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Sexual Harrasment

Town of Gramercy - Policy against sexual harassment (Amended 12/9/19)

  1. (a)  It is the town's policy to prohibit harassment of employees and prospective employees on the basis of sex. All members of management are responsible for the effective administration of this policy. Any questions concerning the context or content of this policy should be discussed with the Mayor, the Chief of Police, or supervisors. Annual Sexual Harassment training, at a minimum of one-hour and with state-approved curricula, is required for all Town elected officials, appointed officials, and employees.

  2. (b)  Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  1. (1)  Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment;

  2. (2)  Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or

  3. (3)  Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

(c) All forms of sexual harassment are prohibited whether verbal, non-verbal or physical.

  1. (d)  Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, repeated offensive sexual flirtations; advances or propositions; continued or repeated commentaries about an individual's body; offensive sexual language; and the display in the work place of sexually suggestive pictures or objects.

  2. (e)  Employees who believe they have been sexually harassed should follow the steps outlined in the problem solving procedure described in the following section.

  1. (1)  Background. Harassment on the basis of a person's sex by a supervisor, coworker or other person is a discriminatory practice which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964 and regulations passed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Louisiana 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. Aside from being illegal, sexual harassment undermines the integrity of individual work relationships and damages the morale of the entire workforce.

  2. (2)  Policy. It is the policy of this government that all employees are entitled to work in an environment free from all forms of illegal discrimination including that which is based upon a person's sex. Accordingly, any practice or activity which constitutes sexual harassment is strictly forbidden within the town work places and shall, if substantiated in

accordance with this policy, result in disciplinary action, and appropriate action to end any such harassment and/or prevent recurrence of 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 Town 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 the Mayor or in the case of the police department with the Chief of Police. 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 Board of Aldermen.

Whether or not a particular incident is sexual harassment requires a complete factual investigation, and the Town 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 Town. The Town will take those steps it feels necessary to resolve the problem, which may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension or termination.

The Town 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 Town may consult its legal representative for assistance in determining whether conduct that has occurred does in fact constitute sexual harassment. The Town 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 Town 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 Town to have intentionally made a false allegation of sexual harassment, that individual will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination.

  1. (3)  Prohibited conduct.

    1. Definition. Sexual harassment is defined as any unsolicited offensive behavior, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct that inappropriately asserts sexuality over employees when:

      1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; or

      2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or

      3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work performance; or

      4. Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

    2. Sanctions. Sexual harassment is a serious violation of the work rules of this government and, if proven, shall be grounds for the imposition of discipline. Potential sanctions for the offense shall range from a minimum of a five-day suspension without pay to termination, depending on the following:

      1. The individual facts of any given case; and

      2. The employment record of the person committing such

        harassment.

  2. (4)  Employee rights. Any employee who believes that another employee is engaging in sexual harassment may file a complaint within a reasonable period of time after the event (normally not more than 180 days).

  3. (5)  Retaliation prohibited. No person filing a complaint under this policy or who legitimately assists another in the prosecution of any such complaint shall be subjected to retribution or retaliation of any kind for doing so.

  4. (6)  Filing complaint.

    1. Filing of complaints. All complaints of sexual harassment shall be filed with either an immediate supervisor, the mayor or, in the case of the police department the chief of police, or the board of aldermen.

    2. Investigation.

1. Complaints filed under this policy shall be promptly and

thoroughly investigated by the mayor or, in the case of the police department, the chief of police, or an individual designated by the mayor or, in the case of the police department, the chief of police, in the event that the mayor or the chief of police are unable to perform this function due to circumstances surrounding this complaint. If warranted, the Town may utilize the services of legal counsel for assistance in the investigation and adjudication of complaints.

  1. Upon completion of the investigation, the mayor, or in the case of the police department, the chief of police, shall prepare a comprehensive report addressing all allegations in the complaint and objectively documenting all relevant factual findings of the investigation. The investigatory report shall contain neither conclusions concerning the complaint nor recommendations as to disposition.

  2. The investigation report shall be presented to the board of aldermen upon completion and within 15 days after receipt of the complaint. This time requirement may be extended by the board of aldermen, in writing, upon request of the investigator and good cause shown for such an extension.

(7) Adjudication.

  1. All complaints of sexual harassment shall be adjudicated by the mayor or, in the case of the police department the chief of police, or the mayor pro tem in the event the mayor or the chief of police is unable to discharge this duty.

  2. Upon receipt of the completed investigative report, the mayor or, in the case of the police department, the chief of police, shall conduct an administrative hearing at which the report shall be presented and considered. The mayor or, in the case of the police department, the chief of police, shall require all witnesses to provide testimony under oath and shall prepare a verbatim transcription/recording of the proceedings which shall serve as the official record of the hearing.

  3. The accused employee shall be notified, in writing, at least ten days before the hearing of the complaint and the underlying allegations. The accused employee may request one postponement of the hearing upon receipt of the notice in order to obtain legal counsel, however, the delay occasioned by such a request shall not exceed 30 days from the date of receipt of the notice by the accused employee.

  4. The accused employee shall be entitled to attend the hearing and testify in

his or her own behalf, and shall be entitled to confront and cross-examine the employee who filed the complaint. In the event that the complainant elects not to attend the administrative hearing and upon objection from the accused to the complainant's absence, the complaint shall be dismissed and the accused deemed innocent of the allegations.

  1. The accused employee shall be entitled to call witnesses in his or her own behalf and to introduce evidence which bears upon the issues presented by the complaint and investigative report.

  2. At the conclusion of the hearing, or within five days thereafter, the mayor or, in the case of the police department, the chief of police, shall make finding concerning the innocence or guilt of the accused of the offense of sexual harassment.

  3. A finding of guilt must be supported by substantial, credible evidence that:

    1. Those facts constitute sexual harassment within the meaning of the law and this policy; and

    2. The accused is the person who committed the acts amounting to sexual harassment.

  1. (8)  Responsibility.

    1. Supervisors. Each supervisor has a responsibility to maintain the work place free of sexual harassment. This duty includes discussing this policy with all employees and assuring them that they are not to endure insulting, degrading or exploitative sexual treatment.

    2. Mayor or, in the case of the police department, the chief of police. It is the responsibility of the mayor and/or the chief of police to:

      1. Provide information to managers and supervisors regarding this policy specifically, and sexual harassment generally; the gravity of such behavior; and the procedure to be employed in the event a complaint of sexual harassment is made or conduct amounting to sexual harassment is observed.

      2. Provide necessary training to managers and supervisors in order to reduce the likelihood of sexual harassment in the work place.

  2. (9)  False accusations. Due to the serious and private nature of this offense, false accusations of sexual harassment are, and will be treated as a disciplinary offense and will result in the same level of punishment as that applied to one who engages in such behavior.

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