8_SexualHarassmentPolicy - The definition of sexual...

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Unformatted text preview: The definition of sexual harassment includes many forms of offensive behavior. Department of Fair Employment and Housing An employer might avoid liability if the harasser is not in a position of authority, such as a lead, supervisor, manager or agent; the employer had no knowledge of the harassment; there was a program to prevent harassment; and once aware of any harassment, the employer took immediate and appropriate corrective action to stop the harassment. Filing a Complaint Employees or job applicants who believe that they have been sexually harassed may file a complaint of discrimination with DFEH within one year of the harassment. DFEH serves as a neutral fact-finder and attempts to help the parties voluntarily resolve disputes. If DFEH finds sufficient evidence to establish discrimination occurred and settlement efforts fail, the Department may file a formal accusation. The accusation will lead to either a public hearing before the Fair Employment and Housing Commission or a lawsuit filed by DFEH on behalf of the complaining party. If the Commission finds that discrimination has occurred, it can order remedies including: Fines or damages for emotional distress from each employer or person found to have violated the law Hiring or reinstatement Back pay or promotion Changes in the policies or practices of the involved employer Employees can also pursue the matter through a private lawsuit in civil court after a complaint has been filed with DFEH and a Right-to-Sue Notice has been issued. For more information, see DFEH publication 159 "Guide for Complainants and Respondents." Sexual Harassment The Facts About Sexual Harassment The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) defines sexual harassment as harassment based on sex or of a sexual nature; gender harassment; and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The definition of sexual harassment includes many forms of offensive behavior, including harassment of a person of the same gender as the harasser. The following is a partial list of types of sexual harassment: Unwanted sexual advances For more information, contact DFEH toll free at (800) 884-1684 TTY number at (800) 700-2320 or visit our web site at www.dfeh.ca.gov In accordance with the California Government Code and ADA requirements, this publication can be made available in Braille, large print, computer disk, or tape cassette as a disability-related reasonable accommodation for an individual with a disability. To discuss how to receive a copy of this publication in an alternative format, please contact DFEH at the numbers above. Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors Actual or threatened retaliation Leering; making sexual gestures; or displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons, or posters Making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, or jokes Sexual comments including graphic comments about an individual's body; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; or suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations Physical touching or assault, as well as impeding or blocking movements State of California Department of Fair Employment & Housing DFEH-185 (04/04) The mission of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, and from the perpetration of acts of hate violence. Employers' Obligations All employers must take the following actions against harassment: Take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring. If harassment does occur, take effective action to stop any further harassment and to correct any effects of the harassment. Develop and implement a sexual harassment prevention policy with a procedure for employees to make complaints and for the employer to investigate complaints. Policies should include provisions to: appropriate action to stop the harassment and ensure it will not continue The employer must also communicate to the complainant that action has been taken to stop the harassment from recurring. Finally, appropriate steps must be taken to remedy the complainant's damages, if any. Post the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) employment poster (DFEH 162) in the workplace (available through the DFEH toll-free number [800] 884-1684 or web site). Distribute an information sheet on sexual harassment to all employees. An employer may either distribute this pamphlet (DFEH 185) or develop an equivalent document that meets the requirements of Government Code section 12950(b). This pamphlet may be duplicated in any quantity. However, this pamphlet is not to be used in place of a sexual harassment prevention policy, which all employers are required to have. All employees should be made aware of the seriousness of violations of the sexual harassment policy. Supervisory personnel should be educated about their specific responsibilities. All employees must be cautioned against using peer pressure to discourage harassment victims from complaining. A program to eliminate sexual harassment from the workplace is not only required by law, but is the most practical way for an employer to avoid or limit liability if harassment should occur despite preventive efforts. Employer Liability All employers, regardless of the number of employees, are covered by the harassment section of the FEHA. Employers are generally liable for harassment by their supervisors or agents. Harassers, including both supervisory and nonsupervisory personnel, may be held personally liable for harassing an employee or coworker or for aiding and abetting harassment. Additionally, the law requires employers to take "all reasonable steps to prevent harassment from occurring." If an employer has failed to take such preventive measures, that employer can be held liable for the harassment. A victim may be entitled to damages, even though no employment opportunity has been denied and there is no actual loss of pay or benefits. In addition, if an employer knows or should have known that a nonemployee (e.g. client or customer) has sexually harassed an employee, applicant, or person providing services for the employer and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action, the employer may be held liable for the actions of the nonemployee. Fully inform the complainant of his/her rights and any obligations to secure those rights. Fully and effectively investigate. The investigation must be thorough, objective, and complete. Anyone with information regarding the matter should be interviewed. A determination must be made and the results communicated to the complainant, to the alleged harasser and, as appropriate, to all others directly concerned. Take prompt and effective corrective action if the harassment allegations are proven. The employer must take ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/11/2008 for the course ECE 151 taught by Professor Truman during the Spring '08 term at Duke.

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