Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services

DISTRICT POLICIES

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TITLE: Sexual And Discriminatory Harassment

POLICY

Federal law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sex or disability. State law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, pregnancy, or disability. State law also prohibits public accommodation (such as access to services or physical facilities) discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin or disability.

No employee shall retaliate in any way against an individual who has reported alleged sexual or discriminatory harassment through District procedures or any other mechanism.

Both sexual and discriminatory harassment, and retaliation against any employee who reports such harassment, constitute misconduct. In addition, any employee who withholds information or does not fully cooperate with an investigation of possible sexual or discriminatory harassment may also be considered to have committed misconduct.

The District shall establish procedures to be used for the investigation of any reports of sexual or discriminatory harassment of or by employees, clients, or third parties, which arise out of employment with or supervision by the District. The District shall discipline (to include discharge from employment, if appropriate) any employee found to have committed sexual or discriminatory harassment or retaliation.

Independent State Agency Assistance: Employees are advised that in the event that the action taken by the employer is believed by the employee to be insufficient to prevent further occurrences or retaliation, or that the employee's complaint was not properly handled or considered, the employee has the right to further pursue the complaint by contacting the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, 211 E., Maple Street, Des Moines, IA 50319, phone number (515) 281-4121. Such action by the employee shall not be grounds for any retaliation or discipline by the employer.

SEXUAL HARRASSMENT

A. Purpose

It is the purpose of this policy to strive to create a work environment free of sexual harassment and to sensitize employees to the issue of sexual harassment. This policy was prepared in accordance with the equal employment Opportunity Commission's Rules and Regulations, 29 CFR Part 1604, and reaffirms that sexual harassment in the workplace is an unlawful employment practice under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

B. Applicability

This policy is applicable to all Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services employees.

C. General

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Rules and Regulations provide that harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of Title VII, Section 703 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. More specifically, Section 1604.11 of the Rules of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission set forth criteria for determining whether behavior constitutes sexual harassment. The criteria are as follows: "Unwelcome sexual Advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when:

  1. Submission to the conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment;
  2. Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the bases for employment decisions affecting the person who did the submitting or rejecting; or
  3. The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment."

For the purpose of the policy, sexual harassment is defined as unsolicited, non-reciprocal behavior by an employee who is in a position to control or affect another employee's job out of fear that he/she would be punished for refusal to submit. Sexual harassment also includes any employee conduct unreasonably interfering with another employee's work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Sexual harassment may consist of a variety of behaviors by a Correctional Services employee directed toward other employees, but not limited to, subtle pressures for sexual activity, inappropriate touching, inappropriate language (sexual jokes), demands for sexual favors. Posting of sexually graphic material and physical assault.

D. Employee's Responsibilities

An employee who perceives the comments, gestures or actions of another employee or supervisor to be sexually harassing should communicate to that person that such behavior is unwelcome. However, failure to express that these comments, gestures, or actions are unwelcome does not prevent the employee from filing a complaint, nor doe it in any way exonerate the harasser.

Any employee, including a supervisor, who believes he/she has been sexually harassed or asked to perform a sexual favor, should immediately report the incident in writing to his/her immediate supervisor. If the alleged harasser is the employee's supervisor or if the employee does not fool that the situation was adequately resolved, he/she should report the incident(s) to the Personnel Technician by filing a written complaint on the attached form, which will be provided by the Personnel Technician.

Any employee who witnesses this type of behavior has a responsibility to report it to an appropriate supervisor. If the alleged harasser is an employee's supervisor, the witness should support the harassed employee in reporting the incident to another supervisor or to the Personnel Technician.

E. Supervisor's Responsibilities

A supervisor must listen to the complaint and regard it seriously. A supervisor should not dismiss the complaint, minimize it or otherwise discourage employees from reporting such complaint. The supervisor shall record and document the complaint and perform an immediate investigation to determine the validity of the complaint. The supervisor shall provide a copy of the complaint report to the Personnel Technician regardless of the supervisor's findings.

F. Complaint Procedures

All complaints filed under these procedures are confidential, except to the extent necessary to investigate and resolve the complaint. This policy prohibits intimidation, reprisals and/or retaliation against any person who files a complaint under these procedures or with other enforcement agencies.

Any person who feels that they have encountered sexual harassment may file a complaint with a Supervisor or the Personnel Technician as stated above.

The Personnel Technician or Supervisor will assist the complainant in filling out the appropriate form(s) and offer any other technical assistance needed. The complaint must be filled in writing with the Personnel Technician within 20 working days after the incident occurs.

The Supervisor (or an Assistant Director or Division Manager, if the Supervisor is the alleged harasser) will investigate the complaint and present the findings to the Director no later than 10 working days after it is received. Before the Director renders a determination, the complainant, if desired, will be given the opportunity to appear before the Director to offer any additional information relative to the case. The Director will have 15 working days, upon receipt of the information from the Personnel Technician or Supervisor (or an Assistant Director or Division Manager, if the Supervisor is the alleged harasser), to render a determination. In the event the complaint is not resolved to the complainant's satisfaction, the complainant shall be advised of the outcome and shall have the right to file with other state and federal enforcement agencies.

When a "finding of fact" of sexual harassment is determined, corrective action will be taken immediately. The scope of disciplinary action shall range from a written reprimand, to suspension without pay, to possible termination.

DEFINITIONS OF OTHER SEXUAL HARASSMENTS

Courts have ruled that a hostile work environment can also be created through the following types of actions and have considered them sexual harassment as well:

  1. Sex role stereotyping: which is demeaning, ridiculing or derisive. Examples: Requiring an employee to do personal errand running, coffee-making, staff meeting note taking (equals in rank but women required to do) and other types of discrimination based on gender.
  2. Gender Demeanment: May be verbal or visual. Examples: Having double standards based on gender, displaying demeaning cartoons or pictures, making offensive jokes or comments based on gender, or offensive sexual jokes or comments.
  3. Individual Targeted Abuse: May be verbal or physical. Examples: making offensive sexual comments about an individual, unwanted physical touching of a non-criminal nature (hugs, neck rubs, etc.) or harassing an individual because of gender.
  4. Criminal Touching Examples: Forcible sexual abuse, intentional touching of the buttocks, genitals or breasts.

Discriminatory Harassment

The following characteristics of an individual may not be used to deny opportunities to qualified individuals:

  1. Race - Racial discrimination in the United States is commonly directed against non-whites. Included are African Americans, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American individuals. These individuals any be referred to collectively as people of color or minorities. From an EEO standpoint, race refers to all racial groups, including white.
  2. Color - The law refers specifically to skin color because a shade of skin color may be perceived as being more or less preferable.
  3. Religion - This term refers not only to "traditional" religious beliefs but also to any set of personal beliefs that are "sincere" and "consistently held." Situations involving religion may often relate to work schedule or dress.
  4. Sex - Sex discrimination may result when coworker or management behaviors and decisions affecting hiring or terms and conditions of employment are influenced by attitudes about a person's gender. For example, a man is hired instead of an equally qualified woman because the manager thinks coworkers or customers would more readily accept a man in the position.
  5. National Origin - It is unlawful to discriminate against individuals because they were born in a particular country, or any country other than the U.S. National origin discrimination is often reflected in non-job-related English-only rules or absence of an accent as a job criteria. Most frequently, it is directed toward non-European nationalities.
  6. Age - Federal law states all persons over 40 years of age are protected from job discrimination on the basis of their age. Iowa law protects all persons the age of 18 and above.
  7. Disability - a disability is any physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities. Major live activities are defined as walking, talking, caring for oneself, breathing, speaking, etc. Disabilities may be "visible", such as use of a wheelchair or cane, or "hidden", such as a heart condition, seizure disorder, or HIV-related condition. Qualified disabled individuals are protected.
  8. Gender Identity - describes the gender with which a person identifies.
  9. Sexual Preference (or Sexual Orientation) - refers to a person's preference for the same or opposite sex partners.

The following behaviors are some examples of discriminatory harassment:

  1. Abusing the dignity of an employee through insulting or degrading remarks or conduct;
  2. Threats, demands or suggestions that an employee's work status in contingent upon the employee's submission to discriminatory harassment;
  3. Disciplining or terminating an employee because of worker incompatibility which is caused by prohibited discrimination, e.g., prejudiced or biased behavior.

PROCEDURE

All District employees are subject to, acknowledge, and agree to abide by the District's Sexual and Other Discriminatory Harassment Policy. District employees, volunteers, interns, or contractors will follow the Complaint Procedures, Section F, in the preceding Sexual and Other Discriminatory Harassment Policy to file and proceed with a sexual or discriminatory harassment complaint utilizing the Sexual Harassment Complaint Form provided as part of the Sexual and Other Discriminatory Harassment Policy. Any offender under the supervision of the District will follow the same complaint procedures found in Section F of the Sexual and Other Discriminatory Harassment Policy and will use the Sexual Harassment Complaint Form to report a complaint to District supervisory personnel. Sexual Harassment Training is part of the mandatory annual employee training received by all District employees.

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