It is the (name of entity or agency involved) policy that all employees have a right to work in an environment free of discrimination, which encompasses freedom from sexual harassment. The (entity's name) strongly disapproves of sexual harassment of its employees in any form, and states that all employees at all levels of the (the entity) must avoid offensive or inappropriate sexual and/or sexually harassing behavior at work and will be held responsible for insuring that the workplace is free from sexual harassment.
Specifically, the (entity's name) prohibits the following:
Other sexually harassing conduct in the office, whether physical or verbal, committed by supervisors or non-supervisory personnel is also prohibited. This behavior includes, but is not limited to, commentary about an individual's body, sexually degrading words to describe an individual, offensive comments, off color language or jokes, innuendoes, and sexually suggestive objects, books, magazines, photos, cartoons or pictures.
Unwelcome sexual advances;
Request for sexual favors, whether or not accompanied by promises or threats with regard to the employment relationship;
Other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature made to any employee that may threaten or insinuate either explicitly or implicitly that any employee's submission to or rejection of sexual advances will in any way influence any personnel decision regarding that person's employment, evaluation, wages, advancement, assigned duties, or any other condition of employment or career development;
Any verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the employee's ability to do his/her job; or
Any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Employees who have complaints of sexual harassment by anyone at work, including any supervisors, co-employees or visitors are urged to report such conduct to the (entity), director or officers so that the (entity) may investigate and resolve the problem. Employees may bring such matters to the direct attention of their supervisors, to the Director or, for State entities, to the Secretary of Administration. If the complaint involves the supervisor or someone in the direct line of supervision, or if the employee for any reason is uncomfortable in dealing with his/her immediate supervisor, the employee may go to another supervisor, the Director or, for State entities, directly to the State's Human Resources officer.
The (entity) will endeavor to investigate all complaints as expeditiously and as professionally as possible. Where investigations confirm the allegations, appropriate corrective action will be taken.
The (entity) will make every attempt to maintain the information provided to it in the complaint and investigation process as confidential as possible.
There will be no retaliation against employees for reporting sexual harassment or assisting the (entity) in the investigation of a complaint. However, if after investigating any complaint of harassment or unlawful discrimination, the (entity) learns that the compliant is not bona fide or that an employee has provided false information regarding the complaint, disciplinary action may be taken against the individual who provided the false information.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and must be directed at the receiver due to genera. People can be harassed by members of their own sex.
Sexual harassment violates state and federal law when:
PREVENTING EMPLOYER LIABILITY
- Submission to such conduct is either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment.
- Submission or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions for an individual such as a promotion or raise.
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individuals' work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
If an employee complains of being sexual harassed, the employer should:
- Establish a clear, zero-tolerance sexual harassment/discrimination policy which is well communicated throughout the workplace. (see the (entity) sample policy on page ___). Workers should be able to address complaints to someone outside of their chain of command. Also, the personnel office should be immediately notified by supervisor of any complaints or even discussions of possible harassment.
- Continually train for awareness and prevention. Managers and their workers need to know and be reminded of the State's policy, values and expectations, and what to do when problems arise. Training should include how to address problems through either informal or formal procedures, and how to be sensitive to general differences and problems in the workplace. Workers should be encouraged to report cases of harassment.
- Any offender should be appropriately and timely disciplined. Even when there are mixed or no findings of harassment, employees should be warned or counseled on gender sensitivity in the workplace.
- Establish an agency policy to document reasons for all employment-related decisions.
WHAT AN EMPLOYEE SHOULD DO
- Conduct a prompt, thorough investigation to find out if harassment has occurred. It is important that each complaint is taken seriously and investigated immediately.
- Take detailed statements from the person filing the compliant, the alleged harasser and witnesses.
- Write a confidential, detailed report that includes a determination whether the allegations are supported by the investigation. The agency may wish to consult the personnel department or their legal counsel at this point.
- Take immediate corrective action if necessary. (The failure to do this is often the reason claims are filed).
Fore more information contact BRIM or State entities may call the West Virginia Director of Personnel.
- Do not ignore or tolerate sexual harassment. Tell the offending person to stop his or her behavior.
- Document in writing what has happened. List the names and job titles of the harasser and witnesses as well as the date and locations of the comments or behavior. Be sure to include personal filings and responses during and after the incident.
- Report the incident to supervisor or the person in your agency designated for such complaints. If the supervisor is the harasser, complain directly to the personnel department.
- Use the state's formal complaint process or the communication process set up in your agency's sexual harassment policy.
- Employees also have the right to file a formal complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Bureau of Labor or the State Equal Employment Opportunity officer.
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