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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace. Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace. The State of Iowa is committed to a discrimination and harassment free work environment.

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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

Iowa Civil Rights Commission


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • The State of Iowa is committed to a discrimination and harassment free work environment.

  • All employees are expected to conduct themselves in a business-like and professional manner and not engage in discriminatory or harassing behavior.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • This power point presentation provides information about a discrimination and harassment free workplace.

  • If you have questions after viewing this presentation and reading the policy, ask your supervisor, your Human Resource department, Union Representative or other resource listed in your employee manual.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • Throughout the presentation there will be questions, scenarios and quizzes designed to test your knowledge.

  • See if you can answer the questions before the slide changes to reveal the answer.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • This presentation covers three types of illegal, prohibited behavior:

  • 1. Discrimination,

  • 2. Workplace harassment and

  • 3. Sexual harassment

  • Discrimination and workplace harassment are based upon an individual’s protected personal characteristics.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • Protected personal characteristics under federal law includes:

  • race, color and national origin;

  • sex (includes pregnancy-related conditions);

  • religion;

  • age (40 and older);

  • disability;

  • a person who associates with a protected class;

  • a person who opposes unlawful employment practices, files a complaint or testifies about violations or possible violations; and

  • any other protected class as defined by federal law.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • Protected personal characteristics under Iowa law includes:

  • all federally protected classes, plus:

  • age (18 and older) in employment;

  • physical or mental disability;

  • creed;

  • sexual orientation;

  • gender identity;


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

Discrimination is

  • A supervisor or person in authority making employment decisions related to hiring, firing, transferring, promoting, demoting, benefits, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment, because of an employee’s protected personal characteristic.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • *Examples of discrimination include:

  • A supervisor refusing to hire a well qualified candidate because she is pregnant.

  • Upon “discovering” an employee’s age, a supervisor transfers a well qualified 45 year old employee from the “teen unit” to the “senior citizen unit.”

    *The examples are assuming a Bonafide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) or other circumstances do not exist.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

Workplace Harassment is

  • Unwelcome, unwanted or offensive conduct based on or because of an employee’s protected personal characteristic.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • Examples of workplace harassment include:

  • An employee repeatedly addresses coworkers with derogatory comments or stereotypes related to their race or religion. The employee calls a coworker wearing a turban, “Towel Head,” calls a Hispanic coworker, “Beaner,” and calls a Jewish coworker “Cheap Skate.”

  • An employee tries to get a coworker to resign by spreading untrue, malicious gossip about the coworker, because of the coworker’s disability.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

Sexual Harassment is

  • Unwelcome, unwanted, or offensive sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • 1. Submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual’s employment; or is used as a basis for any employment decision (granting leave requests, promotion, favorable performance appraisal, etc.); or

  • 2. The conduct is unwelcome, unwanted, or offensive and has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • A supervisor telling a subordinate employee that if he/she accompanies the supervisor for a weekend get-away, the supervisor might be able to arrange for some paid time off for the employee, or look into a promotion for the employee.

  • A person in authority threatening to discredit a subordinate employee if they won’t attend a party with them after work.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • Any employee believing they have been subjected to discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment should report that behavior to their immediate supervisor, another member of management or the organization’s Human Resource department.

  • A complaint may be made verbally or in writing.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • Why is it important for employees to report discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment?

  • Answer

  • Discrimination ,workplace harassment and sexual harassment can cause:

    • Employees to be hurt emotionally

    • Productivity to go down

    • Absenteeism to go up

    • The work of the organization to be jeopardized

    • Employees to be fearful of others

    • Workplace morale to be reduced

  • When management knows about the problem it can be corrected

  • Discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment must be stopped!


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • Why do employees hesitate to report discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment?

  • Answer

  • Fear of losing their job

  • Fear of retaliation

  • Fear of getting someone into trouble

  • Fear of disrupting the workplace

  • Fear of being accused of having no sense of humor

  • Fear of being embarrassed

  • Fear of feeling like “less of a man/woman”

  • Fear of not being believed. Discrimination and harassment are generally subtle and inconspicuous.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • What can a supervisor do to help employees feel safe reporting discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment?

  • Answer

  • Set an example of respectful workplace behavior.

  • Have clear expectations that discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment are not tolerated.

  • Have a clear mechanism for reporting; including the ability to report to another member of management should the supervisor be the accused.

  • Take immediate steps to stop inappropriate behavior or conduct as it occurs or is reported.

  • Guard against retaliation.

  • Handle investigations as discretely and confidentially as possible.

  • Be sensitive to the feelings of all involved. It is not easy for the complainant, the accused or anyone participating in an investigation.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • Once a complaint of discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is made, the organization must promptly investigate the complaint.

  • Complaints are taken seriously and are confidential to the extent possible.

  • Employees are expected to cooperate with an investigation and keep information regarding the investigation confidential.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

Scenario: An employee reports harassment to his/her supervisor and says, “I don’t want you to do anything about this. I just want you to listen and be aware of what is going on.”

  • How should the supervisor respond?

  • Answer

  • A supervisor cannot promise to “just listen and be aware.”

  • Once a supervisor receives a report of harassment or discrimination, a supervisor has an obligation to take action.

  • In fact, a supervisor has the responsibility to ensure the integrity of the workplace. A supervisor must exercise reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment they know about or should know about.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

Scenario: A supervisor receives a report of workplace harassment or sexual harassment. The supervisor has seen such reports divide a workforce.

  • What advice would you give the supervisor to help minimize disruption to the workplace?

  • Answer

  • Conduct an investigation discretely and quickly.

  • Caution all parties not to discuss the investigation.

  • Direct employees back to work who are talking about the accused or the complainant in regards to the report.

  • Work to keep up morale in the workplace and ensure work is being accomplished.

  • Be proactive. Having established expectations in place that do not allow gossiping and other non-productive or destructive activities is a preventative measure a supervisor should take.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • How should an organization treat an employee accused of discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment?

  • Answer

  • An employee accused of discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment should be treated with professionalism and respect, as you would any employee.

  • Just because an employee has been accused, does not mean the employee is guilty.

  • The accused employee has a chance to defend him/herself and present information and witnesses.

  • An organization must conduct a neutral investigation. Conclusions should not be reached until the investigation is complete.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

Scenario: An employee filed a report of harassment with her supervisor. After an investigation the organization did not agree that harassment occurred. Because harassment was not found, the employee worries that she will be disciplined.

  • Are the employee’s worries founded?

  • Answer

  • No. An employee will not be disciplined for making a report of what the employee believes is harassment.

  • Harassment is a term often used for lack of a better way to describe what an employee feels he/she is experiencing.

  • Sometimes an investigation will conclude that a particular behavior was not harassment or discrimination but was inappropriate workplace behavior.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • The complainant and the accused will be notified individually when an investigation is concluded. They will be told if any part of the complaint is substantiated. The complainant will not be told specifics of any action taken against the accused.

  • Employees engaging in conduct in violation of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

  • Temporary employees or volunteers engaging in conduct in violation of this policy may be subject to termination of their working or volunteer relationship with the organization.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • An employee who harasses another employee because of their protected class status, or sexually harasses another employee, while away from the workplace and outside of working hours, may be subject to the provisions of this policy if that conduct has a negative impact on the environment at work and/or working relationships and/or the employer’s business.

  • Even consensual relationships can impact the work environment when one party decides they no longer wish to participate.

  • Supervisor/subordinate relationships can also impact the work environment because of actual or perceived preferential treatment.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

  • If a complaint involves the conduct of a contracted employee or a contractor, management will address the problem behavior with the contractor and require prompt, appropriate action.

  • If a complaint involves the conduct of a client, customer, or visitor, the organization should follow its own internal procedures and take prompt, appropriate action.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

Scenario: A technician is contracted to maintain the office copy machine. Each time the technician makes a service call the technician tells a dirty joke. Some employees can’t wait for the machine to break down, just so they can hear the latest joke.

  • Even though no employees have complained, what is the supervisor’s responsibility?

  • Answer

  • The supervisor has an obligation to maintain the integrity of the office environment.

  • The supervisor should direct the employees back to work.

  • Even though the technician is not an employee, the supervisor should tell the technician to stop telling dirty jokes.

  • The supervisor should contact the company holding the contract and report the behavior and request prompt corrective action.


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Retaliating against employees who file complaints, participate in investigations, or report observing discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is prohibited.

If an employee believes they have been retaliated against, the employee should report the retaliatory behavior to their supervisor, another manager, or the Human Resource department, Union Representative or other person.

Complaints of retaliation will be investigated promptly.

Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace

Retaliation


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace participate in investigations, or report observing discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is prohibited.

Scenario: An investigation resulted in an employee being disciplined for sexual harassment. The disciplined employee was mad and encouraged others to shun those who participated in the investigation. You have been asked to refuse to speak to your coworkers who reported the employee’s behavior to the supervisor.

  • What can you do?

  • Answer

  • Just as discrimination and harassment are prohibited, so is retaliation.

  • Refuse to participate in retaliation against your coworkers. The morale of the staff has already been harmed. You do not want to contribute to further problems.

  • Report this behavior to management.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace participate in investigations, or report observing discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is prohibited.

A Quiz (True or False)

  • Discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment can be illegal behavior.

  • True

  • Employment actions taken against employees that are based on or because of an employee’s protected personal characteristic are illegal, violating federal and state law.

  • Unwelcome, unwanted or offensive sexual advances or requests for sexual favors which require submission in exchange for employment action or inaction are illegal, violating federal and state law.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace participate in investigations, or report observing discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is prohibited.

  • Harassment is limited to exchanges between men and women.

  • False

  • Harassment can occur between men and women, women and women, and men and men.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace participate in investigations, or report observing discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is prohibited.

  • Only a member of management has the power to eliminate discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • False

  • Only a supervisor/manager has the authority to discipline an employee for engaging in discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment.

  • Employees at every level of the organization have the power to prevent and eliminate discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment by:

    • Being a role model for appropriate workplace behavior;

    • Not engaging in it; and

    • Being comfortable enough to tell each other respectfully when they have been offended.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace participate in investigations, or report observing discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is prohibited.

  • If I tell my manager I am being harassed my manager can guarantee my name will be kept out of it.

  • False.

  • A manager receiving a report of harassment has an obligation to keep the information as confidential as possible.

  • Human Resources and specific members of management may need to have some or all of the information from your report.

  • In order for the accused to answer questions and defend him/herself, he/she will need specifics.

  • Witnesses will be given limited information.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace participate in investigations, or report observing discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is prohibited.

  • Prevention is the most effective way to eliminate discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • True

  • Taking a proactive stance to create and maintain a respectful work environment is the most effective way to prevent all three problems

  • This can be accomplished by:

    • Educating the workforce about discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment;

    • Having clear guidelines for reporting problems; and

    • Making it clear that that discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment are prohibited and retaliating against someone for reporting is prohibited.


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Discrimination and Harassment Free Workplace participate in investigations, or report observing discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is prohibited.

  • Together we must work to create and maintain a work environment that is free from discrimination, workplace harassment and sexual harassment.


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Iowa Civil Rights Commission participate in investigations, or report observing discrimination, workplace harassment or sexual harassment is prohibited.

Grimes State Office Building

400 E. 14th Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

515-281-4121

800-457-4416 (toll free)

fax: 515-242-5840

website: www.state.ia.us/government/crc


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