AKORBI Virtual Training: Harassment, Diversity and Discrimination

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1 AKORBI Virtual Training: Harassment, Diversity and Discrimination

2 Introduction In the workplace, when we hear the word harassment many of us think only of sexual harassment, which is not correct. And when we hear discrimination many of us think of only one kind, like race or age, which is not correct. And when we hear diversity many of us say, what is that? However, these all can occur based on an employee s race or color, religion, national origin, disability and several other differences defined by law.

3 Diversity (differences) Discrimination (treating different people differently) Harassment (treating those different negatively)

4 Objectives At the conclusion, you will be able to: 1. Define diversity, discrimination, harassment. 2. Explain the difference between illegal harassment and conduct or behavior that is inappropriate and unprofessional and often referred to as harassment but that is not illegal. 3. State the importance of preventing harassment in the workplace. 4. List the categories of harassment. 5. Cite the laws that prohibit and provide protection against harassment. 6. Describe the AKORBI policy and procedures on harassment. 7. Understand your responsibilities for assisting in investigations.

5 What is Harassment? In the employment and legal context, harassment is defined as conduct or actions, based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, military membership or veteran status, severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile, abusive or intimidating work environment for a reasonable person. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

6 What is Harassment (cont d) Harassment is: A form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA, the ADEA, or GINA. Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on a person s race, color, religion, sex or gender, national origin, age (40 and over), disability (mental or physical), or genetic information. Severe, pervasive and persistent conduct that unreasonably interferes with an employee s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile work environment. An occurrence where an employee s status or benefits are directly affected by the harassing conduct of a manager or person of authority. Adverse employment actions (retaliation) against employees who complained of harassment or discrimination or who participate in a complaint procedure.

7 Harassment is Not necessarily the opposite sex with sexual harassment. The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. Not necessarily the victim. The victim could be anyone affected by the offensive and harassing conduct.

8 Illegal Harassment versus Inappropriate Conduct or Behavior In the workplace and as used in this presentation, the term harassment refers to the illegal form of discrimination. Employees often say they are being harassed, however, when they are subjected to inappropriate conduct or behavior which is not illegal but unacceptable in the workplace. Inappropriate and unacceptable behavior that is considered extreme is called workplace bullying. This behavior can also be considered hostile work environment, which is against the law. Workplace bullying is repeated mistreatment of one or more employees using humiliation, intimidation and denigration of performance. Bullying behavior can exist at any level of an organization. Bullies can be superiors, subordinates, co-workers and colleagues.

9 Illegal Harassment versus Inappropriate Conduct or Behavior (cont d) Examples of workplace bullying and hostile work environment include: Social bantering or teasing. Verbal abuse and profanity, humiliation, constant criticism. Gossip. Stealing the credit for work performed by the victim. Personal and professional denigration. Overt threats. Assignment of an unrealistic workload. Aggressive s or notes. Professional exclusion or isolation. Sabotage of career and financial status.

10 Case Studies Try before looking at next page answers. A supervisor in the marketing department constantly and publicly criticizes his employees and calls them stupid and lazy. Is this illegal harassment, inappropriate conduct, workplace bullying? Why? The same marketing supervisor refers to one of his employees as an old gal who is over the hill and has problems using a computer because of her age. Is this illegal harassment, inappropriate conduct, workplace bullying? Why? What if supervisor is over 40 years old? A male supervisor in the warehouse has all male and two female workers. The supervisor has a calendar of women in bikinis, in suggestive positions. Only one female worker complained and not the other. Is this sexual harassment? Or not since one female worker was ok with it? Is it sexual harassment if a male worker complains? Is the situation resolved if the supervisor takes the calendar down?

11 Case Studies A supervisor in the marketing department constantly and publicly criticizes his employees and calls them stupid and lazy. This could be illegal harassment, inappropriate conduct, and workplace bullying if it is continuous and in an abusive manner. The same marketing supervisor refers to one of his employees as an old gal who is over the hill and has problems using a computer because of her age. Definitely inappropriate conduct, but illegal or workplace bullying only if pervasive. What if supervisor is over 40 years old? Doesn t matter, may still be age discrimination. A male supervisor in the warehouse has all male and two female workers. The supervisor has a calendar of women in bikinis, in suggestive positions. Only one female worker complained and not the other. Is this sexual harassment? Or not since one female worker was ok with it? YES, it still is. Is it sexual harassment if a male worker complains? YES, it still is. Is the situation resolved if the supervisor takes the calendar down? YES, unless there is retaliation.

12 More Case Studies Harassment? Harassment?

13 And More Case Studies Try before looking at answers Discrimination? Harassment?

14 And More Case Studies Discrimination? Not for a dog! But could be for a person if the dog is underqualified and others are qualified and in a protected class. Harassment? Maybe, if persistent and in a negative, hostile manner.

15 Why is it important to prevent harassment in the workplace? Harassment harms you all. The most important part of AKORBI values is to ensure all employees are treated with respect and dignity. Engaging in, condoning, or not reporting any type of harassment is in direct conflict with your values. Compliance with laws which prohibit this form of discrimination. Compliance with federal discrimination laws and fair employment laws. Liability for the employer may be under federal or state law or civil litigation. A company is responsible for harassment by a supervisor that results in a tangible employment action such as a hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, change in pay or benefits, and work duties. (NOTE: supervisors and managers may have personal liability for their actions, too!) EEOC complaints and fines as well as lawsuits can cripple a company such that YOU do not have a job! Thus, AKORBI intends to take actions to prevent harassment (like this training) and take appropriate actions on those who violate it.

16 Are Claims and Lawsuits Always in Favor of the Employee? NO! They are not. Some employees think they have been harassed when in actuality it was inappropriate behavior. And some employees want to try to create a lawsuit when there is nothing there. Sometimes, there has been a workplace bullying, yet the company and management took appropriate actions for resolving, thus there was no claim. The keys for a great workplace and prevention of lawsuits is strong HR.

17 Most Common Categories of Harassment Race/Color Ethnic slurs or jokes, offensive or derogatory comments, or other verbal or physical conduct based on an employee s race/color constitutes harassment if that conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment and prohibits an employee from performing his/her job. Religion Harassment based on religion occurs when an employee is antagonized or ridiculed because of his religious beliefs. Another type of religious harassment occurs when a co-worker or supervisor preaches or proselytizes to an employee and the employee perceives that behavior to be unwanted and offensive, amounting to a hostile work environment.

18 Most Common Categories of Harassment (cont d) National Origin Discriminating because of birthplace, ancestry, culture or linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group. Disability The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of disability. Under this law, a disabled worker is constantly subjected to pervasive and severe harassment due to his real, or a perceived, disability that creates a hostile work environment.

19 Most Common Categories of Harassment (cont d) Sexual Unwelcome sexual advances Requests for sexual favors Quid Pro Quo (a manager requests sexual favors in return for something such as promotion, bonus, or to not be terminated. Other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.

20 Laws that Prohibit and Provide Protection against Harassment Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers all private employers, state and local governments and educational institutions that employ 15 or more individuals. It prohibits intentional discrimination and practices because of a person s race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended protects individuals with disabilities, and those regarded as having disabilities. Equal Pay Act of 1963 protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex based discrimination.

21 Laws that Prohibit and Provide Protection against Harassment (cont d) Immigration Reform and Control Act 1986, 1990, 1996 establishes penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens and prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship. Age Discrimination of Employment Act of 1967 protects individuals who are 40 years and older. Civil Rights Act of 1991 provides for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination, to clarify provisions regarding disparate impact actions, and for other purposes. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees in hiring, firing or any other terms and conditions of employment based on a worker s genetic information. And there are more!!

22 AKORBI Policy on Harassment AKORBI is committed to a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment opportunities and prohibits unlawful discriminatory practices, including harassment. Therefore, AKORBI expects that all relationships among persons in the office will be business-like and free of bias, prejudice and harassment. It is the policy of AKORBI to ensure equal employment opportunity without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty or status as a covered veteran. AKORBI prohibits any such discrimination or harassment. AKORBI encourages reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination or harassment. It is the policy of AKORBI to promptly and thoroughly investigate such reports. AKORBI prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or harassment or who participates in an investigation of such reports.

23 Your Responsibilities Know and comply with AKORBI policies and procedures. It is helpful for the victim to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. It is not required by law, but it may stop the harassment. It also aids in the investigation process. Immediately report any complaint that you, especially if a member of management, receive or incidents that you witness involving employees to Human Resources, the CEO, or the President.

24 Your Responsibilities (cont d) Investigations are conducted and interpreted by Human Resources, HR Consultant and/or legal counsel: Be available for interviews and provide as much information as possible. If you are a manager, make employees available for interviews. Once an investigation has been completed, if disciplinary action is to be taken, managers should work with Human Resources to make sure that: The victim is not adversely affected. The harassment stops and does not recur.

25 Summary Harassment is conduct or actions, based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, military membership or veteran status, severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile, abusive or intimidating work environment for a reasonable person. Inappropriate conduct or behavior which may not be considered illegal but unacceptable in the workplace is called workplace bullying, defined as repeated mistreatment of one or more employees using humiliation, intimidation and denigration of performance. It is important to prevent harassment in your workplace because it harms you all. It conflicts with your company values and is illegal under federal and state laws.

26 Summary (cont d) Supervisor responsibilities are to: Know and comply with your policies and procedures. Immediately report any complaints you receive or incidents you witness to Human Resources, the CEO or the President. Handle complaints from your employees in accordance with your policy and procedures. Never retaliate against an employee who complains of harassment. Assist with investigations and disciplinary action. Assure that victims are not adversely affected. Make sure that harassment stops and does not recur.

27 Thank you!! We appreciate your time and attention to this important training and have every expectation that you will utilize the contents of this presentation for the betterment of AKORBI! Treat everyone well and without discrimination! Questions? Contact Human Resources.

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