[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Alpha 12-23-1997 by Ord. No. 97-16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Harassment on the basis of a person's sex by a supervisor, coworker or other person is a discriminatory practice which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and regulations passed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Aside from being illegal, sexual harassment undermines the integrity of individual work relationships and damages the morale of the entire work force.
It is the policy of this government that all employees are entitled to work in an environment free from all forms of illegal discrimination, including that which is based upon a person's sex. Accordingly, any practice or activity which constitutes sexual harassment is strictly forbidden within Borough workplaces and shall, if substantiated in accordance with this policy, result in disciplinary action.
Definition. "Sexual harassment" is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person's employment; or
Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting that person; or
Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person's work performance; or
Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
Sanctions. Sexual harassment is a serious violation of the work rules of this government and, if proven, shall be grounds for the imposition of discipline. Potential sanctions for the offense shall range from a minimum of three days' suspension without pay to termination, depending upon the following:
Any employee who believes that another employee is engaging in sexual harassment may file a complaint within a reasonable period of time after the event (normally not more than 180 days).
No person filing a report under this policy or who legitimately assists another in the prosecution of any such complaint shall be subjected to retribution or retaliation of any kind for doing so.
Filing of complaints. All complaints of sexual harassment shall be filed with either an immediate supervisor, a manager or the Affirmative Action Officer.
Complaints filed under this policy shall be promptly and thoroughly investigated by the Affirmative Action Officer or an individual designated by the Mayor in the event the Affirmative Action Officer is unable to perform this function due to circumstances surrounding the complaint.
Upon completion of the investigation, the Affirmative Action Officer shall prepare a comprehensive report addressing all allegations in the complaint and objectively documenting all relevant factual findings of the investigation. The investigatory report shall contain neither conclusions concerning the complaint nor recommendations as to disposition.
The investigative report shall be presented to the Mayor upon completion and within 15 days after receipt of the complaint. This time requirement may be extended by the Mayor, in writing, upon request of the investigator and good cause shown for such an extension.
All complaints of sexual harassment shall be adjudicated by the Mayor, Council President and one other Council person chosen by the Mayor.
Upon receipt of the completed investigation report, the Mayor, Council President and one Council person shall conduct an administrative hearing at which the report shall be presented and considered. Hearings shall be conducted before a court reporter empowered to take testimony under oath. The court reporter shall require all witnesses to provide testimony under oath and shall prepare a verbatim transcription/recording of the proceedings, which shall serve as the official record of the hearing.
The accused employee shall be notified, in writing, at least 10 days before the hearing of the complaint and the underlying allegations. The accused employee may request one postponement of the hearing upon receipt of the notice in order to obtain legal counsel. However, the delay occasioned by such request shall not exceed 30 days from the date of receipt of the notice by the accused employee.
The accused employee shall be entitled to attend the hearing and testify in his or her own behalf, and shall be entitled to confront and cross-examine the employee who filed the complaint. In the event that the complainant elects not to attend the administrative hearing, and upon objection from the accused to the complainant's absence, the complaint shall be dismissed and the accused deemed innocent of the allegations.
The accused employee shall be entitled to call witnesses in his or her behalf and to introduce evidence which bears upon the issue presented by the complaint and investigative report.
At the conclusion of the hearing, or within five days thereafter, the Mayor, Council President and one Council person shall make findings concerning the innocence or guilt of the accused of the offense of sexual harassment.
A finding of guilt must be supported by substantial, credible evidence that:
Supervisors. Each supervisor has a responsibility to maintain the workplace free of sexual harassment. This duty includes discussing this policy with all employees and assuring them that they are not to endure insulting, degrading or exploitative sexual treatment.
Municipal Clerk. It is the responsibility of the Municipal Clerk to:
Provide information to managers and supervisors regarding this policy specifically, and sexual harassment generally, the gravity of such behavior, and the procedure to be employed in the event of a complaint of sexual harassment is made or conduct amounting to sexual harassment is observed.
Provide necessary training to managers and supervisors in order to reduce the likelihood of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Due to the serious and private nature of this offense, false accusations of sexual harassment are and will be treated as a disciplinary offense and will result in the same level of punishment as that applied to one who engages in such behavior.