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POLICY ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION
December 18th, 2002-Revised October, 2005

PURPOSE AND SCOPE
To establish a policy for the Executive Branch of the State of Delaware outlining its position and practice with regard to sexual harassment in the workplace and to outline the method of reporting and resolving complaints.

POLICY

  1. The State is committed to ensuring that all employees have a working environment free of intimidation, hostility and offensive behavior. This includes freedom from sexual harassment.

    Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

    • Submission to such conduct is a term or condition of an individual's employment;
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions;
    • The conduct unreasonably interferes with the individual's job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

  2. State employees are strictly prohibited from engaging in any form of sexual harassment, including, but not limited to, requests for sexual favors, telling sexual jokes, displaying lewd pictures, touching private areas of a person's body or making lewd gestures, and making sexually-degrading remarks. Other harassing behaviors, such as repeated unwelcome non-work related calls of a sexual nature from an employee from any state facility to another employee's or individual's home, work place, cellular phone or pager are also strictly prohibited.

  3. The State will not tolerate any such conduct on the part of a State employee or any individual on its worksite. Any employee, who, after a complete and impartial investigation, is found to have engaged in such conduct will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

    Non-employees who engage in such conduct at a State office will be subject to appropriate action necessary to eliminate the harassment.

  4. No employee will be subjected to retaliation (reprisal) for reporting, testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in an investigation proceeding or hearing resulting from a complaint of discriminatory or harassing behavior. No person shall intimidate, threaten, coerce or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with that person's right to file a complaint of sexual harassment.

PROCEDURE
NOTE: All parties receiving a report of sexual harassment will treat the allegation with strict confidentiality to the extent possible.

If you are the object of unwelcome sexual conduct, tell the person that you find the behavior unwelcome and ask him or her to stop. If you cannot talk to the person, report the person to your supervisor or another appropriate person (e.g., the other individual's supervisor, Division Director, Human Resources, etc.) giving details relating to the complaint. This supervisor or manager will tell the person that you find the behavior unwelcome and ask him or her to stop. If the behavior continues, the supervisor and employee should report the person through the procedure outlined below.

Any employee who believes s/he has been the victim of sexual harassment has a right to file a complaint. The reporting procedure is as follows:

  1. Immediately report the incident to your supervisor or another appropriate person
    (e.g., the other individual's supervisor, Division Director, etc.) giving details relating to the complaint.

  2. Any supervisor or manager receiving a complaint must immediately notify his/her Division Director, Human Resources Manager or whoever has been designated to receive such complaints by your Cabinet Secretary/Agency Head.

  3. If your agency has a Human Resources Manager, that individual must also be notified in addition to any individual designated in #2. The Human Resources Manager shall take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate the complaint. If your agency does not have a Human Resources Manager or if the complaint crosses agency lines, then the Office of Management and Budget shall be notified, and a determination will be made as to the appropriate individual(s) to investigate the complaint.

  4. Following investigation of the complaint, the validity of the charge will be determined.

  5. If charges are determined to be valid, the parties will be informed that the applicable Division Director, Cabinet Secretary or Agency Head will take action against the harasser to prevent recurrence in the future (the precise action should not be divulged to the complainant.) If charges are determined to be valid, the offender shall face immediate and appropriate disciplinary action, recommended by Human Resources and/or the Office of Management and Budget and imposed by the appropriate Division Director, Cabinet Secretary or Agency Head. Disciplinary action(s) shall be processed in accordance with Merit System Rules/Union Contract where applicable.

  6. If charges are determined to be invalid or highly questionable based on related facts, the individual investigating the charge will document accordingly and relay to the applicable Division Director, Cabinet Secretary or Agency Head. If charges are determined to be invalid, the parties and the applicable Division Director, Cabinet Secretary or Agency Head will be informed of the decision based on the investigation and related facts, and notified that no further action will be taken.

  7. If the charges are found to be inconclusive, then the Cabinet Secretary or Agency Head will consult with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget or designee per the appropriate course of action.

  8. The individual(s) named in #3, along with the applicable Division Director, Cabinet Secretary or Agency Head (or their designee), will hold a private meeting with each party involved to advise of the results of the investigation. A follow-up interview will be held with the complainant approximately two (2) to four (4) weeks after the decision to ensure no reoccurrence and/or retaliation.

  9. The individual(s) named in #3 will inform the Cabinet Secretary/Agency Head and the applicable Division Director of the results of all harassment complaints.

  10. Note: Any employee found to have knowingly and willfully filed false charges of sexual harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Employees also have the right to directly contact the statewide EEO/AA Administrator at 577-8977 or the Department of Labor's Office of Labor Law Enforcement at 761-8200 or 422-1134 (Milford). Employees should note that there is a time limit, prescribed by statute, for filing a formal complaint with the Department of Labor's Office of Labor Law Enforcement. The statute of limitations for filing a charge under state law is one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the discriminatory action and three hundred (300) days under Federal law. Making a complaint pursuant to this policy will not extend the time by which any person must file a formal complaint with the Delaware Department of Labor, The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or any court or regulatory body. No provision of this policy is intended to create any individual right or legal cause of action that does not already exist under state or federal law.