The Board is committed to
maintaining a work environment that will allow all employees to work in a
setting free from all forms of unlawful discrimination, including harassment, on
the basis of race, color, religion, gender (sex), national origin, age,
disability or retaliation (e.g., opposing prohibited discrimination or
participating in an investigation into prohibited discrimination).
Harassment in any form
adversely affects morale, motivation, and job performance. It results in
increased absenteeism, turnover, inefficiency, and loss of productivity. It is
inappropriate, offensive, and illegal, and it will not be tolerated in County
All employees of Douglas
County are responsible for avoiding behavior that constitutes harassment.
Department heads and supervisors at all levels are responsible for eliminating
harassment in the workplace in accordance with this rule.
Harassment is verbal or
physical conduct that demeans or shows hostility or dislike toward an individual
because of their race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age or
disability, or that of their relatives, friends, or associates, and that:
18.104.22.168 has the purpose or
effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment,
22.214.171.124 has the purpose or effect of unreasonably
interfering with an individual´s work performance,
126.96.36.199 or otherwise
adversely affects an individual´s employment opportunities.
Harassing conduct includes,
but is not limited to, the following:
188.8.131.52 Epithets, slurs,
negative stereotyping, demeaning comments or labels, or threatening,
intimidating or hostile acts that relate to race, color, religion, gender,
national origin, age, or disability, and
184.108.40.206 written or graphic
material that demeans or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or
group because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or
disability and that is placed on walls, bulletin boards, or elsewhere on the
employer´s premises, or circulated in the workplace.
Any employee who believes
they have been the subject of harassment should report the circumstances
immediately to their supervisor. An employee may contact the department head or
the Human Resources Director without first contacting their supervisor.
Reports of harassment or
retaliation will be promptly investigated by the supervisor and/or department
head. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible, consistent
with the County´s need to conduct an adequate investigation and to take prompt
corrective action to rectify any harassment or retaliation in violation of this
policy which is found to have taken place. The Human Resources Director shall
be notified of the complaint and investigation process.
No employee will suffer any
retaliatory treatment or adverse consequences as a result of acting in good
faith to report the harassment or to participate in an investigation. Such
retaliation will not be tolerated.
22.2.1 Sexual Harassment.
Sexual harassment is a form
of gender (sex) discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has
defined sexual harassment as follows: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for
sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature
constitute sexual harassment when:
220.127.116.11 Submission to such
conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an
18.104.22.168 Submission to or
rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment
decisions affecting such individual, or
22.214.171.124 Such conduct has
the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work
performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working
22.2.2 Sexual harassment may
include, but is not limited to, the following behavior:
126.96.36.199 Sexual jokes,
innuendoes, or suggestive comments.
188.8.131.52 Displaying nude or
sexual pictures, cartoons, magazines, or calendars at the workplace.
184.108.40.206 Slang, names, or
labels that others find offensive such as “honey”, “sweetie”, “babe”, “boy”, or
220.127.116.11 Derogatory or
physically descriptive comments about or towards another employee.
18.104.22.168 Suggestive looks or
22.214.171.124 Unwelcome touching
or physical contact.
126.96.36.199 Repeated romantic
overtures after being rebuffed.
188.8.131.52 Sexual advances or
requests for sexual favors.
184.108.40.206 “Stalking” the
employee who is the object of the harasser´s interest.
220.127.116.11 Laughing at,
ignoring, or not taking seriously an employee who experiences sexual harassment.
offensive behavior after an employee has objected to that behavior.
employees from other County departments, invitees, and others who have access to
County facilities may create a hostile or offensive work environment by
subjecting County employees to verbal or nonverbal behavior of a sexual nature.
Department heads and supervisors at all levels are responsible for taking
prompt, appropriate action to eliminate a hostile work environment.
22.2.4 Except as
otherwise stated in these rules, grievances or complaints concerning sexual
harassment shall not be subject to Personnel Rule 11, but are subject to the
procedure set forth below.
22.2.5 An employee who is
subjected to sexual harassment should tell the harasser to stop the offensive
conduct and report the incident to the employee's supervisor. Incidents of
sexual harassment also shall be reported to the department head by employees who
observe or are aware of the offensive behavior, but are not personally subjected
to harassment. Department heads shall immediately notify the Human Resources
Department of any complaints, reports, or observations.
22.2.6 No employee will
suffer any retaliatory treatment or adverse consequences as a result of acting
in good faith to report the harassment or to participate in an investigation.
Such retaliation will not be tolerated.
22.2.7 If a department
head is subjecting an employee to sexual harassment, or an employee believes
that reporting sexual harassment to the employee's department head will not
facilitate immediate remedial action, the employee may report the sexual
harassment directly to the Human Resources Department.
22.2.8 The Human
Resources Director, or his designee, shall promptly investigate all reported
incidents of sexual harassment. Department heads shall cooperate with the Human
Resources Department in investigation of incidents, and no department head shall
conduct an independent investigation.
22.2.9 The Human
Resources Director shall make findings on the allegation of sexual harassment
which shall be reported to the department head and the aggrieved employee. If
the offended employee is dissatisfied with the decision of the Human Resources
Director, the offended employee may appeal to the Board of Commissioners.
22.2.10 If the Human
Resources Director determines that sexual harassment has occurred, the Human
Resources Director shall promptly recommend appropriate corrective and
disciplinary action to the department head or the Board.
22.2.11 Any employee who
subjects another employee to sexual harassment and any supervisor who knowingly
allows, facilitates, or tolerates a hostile work environment in violation of
this rule will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including
22.2.12 Disciplinary action
may be taken against an employee who makes a false report of sexual harassment,
only if the Human Resources Director determines by clear and convincing evidence
that the employee intentionally made a false allegation regarding a material
issue. Regardless of the outcome of an investigation by the Human Resources
Department, no supervisor or other employee shall retaliate, through
disciplinary action or otherwise, against any employee for reporting sexual
harassment, unless the Human Resources Director recommends disciplinary action
under this rule.
Any disciplinary action
under this rule shall be subject to applicable provisions of Personnel Rules 11 and
22.2.13 Sexual harassment
may subject the County to tort actions or civil rights actions under state or
federal law. If the Board finds that a County employee has engaged in a
continuing pattern of sexual harassment or has committed flagrant incidents of
sexual harassment, the Board may consider such behavior to be malfeasance in
office or willful or wanton neglect of duty. In that case, the Board may refuse
to defend or indemnify the offending employee against any civil actions, and to
the extent permitted by law, the County may seek indemnity for damages resulting
from the offending employee's behavior.