Harassment Policy - Employee

For the Employee Handbook

Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation

The Conference seeks to provide a work environment free from harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The Conference prohibits harassment and discrimination of its employees in any form, including harassment and discrimination by supervisors, co-employees, commissioners, reporters, observers, and other parties. The goal of the Conference is to create and maintain a work environment that promotes respect and dignity for all persons and is free of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other offensive behavior. Such behavior conflicts with a harmonious and productive work environment and is not tolerated.

Protected Status. The Conference prohibits harassment or discrimination in any form on the basis of a person’s race, color, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), lactation/breastfeeding, age, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, handicap or disability, association with a person with a disability, the use of a guide or support animal, genetic information, protected veteran/military status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law (“Protected Status”).

Non-Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity. The Conference is an equal employment opportunity employer. The Conference does not discriminate against any person on the basis of any Protected Status. Job applicants and present employees are evaluated solely on ability to perform the job, experience, and the requirements of the job.

Harassment. Harassment is conduct that is directed to, related to, or focused on a person’s Protected Status and can reasonably be characterized as offensive, hostile or abusive. The conduct can occur through verbal action, non-verbal/visual action, physical action, emails, text messages, social media, or in any other manner. While it is not easy to define precisely what harassment is, it includes slurs, epithets, bullying, threats, derogatory comments, unwelcome jokes, teasing and other similar verbal, visual or physical conduct. Sexual harassment, in particular, includes unwelcome explicit or insinuated sexual advances, flirtations, requests or propositions for sexual favors, leering or sexual gestures, unsolicited and non-accidental touches, references to sexual preference or stereotype, display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, impeding or blocking movement, or other unwelcome sexual, verbal, visual or physical conduct of a harassing nature if: (1) submission to the conduct is a term or condition of employment or continued employment, whether explicitly or implicitly, (2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a factor in a decision affecting the individual’s employment, or (3) the conduct or communication substantially interferes with the individual’s employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

The Conference prohibits harassment on any basis. Bullying and hostile or abusive conduct that denigrates, shows aversion, or is offensive to another person violates this policy even if it is not technically illegal. All employees are expected and required to behave in a professional, appropriate, and respectful manner.

Retaliation Protection. The Conference prohibits retaliation against an employee because the employee opposes any form of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation or participates in a proceeding regarding harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, including participation by filing, reporting, complaining, testifying, or assisting in any other manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing. Forms of retaliation include demotion, suspension, declining to hire or consider to hire, declining to give equal consideration in making an employment decision, declining to make an impartial employment recommendation, adversely affecting working conditions, or denying any employment benefit to the employee. Proper measures to address misconduct and poor performance are not retaliation.

False Allegation. A false allegation refers to an instance in which a person deliberately makes a false statement or fraudulently submits false evidence concerning harassment, discrimination or retaliation. An employee who makes a false allegation may be subject to disciplinary penalties, including immediate discharge. An allegation made in good faith, but which cannot be proven or that is protected by law, is not a false allegation subject to discipline.

Reporting and Investigation Procedure. A supervisor who has reason to believe an employee has been subjected to any kind of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation shall immediately report the conduct to the Executive Director, Chief Administrative Officer, or the President of the Commission. All other employees are strongly encouraged to report the conduct to their immediate supervisor. If the supervisor is unavailable or the employee would be uncomfortable reporting to the supervisor, the employee should immediately report the conduct to the Executive Director or Chief Administrative Officer.

The Conference (or its designee) will promptly and responsibly investigate the facts and circumstances of any report or complaint under this policy. Each report, complaint, and investigation will be handled confidentially to the extent practical and appropriate under the circumstances. When a complaint is substantiated, a person adversely affected by the conduct will be informed of the findings and of remedial measures taken.

Sanctions and Penalties. An employee who is found to have violated this policy may be subject to discipline as appropriate. For an infraction of a serious nature or a repeated offense of a less serious nature, an employee may be subject to disciplinary penalties, including suspension, demotion, or immediate discharge. An employee suspected of violations of this policy may be subject to a suspension pending the outcome of the investigation. Legal Intent. This policy is intended to provide a framework supportive of and consistent with applicable federal, state, and local law. It does not confer any special right or contractual right beyond those established by federal, state, and local law.