Sexual Ethics in the Workplace

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1 Sexual Ethics in the Workplace 1

2 Why Training To communicate the policy UWGB has in place to address this topic Training is the best way to ensure our policies are more than just pieces of paper. Communication of these policies and their implications is CRITICAL. Training also reduces grievances and/or legal challenges/lawsuits. To develop and environment where employees value and respect each other 2

3 Training Objectives Define and recognize sexual harassment in the workplace and the related university policy Understand its subtle forms How it impacts people Understand the responsibility of each employee and supervisor in maintaining an environment free of harassment Awareness of behaviors that can offend people Create environment where employees value and respect each other 3

4 SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS AGAINST THE LAW Federal Law State Law University Policy 4

5 WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT? 5

6 Sexual Harassment is: A form of sex discrimination. It occurs in a variety of situations that share a common element: the inappropriate introduction of sexual activities or comments into the work or learning situation. Unwelcome Interferes with persons ability to do their job Interferes with student s ability to get an education 6

7 Costs of Sexual Harassment Lower productivity of employees Diminished learning on the part of students Higher costs due to lower efficiency Increased absenteeism, turnover and drop-out rates (cont.) 7

8 Costs of Sexual Harassment Court awards, settlements and fees Damage to an institution s public image Deterioration of student and staff morale Damage to organizational climate 8

9 Types of Sexual Harassment Quid Pro Quo Decisions affecting employees or students. Expectations are based on willingness to grant sexual favors. Hostile Environment Verbal or nonverbal behavior in the workplace: Focuses on the sexuality of another person or occurs because of the person s gender; Is unwanted or unwelcome; and Is severe or pervasive enough to affect the person s work environment. 9

10 7 Examples of Prohibited Behavior 10

11 #1 Unwelcome verbal expressions of a sexual nature: Graphic sexual commentaries about a person's body, dress, appearance, or sexual activities The unwelcome use of sexually degrading language, jokes or innuendoes Unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds or whistles; obscene phone calls. 11

12 #2 #3 Implicit or explicit offers of employment or academic rewards for submission to sexual advances. Unwelcome and inappropriate touching, patting, or pinching; obscene gestures. 12

13 #4 Sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videotapes, audio recordings or literature placed in the work or study area that may embarrass or offend reasonable persons applying contemporary community standards. Such material when used in an educational setting should be related to educational purposes. 13

14 #5 Threats or insinuations that a person's employment, wages, academic goals, promotional opportunities, classroom or work assignments or other conditions of employment of academic life may be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances. 14

15 #6 Unwelcome verbal expressions of a sexual nature, including graphic sexual commentaries about a person's body, dress, appearance, or sexual activities; the unwelcome use of sexually degrading language, jokes or innuendoes; unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds or whistles; obscene phone calls. 15

16 #7 Consensual sexual relationships where such relationships lead to favoritism of a student or subordinate employee with whom the teacher or superior is sexually involved and where such favoritism adversely affects other students and/or employees. Potential pitfalls include: Power differential Age issues Conflict of Interest Potential for abuse and exploitation is high Potential for retaliation when the relationship ends Claims of favoritism by third parties 16

17 #7 Continued Board of Regents policy on consensual relationships (Board of Regents Policy 91-8) discourages sexual or romantic relationships between persons in positions of unequal power and authority. 17

18 Who Can Be A Victim or Perpetrator? 18

19 Anyone!!! Faculty, Staff, Student, Contractor, Visitor Male, Female Man vs. Man Woman vs. Woman 19

20 Is it Really Sexual Harassment? Is the conduct unwelcome (reasonable person standard)? Does the conduct affect the working environment or academic performance? How frequent and severe is the unwelcome conduct? Was the conduct physically threatening or humiliating, or simply offensive words? Is the harasser victim's supervisor or is there a power differential? 20

21 Intent is Irrelevant The conduct is evaluated from the victim's perspective. Many offenders may be completely unaware of how their actions are being perceived. Courts have often applied a "reasonable woman (or person) standard," asking whether a reasonable woman (person) would have found the conduct in question so severe and pervasive that it created a hostile environment. 21

22 Who Can File A Complaint The victim A co-worker A third party 22

23 Handling the Sexual Harassment Complaint Take the report seriously. Listen, sympathize, but don t judge. Don t delay. Respond to concerns. Document. Follow up on the complaint. Avoid using dangerous words. 23

24 Dangerous Words When responding to a complaint, be careful that these words don t come out of your mouth: It s just teasing no big deal. The people in our school would never do I know he/she didn t mean anything like that. You need to learn to handle these things. Just ignore it. He puts his arms around everyone. Why can t you learn to accept a compliment? (cont) 24

25 Dangerous Words You must have wanted it, otherwise you would have told him no. That s how they do things where he/she comes from. It s just a joke. Lighten up. No one s filed a charge so our hands are tied. We ve never had a complaint, so we don t have a problem. This kind of behavior is all part of growing up. If we had to discipline every student who used bad language we d never get anything else done. It s just a prank that got out of hand. 25

26 Filing a SH Complaint You may file a complaint with any of the following personnel/offices: Your immediate supervisor Any other supervisor within the direct chain of command UWGB Department of Affirmative Action (ES 107) Dean of Students Office (SS 2000) Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development - Equal Rights Division Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 26

27 Investigation Options Formal Procedures Investigation: Always required Hearing or other due process proceeding: Yes Outcomes: If harassment is found a variety of sanctions may be applied Informal Procedures Investigation: Complainant and alleged harasser may be interviewed, but usually not extensive investigation is necessary Hearing or other due process proceeding: No Outcomes: Generally, harassment stops (or formal processing of complaint is launched). Outcomes may include apology, promise not to repeat behavior, transfer of one party, voluntary resignation of alleged harasser 27

28 Retaliation It is unlawful to retaliate against an employee for reporting sexual harassment, filing a complaint or participating in an investigation of sexual harassment. This protection applies even if the allegation of sexual harassment ultimately turns out to be unsupported. 28

29 University s Commitment The University has an obligation to act when it learns of or receives complaints of Sexual Harassment!! The full Policy is online at: 29

30 QUESTIONS 30

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