The University at Buffalo (UB), the University Medical Resident Services, P.C. (UMRS) and the University Dental Resident Services, P.C. (UDRS) are committed to ensuring that no discrimination against or harassment of individuals will occur based on any factor protected by federal or state laws, regulations or executive orders. UB, UMRS and UDRS recognize the adverse effect of discrimination and harassment on medical education and patient care. Therefore, the following policy and procedure has been adopted to ensure a working and learning environment free of discrimination and harassment.
It is the express policy of UB, UMRS and UDRS to: Comply with all federal and state laws, as well as executive orders; Prohibit different treatment of an individual or group based upon protected characteristics as defined below; Provide an educational, training and work environment free from discrimination or harassment on the bases listed below.
A violation of this policy will result in appropriate action (see section below, Corrective Measures).
An individual bringing forward a complaint of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, whether on the individual's own behalf or on behalf of another person or group.
An individual or entity against whom a complaint has been filed.
Discrimination is different treatment of an individual or group based upon race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, gender, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, familial status, veteran status, military status, or domestic violence victim status (together defined as “protected characteristics”). Sex discrimination includes, but is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. Policies or practices that adversely impact a protected group may also constitute discrimination, even when applied in a consistent manner.
Discrimination may result from failure to provide accommodations to individuals when required due to the individual's disability, religion, pregnancy status, maternity, breastfeeding, transgender status, or sexual violence victim status.
Discrimination may also result from the failure to consider applicants with criminal convictions for participation in a UB-sponsored training program on an individualized basis, in accordance with GME’s Pre-Employment Background Investigation Policy for Residents and Fellows.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
Harassment is a form of discrimination consisting of oral, written, graphic or physical conduct relating to an individual's protected characteristics that has the effect of subjecting the individual to inferior terms, conditions or privileges of employment or interferes with or limits the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs or activities. Such conduct must amount to more than petty slights or trivial inconveniences, but need not be severe or pervasive. Engaging in speech or expression protected by the First Amendment is not a violation of the university's policies against discrimination and harassment.
New York State requires that all employers, including UB, UMRS and UDRS, ensure that their employees complete sexual harassment prevention training annually. ACGME also requires that UB GME “must have a process for education of residents/fellows and faculty members regarding unprofessional behavior” (Institutional Requirement III.B.6.d).(1)).
Residents and Fellows employed by UMRS and UDRS must complete EDI’s online program or EDI in-person session or alternate training; as approved by EDI. Residents and Fellows must follow the policies outlined in this training and are responsible for knowing and complying with the information provided in the training. Completion is monitored by UB GME. Residents and Fellows may also satisfy the training requirement through a program provided by a hospital or other provider. In this instance, Residents and Fellows must submit proof of training completion to EDI and review the University’s policies for addressing sexual harassment. Faculty complete training that is compliant with New York State and ACGME requirements through their employers.
Effective June 2022: Following completion of the asynchronous training described above, programs are responsible for conducting a synchronous discussion with residents/fellows and faculty at least annually. This discussion will include, at minimum, identifying, reporting (in accordance with this policy) and mitigating discrimination and harassment.
An individual who believes he or she has been subject to discrimination or harassment (complainant) has the following options:
Residents and fellows who observe or become aware of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and other forms of discrimination or harassment should report this information to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, which also serves as the university’s Title IX Office.
Supervisors (including Program Directors, Chairs, faculty, and residents/fellows acting as supervisors as defined in the UB GME Supervision Policy) who observe or become aware of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and other forms of discrimination or harassment must report this information to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, which also serves as the university’s Title IX Office.
Complaints of harassment and discrimination will be investigated by individuals with experience and knowledge in handling such matters. The GME Office will monitor the outcome and progress of the investigation. Information about complaints must be kept confidential to the maximum extent possible. (See section below, Confidentiality.)
The University will strive to honor an individual’s choice as to how to proceed with reported information to the extent possible, including a decision not to proceed with a formal complaint and investigation. In some circumstances, the University may be required to proceed with an investigation and remedial action even if the reporting party does not wish that action be taken. These situations will arise when informal means of resolution cannot mitigate further risk of discrimination, harassment, or harm to the reporting party or others. When analyzing whether the University must take action on reports of sexual violence (including sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and domestic violence), the following factors will be considered: (1) whether the accused has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender, (2) whether the incident represents escalation, such as a situation that previously involved sustained stalking, (3) the increased risk that the accused will commit additional acts of violence, (4) whether the accused used a weapon or force, (5) whether the victim is a minor, (6) whether we possess other means to obtain evidence such as taped security footage, and (7) whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.
Due to the nature of resident assignments, it is a common occurrence that the reporting party, the party against whom the complaint is made, and/or third-party witnesses are not employees of UB/UMRS/UDRS or share dual appointments with an affiliated hospital. In the event that parties or witnesses to a complaint are employed by an affiliated hospital, the GME Office shall coordinate with the Human Resources Department of the affiliated hospital and EDI to determine the assignment of responsibility for complaint investigation. A joint investigation may be conducted by EDI and the affiliated hospital if appropriate. Additionally, a complaining party may choose to pursue a complaint through the applicable policy and procedure of an affiliated hospital. In this event, the GME Office shall maintain contact with the individual(s) investigating the complaint to ensure that an appropriate investigation is conducted and that all parties are afforded the rights and protections specified below (See section, Rights and Protections).
Parties to an investigation have the following rights and protections:
It is expected that individuals handling complaints, as well as Program Directors, Department Chairs and other individuals who have knowledge about a complaint situation, will not disclose or discuss the subject of a complaint or information about an investigation, except under limited circumstances which may include: (1) necessary interactions with the administration of UB or affiliated hospitals; (2) mandatory reporting in accordance with the medical staff bylaws of the affiliated hospital, the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct, or other ethical requirements; (3) otherwise as required by law or court order. Individuals who have been designated to investigate complaints may also be required, in the course of the investigatory process, to notify third-party witnesses that they are being questioned in connection with a discrimination complaint. In this event, third-party witnesses will be provided information only as necessary.
Parties against whom claims are raised have the right to be notified of the specific charges against them, to answer to such charges, and to provide the names of witnesses or other evidence in support of their defense.
Freedom from Retaliation
It is unlawful and against University policy to take action in retaliation for any complaint filed or reported, or against any witness who testifies or provides evidence in support of or against a person who has been charged with harassment or discrimination. Claims of retaliation will be investigated as separate charges.
Records of claims or allegations which, after investigation, are not substantiated will be retained in a confidential file in the GME Office. Records of substantiated harassment claims will be retained in the charged resident's personnel file in the GME Office as well as in the resident's file maintained by his/her Program Director, as listed in the UB GME Record Retention Policy. The GME Office will keep these records strictly confidential and will not be released except for legitimate business reasons or as mandated by law. Records of an investigation may also be maintained, as necessary and appropriate, by the University's Office of EDI and/or the Human Resources Department of the University or affiliated hospitals.
If, after investigation, it is found that a complainant's charge is substantiated, necessary corrective action will be taken to remedy any discrimination or harassment. The residency program director will receive notice of the outcome of the investigation and, if appropriate, any recommendations to remedy or resolve the situation. Corrective measures, including counseling, reassignment and/or change in duties, suspension (with or without compensation), or dismissal may be appropriate in accordance with the GME Academic Action Policy or the GME Misconduct Policy. Actions regarding individuals who are not UB residents or fellows will be taken in accordance with relevant UB and affiliated institutional policies and procedures.
If the respondent is subject to disciplinary action (e.g. suspension, non-promotion, non-renewal, dismissal), an appeal may be made through the Academic Action and Misconduct Due Process Policy.
In the case of alleged sexual violence, the complainant may request the appointment of a Special Committee to review the outcome of the investigation. The Committee must include an individual who is experienced in handling discrimination and harassment investigations and who has not previously been involved with the case, a residency Program Director or Department Chair, and a faculty representative. The Committee will conduct a panel review of the case involving both the complainant and respondent, and report findings and recommendations to the DIO within thirty days of the Committee's appointment, unless exceptional circumstances warrant an extension of time.
In all other situations, there is no appeal of an investigation. A complainant may file a charge of discrimination with the appropriate State or Federal enforcement agencies at any point in the process, subject to applicable time limitations. These agencies include:
New York State Division of Human Rights
Main Place Tower
350 Main St., 10th Fl., Suite 1000B
Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 847-7632
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
6 Fountain Plaza, Suite 350
Buffalo, NY 14202
Telephone No. (800) 669-4000
Office for Civil Rights, New York Office
U.S. Department of Education
32 Old Slip, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10005-2500
ACGME Institutional Requirements Effective 7/1/2022
Reviewed by GMEC: 05/08; 1/10; 1/13; 1/17; 9/19; 6/22