Iowa Civil Rights CommissionDisclaimer The information contained in this presentation is a brief overview and should not be construed as legal advice or exhaustive coverage of the topic.
HARASSMENT SEXUAL and GENERAL
Overview • Definition of sexual harassment • Definition of general harassment • Examples of prohibited behaviors • Scenarios • The company’s responsibilities • Liability
What is harassment ? • Behavior which has the effect of humiliating, intimidating, or coercing someone through personal attack. • Behavior that can cause the recipient to be embarrassed, uncomfortable and cause emotional distress.
What is sexual harassment ? • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal behavior or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: • Submission to such conduct is made an implicit condition of an individual’s employment
Sexual harassment….. • Submission to or rejection of such conduct affects employment opportunities • Such conduct interferes with an employee’s work or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
Types of Harassment Quid Pro Quo & Hostile Environment
Quid Pro Quo • When employment decisions or expectations are based on an employee’s willingness to grant or deny sexual favors. • “This for that”
Examples of Quid Pro Quo: • Demanding sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or a raise • Disciplining or discharging an employee who ends a romantic relationship • Changing job performance expectations after subordinate refuses repeated requests for a date
Hostile Environment • Where verbal or nonverbal behavior in the workplace focuses on the sexuality of another person or occurs because of a person’s gender or other protected characteristic. • Where verbal or nonverbal behavior in the workplace is unwanted or unwelcome
Hostile Environment…... • Where verbal or nonverbal behavior is severe or pervasive enough to affect the person’s work environment
Examples of behaviors that create a hostile environment: • Off-color jokes or teasing • Comments about body parts or sex life • Suggestive or demeaning pictures, posters, calendars or cartoons • Leering, staring, or gesturing • Repeated requests for dates • Touching--brushes, pats, hugs, pinches • Assault
UNWELCOME • When any unwanted, unwelcome, or unsolicited conduct is imposed on a person who regards it as offensive or undesirable, it is harassment • When a person communicates that the conduct is unwelcome, it becomes illegal. Even if the conduct is is not stated but implied, as long as it is unwelcome it is unlawful.
The Company’s Obligation • The company has the obligation to have a work place that is free of discrimination and harassment of any type • Having an anti-harassment policy is a step in the right direction
Elements of an Anti-Harassment policy: • Statement prohibiting harassment • Definition of harassment and examples of prohibited behaviors • Explanation of complaint procedures and designation of persons to whom complaints should be made • Assurance that a prompt, thorough and confidential investigation will take place
Anti-Harassment policy • Assurance that if a violation of the policy is found, that there will be prompt, corrective action by the employer • Assurance that there will be no retaliation for reporting the harassment
What do you do if…..? • You are harassed • You are aware of harassing conduct
What to do……. • Report it to your supervisor Supervisor may want to involve human resources person or investigate - person making complaint, alleged harasser and witnesses may be interviewed • Document
What to do…. • Evidence includes documentation • If there is a violation, there needs to be appropriate corrective action…seriousness of the violation determines the remedy and level of discipline
Who is Liable? • In quid pro quo situations… • Harasser is always liable • Employer is always liable
Liability in hostile environment harassment: • Harasser is always liable • Employer is liable unless the employer proves that they exercised reasonable care to prevent and remedy the harassing conduct and the complainant failed to take advantage of preventive and corrective measures.
Liability…Co-worker: • Employer is liable if they knew or should have known, but failed to remedy the situation. • Co-workers may also be individually liable for damages caused by harassment. • Employer is liable for harassing conduct from someone outside the company.
Iowa Civil Rights Commission 211 East Maple Street, 2nd Floor Des Moines, Iowa 50309 515-281-4121 800-457-4416 (toll free) fax: 515-242-5840 website: www.state.ia.us/government/crc