SCHOOL FOR ADVANCED RESEARCH
POLICY ON HARASSMENT
GENERAL POLICY STATEMENT
The School for Advanced Research values each employee. Harassment in the workplace of any kind is demeaning to the employee against whom it is practiced and destroys the harmonious working environment that is essential to achieving the School’s mission. Consequently, the School does not tolerate harassment in the workplace or in any situation that is work-related (e.g., School-sponsored social gatherings). Prohibited forms of harassment include sexual harassment and harassment on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic. Prohibited harassment is considered misconduct and grounds for disciplinary action up to and including discharge.
The School has set forth this policy separate and apart from the Employee Handbook to emphasize the seriousness of the offense and SAR’s commitment to protecting employees from unlawful harassment. If you believe you have been exposed or subjected to harassment, follow the steps for confronting and reporting harassment as described in Section C below. If you have any questions concerning any matter discussed herein, do not hesitate to ask your supervisor or the personnel director.
A.Sexual Harassment: Although sexual harassment can include a broad range of words and acts, it is defined by the impact on the person subjected to the offensive words and/or acts and typically falls into two categories: quid pro quo and hostile work environment (for the victim or innocent observers).
- Quid pro quo – (Latin for “this for that”) This type of harassment occurs when sexual favors are sought in exchange for some form of benefit in the workplace.
The benefit might include anything from a job offer, a promotion or raise, a favorable performance review, agreement not to fire, and even agreement not to tell supervisor of the employee’s misconduct. An attempt to exchange sex for any of these benefits or any other thing or benefit that is related to the workplace is prohibited conduct at the School.
Importantly, the offer to exchange sex for some benefit or thing does not have to be expressly stated to be wrongful – merely implying or suggesting that the exchange might be made can be sexual harassment.
Similarly, use of a threat to coerce another person to give sexual favors is also wrongful. It does not matter whether the person making the threat actually has the ability to cause harm to the employee (e.g., cause them to be fired, prevent a pay raise, etc.); it is the use of a threat to gain sexual favors that is sexual harassment.
Finally, quid pro quo sexual harassment can also occur when actions are taken in retaliation for negative responses to sexual advances, even if no offer to exchange sex for fair or good treatment was made in advance. The effect is the same – the victim is being mistreated for his or her refusal to submit to sexual advances.
ALL EMPLOYEES MUST AVOID WORDS OR CONDUCT THAT IMPLY A DESIRE OR WILLINGNESS TO MAKE AN EXCHANGE OF SEXUAL FAVORS FOR WORK PLACE BENEFITS.
2. Hostile Work Environment.Each employee is entitled to work in an environment that is free of hostility created by offensive and improper activities or abuse that are sexual in nature. A hostile work environment can be created when improper and offensive activity of a sexual nature occurs in the workplace. This form of sexual harassment can be the product of words, images, conduct, and even routine work practices. Examples include the following:
Telling, passing around, or forwarding sexually suggestive and offensive email, jokes or stories, graphic commentaries;
Teasing or kidding with sexual overtones or innuendo;
Making unwanted verbal or physical advances, propositions, or requests;
Suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations;
Use of coarse, offensive language, including slurs, slang, sexually degrading words, and vulgarities.
Displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, calendars or posters on walls, desks, or computer screens.
Repeatedly asking another employee to go on a date after he or she has already said no;
Unwanted touching, pinching, hugging, backrubs, patting, or repeated and intentional brushing against another’s body;
Sexual assault or impeding movement, e.g., trapping someone in a room behind a desk.
ROUTINE WORK PRACTICES:
Excluding a person from work related activities or communications because of gender;
Assigning a person of a specific sex to certain jobs, e.g., always having a woman do menial tasks;
3. Social Niceties: Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature or welcome social relationships.
4. Same Sex Harassment: Sexual harassment may occur between persons of the same sex as well as of the opposite sex.
B. Harassment Generally: Harassment on the basis of protected characteristics (gender, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, status as a veteran) includes unwelcome conduct or comments targeting a protected characteristic that are so severe or so pervasive that they interfere with an employee’s job performance and create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Employees should recognize that harassment can occur in the affirmative (actions or words) and in the negative (failing to take action that would otherwise be taken or excluding a person from an activity or communication because a protected characteristic). Employees should avoid conduct, comments, and jokes that are racist in content or implication, derogatory to religions, or disparaging on the basis of age or sexual orientation. All employees must carefully examine their conduct to insure that they are not unwittingly or unintentionally committing acts of harassment.
Examples of prohibited conduct: The following are examples of actions or words that can be considered harassment.
Offensive physical actions, written or spoken, and graphic communication;
Slurs, jokes, posters, cartoons, and offensive gestures; and
Any other conduct or words reported to you as offensive by a fellow employee.
C.Reporting Harassment: If you believe you have been the subject of harassment, you have the option, but are not required, to immediately request that the individual cease the offending conduct or words. You may do this in writing, by e-mail, or over the telephone. If you make a request in writing or by e-mail, be sure to keep copies of your correspondence and make a note of all witnesses to the incident. If that request is not obeyed or you do not feel comfortable asking other person to stop the offending conduct, you should immediately bring the subject to the attention of an appropriate supervisor or School official. If the person to whom you would normally bring such a concern is the source of the harassing conduct, or if for some reason you feel uncomfortable discussing the matter with your supervisor, then you should contact Carol Sandoval, personnel director, in the Administration building. The personnel director shall review SAR’s policy of non-discrimination/harassment with you, the complainant, and provide you with a copy of the complaint reporting/investigation form.
Additionally, any supervisor who observes any conduct of a harassing nature has an obligation to report the observations so that appropriate steps can be taken to ensure that the inappropriate conduct is stopped immediately.
D. Notifying Alleged Harasser: After a signed report is made to the personnel director, the following process will occur with regard to the alleged harasser (hereafter “respondent”):
1. Written notification: The personnel director (hereafter, Investigator) or his/her designee will inform the respondent in writing of the existence of the complaint and its general nature.
2. Review policy and procedures: The respondent will be reminded of SAR’s non-discrimination/harassment policy and the complaint and investigation process.
3. Interview with investigator: The respondent will be advised that he or she will be interviewed by the investigator and permitted to make a written response, which may include supporting documentation, to the complainant’s claims.
4. Choice of representation: The respondent may choose to have a representative present during the interview process; however, if he or she decides to have an attorney present, the respondent must advise the investigator not less than 24 hours in advance of the scheduled interview.
E. Investigation of Complaints: The School will promptly investigate all incidents of harassment and determine the appropriate remedial measure, if any. Disciplinary action up to and including termination may be taken. The person responsible for the investigation will discuss with the complainant the outcome of the investigation and any disciplinary actions taken against the alleged offender. Attached to this policy is a form for reporting complaints of harassment. You may obtain a copy of the form at any time from the personnel office. The investigation process will include the following procedure:
1. Fact-finding inquiry: The designated investigator shall conduct a fact-finding inquiry and investigation into the complaint, including as appropriate interviews of the complainant, respondent, and witnesses as well as a review of documentary evidence.
2. Confidentiality: All individuals involved in the investigation and complaint process will be advised that all information concerning the investigation shall be kept confidential. Failure to maintain confidentiality to the extent possible may be cause for disciplinary action. The investigator will protect confidentiality to the extent possible to complete a full and meaningful investigation; however, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.
3. Prohibition against retaliation: All individuals involved in the investigation shall be reminded of the prohibition of retaliating against the complainant. See the definition of prohibited retaliation in paragraph H. below.
4. Prompt investigation: The investigator shall complete the process a quickly as possible.
5. Notification : After reaching a conclusion concerning the allegations of the complainant, the investigator shall discuss his/her decisions with the complainant’s and respondent’s supervisor(s). The investigator shall then meet with the complainant and the respondent separately and privately to inform each person of the investigator’s conclusions. During this meeting the investigator shall describe the alternative dispute resolution process. The meeting and decision of the investigator shall be documented. If the investigator determines that there was basis for the complaint, then disciplinary action will be taken reflecting the severity of the violation. In addition, where appropriate, damage caused by the sexual harassment will be rectified, e.g., granting a promotion denied because of the refusal to perform sexual activities. If the investigator decides the complaint was not well founded, the complainant will have the opportunity to grieve the investigator’s decision pursuant to the grievance policy as set forth in the Employee Handbook.
6. Alternative dispute resolution: At any time after the complaint has been filed and if both parties agree, the complaint may be resolved by any of the following methods instead of proceeding through a full investigation and final decision by the investigator:
a. require respondent to attend sensitivity training;
b. conduct training for the unit, division or department, calling attention to the consequences of engaging in such behavior;
c. facilitate meetings between the parties;
d. separate the parties, after consultation with appropriate offices;
e. prepare a written letter of agreement confirming that the respondent has been informed of the policy and complaint procedure, identifying and documenting the respondent’s acceptance of the designated officer’s resolution of the complaint, and stating that retaliation is prohibited;
f. other possible outcomes may include explicit agreements about future conduct, a letter of apology to the complainant, or changes in the workplace assignments.
F. Privacy of Witnesses:In conducting the investigation, the investigator will respect the privacy of all concerned; however, complete confidentiality may not always be possible because of the need to conduct an investigation and take steps necessary to eliminate harassment.
G. Refusing Investigations: If an employee believes he or she has been subjected to prohibited harassment and desires to report the matter but does not want the School to take further steps to investigate, then he or she must make a written statement stating that he or she has rejected the investigation. Depending on the severity of the allegation, the School may or may not choose to forgo an investigation of harassment.
H. Prohibited Retaliation: This policy prohibits any retaliation against any employee making a complaint or providing information in connection with an alleged violation of this policy. Any employee who suspects that he or she is being retaliated against because of his her participation in the complaint process (victim, witness, or alleged offender), should report the alleged retaliation immediately in the same manner as if it were an original complaint for harassment.
Retaliation can include:
Unjustified refusal to communicate with complainant about matters not related to complaint;
Overt or covert hostility or rudeness directed toward complainant;
Refusal to provide merit-based job advancements for reasons relating to the complaint;
Unjustified or inappropriate criticism or reprimand;
Faulting the complainant for conduct that would not be addressed if another employee engaged in similar conduct;
unjustified adverse performance reviews of complainant;
Unjustified denial of salary increments or merit pay to complainant.
NOTE: If you have a question whether an individual’s conduct or verbal remarks constitute harassment, do not hesitate to ask your supervisor or to contact the personnel office.