARASSMENT
Racial harassment is a form of prohibited race discrimination and will not be tolerated at the Smithfield School Department. Racial harassment in the workplace may include, but is not limited to, explicit verbal abuse, displays of offensive materials of a racial nature, and intimidation based on race by a person of one race against a person of the same or another race.
The Smithfield School Department prohibits racial harassment in the workplace and will provide methods and educational programs to sensitize and inform all concerned. Supervisors will take all steps necessary to prevent racial harassment from occurring, such as disseminating this policy, affirmatively raising the subject, expressing strong disapproval, and informing the employees of their right to raise and how to raise the issue of harassment.
POLICY ON PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION
The Smithfield School Department recognizes that full access of all people and groups to educational opportunities and full participation in educational experiences should be the policy and practice of educational agencies. All individuals and groups must be afforded the opportunity to participate fully, and thereby reach, their maximum potential. Barriers to student participation, which are based on sexual orientation or gender identification, must be identified and removed.
Article II – Dissemination
- All advertisements with regard to employment and promotion in the Smithfield School Department shall indicate that the school system is an equal opportunity employer.
- Vacancies and new positions shall be advertised throughout the system.
- Vacancies shall be posted in every school and shall contain a description of and the qualifications for the position.
- Vacancies shall be posted for a minimum of ten days prior to the final date when applications must be received.
- A copy of all vacancies for all personnel shall be posted in each building.
- Vacancies shall be advertised in the local labor force area.
- Copies of the Affirmative Action Plan shall be posted in prominent areas for both certified and non-certified personnel. A copy of the Affirmative Action Plan will be available at each school in the Smithfield School Department Policy Manual.
Article III – Duties and Responsibilities
- School Committee – The ultimate responsibility for the Affirmative Action program is vested in the School Committee. The authority to carry out the provisions of the Affirmative Action Plan shall be delegated to the Superintendent and the Affirmative Action Officer.
- Superintendent – The Superintendent is the chief administrative agent of the Smithfield School Committee. The Superintendent shall make all recommendations for appointment to positions to the Smithfield School Committee for their ultimate approval in accordance with the law. All reports from the Affirmative Action Officer to the Smithfield School Committee shall be submitted through the Office of the Superintendent.
- The EEO/Affirmative Action Officer – The Smithfield School Committee assigns responsibility for the day-to-day operations and implementation of this plan to the EEO/AAP Officer whom they so designate.
- Equal Employment Opportunity – Affirmative Action Committee – Smithfield School Committee will establish a district wide task force to deal with equal employment opportunity and Affirmative Action. The task force will report directly to the Superintendent and must have the following responsibilities:
- Advises the Smithfield School Committee on efforts to be made toward equal employment opportunities/Affirmative Action.
- Monitors the provisions of the EEO/AA Plan and provides support for all officers of Smithfield charged with the implementation of those provisions.
- Maintains essential two-way communication between the Smithfield School Committee and the Smithfield community.
- Advises the Smithfield School Committee on programs for broadening educational and employment opportunities for minority groups and women, and recommends programs to strengthen the actions of Smithfield in the areas of civil rights and human relations.
- Reports annually to the Superintendent in writing.
- Recommends Affirmative Action policies and programs, within guidelines established by the LEA, the State and Federal Government, to the Superintendent.
- Reviews progress reports and projections of the Affirmative Action Officer.
- Assists the Affirmative Action Officer with short and long range plans:
a. For effecting recommendations promulgated by governmental agencies.
b. For effecting recommendations developed by the Task Force on EEO/AA or AAO.
- In any instance where confidentiality is necessary, the Task Force on EEO/AA may restrict attendance at portions of its meetings to its own membership and its selected resource persons.
5. Equal Opportunity – Affirmative Action Committee – The Smithfield School Committee shall appoint a permanent Affirmative Action Committee for the purpose of advising the Smithfield School Committee in all matters relating Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action in the Smithfield School Department and in the operation of this plan and its guidelines.
Membership of the Committee shall include, but not be limited to, employees from each major category of employment within the School Department. Minorities and women, as well as others, will be represented. The EEO/AAP Officer shall be a member ex-officio.
The Committee shall consist of five (5) members who shall serve three-year staggered terms. Initially two of the members shall be appointed for three-year terms, two for two-year terms, and one for a one-year term.
Article IV – Data Collection
Basic data collection will be collected annually. The basic data will include:
1. A summary showing cumulative figures by gender for each racial and ethnic group.
2. A summary by school showing figures by gender for each racial and ethnic group.
3. A summary by job classification by gender for each racial and ethnic group.
4. A summary of promotions and terminations for the proceeding year by race and gender.
5. A comparison of employment data with the previous year.
Article V – Goals and Timetables
The main concern of the Smithfield School Committee is the guarantee of equality of opportunity with regard to recruitment and promotions with the system.
- The School Committee will establish separate goals and timetables relating to the employment of all persons covered by this plan in each job category in which they are under-utilized in the Smithfield School Department’s work force.
- The goals and timetables will be stated as projections of the likely representation of minorities and women as a result of the School Committee’s good faith efforts to make all aspects of its Affirmative Action Plan work.
- The projections will be based on the utilization analysis referred to in Article III above, expected turnover in positions, and other factors set forth in applicable regulations.
- The Smithfield School Committee’s goals and timetables will not be developed or administered as quotas, nor will they be administered in a manner which discriminates in hiring, appointing, or promoting any individual on the grounds of race, color, sex, religion, age, physical handicap, or country of ancestral origin.
- Goals and timetables will be projected, for appropriate positions, for women and racial/ethnic minorities. Goals and timetables will not be projected and utilization analysis will not be conducted on the basis of religion, age, handicap, or veteran status.
Grievance Procedure for Discrimination Complaints
LEA Policy on Affirmative Action states:
Equal opportunity without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, age, handicap, and/or sex; and the affirmative action toward its achievement in the hiring and promotional practices in the Smithfield School Department is and has been recognized by the Smithfield School Committee to be of primary importance.
- “Days” means actual working days, for complaint filed by employees.
- “LEA” means Local Education Agency.
- “Employee” means a person who is employed by the LEA.
- A “complaint” is a charge alleging an action or inaction by the LEA which violates the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Plan.
- “Affirmative Action Officer” means that employee designated by the LEA to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under the Affirmative Action Plan.
- “Principal” means chief officer of local school.
- “Superintendent” means chief officer of LEA.
All complaints brought by employees shall be handled in the following manner:
Step 1. Informal Complaint Procedure for Employees
Within twenty (20) days of the time that the employee knew, or should have known, of the alleged violation; OR
Within twenty (20) days of the publication of this complaint procedure, whichever is later, the complainant shall present the complaint in writing to the Affirmative Action Officer. Within five (5) days after the presentation of the complaint, the immediate supervisor shall answer the complaint in writing.
Complaint Procedure for Students and Parents/Guardians
Within twenty (20) days of the time that the student or parent knew, or reasonably should have known, of the alleged violation; OR
Within twenty (20) days of the publication of this complaint procedure, whichever is later, the complainant shall present the complaint in writing to the building principal. Within five (5) days after presentation of the complaint, the building principal shall answer the complaint in writing.
Step 2 – Superintendent of Schools
- If the complaint is not resolved in Step 1, the complainant may, within five (5) days of receipt of the supervisor’s/building principal’s answer, appeal to the Superintendent of
- Schools by filing the complaint and the supervisor’s/building principal’s answer, along with any additional information relevant to the complaint with the Office of the Superintendent of Schools.
Such written complaint(s) shall:
- Name the employee or student involved.
- State the facts giving rise to the complaint and the date(s) of the alleged violation.
- Identify the specific provisions of the implementing regulations alleged to be violated.
- Indicate the specific relief requested.
3. The Office of the Superintendent shall hear the complaint within twenty (20) days of receipt of any written complaint properly filed with the Superintendent’s Office. The complainant shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the facts and to the issue raised by the complainant and may be represented by counsel.
4. The Superintendent shall render his/her decision in writing within ten (10) days of such hearing.
5. The complainant shall be furnished a copy of the decision of the Superintendent.
Step 3 – The School Committee
- If the complaint is not resolved in step 2, the complainant may, within five (5) days of receipt of the EEO/AA Officer’s answer, appeal to the Smithfield School Committee by filing the complaint and the EEO/AA’s Officer’s written response to the complaint with the Chairperson of the Smithfield School Committee through the Office of the Superintendent of Schools.
- The Smithfield School Committee shall hear the complaint within ten (10) days of receipt of any written complaint properly filed with the Smithfield School Committee and shall render their decision in writing within ten (10) days of such hearing.
- The complainant and respondent shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the facts and to the issues raised by the complaint and may be represented by counsel at the hearing of a complaint by the Smithfield School Committee.
- The complainant shall be furnished a copy of the decision of the Smithfield School Committee.
- The decision of the Smithfield School Committee shall be final within the School Corporation.
Failure to Observe Time Limits
In the event the complainant fails to exhaust remedies under the complaint procedure provided above, or fails to abide by the time limits with respect to each step, the complaint shall be presumed to be abandoned and the matter shall be settled in accordance with the Smithfield School Department’s last answer thereto. In the event that the Smithfield School Department fails to provide its answer at each step within the time limits prescribed, the complainant shall have the right to proceed immediately to the next step. Any time limit may be extended by mutual agreement of the complainant and the Smithfield School Department.
Effect of Settlement
Any settlement or offer of settlement of a complaint shall be applicable to that complaint only and shall not be used for the disposition of any other complaint.
Inquiries relative to complaints of discrimination may also be made by contacting the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Washington, DC 20201; or the Regional Office for Civil Rights, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Boston, MA 02203.
Article VI – Personnel Practices and Procedures
The Smithfield School Department shall maintain a basic data file on all employees.
- Posting of Vacancy Announcements – All vacancies for all positions at all levels in the Smithfield School Department will be openly posted in places that are prominent to all employees in all units. The posting period shall be of sufficient duration to allow time for interested personnel to consider applying.
- Public Announcements of Vacancies – Public announcements of all vacancies will advertised in the local labor force area.
- Additional Measures Recommended by the EEO/AAP Officer and the Smithfield School Committee’s Affirmative Action Committee – Additions to and/or modifications of these recruitment procedures may be recommended for the purposes of achieving the goals of this plan.
- All employees will be permitted to apply for higher or more favorable (from a career perspective) positions.
- The EEO/AAP Officer and/or the Affirmative Action Committee will conduct an annual review of all benefits for employees of the Smithfield School Department and the Town of Smithfield to assure that said benefits are available to employees without discrimination on any prohibited ground. The reviews will include all medical, hospital, accident, life insurance, and all other benefits provided by the Smithfield School Department and the Town of Smithfield.
Article VII – Complaints of Discrimination
All complaints emanating from certified personnel below the administrative level will follow the grievance procedure outlined in the Affirmative Action Plan. Complaints at the administrative level will be reviewed by the Superintendent or Smithfield School Committee, as appropriate.
Article VIII – Training and Education
All employees of the Smithfield School Department will be provided with information regarding the Affirmative Action Plan and Title IX on an annual basis.
Article IX – Construction Vending and Consultation
All contractors having contracts with the jurisdiction and its various agencies who are subject to Executive order 11246, as well as any applicable state or local law or regulations regarding non-discrimination in government contracts, will be advised of the Smithfield School Committee’s policy of non-discrimination, and of the contractor’s obligations thereunder. The Town of Smithfield will not enter into any contract having knowledge or belief that the contractor will discriminate on prohibited grounds in employment. In appropriate instances, the Smithfield School Committee will negotiate specific Affirmative Action measures in the applicable contract.
Article X – Community Involvement
Copies of the Affirmative Action policy will be on hand at the Superintendent’s Office for examination and study and will be sent to any locally-based organization or agency having an interest in education or the equal treatment of minority groups. Meetings between representatives of interested groups and the Affirmative Action Officer will be held at a mutually agreeable time and place in order to provide input with regard to additions or deletions in the Affirmative Action Plan.
Article XI – External Relationships: Unions, Employment Agencies, Contractors
Nothing in this policy should be interpreted as invalidating any lawful provision of any contract existing between the Town of Smithfield and a union or other duly established bargaining agent of employees.
Conversely, the Town of Smithfield will not be party to a collective bargaining agreement, or any provision of one which violates Equal Employment Opportunity laws and regulations. The appropriate officials of all unions and other bargaining agents with which the Town of Smithfield has contracts will be provided with copies of this Affirmative Action Plan and be advised of the responsibilities of all employees, including union members, under it.
ADOPTED: April 5, 1999
REVISED: March 21, 2011, September 19, 2016