Sexual harassment
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Sexual Harassment. It’s fairly straightforward: sexual harassment can cause emotional damage ruin personal lives end careers. It can also cost money; lots of money.. And one more thing – sexual harassment is illegal. Sexual Harassment.

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Sexual Harassment

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Sexual harassment

Sexual Harassment


Sexual harassment1

It’s fairly straightforward:

  • sexual harassment can cause emotional damage

  • ruin personal lives

  • end careers.

  • It can also cost money; lots of money..

  • And one more thing – sexual harassment is illegal.

Sexual Harassment


Sexual harassment2

  • The best tools to help conquer and eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace

  • Prevention

  • Education

  • Intervention

Sexual Harassment


Sexual harassment3

  • School districts are not immune:

  • It occurs in school districts all across the state.

  • It is committed by:

    a. Teachers

    b. Principals

    c. Administrators

    d. Supervisors

    e. Co-workers

    f. Parents

    g. Even students

Sexual Harassment


Harassment in broad terms

Harassment does not violate federal law unless it involves discriminatory treatment on the basis of:

  • race

  • color

  • sex

  • religion

  • national origin

  • age of 40 or older

  • disability

Harassment in Broad Terms


Sexual harassment defined

  • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man.

  • The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex as the harasser.

  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee (parent, vendor, etc.)

Sexual Harassment Defined


Sexual harassment defined1

  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

  • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without any financial loss to the victim or discharge of the victim.

  • The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome

Sexual Harassment Defined


Sexual harassment defined2

There are basically two different types of sexual harassment claims:

  • Quid Pro Quo

  • Hostile work environment.

Sexual Harassment Defined


Quid pro quo

Otherwise known as “‘this for that”.

This type of harassment occurs when a supervisor or any individual in an authority position requests sex, or a sexual relationship, in exchange for not firing or otherwise punishing the employee, or in exchange for favors, such as promotions or raises.

Quid Pro Quo


Hostile work environment

  • The most common type of sexual harassment found in school districts. 

  • The behavior must be so pervasive as to create an intimidating and offensive work environment.

Hostile Work Environment


Hostile work environment1

  • Occurs through the presence of:

    a. demeaning or unwelcome visual

    b. verbal behavior,

    c. sexual photographs, jokes,

    d. threats. 

Hostile Work Environment


Evaluating hostile work environment

  • The frequency of the alleged inappropriate behavior (one comment would not suffice)

  • The severity of the behavior

  • The conduct of the victim

  • The context of the alleged harassment

  • Whether other individuals if put in the place of the victim would have also found the environment to be hostile

Evaluating Hostile Work Environment


What is unwelcome

  • Generally speaking, conduct is unwelcome:

  • In that the employee does not solicit or incite it.

  • The sense that the employee regards the conduct as undesirable or offensive.

  • When confronted with conflicting evidence as to whether the conduct was welcome, the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances should be evaluated.

What is “Unwelcome?”


What is hostile

  • The conduct is quite severe, a single incident or isolated incidents of offensive sexual conduct or remarks generally do not create an abusive environment. A hostile environment claim generally requires a showing of a pattern of offensive conduct.

  • No one factor alone determines whether particular conduct violates the law. This goes back to carefully examining the totality of the circumstance.

What is “Hostile?”


Liability issues

  • Harassment committed by the victim’s supervisor

  • Non-supervisor harassment.

Liability Issues


Harassment committed by the victim s supervisor

  • An employer is always responsible for harassment by a supervisor that culminates in a tangible employment action

  • If the harassment did not lead to a tangible employment action, the employer is liable unless:

    a. It exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any harassment

    b. The employee unreasonably failed to complain to management or to avoid harm otherwise.

Harassment Committed by the Victim’s Supervisor


What is a tangible employment action

  • Significant change in employment status

    a. hiring

    b. firing

    c. promotion

    d. failure to promote

    e. demotion

    f. undesirable reassignment

What is a tangible employment action?


Liability issues cont

  • Employee’s have a responsibility to report incidents of harassment to the district

  • The employee must also take reasonable steps to avoid the harm

  • Failure to report or failure to give the district a chance to correct the problem may result in a finding that a lawsuit by the victim may not go forward

  • This includes complaints of harassment by individuals outside the school district i.e., parents, vendors, etc.

Liability Issues (cont.)


Making a complaint

  • Report the Incident to your direct

    Supervisor

  • Director

  • Human Resources Administrator

Making a Complaint


Making a complaint1

  • Reporting is key.

  • Get more information regarding your rights through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Making a Complaint


Investigating complaints

  • A fact-finding investigation is necessary, it should be launched

  • The individual who conducts the investigation will objectively gather and consider the relevant facts.

  • Possible action that may be taken during the investigation:

    a. transferring the alleged harasser

    b. non-disciplinary leave

Investigating Complaints


Taking action examples of measures to stop the harassment and prevent recurrence

  • Oral or written warning, or reprimand

  • Transfer or reassignment demotion

  • Reduction of wages

  • Suspension

  • Discharge

  • Training or counseling for harasser

  • Monitoring of harasser

Taking Action: Examples of Measures to Stop the Harassment and Prevent Recurrence


Taking action examples to correct the effects of the harassment

  • Apology by the harasser

  • Restoration of leave taken because of harassment

  • Reinstatement

  • Expungment of negative evaluation that may have arisen because of harassment

Taking Action: Examples to Correct the Effects of the Harassment


Wrap up

  • A district’s responsibility :

    a. A district’s responsibility to exercise reasonable care to prevent and correct harassment is not limited to implementing an anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure

  • Correct harassment regardless of whether an employee files an internal complaint, if the conduct is clearly unwelcome.

Wrap Up


Wrap up1

  • Every employee has the responsibility to act in a professional, respectful way toward co-workers

  • In the end, you will be held responsible for your conduct.

  • Be mindful of the situations you put yourself in.

  • Our work environments should model those behaviors that are appropriate examples for our students.

Wrap Up


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