Our Statement of Position on Harassment

You may have read a media report on Huffington Post that United Way Worldwide (UWW) has been accused of retaliation against women employees who spoke out about reports of sexual harassment. These are serious charges which are now being independently investigated (see below).

We are a local United Way serving the communities of Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth and Terryville. We feel it is important to clarify the values, policies, and mission of United Way of West Central Connecticut, as well as our relationship to UWW.

Values: 

Our organization is built on a foundation of respect, trust, and transparency. We strive to create a culture where employees feel safe and valued, and where they feel empowered to come forward and report any departure from those values.

Policy: 

United Way of West Central Connecticut has a Zero Tolerance policy for harassment or discrimination of any kind. Our sexual harassment guidelines are based on rules and procedures established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and will be used to determine whether sexual harassment has occurred.

Training:

We require extensive periodic sexual harassment training for all employees that meets Connecticut state and EEOC requirements.

Reporting: 

Any person who believes that he/she is the victim of any type of harassment should bring that conduct to the immediate attention of the President & CPO or any member of the Executive Committee.  The organization will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of all the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident in a confidential manner.  If the investigation discloses that an individual has committed an act of discrimination, that individual will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.   

Broader Harassment Policy: 

Our policy on sexual harassment is part of a broader policy against harassment.  We prohibit all forms of harassment based on an individual's race, religion, color, creed, national origin, age, sex, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other categories protected by federal, state, or local law.

Mission of United Way of West Central Connecicut: 

Our mission is “Together we inspire and empower our community; creating long-lasting impact.”  We do so by focusing on the health, education and financial stability of every one in each of the four towns we serve.

Relationship to United Way Worldwide: 

United Way of West Central Connecticut is one of nearly 1,100 locally-run member organizations of United Way Worldwide (UWW). 

We are a separate and autonomous organization that is governed by a local board of volunteer directors, who have ultimate authority and oversight over our United Way.

United Way Worldwide Response to Allegations:

Suzanne McCormick, President, United Way Worldwide, sent the following statement to local United Way Presidents on Monday, November 23, 2020. We intend to share any future UWW responses in full transparency once we receive them: 

“United Way Worldwide (UWW) takes all workplace issues and reports of misconduct very seriously. Any type of misconduct is met with zero tolerance and UWW has strong policies and procedures in place to report and address this type of behavior; including protections for those who lodge complaints about misconduct.

We have engaged the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP to independently investigate allegations of misconduct and review our policies and procedures to ensure that they continue to support an inclusive, respectful and safe work environment. Due to the ongoing investigation and the confidential nature of the claims referenced, we cannot discuss the allegations further.”

For more information, please contact our President, Donna Osuch, at dosuch@uwwestcentralct.org.