A 113-year old mortuary school in upstate New York has been asked to pay $30,000 in damages following sexual harassment charges filed by several female students. According to the state Attorney General’s Office, the president and CEO of the school has agreed to the settlement, which will include policy modification and reform. The office filed the suit following multiple complaints from female students charging unwanted sexual touching and pregnancy discrimination.
The attorney general firmly reiterated the severity of the violation involved and stated it is a direct infringement against an individual’s rights to be harassed or discriminated against in any unwanted lascivious manner. It is a behavior not to be tolerated in the state of NY.
The school in question is one of the few institutions to train funeral directors in mortuary procedures. Complaints about harassment were reported to the attorney general’s office as far back as 2011. It was at that time the investigation began.
Complaints from students and employees were targeted to the school’s director, an alumni of the school. The victims claimed he maintained a practice of acting in a sexually inappropriate way. He allegedly refused to allow pregnant girls to engage in certain learning activities even when cleared by a medical doctor.
Although it is a private school, it is under obligation to obey parameters and guidelines from Title IX Act under the Civil Rights bill, which makes it illegal for any institution receiving public money to engage in sexual discrimination in an educational environment.
Although funeral service has mostly been a male-dominated profession, more than half the students entering the schools today are female. These females have the same rights as men to be protected from sexual harassment and workplace discrimination since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Syracuse.com, “Syracuse mortuary school agrees to pay $30,000 in sexual harassment suit” Ken Sturtz, Oct. 31, 2013