CITY OF PORTLAND POLICY AGAINST HARASSMENT

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1 CITY OF PORTLAND POLICY AGAINST HARASSMENT I. POLICY AGAINST HARASSMENT Employees are the most important part of this organization. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. It is the policy of the City of Portland that all of our employees be able to enjoy a work environment free from all forms of employment discrimination, including all forms of illegal harassment based upon sex, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, national origin, age, physical or mental disability or legally protected activities, such as activities under the Whistleblowers Protection Act. To prevent harassment in the workplace, the City of Portland has adopted this Policy Against Harassment. This Policy applies to all work-related settings, activities and property (e.g. telephones, copy machines, facsimile machines, computers and computer applications such as and Internet access). This Policy covers conduct between all employees, including in the case of sexual harassment, male/female, female/male and members of the same sex. The City's Administrative Regulation #25 lists harassment as grounds for disciplinary action, and this policy is not intended to limit the City's authority to discipline or take remedial action for workplace conduct which is unacceptable, regardless of whether such conduct is considered "harassment" as described below. II. SEXUAL HARASSMENT Sexual harassment is illegal. The Maine Human Rights Act as well as Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act includes sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination. This Policy prohibits sexual harassment of employees, clients, vendors, contractors and customers by City employees. The City of Portland also prohibits sexual harassment of employees by clients, vendors, contractors or customers in any form. A. What is Sexual Harassment? The following are some examples of sexual harassment. This is not an exhaustive list, and harassment may be a series of incidents over a period of time or a single incident. 1. Unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances. This means patting, pinching, brushing up against, hugging, cornering, kissing, fondling, or any other similar physical contact considered unacceptable by another individual. 2. Requests or demands for sexual favors. This includes subtle or blatant expectations, pressures or requests for any type of sexual 1

2 favor, which may be accompanied by an implied or stated promise of preferential treatment or negative consequence concerning one's employment status, e.g. compensation, work assignment, promotional opportunity, job security, etc. 3. Verbal abuse or kidding that is sexually-oriented and considered unacceptable by another individual. This includes commenting about an individual's body or appearance where such comments go beyond mere courtesy; telling "dirty jokes" that are clearly unwanted and considered offensive by others; or any other tasteless, sexually-oriented comments, innuendoes or actions that offend others, including the display of pictures or objects of a sexual nature. 4. Any type of sexually oriented conduct that would interfere with another's work performance. 5. Creating a work environment that is intimidating, hostile or offensive because of unwelcome or unwanted sexually-oriented conversations, suggestions, requests, demands, or physical contacts. B. How can Sexual Harassment be prevented? One way to prevent sexual harassment is for all employees to be sensitive to what may be offensive. The City has communicated this policy to all employees and supervisors and offered training sessions to stop any harassing behavior which may be occurring. Any employee who believes that s(he) is a victim of sexual harassment may take one or more of the following steps to attempt to informally resolve the problem by: 1. Politely, but firmly, confronting whoever is doing the harassing; 2. Stating clearly how s(he) feels about the specific harassment; 3. Politely requesting that the person stop the harassment because you feel offended, uncomfortable or intimidated; 4. Telling another person or union representative about what's happening to you; 5. Writing a letter to the harasser specifically outlining the facts and asking the harasser to stop. Keep a copy of the letter for your record. 2

3 The employee is not required to pursue any of the above suggestions and may file a complaint at any time as outlined in Section IV below. III. OTHER TYPES OF HARASSMENT A. Harassment based on Race, Color, Gender, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Age, National Origin, Physical or Mental Disability, Protected Activity. In addition to sexual harassment, harassment based upon race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, or legally protected activities, such as "whistleblowing", are all illegal under state and federal law. Harassment based upon sexual orientation (e.g. gay or lesbian orientation) is prohibited under the City's Personnel Policy and City ordinance. It is against the City Policy to engage in any verbal or physical conduct or behavior which denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his or her race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, national origin or physical or mental disability or legally protected activities. Such conduct or behavior is prohibited under this Policy; further, it is illegal discrimination when it (1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive working environment; (2) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance; or (3) otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment opportunities. B. Examples of Prohibited Conduct Examples of behavior or conduct which the City may consider to be harassment include, but are not limited to, the following: - Epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, jokes or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts that relate to race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, national origin or physical or mental disability or engaging in legally protected activities; - Written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual or group because of race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, national origin, physical or mental disability or for engaging in legally protected activities that is circulated in the workplace or placed on an employee's desk or workspace, on City premises, equipment or bulletin boards; - Refusal to work with employees in work assignments based upon their race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, national 3

4 origin, physical or mental disability or for engaging in legally protected activities. IV. COMPLAINT PROCEDURE A. Reporting Process If the harassment continues, or the complainant believes some employment consequences may result from confronting the alleged harasser, or if the employee feels uncomfortable confronting the harasser, a complaint should be initiated. Employees are encouraged to report allegations of harassment as soon as possible after their occurrence. The complainant should go to his/her supervisor (or a higher level supervisor if the immediate supervisor is the offending party), his/her departmental personnel officer, his/her Department Head, the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity/Multicultural Affairs, or the Director of Human Resources to file a complaint. (See attached complaint form which may be filled out by the employee or by the person to whom the employee is complaining). If the complaint is made verbally, the person to whom it is made should fill out the form to the extent possible and promptly forward it to the appropriate person for investigation. Complaints should be forwarded to the employee's Department Head or the Director of Human Resources. The employee always has the option of reporting any incident directly to the Director of Human Resources or the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity/Multicultural Affairs. The grievance procedure in a collective bargaining agreement or Personnel Policy may also be used to file complaints. Police officers also have the option of using the Department's internal affairs procedure. In addition, an employee may contact the Maine Human Rights Commission with a complaint. The address and telephone number of the Maine Human Rights Commission is: 51 State House Station, Augusta, ME , telephone: All types of harassment complaints will be investigated by Department Heads or the Director of Human Resources, or an authorized designee of the Department Head or Director. In the event of a complaint involving a Department Head, the employee should report the incident directly to the Director of Human Resources or the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity/Multicultural Affairs. The City Manager, or his or her designee, will direct the investigation of all complaints, with a written decision normally issued within 10 working days, depending upon the complexity of the investigation needed. 4

5 The Director of Human Resources should be informed of the results of any Departmental investigation involving sexual harassment. B. No Retaliation There will be no retaliation against any employee for filing any type of harassment complaint (or any other complaint asserting rights under nondiscrimination or other laws), or for participating in any investigation of a complaint, regardless of its outcome. Any such retaliation is a violation of this Policy. Employees are expected to cooperate in the investigation of complaints and failure to do so may result in disciplinary action. C. Confidentiality To the extent possible as determined by the City, the confidentiality of both the complainant and the person named in the complaint shall be maintained. However, the City has a responsibility to investigate charges of harassment, and such investigation ordinarily includes interviewing the individual charged in the complaint and/or witnesses. Thus, in order to conduct a proper investigation, the investigator may disclose the name of the complainant and parties involved to the extent that such disclosure is deemed necessary or appropriate. Each person interviewed during the investigation will be instructed to keep the investigation confidential in the interest of all parties involved. Once a problem involving potential harassment has been brought to the attention of the City by any means, and with or without a complaint from an individual, the City will conduct an investigation. The City cannot honor requests from a complainant that it not investigate his or her complaint. As noted above, the City prohibits any retaliation against the employee for making a complaint; should an employee believe such retaliation has occurred, he/she should report it in the same manner as the harassment itself. D. Results of Investigation If the allegation of harassment is found to be unsubstantiated, the matter will be closed and no disciplinary action will be taken against the alleged harasser or the complainant with respect to the harassment allegations identified in the complaint. If the allegation of harassment is found to be unsubstantiated, but the investigator determines that there may have been misconduct or other personnel related issues warranting further review, such matter shall be referred to the Director of Human Resources for further investigation and action. 5

6 If the investigation substantiates that harassment has occurred in violation of this Policy, disciplinary action will be taken in accord with AR# 25, and Personnel Policy or the applicable collective bargaining agreement, and such action may include non-progressive termination of employment. E. What are the consequences of Harassing Behavior? An employee, supervisor or manager who ignores a request that he/she cease harassing behavior is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Supervisors and managers are, in addition, responsible for actively preventing harassment among and by employees and clients. Failure by any employee to report any written or verbal complaint of harassment to his or her supervisor, is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Supervisors and managers are expected to be sensitive to behaviors which may constitute harassment, even in the absence of a specific complaint, and to prevent such behaviors from occurring or to report any observed harassment to their superiors if it recurs or if a further investigation of the situation is needed. V. DISTRIBUTION OF POLICY Notices about this Policy are distributed annually to all employees and posted on Departmental bulletin boards. Copies are available from the Department of Human Resources or the Office of EEO/Multicultural Affairs, and on the City's Intranet Web Site at "Departmental Information/Human Resources/Human Resources Policies/Harassment Policy". There has been organization-wide training on non-discrimination and sexual harassment, and this Policy is included in New Employee Orientation. It is the responsibility of each employee, and particularly of all supervisors, managers, Division Heads and Department Heads to familiarize themselves with this Policy and to ensure that the City workplace is free of harassment. Originally promulgated: 1989 Amended: 3/91; 11/91; 10/99; 10/03 6

7 1. Name of Complainant: 2. Job Title: 3. Work Location: 4. Supervisor: HARASSMENT SAMPLE COMPLAINT FORM 5. Nature of Complaint (Be specific. Note the place, time, date of each action, remark or suggestion and the name of the harasser and the person harassed, if other than Complainant.) 6. Witnesses to the Complaint (if any) Signature of the Complainant (or person filling out form): Date: 7

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