Sexual Harassment Policy Guidelines Part II
harassment refers to all types of unwanted sexual attention. Sexual
harassment does not mean occasional compliments of a socially
SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION PROCEDURE
Every complaint will be thoroughly investigated. When a complaint of sexual harassment is received we will take the following actions:
1. Question both parties in detail.
2. Probe deeply for corroborative evidence.
Here is what we are trying to determine with our investigation:
We will not assume the accused is guilty, but neither will we attach much significance to a general denial by the accused harasser. We will search completely and thoroughly for evidence that corroborates either side's story. We will do this by:
1. Interviewing co-workers, supervisors, and managers
2. Obtaining testimony from individuals who observed the accuser's demeanor immediately after the alleged incident of harassment
3. Checking out people with whom the alleged victim discussed the incident (e.g., co-workers, a doctor, or a counselor).
We will ask other employees if they noticed changes in the accusing individual's behavior at work or in the alleged harasser's treatment of him or her. We will look for evidence of other complaints, either by the victim or other employees. We will follow up on evidence that other employees were sexually harassed by the same person. In order to make a fair and legal decision on a sexual harassment complaint we need to find out as much information as we can, not only on the incident itself, but also on the victim's and accuser's personalities, surroundings, and relationships. To accomplish this task, we need to not only ask many questions of the victim and accuser, but also of any witnesses to the incident and the surrounding environment.
Here are some questions we may ask the victim:
Here are some questions we may ask the accused:
Here are some questions we may ask any witnesses:
MYTHS ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT
- The complainant wanted the attention or enjoyed it.
- The complainant's physical appearance or clothing enticed the harasser.
- The complainant probably falsified the incident report of sexual harassment.
- The complainants and the accused sexual harassers can be easily identified or stereotyped.
- All men are harassers.
- Women are the only victims or sexual harassment and women do not sexually harass. (Approximately 10% of reported cases are filed against women and 90% against men).
- Sexual harassment is only teasing and an innocent flirtation sport.
- Sexual harassment is rare in the workplace.
- If the complainant had only said "No," the harassment would have stopped.
For many people, sexual harassment is an uncomfortable, disturbing and even frightening experience. It can be extremely disruptive to one's lifestyle to face a continuous barrage of unwanted comments, to rearrange one's schedule to avoid certain people, and to simply live in a constant state of wariness. As a result, harassment can have devastating effects on one's performance at work, one's comfort and self-esteem and physical health. Often, people are afraid of addressing the harassment they experience because they fear that the perpetrator will exercise their power in a disadvantageous way. For example, one might fear losing a promotion, getting a poor evaluation, or being fired if one protests or even acknowledges the harassment.
People who are sexually harassed often wrongly assume that the cause of their problem is in their own conduct, and therefore are very hesitant to confront the instigator, or to discuss the problem with an authority or even a friend. Others try to downplay the existence of the harassment in the hopes that it will simply end. But victims are not to blame for the behavior of their harasser, nor should they pretend that the negative effects they're experiencing don't exist, because they probably won't go away by themselves.
We understand that if you have been the victim of sexual harassment you may not have told the harasser to stop for a variety of reasons. If you come forward to us with your complaint, this is how we will help you.
We will not treat your complaint as trivial. All complaints will be taken seriously, but there is a wide degree of difference between incidents. You and the person accused will be advised of your right to union representation. Less serious complaints can be handled informally. For example, the supervisor may call in the person who has been complained about and reiterate the policy and make admonishments where necessary for the employee to modify his or her behavior. We will first try to resolve the issue informally without a formal complaint, unless the incident was unambiguous and severe, in which case a formal procedure will be implemented immediately. It is up to you to decide how serious the situation is. You will not be pressured to handle the incident informally. If the situation is adequately resolved with an informal procedure, no further action shall be taken. If the matter is not resolved to the complainant's satisfaction through informal resolution, a formal procedure will be implemented.
We will ask you if you feel comfortable asking the harasser to stop, or would prefer third-party intervention from us. You may choose to accept the self-help approach. If so, approach the harasser and say "I want (whatever the sexually harassing behavior is) to stop immediately" in a firm and assertive manner. This approach gives you an active role in the resolution process and a sense of "empowerment." Telling the harasser to stop will often deter the harasser from subsequent and more progressive acts of sexual harassment.
We will instruct you to keep a record of the incidents of sexual harassment. You should record all incidents, dates, times, places, and witnesses who heard or saw the incident. You should seek information about others who may have been similarly harassed, but it would be better to do this only after you talk to us. These persons may be important components in the grievance resolution process if a formal complaint is filed. You will want to contact the individuals perceived to be targets of sexual harassment before disclosing their names. This action should be discrete and kept confidential for your own protection and also to be absolutely fair to the accused. Information should be disclosed only on a need to know basis and with the understanding that the recipient has a duty to preserve confidentiality. We will closely monitor the situation to ensure that there is no retaliation against you or any possible witnesses.
The next step is to consider writing a letter in which you request an end to the harassing behavior. Writing a letter to the harasser has been a controversial issue because it may trigger questions of legality, confidentiality, admissible evidence, and due process. However, if the letter is kept CONFIDENTIAL and is written in a "polite" yet direct manner, these questions will not arise. The letter should contain the following:
1. A description of the incident and the type of behavior, including details about location, date, and time of the incident. This part should be low-key and should address only the facts.
2. A description of the incident's mental and physical effect on you. You should convey opinions, thoughts, and feelings, and should share the effect of the harassing behavior. For example, "It embarrassed me," "made my stomach turn to knots," or "I can't concentrate on my work."
3. An clear statement that you want the sexual harassment to stop immediately and what is necessary to maintain any future relationship. For example, "I want our relationship to be strictly professional and I don't want you ever to touch me again or make gestures or remarks about my sexuality." A copy of the letter should be kept by you in a secured location. A copy should be given to your supervisor or the person in personnel who is assisting you, and a copy to your union steward. You may give the letter to the harasser in person or send it by certified mail. We will help you write the letter if you want us to do so.
Generally writing a letter is more powerful than a verbal message telling the harasser to stop. Writing a letter is an important step toward ending the sexual harassment. Other advantages of writing a letter are as follows
- It keeps the incident/s confidential.
- It avoids public or one-on-one confrontation.
- It gives the alleged harasser a chance to know how his or her behavior is affecting you.
- It gives the harasser a chance to change his or her behavior or defend it before informal or formal complaints are filed.
- It may minimize or prevent retaliation against you.
- It may be used in support of a formal complaint or lawsuit to demonstrate that you initiated action to end the harassment.
This questionnaire will be administered to all employees at least once per year. Please do not write any names on this form. Continue on the back of this form if additional space is needed to answer a question.
Questions (Answer Y or N )
1. Have you been subjected to sexual harassment while working here? (If "No," skip to Question #11.) Y ___ N ___
2. If so, what did you encounter? (Check as appropriate).
• Physical contact you did not want. Y ___ N ___
• Cornering or invading your "personal space." Y ___ N ___
• Continued or repeated idle chatter of a sexual nature and graphic comments about sex.
• Offensive and persistent "risque" jokes or sexual teasing. Y ___ N ___
• Comments made or questions asked about the sensuality of your spouse, friend or your own sexual orientation. Y ___ N ___
Pseudo-medical advice given to you such as "You must be feeling bad
because you didn't get enough (sex)" or "A Little Tender Loving Care
(TLC) will cure your ailments."
• Provocative looks such as leering or ogling. Y ___ N ___
• Lewd gestures (holding or eating fruit provocatively) or suggestive noises or sounds (wolf calls, kissing sounds, or lip smacking). Y ___ N ___
• Annoying or degrading comments about your body, weight, or size. Y ___ N ___
• Annoying or degrading remarks about sex. Y ___ N __
• Pressure to engage in sexual activity, but without job-related threats. Y ___ N ___
• Threats or suggestions that your job or working conditions, etc., depend on your submission to sexual demands. Y ___ N ___
If you have experienced sexual harassment on the job in a form that was
not listed, please use the space below to explain. (Continue on the
back if necessary).
4. Who harassed you? (Do not write names)
Co-worker _____ Supervisor _____ Customer _____Other: (Specify) ____________
What action did you take to end the harassment? (If you did not take
any actions to end the harassment, skip to Question #8.)
6. Did the harassment stop when you initiated action to end it? Y ___ N ___
7. What was the outcome? (Continue on back if necessary)
8. If you did not take any action to end the harassment, please indicate why?
9. Would you have filed a complainant if you had been aware of a procedure for you to do so? Y N
Were you penalized in any way for objecting or complaining? If so, how?
Y N _________________________________________________________________
11. Do you know of anyone who works in this unit who has been harassed and was afraid to object or complain? Y N
12. Do you think that sexual harassment is a problem in this unit? What suggestions do you have for creating a sexual harassment-free work place? Y N _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________
13. Has harassment, or your fear of it, distracted you from your work or reduced your efficiency? Y N How? (Specify and continue on back if necessary.)
14. (Optional) Are you male or female? M F
Please make any additional comments on any aspect of this subject.
Original document created by Al Link (4 Freedoms Relationship Tantra) http://www.tantra-sex.com.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Al Link and Pala Copeland own and operate 4 Freedoms Relationship Tantra. They regularly host lover's romantic weekends near Ottawa Canada, and weeklong retreats in exotic locations. For more info Visit www.tantra-sex.com, www.sexyspiritualrelationships.com and their blog www.askaboutloveandsex.com or send email: firstname.lastname@example.org