POLICY CONCERNING HARASSMENT/SEXUAL HARASSMENT
1. To establish policy prohibiting all forms of harassment.
2. To define procedure for reporting harassment.
3. To establish guidelines for administration of discipline.
Harassment is unwarranted and unwanted verbal or nonverbal conduct which threatens, intimidates, pesters, annoys, or insults another person, where such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an offensive, intimidating, degrading, or hostile environment, or interferes with or adversely affects a person’s work performance.
Harassment does not include the conduct or actions of Supervisors intended to provide employee discipline, such as deficiency notices, performance evaluations, oral warnings, reprimands or other Supervisory actions intended to promote positive performance.
STATEMENT OF POLICY:
It is the policy of the City that harassment will not be tolerated. This represents the organizational policy of the City of Jennings concerning sexual harassment. Any questions concerning the context or content of this policy should be discussed with your department head or the Mayor.
It is the belief of the City of Jennings that its employees are the primary means by which the goals and objectives of the municipality will be met. All employees of the City of Jennings must understand its position on harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, or inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature when the conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment or the holding of office, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace are prohibited by federal law through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and by state law through La. R.S. 23:301 et seq. These laws prohibit both quid pro quo harassment, which arises when consent to sexual demands is made an express or implied condition of employment, and hostile work environment harassment, which arises when the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and created an abusive working environment.
Sexual harassment may be defined as unsolicited, offensive behavior that inappropriately asserts sexuality over employees including but not limited to the following:
a) Verbal: Sexual innuendos, suggestive comments, threats, sexual humor;
b) Non-Verbal: Leering, whistling, obscene gestures, showing inappropriate images; and
c) Physical: Touching, brushing the body, coerced sexual activity, assault, impeding egress or passage.
Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace shall not be tolerated and the City of Jennings will take appropriate action to end any such harassment and/or prevent the recurrence of any such misconduct. If a person’s behavior makes an employee uncomfortable, the employee should feel free to immediately advise the person that, in the employee’s opinion, the behavior is inappropriate, and that the employee would like it stopped.
Any employee of the City of Jennings may file a complaint of sexual harassment. Any employee who believes he or she has been subjected to unlawful sexual harassment, or has been retaliated against for reporting such activities or assisting in a related investigation of such activities, must report the alleged act immediately or as soon as possible to your supervisor, Personnel Office, or City Attorney at City Hall at 337-821-5500. It is not necessary for an employee to complain to an offending supervisor in order to report sexual harassment. If, for whatever reason, the employee does not feel that the persons named in this paragraph are suitable persons to whom to report the incident, the employee should contact the Mayor at City Hall at 337-821-5500.
Whether or not a particular incident is sexual harassment requires a complete factual investigation, and the City of Jennings will conduct such investigations on all complaints in a manner so as not to cause any serious effect on innocent employees who either file a complaint and/or may be the subject of a filed complaint. In all instances, a prompt and thorough investigation will take place, giving careful consideration to protect the rights and dignity of all persons involved.
It is mandatory that all parties to an allegation of sexual harassment participate in the investigation of the incident, and cooperation in the investigation of claims of harassment is an express element of each employee’s employment with the City of Jennings. The City of Jennings will take those steps it feels necessary to resolve the problem, which may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension or termination.
The City of Jennings will investigate by gathering information, in as confidential a manner as possible, given the need to investigate the complaint, from all concerned parties, and it will not retaliate against any employee as a result of reports of alleged harassment or cooperation with any investigation. The City of Jennings may consult its legal representative for assistance in determining whether conduct that has occurred does in fact constitute sexual harassment. The City of Jennings may also make subsequent inquiries from time to time to ensure offensive conduct does not resume and/or that the subject of such harassment has not suffered any retaliation.
No retaliation of any kind will be tolerated because an employee in good faith reports an incident of suspected harassment. The supervisor, or other person to whom the complaint was made, will work to establish mutually agreed upon safeguards against retaliation while attempting to mediate any sexual harassment complaint.
Any employee, manager, or supervisor found by the City of Jennings to have unlawfully sexually harassed, or unlawfully retaliated against, another employee will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination. If any employee, manager, or supervisor is found by the City of Jennings to have intentionally made a false allegation of sexual harassment, that individual will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination.
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation by the City of Jennings, a complainant may pursue a claim under state and/or federal law.
1. In any case in which the Supervisor is witness to or confronted with a situation of harassment, the Supervisor shall immediately notify the offending party that harassment is not appropriate and will not be tolerated. Ultimate disciplinary action will await completion of the reporting procedure.
2. An employee subjected to any form of harassment should report such activity to his/her non-involved Supervisor, Department Head, Personnel, City Attorney or directly to the Mayor.
3. A Supervisor is required to report harassment cases to his/her Department Head, who, in turn, is required to report the matter to the City Attorney. Such reports to superiors and to the City Attorney are to be made regardless of how knowledge of the case was acquired.
4. The City Attorney shall investigate and submit to the Mayor a report setting forth the facts of the case and a recommendation for action.
5. The results of the investigation and the nature of the disciplinary action will be communicated by the Mayor’s Office to both the complainant and the offender as well as the affected Department Head. Either party may appeal the decision through the normal grievance procedure if it is felt the findings were incorrect or the disciplinary action inappropriate.
An employee who harasses another employee or member of the public may be subject to the full range of disciplinary action, including discharge.
Derek A. Bisig
City of Jennings
154 N. Main Street
Jennings, LA 70546
Office (337) 821-5500
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