Chapter 4.90
SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY

Sections:

4.90.005    Sexual harassment violates the law.

4.90.010    Statement of prohibited conduct.

4.90.020    Schedule of penalties for misconduct.

4.90.030    Procedures for making, investigating, and resolving sexual harassment and retaliation complaints.

4.90.040    Imposition of remedial action.

4.90.050    Procedures and rules for education and training.

4.90.005 Sexual harassment violates the law.

A. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, age or national origin. Sexual harassment is included among the prohibitions.

B. According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical acts of a sexual or sex-based nature when (1) submission to that conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or a condition of an individual’s employment; (2) an employment decision is based on an individual’s acceptance or rejection of that conduct; or (3) that conduct interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

C. It also is unlawful to retaliate or take reprisals in any way against an employee who has articulated a good faith concern about sexual harassment or discrimination against him or her or against another individual.

D. Examples of conduct that would be considered sexual harassment or constitute retaliation are presented in PMC 4.90.010. These examples are provided to illustrate the kind of conduct proscribed by this chapter. This list is not exhaustive.

E. Sexual harassment is unlawful, and the prohibited conduct exposes not only the city, but also the individuals involved in that conduct, to significant liability under the law. Accordingly, the city is committed to enforcing this policy regarding sexual harassment at all levels within the city. Employees should treat other employees with respect and dignity in a manner that does not offend the sensibilities of a coworker in a manner prohibited by law. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.90.010 Statement of prohibited conduct.

The city considers the following conduct to be illustrative of some of the conduct that violates the city’s sexual harassment code:

A. Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as:

1. An employee convicted of sexual assault, molestation, or an attempt to commit any such assaults will be discharged.

2. Intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against another employee’s body, or poking another employee’s body.

B. Unwanted sexual advances, propositions or other sexual comments, such as:

1. Sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes or comments about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience directed at or made in the presence of any employee who indicates or has indicated in any way that such conduct is unwelcome in his or her presence;

2. Preferential treatment or promises of preferential treatment to an employee for submitting to sexual conduct, including soliciting or attempting to solicit any employee to engage in sexual activity for compensation or reward; and

3. Subjecting, or threats of subjecting, an employee to unwelcome sexual attention or conduct or intentionally making performance of the employee’s job more difficult because of the employee’s sex.

C. Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications anywhere in the city’s workplace by city employees (except as may be done in the ordinary course of work), such as:

1. Displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional materials, reading materials, or other materials that are sexually suggestive, sexually demeaning or pornographic, or bringing into the city’s work environment or possessing any such material to read, display or view at work. A picture will be presumed to be sexually suggestive if it depicts a person of either sex who is not fully clothed or in clothes that are not suited to or customarily accepted for the accomplishment of routine work in and around the workplace and who is posed for the obvious purpose of displaying or drawing attention to private portions of his or her body;

2. Reading publicly or otherwise publicizing in the work environment materials that are in any way sexually revealing, sexually suggestive, sexually demeaning or pornographic; and

3. Displaying signs or other materials purporting to segregate an employee by sex in any area of the workplace (other than restrooms and similar semiprivate lockers and changing rooms).

D. Retaliation for sexual harassment complaints, such as:

1. Disciplining, changing work assignments of, providing inaccurate work information to, or refusing to cooperate or discuss work-related matters with any employee because that employee has complained about or resisted harassment, discrimination or retaliation; and

2. Intentionally lying about, falsely denying, exerting pressure, or otherwise attempting to cover up conduct such as that described in any item above.

E. Other acts, such as:

1. The illustrations stated above are not to be construed as an all-inclusive list of prohibited acts under this chapter;

2. Sexual harassment is unlawful and hurts other employees. Moreover, each incident of harassment contributes to a general atmosphere in which all persons who share the victim’s sex suffer the consequences. An employee who engages in sexual harassment will be made to bear the full responsibility for that unlawful act. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.90.020 Schedule of penalties for misconduct.

The following schedule of penalties applies to all violations of this chapter. When progressive discipline is provided for, each instance of conduct violating the policy moves the offending employee through the steps of disciplinary action. In other words, it is not necessary for an employee to repeat the same precise conduct in order to move up the scale of discipline. A written record of each action taken pursuant to this chapter will be placed in the offending employee’s and alleged victim’s personnel files. The record will reflect the conduct or alleged conduct; the nature, scope and findings of the investigation; and the warning given or other discipline imposed.

A. Physical Assault of a Sexual Nature.

1. An employee convicted of sexual assault, molestation, or an attempt to commit any such assaults will be discharged.

2. An employee’s intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against another employee’s body or poking another employee’s body, will result in discipline at least as stringent as set forth in subsection (B) of this section, but may result in more stringent discipline up to and including dismissal for a first proven offense depending upon the severity of the misconduct.

B. Other Acts of Harassment by an Employee. An employee’s commission of acts of sexual harassment other than assault will result in nondisciplinary oral counseling on the alleged first offense; written warning, suspension or discharge on the first proven offense, depending on the nature or severity of the misconduct; and suspension or discharge on the second proven offense, depending on the nature or severity of the misconduct.

C. Retaliation. Alleged retaliation against a sexual harassment complainant will result in nondisciplinary oral counseling. Any form of proven retaliation will result in suspension or discharge on the first proven offense, depending on the nature and severity of the retaliatory acts, and discharge on the second proven offense.

D. Supervisors. A supervisor’s commission of acts of sexual harassment (other than assault) with respect to any other employee under that person’s supervision will result in non-disciplinary oral counseling on the alleged first offense; final warning or discharge for the first proven offense, depending on the nature and severity of the misconduct; and discharge for any subsequent offense. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.90.030 Procedures for making, investigating, and resolving sexual harassment and retaliation complaints.

A. Complaints.

1. An employee may make a sexual harassment complaint to the employee’s supervisor, department director or to the personnel officer. The purpose of having several persons to whom complaints may be made is to avoid a situation in which an employee is faced with complaining to the person, or a close associate of the person, who would be the subject of the complaint.

2. Complaints of acts of sexual harassment or retaliation that are in violation of this sexual harassment chapter will be accepted in writing or orally, and anonymous complaints will be taken seriously and investigated. Anyone who has observed sexual harassment or retaliation should report it to the employee’s supervisor, department director or to the personnel officer. A complaint need not be limited to someone who was the target of harassment or retaliation.

3. Only those who have an immediate need to know, including the investigative officer(s) and/or designee, the personnel officer, the city manager, the city attorney, the alleged target of harassment or retaliation, the alleged harassers or retaliators, and any witnesses, may find out the identity of the complainant. All parties contacted in the course of an investigation will be advised that all parties involved in a charge are entitled to respect, and that any retaliation or reprisal against an individual who is an alleged target of harassment or retaliation, who has made a complaint, or who has provided evidence in connection with a complaint is a separate actionable offense as provided in the schedule of penalties.

4. Upon receipt of a complaint, a supervisor and a department director shall immediately notify the personnel officer; provided, however, if a complaint is against the personnel officer, a supervisor and a department director shall immediately notify the city attorney.

5. The personnel officer shall investigate the complaint and may appoint investigative officers to assist with the investigation. If the personnel officer is the subject of the complaint, the city attorney shall investigate the complaint and may appoint investigative officers to assist with the investigation.

B. Investigations.

1. Each investigative officer will receive thorough training about sexual harassment and the procedures under this article and will have the responsibility for investigating complaints.

2. When a complaint is made, the personnel officer will have the duty of immediately bringing the complaint to the confidential attention of the city manager.

3. All complaints will be investigated expeditiously by the personnel officer (or city attorney) and that person will produce a written report which, together with the investigation file, will be shown to the complainant on request within a reasonable time. The investigative officer is empowered to recommend remedial measures based on the results of the investigation, and the personnel officer will promptly consider and act on that recommendation.

C. Cooperation.

1. An effective sexual harassment policy requires the support and example of city personnel in positions of authority.

2. City agents or employees who engage in sexual harassment or retaliation or who fail to cooperate with city-sponsored investigations of sexual harassment or retaliation may be severely sanctioned by suspension or discharge.

3. By the same token, officials who refuse to implement remedial measures, obstruct the remedial efforts of other city employees, and/or retaliate against sexual harassment complainants or witnesses may be immediately sanctioned by suspension or discharge. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.90.040 Imposition of remedial action.

For handling sexual harassment matters that involve employees (to include “volunteers”), the personnel officer shall have the powers of a department director and shall follow the procedures set out for a department director to impose adverse action as stated in PMC 4.50.050. The employee subject to a sexual harassment claim shall have the rights set forth in PMC 4.50.060 and 4.50.070. For handling sexual harassment matters that involve customers and third parties of the city, the personnel officer may make recommendations to the city manager, who shall then act to resolve the complaint. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)

4.90.050 Procedures and rules for education and training.

A. Education and training for employees at each level of the workforce are critical to the success of the city’s sexual harassment policy. The following documents will help the city meet its goals in this area:

1. A letter to all employees describing the city’s policy against sexual harassment from the city manager in addition to a copy of the city’s personnel manual which includes this article which constitutes the city’s policy on sexual harassment.

2. The city manager’s letter will be conspicuously posted along with the Alaska Human Rights Commission’s poster on sexual harassment throughout the workplace and in each department: on each city bulletin board, in all central gathering areas, and in every locker room.

3. The letter and poster must be clearly legible and displayed continuously.

4. The city manager’s letter will indicate that copies of the city’s sexual harassment policy are available at no cost to an employee and how they can be obtained.

B. Education and training include the following components:

1. As part of general orientation, each recently hired employee will be given a copy of the letter from the city manager and requested to read and sign a receipt for the city’s policy statement on sexual harassment included in the personnel regulations so that they are on notice of the standards of behavior expected.

2. When the personnel regulations are significantly altered and distributed to the employees, each employee will be given a copy of the letter from the city manager and requested to read and sign a receipt for the city’s policy statement on sexual harassment included in the personnel regulation so that they are on notice of the standards of behavior expected.

C. All employees will participate on city time in annual seminars that teach strategies for resisting and preventing sexual harassment. At least one hour in length, these seminars will be conducted by one or more experienced sexual harassment educators.

D. All supervisory personnel will participate in an annual two-hour training session on sexual discrimination. At least one and one-half hours will be devoted to education about workplace sexual harassment, including training as to what types of remarks, behavior and pictures will be and will not be tolerated in the city’s workplace. (Ord. 12-001 § 3, 2013)