Welcome to a presentation regarding harassment. Harassment is a prevalent concern for any employer and the best attempts to eliminate its occurrence is prevention. This presentation uses data and language directly from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the EEOC as you will hear it referred to in this presentation.I am Derek Hughes, Director of Human Resources for the University.
Lets begin with a brief overview of this presentation. Please take a moment to review the topics.
In the news today there are many examples of harassment.Here are a few to think about:Penn StateGruesome situation involving failure to report and manage allegations of sexual acts and harassment.NYUMailroom supervisor cost the University $210,000 for racially referring to a man as “monkey” and repeatedly telling him to “return to his cage”. Failure of responding to an employee’s reported allegations were what caused NYU to settle.Roosevelt University (Chicago)Professor fired for “joke” told in class about Arizona’s new controversial immigration law. The University claimed the professor was not fired for the joke, but his refusal to cooperate with the investigation into a complaint against him. There are likely many more cases that are undisclosed.Either they were unreported, or they were reported and were effectively and appropriately researched and handled internally. This process is best because it appropriately handles the situation without unwanted press and reputation tarnishing for the company and the people involved.
Harassment is unwelcome conductSpecifically, harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates law.Harassment becomes unlawful where:Employment is conditional. This is called Quid Pro Quo harassment or “this for that” harassment. For example, a supervisor offers to provide a new working schedule in exchange for a one-on-one romantic date to celebrate no longer working nights. In this example a person must endure offensive conduct as a condition of continued employment or changes.The secondplace harassment becomes unlawful is:The workenvironment is intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.This form of harassment is known as “Hostile Work Environment” Harassment. This type of harassment is defined in greater detail on the following slide.
Hostile work environment harassment includes, but is not limited to this list. Please take a moment to read through this list of items provided by the EEOC. A link is provided as reference to the specific location.
As an employee or supervisor you may encounter common excuses that are “red-flags” for the potential existence of harassing behavior. “They need to learn to stand-up for themselves.”“Eye for an eye – hit them back.”“Whatever doesn’t end you makes you stronger.”“Oh, I was just teasing. Take a joke.”“That’s just Oswald being Oswald” or “He/She is just like that.”“No one has ever said that it offended them before.”All accusations of harassment are allegations until investigated and proven. These allegations and research cases are given the utmost priority within the University.
VCSU has several policies surrounding harassment: Sexual Harassment, Hostile Work Environment, Workplace Violence, and Equal Employment Opportunity.I would like to capture a statement demonstrating VCSU’s take on harassment:“Valley City State University does not tolerate harassment. Disciplinary action can and will be taken against any employee who engages in harassment. All individuals making false accusations may also be subject to disciplinary action.”Further, VCSU has a process for reporting and handling these incidents:Quoting policy - “Such action shall be reported to the next level supervisor or the Human Resource office. Individuals experiencing harassment from co-workers shall make it clear that such behavior is offensive and unwanted. If this does not resolve the problem, the appropriate supervisor must be notified. Supervisors are expected to resolve this situation by:Referencing this policy, or More direct disciplinary action if necessary”
There are ways we together can prevent harassment at VCSU.The first is through prevention processes like this training.Per the EEOC, “Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment. They should clearly communicate to employees that unwelcome harassing conduct will not be tolerated.”Second, Know your audienceConflict is a necessity. We need people to disagree at times to ensure we are effectively reviewing our progress; however, conflict needs to dealt with tactfully and constructively.Third, tell people when actions or language is unwelcomePer the EEOC, “Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.”Also from the EEOC, “Employees are encouraged to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. Employees should also report harassment to management at an early stage to prevent its escalation.”The best thing you can do for yourself is tell the right people.Last, and perhaps most important step to preventing harassment, is use appropriate channels for reportingTell your supervisor or HR.If formally filing, follow the NDUS grievance policy; however, this disclosure to the supervisor and HR needs to occur first.Complaining is dangerous and a general rule of thumb is, “Concern up, not across or down”. This does not mean complaining, but instead means voice your concerns to a supervisor or HR, not coworkers or subordinates which could result in a performance issue. Please note:Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.
Thank you for your time. If you have any questions or concerns please address them with the Director of Human Resources.
HarassmentHiring/Onboarding Employees Training for VCSU in ComplianceMeetings with Supervisors
Overview1. In the News2. What is Harassment?3. Types of Harassment4. Common Excuses5. How do we Define Harassment?6. Preventing Harassment7. Conclusion
In the News• Can you think of an example? – Penn State – NYU – Roosevelt University (Chicago)• Many cases are undisclosed – Reported – Researched – Handled
What is Harassment?• Harassment is unwelcome conduct• Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates law 1. Employment is conditional 2. Work environment is intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people
Harassment Includes (but is not limited to): • Offensive jokes • Slurs • Epithets or name • Intimidation calling • Ridicule or mockery • Physical assaults or • Insults or put-downs threats • Offensive objects or • Interference with work pictures performanceEEOC: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/practices/harassment.cfm
Excuses for Harassment• “They need to learn to stand-up for themselves.”• “Eye for an eye – hit them back.”• “Whatever doesn’t end you makes you stronger.”• “Oh, I was just teasing. Take a joke.”• “That’s just Oswald being Oswald” or “He/She is just like that.”• “No one has ever said that it offended them before.”
How do we Define?• Policy V603.1.1 – Sexual Harassment• Policy V603.1.2 – Hostile Work Environment• Policy V603.1.3 – Workplace Violence Policy• Policy V603.2 – VCSU Equal Employment Opportunity Plan
Preventing Harassment• Prevention• Know your audience• Tell people when actions or language is unwelcome• Use appropriate channels for reporting