Permission is hereby granted to modify and use the information in this draft sexual harassment guideline, provided you include reference to the author as shown at the end.
We shall take all reasonable steps to see that this sexual harassment policy is followed everyone in our organization who has contact with employees. This prevention plan will include training sessions, ongoing monitoring of the work site and a confidential employee survey to be conducted and evaluated each year.
Sexual harassment refers to all types of unwanted sexual attention. Sexual harassment does not mean occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. Sexual harassment refers to conduct which is offensive to the individual, which harms morale, and which interferes with the accomplishment of our organization mission. This includes pressure to provide sexual favors, and offensive, intimidating comments or actions concerning one's gender or sexual orientation.
Four basic types of sexual harassment:
1. Verbal harassment: Sexually suggestive comments, e.g., about a person's clothing, body, and/or sexual activities; sexually provocative compliments about a person's clothes or the way their clothes fit; comments of a sexual nature about weight, body shape, size, or figure; comments or questions about the sensuality of a person, or his/her spouse or significant other; repeated unsolicited propositions for dates and/or sexual intercourse; pseudo-medical advice such as "you might be feeling bad because you didn't get enough" or "A little Tender Loving Care (TLC) will cure your ailments"; continuous idle chatter of a sexual nature and graphic sexual descriptions; telephone calls of a sexual nature; derogatory comments or slurs; verbal abuse or threats; sexual jokes; suggestive or insulting sounds such as whistling, wolf-calls, or kissing sounds; homophobic insults.
2. Physical harassment: Sexual gestures, e.g., licking lips or teeth, holding or eating food provocatively, and lewd gestures such as hand or sign language to denote sexual activity; sexual looks such as leering and ogling with suggestive overtones; sexual innuendoes; cornering, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement; touching that is inappropriate in the workplace such as patting, pinching, stroking, or brushing up against the body, mauling, attempted or actual kissing or fondling; assault, coerced sexual intercourse, attempted rape or rape.
3.Visual harassment: Showing and distributing derogatory or pornographic posters, cartoons, drawings, books or magazines.
4.Sexual favors: Persistent pressure for dates, unwanted sexual advances that condition an employment benefit upon an exchange of sexual favors.
It is not permissible to suggest, threaten or imply that failure to accept a request for a date or sexual intimacy will affect an employee’s job prospects. For example, it is forbidden either to imply or actually withhold support for an appointment, promotion or change of assignment or suggest that a poor performance report will be given because an employee has declined a personal proposition. Also, offering benefits such as promotions, favorable performance evaluations, favorable assigned duties or shifts, recommendations or reclassifications in exchange for sexual favors is forbidden.
Any employee found to have violated this policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action according to the findings of the complaint investigation. If an investigation reveals that sexual harassment has occurred, the harasser may also be held legally liable for his or her actions under provincial and federal law. Anyone making a false claim of sexual harassment will also be subject to disciplinary action.
Any employee bringing a sexual harassment complaint or assisting in investigating such a complaint will not be adversely affected in terms and conditions of employment, or discriminated against or discharge because of the compliant. Complaints of such retaliation will be promptly and thoroughly investigated.
Sexual harassment can occur in any situation, but is especially common in situations where there is a power imbalance between the perpetrator and the victim, due to gender, race, sexual orientation, status or rank differences. Sexual harassment, however, can also occur between peers. Both women and men can be victims of sexual harassment, although it is most common for women to be harassed by men. Sexual harassment also occurs between members of the same sex.
Sexual harassment differs from healthy sexual attraction because it is unwelcome and unsolicited. Sexual conduct becomes unlawful only when it is unwelcome. The challenged conduct must be unwelcome in the sense that the employee did not solicit or incite it, and in the sense that the employee regarded the conduct as undesirable or offensive. NOTE: An employee who was previously involved in a mutual consenting intimate relationship with another person maintains his or her entitlement to protection from sexual harassment, but s/he should inform the other party that any further sexual advances are unwelcome.
Sexual harassment degrades all persons and creates a hostile work environment. It is extremely costly for employers as well as damaging to employees. The effects of sexual harassment on the complainant may include loss of self-confidence and self-esteem, physical symptoms of stress, diminished work productivity, and low morale.
To fight sexual harassment, remember four tactics: confront, report, document, and support.
CONFRONT the harasser. Say No Clearly. Inform the harasser that their attentions are unwanted. Make clear you find the behavior offensive. If it persists, write a memo to the harasser asking them to stop; keep a copy.
REPORT the problem immediately, verbally and/or in writing directly to your supervisor, or to the supervisor of the accused, and to your union steward. Our door is always open and anyone who has been harassed or thinks harassment is occurring, can seek our confidential advice. We will speak with the accused at your request and inform them about illegal conduct and its consequences. We have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment. If the incident is confirmed, the offending employee faces the following possible sanctions: verbal or written reprimand, negative evaluation, denial of promotion, poor recommendations, suspension, demotion, forced resignation, and termination. We will make every effort to create an atmosphere of comfort for recipients of sexual harassment to request assistance in the resolution of complaints, but at the same time we will also protect the rights of the accused until proven guilty.
Note: A single sexual advance, unless severe, may not constitute harassment unless it is linked to the granting or denial of employment or employment benefits. The unwelcome, intentional touching of a person’s intimate body areas is sufficiently offensive to be considered severe, and even a single incident can be considered as harassment. Asking someone for a date is not considered severe. But a repetitive series of non-severe incidents will be considered harassment if the offender was told to stop. It is important for the victim to communicate that the conduct is unwelcome, particularly when the alleged harasser may have some reason to believe that the advance may be welcomed such as a previous consenting relationship.
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