C.E.S.P. 2-7: Sexual Harassment
Date Revised: 10-9-2009
Summary: Establishes policy prohibiting harassment on the basis of sex.
It is the policy of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service that sexual harassment in any form is inappropriate and unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment is illegal, undermines the employee/employer relationship, interferes with productivity, and threatens the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of employees.
Any employee engaging in sexual harassment is subject to disciplinary action.
Supervisors are subject to disciplinary action if they tolerate sexual harassment, fail to take appropriate action on allegations or findings of sexual harassment, or retaliate against employees who report or file complaints of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment is a prohibited personnel practice when it results in personnel decisions for or against an employee made on the basis of gender rather than job performance. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (E.E.O.) has defined sexual harassment as:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
• Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment;
• Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an individual; or
• Such conduct interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Sexual harassment is also defined as:
Participating in coercive or repeated unsolicited and unwelcome verbal comments, gestures, or physical contacts of a sexual nature or by using implicit or explicit coercive sexual behavior in the process of conducting agency business or to control, influence or affect the career, salary, or job of an employee.
Virtually any sexually-oriented language, conduct or behavior can be viewed as sexual harassment if it is unwelcome. It is the impact of the conduct or behavior on the recipient (or on observers), not the intent of the harasser, which determines findings of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment takes many forms and includes any or all of the following:
• Verbal – Unwelcome teasing, insults, innuendos, jokes, remarks, comments, questions or stories of a sexual nature; pressure for dates or sexual favors; promises of career advancement in return for sexual favors; turning work discussions to sexual topics; whistling at someone; kissing sounds; referring to an adult as "baby," "honey," "doll," or "hunk"; or asking about another person’s sexual history or preferences.
• Physical – Unwelcome touching, leaning over, cornering, pinching, patting, rubbing against, stroking, neck massages, or other physical contact of a sexual nature.
• Visual – Posters, calendars, e-mail, cartoons, or other material of a sexual nature.
• Other behavior or conduct – Sexually suggestive looks and staring; gesturing; letters, e-mail, telephone calls, or giving of gifts or other material of a sexual nature; communicating in any manner that an employee will be adversely affected if sexual demands are not met.
• Sexual harassment may extend beyond the target of the harassment to other employees. Sexual harassment of one employee may create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment for others or deny another employee a promotion or other career-related benefits.
Any employee, supervisor, or administrator who has experienced or witnessed sexual harassment is strongly urged to report it immediately to Extension Administration or the Human Resources Office. Extension Administration must know about incidents of sexual harassment in order to stop them, protect victims, and prevent future incidents. Individuals who make complaints of sexual harassment and those who are accused of sexual harassment are entitled to due process and to a fair and prompt resolution of the complaint.
Each supervisor must:
• Know and enforce the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s policy on sexual harassment;
• Set a clear example of appropriate workplace behavior and communicate zero tolerance for sexual harassment;
• Be aware of what is going on in the workplace and actively monitor for signs of sexual harassment;
• Ensure that employees know Extension’s policy on the prohibition against sexual harassment and the proper reporting procedures;
• Take seriously all allegations of sexual harassment and be aware that claims of sexual harassment are not limited to women:
• Report the alleged incident to Extension Administration immediately so that an investigation may be initiated within five working days after the complaint is made;
• Follow up with employees who have reported sexual harassment to advise them of actions taken;
• Ensure confidentiality by limiting disclosure of sexual harassment complaints and resolutions to the immediate parties and appropriate administrative officials; and
• Ensure that an employee reporting sexual harassment is protected from any form of reprisal.
Every employee of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service must share the responsibility for preventing sexual harassment. Employees are responsible for their own conduct and must know and support the organization’s policy on sexual harassment.
The consequences to individuals accused of sexual harassment are significant. An employee or supervisor can be disciplined up to and including removal from employment and may be found personally liable. Additionally, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 provides further remedies for intentional discrimination such as sexual harassment, including compensatory damages up to $300,000 and jury trials. Traditional remedies such as back-pay and reinstatement are also available.
Employees of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service have a legal and ethical right to work in a work environment free from any form of sexual harassment or unwelcome sexual attention. Employees who have been sexually harassed may take any of the following actions:
• Confront the harasser directly. (This is not required. Review the publication "Sexual Harassment Prevention" at /support-units/affirmative-action/preventing_sexual_harassment.ppt for assistance).
• Discuss the matter informally with an E.E.O. counselor. (See C.E.S.P. 2-8.)
• Utilize the informal and/or formal E.E.O. complaint procedures. (See C.E.S.P. 2-8.)
The publication "Sexual Harassment Prevention" is available to all employees on line at /support-units/affirmative-action/preventing_sexual_harassment.ppt and provided to new employees at the time of hire.
Supervisors will be provided with periodic training on the subject of sexual harassment prevention