Details for TOWN OF INDEPENDENCE SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY ORDINANCE # 2019-1058
POLICY ORDINANCE #
At a Regular Meeting of the Board of Aldermen, Town of Independence, Independence, Louisiana on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, a motion was made by Jim Paine to introduce Ordinance #2019-1058, which is the Sexual Harassment Policy for the Town of Independence.
A Public Hearing will be held on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at which time a vote will be taken to adopt.
The Town of Independence is committed to providing a safe environment for all its employees free from discrimination on any ground and from harassment at work including sexual harassment. The Town of Independence will operate a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment in the workplace, treat all incidents seriously and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment. Any person found to have sexually harassed another will face disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment.
All complaints of sexual harassment will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. Not one will be victimized for making such a complaint.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person's employment, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient.
Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal and non-verbal. Examples of conduct or behavior which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling, or inappropriate touching
Physical violence, including sexual assault
Physical contact, e.g. touching, pinching
The use of job-related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favors
Comments on a worker's appearance, age, private life, etc.
Sexual comments, stories and jokes
Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
Insults based on the sex of the worker
Condescending or paternalistic remarks
Sending sexually explicit messages (by phone or by email)
Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material
Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of their sex and of the sex of the harasser. The Town of Independence recognizes that sexual harassment may also occur between people of the same sex. What matters is that the sexual conduct is unwanted and unwelcome by the person against whom the conduct is directed.
The Town of Independence recognizes that sexual harassment is a manifestation of power relationships and often occurs within unequal relationships in the workplace, for example between manager or supervisor and employee.
Anyone, including employees of the Town of Independence, clients, customers, casual workers, contractors or visitors who sexually harasses another will be reprimanded in accordance with this internal policy.
All sexual harassment is prohibited whether it takes place within the town's premises or outside, including at social events, business trips, training sessions or conferences sponsored by the Town of Independence.
Anyone who is subject to sexual harassment should, if possible, inform the alleged harasser that the conduct is unwanted and unwelcome. The Town of Independence recognizes that sexual harassment may occur in unequal relationships and that it may not be possible for the victim to inform the alleged harasser.
If a victim cannot directly approach an alleged harasser, he/she can approach one of the supervisors or if that is not possible, the Town Clerk or Mayor of the Town of Independence.
When a person receives a complaint of sexual harassment, he/she will:
Immediately record the dates, times and facts of the incident
Ascertain the views of the victim as to what outcome he/she wants
Ensure that the victim understands the company's procedures for dealing with the complaint
Discuss and agree the next steps; either an informal or formal complaint, on the understanding that choosing to resolve the matter informally does not preclude the victim from pursuing a formal complaint if he/she is not satisfied with the outcome
Keep a confidential record of all discussions
Respect the choice of the victim
Ensure that the victim knows that they can lodge the complaint outside of the town through the relevant country/legal timeframe.
If the victim wishes to deal with the matter informally, the supervisor will:
Give an opportunity to the alleged harasser to respond to the complaint
Ensure that the alleged harasser understands the complaints procedure
Facilitate discussion between both parties to achieve an informal resolution which is acceptable to the complainant, or refer the matter to a designated mediator
Ensure that a confidential record is kept of what happens
Follow-up after the outcome of the complaints to ensure that the behavior has stopped
Ensure that the above is done speedily and within five (5) business days of the date of complaint
If the victim wants to make a formal complaint or if the informal complaint has not led to a satisfactory outcome for the victim, the formal complaint should be made to resolve the matter.
The person who initially received the complaint will refer the matter to another member of the staff to instigate a formal investigation. The staff member may deal with the matter him/herself, refer the matter to an investigator or refer it to the Board of Aldermen.
The person carrying out the investigation will:
Interview the victim and the alleged harasser separately
Interview other relevant third parties separately
Decide whether or not the incident(s) of sexual harassment took place
Produce a report detailing the investigation, findings and any recommendations
If the harassment took place, decide what the appropriate remedy for the victim is, in consultation with the victim (i.e. apology, a change to working arrangements, a promotion if the victim was demoted as a result of the harassment, training for the harasser, discipline, suspension, dismissal)
Follow-up to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, that the behavior has stopped and that the victim is satisfied with the outcome
If it cannot determine that the harassment took place, he/she may still make recommendations to ensure proper functioning of the workplace
Keep a record of all actions taken
Ensure that all the records concerning the matter are kept confidential
Ensure that the process is done as quickly as possible and in any event within five (5) business days of the complaint being made
Outside complaints mechanisms
A person who has been subject to sexual harassment can also make a complaint outside of the workplace. They can do so through legal processes.
Sanctions and disciplinary measures
Anyone who has been found to have sexually harassed another person under the terms of this policy is liable to any of the following sanctions:
Verbal or written warning
Adverse performance evaluation
Reduction of wages
Transfer to another department
The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied to ensure that incidents of sexual harassment are not treated as trivial.
Certain serious cases, including physical violence, will result in the immediate dismissal of the harasser.
Implementation of this policy
The Town of Independence will ensure that this policy is widely disseminated to all relevant persons. It will be included in the employee policy handbook. All new employees must be trained on the content of this policy as part of their induction into working for the Town of Independence.
Every year, the Town of Independence will require all employees to attend a refresher training course on the content of this sexual harassment policy.
It is the responsibility of every supervisor to ensure that his/her employees are aware of this policy. Monitoring and evaluation
The Town of Independence recognizes the importance of monitoring this sexual harassment policy and will ensure that it anonymously collects statistics and data as to how it is used and whether or not it is effective.
Supervisors, managers and those responsible for dealing with sexual harassment cases will report on compliance with this policy, including the number of incidents, how they were dealt with, and any recommendations made. This will be done on a yearly basis. As a result of this report, the Town of Independence will evaluate the effectiveness of this policy and make any changes necessary.
At a meeting of the Board of Aldermen, Town of Independence, Independence, Louisiana on the 12th day of November, 2019, a public hearing was held and a vote was taken to adopt this ordinance to be a part of the employee handbook. A motion was made by Jim Paine, seconded by Luke Suarez to adopt.
Voting to adopt was as follows:
YEAS: Jim Paine, Jimmy Gregory, Luke Suarez, Larry Cardaronella NAYS: None
ABSENT: Calvin Batiste ABSTAINED: None
Motion to adopt was passed unanimously.
NOVEMBER 27, 2019
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