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Free Sample Sexual Harassment Policy
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Sample Sexual Harassment Policy


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Sexual Harassment

Policy

Employer ABC will provide a working environment free from sexual harassment.

Policy Rationale

Further to federal and state legal mandates, this policy intends to achieve the following:

·         Ensure all employees know what conduct is prohibited.

·         Ensure all victims and potential victims of sexual harassment are aware of their rights.

·         Inform all employees about the procedures available for resolving sexual harassment complaints.

Accused Party

The person charged with sexual harassment.

Coerced Sex Acts

Sex acts demanded of a person in exchange for maintaining or enhancing employment.

Complainant

The person or group who believes she/he/they has/have been a victim of sexual harassment.

Harassment Counselor

An individual who gives advice, suggestions, guidance, and acts as a resource for employees on issues of sexual harassment and harassment based on race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or age.

Environmental Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome sexual behavior towards another employee or group of employees is persistent and pervasive and has the intent or effect of interfering with the work environment such that a reasonable person would find the environment hostile or offensive.

Investigation

An inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment.

Mediation

Discussions/meeting between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise.

Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute where submission to such conduct is (either explicitly or implicitly):

·         A term or condition of employment.

·         Where submission or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision affecting that person.

·         Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance.

·         Creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Retaliation

Seeking revenge, reprisal or injury to another who has exercised the right to file a complaint or make a report of sexual harassment.

Sanction

The disciplinary action imposed on an individual found to have committed sexual harassment.

Employee

A person employed by ABC.

Purpose and Scope

Employer ABC will provide a working environment for all employees that is free from sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment in any form is unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated. These procedures are designed to:

·         Notify all employees of what conduct is prohibited.

·         Ensure that all victims and potential victims of sexual harassment are aware of their rights.

Examples

What constitutes sexual harassment will vary according to the particular circumstances:

·         Seeking sexual favors or relationships in return for the promise of a favorable employment opportunity.

·         Performing an employment-related action (such as hiring, promotion, salary increase, or performance appraisal) on a sexual favor or relationship.

·         Intentional and undesired physical contact, sexually explicit language or writing, pictures or notes, and sexually offensive conduct by individuals in positions of authority or co-workers who interfere with the ability of a person to perform his or her employment.

Isolated instances, e.g., a sexual overture, comment, or joke, ordinarily will not constitute sexual harassment unless the circumstances are egregious. Sexual behavior that is welcomed does NOT constitute harassment.

Disciplinary Action

Disciplinary action for sexual harassment may include any and all of the following:

·         Verbal warning.

·         Written warning.

·         Requirement to attend sensitivity training.

·         Work restrictions that limit or prevent contact with the offender and complainant.

·         Salary reduction.

·         Suspension.

·         Termination.

Educational Programs

Occupational Health and Safety provides educational and training programs to:

·         Help employees understand what does and does not constitute sexual harassment.

·         Make clear that sexual harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated.

Occupational Health and Safety will distribute copies of this policy to all departments, present at workshops and seminars and publish a  report summarizing the number, type, and outcome of sexual harassment complaints.  Note: The reports will not disclose the identities of and/or charged individuals.

Supervisor Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of supervisors, managers and vice presidents to:

·         Inform their employees of the sexual harassment procedures.

·         Notify Occupational Health and Safety when they receive sexual harassment complaints.

·         Enforce any corrective actions imposed under the terms of this policy.

Reporting Sexual Harassment

Any employee who believes she/he has been sexually harassed should report such harassment to Occupational Health and Safety.

Occupational Health and Safety

OH&S is responsible for processing discrimination complaints.  OH&S will attempt to resolve complaints through informal, impartial and confidential intervention or mediation.  Failing that, OH&S will undertake a formal, impartial and confidential investigation and hearing.

Complaints will only be investigated when the complainant makes a request.  In extraordinary circumstances, OH&S can investigate serious allegations brought to its attention by an individual or group who is not the complaining individual or party.

OH&S also serves to provide advice and guidance to individuals who believe that they have been sexually harassed.  OH&S offers a number of services, including, but not limited to:

·         Procedures.

·         Explaining the definition of sexual harassment.

·         Offering guidance on the appropriate recourse (i.e. immediate action, mediation or formal complaint investigation).

·         Providing information about counseling and support services available to employees.

OH&S will conduct most investigations and maintain formal, detailed and confidential records of confidential consultations.

Immediate Action

Employees who feel they have been sexually harassed should immediate action.  Please refer to Appendix A for steps that can be taken to stop harassment.  Employees are NOT required to take Immediate Action before pursuing one of the other options below.

Making a Complaint

The complaint procedure begins when a complaint is made to OH&S.  The complaint must detail in writing the act, identify the person/persons responsible, and the date on which the alleged act/acts occurred.  The complainant may be a single person or group.

Confidentiality

All individuals involved in the complaint must maintain confidentiality of all proceedings.

OH&S will reiterate the importance of confidentiality in meetings with parties and witnesses and all involved parties are expected not to reveal any information they learn during the proceedings.  ABC will take all measures to ensure the confidentiality of all aspects of the proceeding.  Notwithstanding these measures, ABC does not guarantee that parties will maintain confidentiality.  Confidentiality does not mean that details of the complaint will be withheld from the charged party.

Time Restrictions

Prompt reporting of a complaint is best as it increases the chance of a rapid response to and resolution.  Complaints must be filed with OH&S within  from the date of the alleged harassment.

Internal vs. External Complaint

The complainant may have the complaint mediated or investigated internally in accordance with this policy or may file a formal charge of discrimination externally with a federal or state agency authorized by law to investigate such claims.

The complainant is free at ANY time to file a charge or institute formal proceedings with a federal or state agency.  If a formal charge is filed with a federal or state agency or a lawsuit is filed, OH&S will proceed in the manner deemed appropriate.  OH&S will accept any change to ABC's role that may arise from an external mediation/investigation.

Protection from Retaliation

Federal and state law and ABC policy prohibit any form of retaliation against a person who files a sexual harassment complaint.  OH&S will state clearly to the charged party that any form of retaliation against the complainant is prohibited and will result in disciplinary actions, up to an including termination.

This protection also applies to witnesses in discrimination investigations.

Protection from Bad Faith Complaints

If an investigation by OH&S reveals that the complaint is malicious, or knowingly false, or frivolous, charges will be dismissed and the investigation ended.

The individual falsely accused of such harassment may resort to any applicable disciplinary or complaint procedure.

Mediation

The primary purpose of mediation is to have the parties resolve the dispute on their own, in a timely and confidential manner.

A complainant who files a written complaint can choose either mediation or investigation.  Mediation requires both the complainant and the charged party to agree to this course of action.  In addition, either party may decide at any stage during mediation process to proceed by investigation.  Although not required to do so, OH&S recommends that the complainant initially attempt before investigation.

Mediation must be completed within  working days of the election to mediate.

Upon filing a written complaint, the complainant will be asked to decide upon mediation or investigation.  If mediation is chosen, OH&S will interview the complainant to collect information and determine the terms upon which the complaint may be conciliated.  Within  working day of initial interview, OH&S will notify the charged party that he or she has been named in a complaint.

Except as outlined below, no person other than the complainant and the charged party will be contacted by OH&S during mediation. Both parties will be reminded by OH&S to abide by the confidentiality rules.

If mediation is successful, OH&S will draft an agreement describing the agreed-upon terms.  Both parties will read and sign the agreement.  That agreement will state that the dispute is fully and finally resolved, subject to the parties' compliance with any stipulations.

If a party fails to comply with the conditions of the agreement, the other party may request intervention by OH&S.  OH&S will contact the party's supervisor to assist with enforcement, or conduct an investigation.

OH&S will not retain any written record the mediation except the formal, written complaint and the mediation agreement.  Mediation agreements may be used as evidence in any subsequent investigations and hearings relating to charges of sexual harassment.  OH&S will inform the charged party of this fact before the charged party signs the mediation agreement.

Investigation

If either party is dissatisfied with mediation, or if either party elects to proceed directly to investigation, OH&S will undertake that process.  Key aspects of investigation include:

·         An investigation may involve witnesses and the charged party's supervisor.

·         A written record of the written statements of the complainant, charged party, and any witnesses will be created and made available to the complainant and the charged party.

·         The record may be used as documentation for the investigation report and for any corrective actions recommended to the appropriate supervisor.

Investigation and mediation are distinct from each other.  The same person may be the mediator and investigator in the same case.  ONLY the mediation agreement may be used in the investigation process.

Investigation Process

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of investigation is to attain evidence regarding the alleged sexual harassment in order to determine whether or not the charged party engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment.  Adversarial hearings (confrontation and cross-examination) are not applicable during investigation.

The complainant and charged parties can retain the services of attorneys and advisors (including harassment advisors) throughout the investigative process.  These representatives may attend their own clients' or interview(s), but may not respond to questions on their behalf or pose questions to them.

Please refer to Appendix B, "The Investigation Process: Features and Steps" for more detailed information regarding the step taken during an investigation.

OH&S will complete its investigation within  working days.

The investigation will adhere to the process prescribed in Appendix B.

OH&S will produce a report of the investigation, including its findings and the formulation of any specific charge or charges. A copy of the investigation report will be provided to all parties.

OH&S will maintain all records of written complaints according to the following schedule:

·         Records of investigations where no probable cause is found will be confidentially maintained for a period not exceeding , or until the conclusion of any external investigation or legal action, whichever is later.

·         Records of complaints where that resulted in a cause determination will be maintained permanently.

·         Access to such records is strictly limited to those directly investigating or adjudicating a complaint or implementing a complaint resolution, unless otherwise compelled by law.

·         Records of decisions by complainants not to pursue complaints that they have filed will be confidentially maintained for a period not exceeding , or until the conclusion of any external investigation or legal action, whichever is later.  These records cannot be used for the mediation, investigation, or adjudication of future sexual harassment cases.

Investigation Report

The investigator will prepare a written report at the end of an investigation. The report will detail the scope of the investigation and will determine the merits of the sexual harassment allegations.

OH&S will forward the report to the appropriate supervisor.  The supervisor may also have access to the entire record on which the report is based.

Note: In cases where a supervisor is the charged party, the report will be provided to the CEO.

Supervisor Roles and Responsibilities

The supervisor (or CEO, if appropriate) can either accept or modify the findings and recommendations (see restrictions in "Cause" Finding-Uncontested,") or return the report for further investigation.

The supervisor will first forward copies of the report to the complainant and the charged party and give both parties the chance to submit written comments within .

"No Cause" Finding

If the investigation concludes that sexual harassment did not occur, the process is concluded and the complainant will be informed of his or her rights to pursue external complaint procedures.  The report will also include an attempt to restore the reputation of the charged party.

"Cause" Finding

If the investigation concludes that sexual harassment did occur, the report will recommend the appropriate sanctions and corrective actions. In addition the report may recommend non-punitive measures that ensure the complainant is not subjected to sexual harassment and remedy the effects of sexual harassment that may have already occurred.

OH&S will provide a copy of the report to all parties involved.

"Cause" Finding--Uncontested

If the employee accepts the reports findings, OH&S will send the report to the supervisor who will implement the recommended sanctions within  working days upon receipt of the report.

"Cause" Finding--Contested

If the charged party contests a "cause" finding and the recommendations, he or she may ask their supervisor to review the report. The supervisor will conduct a review and may modify the recommended sanctions as a result of this second review.

The Grievance Procedure will govern the appeal of any disciplinary action.

Responsibilities

All Employees

Read these procedures.

Supervisors, Managers and Vice Presidents

Supervisors, managers and Vice Presidents are required to inform their employees of these procedures, notify OH&S when they receive sexual harassment reports or complaints, review, accept, or modify sexual harassment reports or complaints, and implement any corrective actions due to findings of sexual harassment.

External Investigator

External investigators will collaborate with OH&S when conducting an investigation and preparing their report of sexual harassment complaints.

OH&S

OH&S will provide advice, suggestions, guidance and act as a resource for employee on harassment issues.  OH&S will provide education and training programs to employees, make it clear to all employees that sexual harassment is illegal under federal and state law and will not be tolerated, and will define what does and does not constitute sexual harassment.  OH&S will distribute copies of this policy to all departments and distribute semi-annual reports that summarize the number, type, source, and outcome of sexual harassment complaints.  OH&S will conduct mediations between complainants and charged parties and investigate sexual harassment complaints.

Appendix A – How To Stop Sexual Harassment

·         Say "NO" to the harasser.  Do not simply ignore the situation.

·         Saying something like: "I want to keep our working relationship relationship strictly professional."

·         If you know others with similar experiences, approach the offender together.

·         Write a letter to the harasser describing the offensive behavior, why you object to it and clearly indicate that you want it stop. Keep a copy.

·         Keep a record of what happened and include the date, time, place, and the names of the people involved, including witnesses.

Appendix B – The Investigation Process

Investigation is distinct from mediation.  The same individual cannot be a mediator and investigator for the same case.  All investigations will be conducted as follows:

·         Identify the alleged harasser (charged party).

·         Collect all facts by interviewing the complainant and the charged party.

·         Determine how the complainant responded to the alleged harassment to determine if an informal resolution was attempted.

·         Inform the charged party of the charges and remind the charged party of ABC's policy against retaliation.

·         Determine the frequency and the type of alleged harassment and the dates when the alleged harassment occurred.

·         Determine the nature of the professional relationship and the degree of control.

·         Ask the charged party to explain the alleged behavior, interview any witnesses provided by the charged party, review any evidence presented by the charged party, and examine and evaluate the rebuttals made by the charged party.

·         Determine whether the complainant informed other parties or supervisors.  Record all the responses the complainant received from these parties.

·         Interview any witnesses who observed or were told about the alleged harassment.

·         Remind all parties and witnesses of ABC’s confidentiality requirements.

·         Review departmental personnel files, previously resolved mediation agreements, previous findings for the charge of sexual harassment against the charged party and all other relevant files and records.

Appendix B – Romantic or Sexual Relationships Between Employees and Supervisors

Romantic or sexual relationships between employees and supervisors compromise the professional working relationship between employees and supervisors.  No supervisor of ABC shall be romantically or sexually involved with an employee whom he or she supervises in any way.  Individuals in positions of such authority will not develop, foster or promote such relationships.


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