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Sexual Harassment Policy
It is the policy of WIDGET Corporation to maintain an employment atmosphere free of any pressures on employees relating to sexual harassment. Consistent with applicable federal and state laws, the WIDGET Corporation endorses the objective that employees be free of situations where sexual considerations form the basis for business decisions.
Sexual harassment may be described as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical, visual, or verbal behavior of a sexual nature where:
1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or,
3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning employment environment.
Other forms of Sexual harassment are any unwanted or uninvited behavior of a sexual nature, which makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended. Sexual harassment can take many different forms and may include physical contact, verbal comments, jokes, propositions, the display of offensive material or other behavior, which creates a sexually hostile working environment. Sexual harassment can occur between men and women; women and other women; and men and other men.
Sexual harassment will not be tolerated at WIDGET, and employees who engage in such conduct are subject to the full range of the WIDGET’s disciplinary policies.
PROCEDURE FOR THE FILING COMPLAINTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
WIDGET has issued a policy statement condemning sexual harassment as violation of its own standards and those of applicable federal and state law. This procedure provides the structure for the filing and resolution of complaints of sexual harassment relating to the employment life of its employees. All allegations of sexual harassment, which occur, shall be subject to this procedure.
II. Established Resources and Considerations
Confidentiality is essential in any effort to investigate and resolve allegations of sexual harassment. The interests of both the complainant and the respondent must be protected as information is gathered and evaluated. Therefore, only persons who have a “need to know” within the investigation and resolution of complaints and appropriate senior Human Resource officials are entitled to information in the application of this procedure. WIDGET employees who disclose to persons not in the “need to know” chain information which is obtained within the informal or formal steps of this procedure will be subject to disciplinary action.
The Human Resource Officer shall make a standing appointment of one or more members of the Human Resource department to serve as the complaint officer. This person is responsible to determine at the first formal step if alleged sexual harassment may have occurred. As provided in this procedure, the complaint officer also is responsible to convene the review board and to provide such administrative assistance as the board may request. However, it is the expectation that the officer would not attend the proceedings of the board.
A review board may be established as provided in this procedure. The board’s function is to review referrals from the complaint officer and also any appeals of the decisions of the complaint officer as provided for in this procedure.
The review board is comprised of three members:one is appointed by the complainant, one by the respondent, and the third person to serve as chairperson is appointed by the complaint officer. The board members shall be WIDGET employees. The board is empowered to convene appropriate hearings and to keep its own records in a format determined for each respective case. The board’s procedures may include by example but are not limited to such approaches as open or closed hearings, individual interviews, and the examination of written documentation. However, the board is not bound by rules of judicial or administrative hearing procedures or by formal rules of evidence.
III. Informal Procedure
The WIDGET Corporation encourages its employees to attempt informal resolution of complaints of sexual harassment. The WIDGET Corporation has many offices and individuals who may be able to provide counseling on a confidential basis for a person who believes that he or she is the victim of sexual harassment. The departments of Human Resources and Personnel Services, the employee s immediate supervisor, Foreman, Division Heads, Department Heads, and the Vice President of that specific area have all been properly train to assist with informal and formal sexual harassment procedures.
IV. Formal Procedure
Where a person is unable to resolve a problem of sexual harassment informally, the following procedure may be invoked for the formal examination of the allegation.
1. A formal, written complaint, utilizing WIDGET s standard form, shall be submitted to the Human Resource Officer (complaint officer). The purpose of the complaint form is to assist the complainant in formulating a concise statement of his/her concern and to assist the complaint officer to see the basic facts of the allegation, along with the complainant’s requested remedy. The complaint must be filed no later than six months from the date on which the subject conduct allegedly occurred.
2. The complaint officer shall review the charges made in the complaint with the complainant, shall provide guidance and counseling as to the complainant’s options and available procedures, and shall make such investigation of the charges, as the officer may deem appropriate. In order to achieve a complete view of the case, the officer shall notify the respondent of the complaint and confer as necessary with the respondent. With the approval of both the complainant and the respondent, the complaint officer may attempt private mediation in an effort to resolve the alleged problem without the need for additional proceedings.
3. Within 10 business days of receiving the complaint, the complaint officer shall issue a written report on the case to the complainant and respondent:
a) If the complaint officer finds that the case cannot reasonably be construed to constitute sexual harassment or that there is insufficient information to conclude that sexual harassment may have occurred, the complaint officer shall file a report closing the case and stating the reasons why the complaint should be dismissed. The complaint officer shall also advise the complainant in the written report that the decision may be appealed to the review board. The complainant must notify the complaint officer of his/her desire to appeal the decision within five business days of the officer’s decision.
b) If the complaint officer decides that the case can reasonably be construed to have constituted sexual harassment, the complaint officer shall convene a review board.
4. The complainant and the respondent will each designate his/her board member, and the complaint officer will designate the chairperson of the board, all within 15 business days of the issuance of the complaint officer’s report. Within 10 business days of the appointment of the board, the board shall begin its proceedings.
In appearances before the board, the complainant and the respondent may each be accompanied by an adviser of their own choosing, but any adviser so designated who is an attorney-at-law will not be considered to be appearing as counsel.
The board will render its conclusions in a written report no later than 20 business days from the date of the board’s initiation of the proceedings. The board’s report shall be limited to findings of fact and the conclusion of whether or not sexual harassment occurred. The report shall be delivered to the complaint officer and to the vice president responsible for the area in which the respondent employee is assigned.
The vice president communicates the board’s conclusions to the complainant and the respondent. It is the sole responsibility of the vice president to determine and take any disciplinary action based on the report provided by the board.
5. Where the vice president takes disciplinary action against the respondent, the respondent may utilize the existing applicable WIDGET Corporation grievance procedure to dispute the discipline.
6. Disciplinary action can include, but not limited to, termination of employment, demotion from supervisory position (including forfeiture of supervisor pay), formal written and/or oral reprimands, and recommended counseling program.
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