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HARASSMENT

This policy is intended to ensure an environment which respects the dignity and worth of each individual and is free from all forms of unlawful discrimination including sexual harassment and harassment because of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, political affiliation, belief, or activity, or any other characteristic prohibited by law.  Discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment, will not be tolerated.  This policy applies to all harassment occurring in the work environment whether in our offices or elsewhere.  The policy covers all employees of the District.

 

Sexual Harassment

For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

Submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s employment; or submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis of employment decisions affecting the individual; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Some examples of what may constitute sexual harassment are: threatening or taking adverse employment actions if sexual favors are not granted; demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable or preferential treatment; unwelcome flirtations, propositions or advances; unwelcome physical conduct or contact; whistling, leering, improper gestures or offensive remarks, including unwelcome comments about appearance; sexual jokes or inappropriate use of sexually explicit or offensive language; and the display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects, gestures, or pictures.  The list above is not intended to be all-inclusive.

Sexual Harassment Training

All employees and members of the STPMAD Board of Commissioners are required to take part in the STPMAD sexual harassment training annually.  Supervisory employees including the Director/Assistant Director are required to take additional sexual harassment training for managers. A signed document affirming each employee’s and board member’s participation in the training program will be kept on file.

Other Prohibited Harassment

For purposes of this policy, other prohibited harassment is defined as either verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law and that:

Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment; or

Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance.

Some examples of such harassment include, but are not limited to: using epithets or slurs; threatening, intimidating or engaging in hostile acts that focus on a protected characteristic, including jokes or pranks; or circulating in the workplace written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion to a person or group because of a protected characteristic. Inappropriate or unprofessional posts to social media, likes or any emoticon responses (e.g. sad face, angry face, laughing face, heart, etc.), or comments on someone else’s images, posts, or comments may also contribute to a hostile workplace.

Reporting Harassment

The District requires the prompt reporting of all incidents or discriminatory harassment.  If you believe you are being harassed or have observed harassment, you should promptly notify any supervisor or the Director/Assistant Director. If the harassment claim involves your immediate supervisor, you should notify another supervisor or the Director/Assistant Director directly. All supervisors are beholden to report claims they have received to the Director immediately. Supervisors that delay reporting more than one business day will be subject to discipline. If your claim of harassment involves the Director, you must report to the office manager. The office manager will contact the Board of Commissioners Chairperson who will investigate the claim in place of the Director with the same procedure listed below.

Harassment investigation process

When any report of harassment is made, the Director will undertake a prompt and thorough investigation as is appropriate under the circumstances.  The steps to be taken during the investigation will vary depending upon the nature of the allegations.  However, the Director will investigate the circumstances of the alleged event by meeting with both the alleged victim and alleged harasser and other potential witnesses to the harassment. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent practical and consistent with the organization’s needs.  Upon completion of the investigation, the outcome will be communicated to the aggrieved party and the person(s) accused and disciplinary action will be taken (including written warning, suspension, and dismissal), if appropriate. Actions taken will be documented and archived in a specific harassment file. If in the process of the investigation it is determined that a claim of sexual harassment was intentionally false, the accusatory party will be disciplined in accordance with the discipline table in Section 6.5 item 21. “Falsifying District records or lying to a supervisor—3-day suspension OR Dismissal.”

State and federal laws protect the rights of workers to ensure a workplace free of sexual harassment. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation by STPMAD, all employees have the right to pursue a claim of sexual harassment through the legal system under state or federal law.

Individuals who report harassment or are involved in the investigation of a harassment complaint will not be subject to reprisal or retaliation.  Retaliation is regarded as a very serious violation of this policy and should be reported immediately.