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Presentation on theme: "DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA 2014 MID-WINTER CONFERENCE SENSITIVITY TRAINING."— Presentation transcript:


2 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA INTRODUCTION The potential for harassment, including sexual harassment exists in every organization. The number of harassment claims filed during recent years has increased dramatically. While some individuals may feel that ‘harassment” means only “sexual harassment”, it has become clear the term is much broader than that. Harassment is a costly proposition for organizations. It can result in: low morale, low turnout at meetings, reduced productivity, membership transfers, and damages and litigation costs to the organization.

3 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA TO BE COVERED By the end of this module, you should be able to: Identify behavior which might be considered sexual harassment Explain the consequences of sexual harassment Describe the Commander’s role and responsibility in creating an environment free of all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment. Explain what actions to take when confronted with possible sexual harassment.

4 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA HARASSMENT The policy of DAV/DAVA is to promote a productive environment free from discrimination and harassment of any kind. To that end, DAV/DAVA will not tolerate verbal or physical conduct that harasses, disrupts or interferes with another’s performance or that creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment. It is the policy of DAV/DAVA certain rules & regulations regarding behavior are necessary for efficient chapter/department/national organization operations, for benefit and safety of all members and members Conduct that interferes with or discredits DAV/DAVA or is offensive to stakeholders or staff will not be tolerated.

5 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA TO WHOM IT PERTAINS Please note this policy pertains to all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, as follows: “Sexual harassment and other forms of harassment/retaliation (are) tied to such characteristics as age, religion, gender, marital status, race, nation of origin, disability, sexual orientation, status as a veteran, or status in any group protected by federal, state or local law. All DAV/DAVA members have a responsibility to report harassment/retaliation of any type to their chapter/unit. Should an incident involve an elected/appointed officer, immediate contact should be made with the next level of command. Strict confidentiality will be maintained regarding any such report and its subsequent investigation. This policy not only pertains to DAV/DAVA members but to family members, veteran customers and vendors, etc.”

6 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA HARASSMENT PREVENTION – “Harassment of an individual on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age or disability is a discriminatory practice under Title VII, the ADA and the ADEA – Although much attention has been given in recent years to sexual harassment discrimination, it is important to stress that many of the same principles apply to other types of harassment, and an DAV/DAVA members should be equally vigilant in preventing such harassment”.

7 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA HARASSMENT DEFINED Illegal harassment is severe or pervasive verbal or physical conduct that denigrates, shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or reprisal for participating in the complaint process. The DAV/DAVA defines sexual harassment as unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature: – When submission to such conduct is made a term of condition of service; – When submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for service decisions; – When such conduct unreasonably interferes with performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offense environment.

8 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT HARASSMENT Comments or conduct that have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating or offensive working environment This category of harassment is often more subtle than harassment that results in a tangible action, and is often more difficult to determine where the line falls between lawful and unlawful The key issues here are frequency and severity “Reasonable person” standard governs Anyone can commit this type of harassment - a officer, member or non-member

9 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA Pressure for dates; Making offensive remarks about looks, clothing, body parts; Touches in a way that may make an individual fell uncomfortable; Telling sexual jokes, hanging sexual posters; Using racially derogatory words, phrases, epithets; Demonstrations of a racial or ethnic nature such as the use of gestures, pictures or drawing which would offend a particular racial or ethnic group. HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT HARASSMENT: EXAMPLES OF ACTIONS

10 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA Comments about an individual’s skin color or other racial/ethnic characteristics; Negative comments about an member’s religious beliefs; Negative stereotypes regarding an member’s birthplace or ancestry; Negative comments an member’s age when referring to members 40 and over; Derogatory or intimidating references to an member’s mental or physical impairment. HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT HARASSMENT: EXAMPLES OF ACTIONS (CONT.)

11 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA Conduct must affect a term, condition, or privilege of service Must be unwelcome Can be based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability Is severe or pervasive under a reasonable person standard HARASSMENT COMPLAINTS KEY ELEMENTS

12 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA Verbal: derogatory comments, racial or sexual epithets, requests for sexual favors, sexual innuendoes, offensive jokes or stories, repeated propositioning. Non-Verbal: Staring, derogatory or suggestive gestures, winking, throwing kisses, shunning, and ostracizing. Visual: offensive pictures, photos, cartoons, posters calendars, magazines or objects. Physical: unwelcome touching, hugging, kissing, patting, stroking, standing too close. Written: unwelcome personal letters, notes or emails. EXAMPLES OF HARASSING BEHAVIOR

13 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA FEDERAL DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.” 29 C.F.R. Section 1604.11

14 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA The DAV/DAVA Department of Alabama strictly prohibits its personnel from engaging in unlawful acts of harassment. It applies to such behavior a zero tolerance policy so as to protect, and show respect for the rights of others that arise under federal, state or local law. The policy also bars personnel from retaliation against another because he or she has filed a legitimate complaint or assisted in the investigation of a complaint. The policy puts on notice those whom department serves and those with whom it does business that harassment and retaliation are not tolerated. Violation of the policy subjects personnel to a range of potential administrative actions, up to and including suspension and/ or civil action. DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA STAND ON HARRASSMENT

15 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA WITH RESPECT TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT THE DAV/DAVA PROHIBITS Unwelcome sexual advances; Request for sexual favors; All other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual or otherwise offensive nature, especially where: submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of position/ services/ treatment; submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s position/ services/ treatment; such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive office/ volunteer environment.

16 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA DAV/DAVA PROHIBITS (CONTINUED) Offensive comments, jokes, innuendos and other sexually-oriented statements. Examples of the types of conduct expressly prohibited include but are not limited to the following: Touching, i.e., rubbing or massaging neck or shoulders, stroking someone’s hair, or brushing against another’s body; – Sexually suggestive touching – Grabbing, groping, kissing, fondling Violating someone’s “personal space” Offensive whistling Lewd, off-color, sexually-oriented comments or jokes Foul or obscene language

17 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA DAV/DAVA PROHIBITS (CONTINUED) Leering, staring, stalking Suggestive or sexually-explicit posters, calendars, photographs, graffiti, cartoons Unwanted or offensive letters or poems Sitting or gesturing sexually Offensive e-mail or voicemail messages Sexually-oriented or explicit remarks, including written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life, body, sexual activities, deficiencies, or prowess

18 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA DAV/DAVA PROHIBITS (CONTINUED) Questions about one’s sex life or experiences Repeated requests for dates Sexual favors in return for rewards, or threats if sexual favors are not provided Sexual assault or rape Any other conduct or behavior deemed inappropriate by DAV/ DAVA

19 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA Members should: Avoid behavior that may be misconstrued as possible sexual harassment. Avoid sexual jokes, comments, and e-mails. Respect a person’s indication that your conduct or attention is not welcome. Not invade another individual’s personal space. Not touch anyone without their permission. Clearly inform those engaging inappropriate sexual orientated behavior that they find it objectionable. Seek assistance promptly if they are the target of or observe severe or repeated instances of behavior that they believe qualify as sexual harassment. PREVENTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT

20 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA Anyone who has or suggests an affair with a veteran or any other should realize that the nature of the relationship raises questions about the voluntary nature of the veteran’s or other’s conduct, notwithstanding appearances. An affair is susceptible to charges of sexual harassment, or creating a hostile work environment, and is, thus, subject to the full range of discipline up to and including suspension and in some cases civil action. ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICY

21 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII): – Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. – Unlawful to discriminate in such areas as recruitment, selection, promotion, discipline, training, and details, and etc. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA): Protects men and women who perform substantially equal work from sex-based wage discrimination. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA): Prohibits employment discrimination against individuals who are 40 years of age or older.

22 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS Rehabilitation Act of 1973: – Sections 501 and 505 prohibit discrimination in Federal employment against qualified individuals with disabilities. – Also requires employers to provide to “reasonable accommodation” to qualified individuals with disabilities who are members or applicants for employment. Civil Rights of 1991: Provides rights to jury trials and monetary damages in cases of employment discrimination. The NO FEAR Act: Prohibits discrimination and retaliation against Federal workers for participating in EEO process or whistle-blower activities. – Requires posting of complaint activity, training, and paying settlements or judgments out of agency operating funds.

23 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA MOST COMMON CLAIMS & LAWSUITS Harassment on the basis of any protected category Sexual Harassment Retaliation – largest % of claims filed with EEOC Don’t have to show that a retaliation impacted “compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment”…Need only show that a “reasonable person” would have been dissuaded from exercising legal rights Discrimination

24 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA DAV Member Harassment: – The chapter/department/national organization is liable if it knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take immediate and appropriate corrective action. Non-members: – The liability standard for non-members is the same as for members - Except consideration is given to the extent of the chapter/department/national organization control over the non-member. For example, a chapter may not be able to control the actions of a one-time visitor to its workplace, but it would be able to correct harassment by someone with whom it has a regular relationship. HARASSMENT BY DAV MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS

25 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA Conduct must be unwelcome to target of the harassment Unwelcome means that the complainant did not solicit nor incite the conduct and regarded it as undesirable Harasser can be any DAV/DAVA member or non-member Harassment can be verbal, physical, or pictorial Harasser as well as the target can be a man or woman Complainant does not have to be the person at whom the offensive conduct is directed and can be anyone affected by the unwelcome conduct RECOGNIZING HARASSMENT

26 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA DAV Members are expected to maintain a productive environment free from harassing or disruptive activity No form of harassment will be tolerated including harassment for the following reasons: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability or age. Any member who believes that he/she is victim of unwelcome harassment has the responsibility to report or file a complaint as soon as possible. Report/complaint should be made to the chain of command or IG or JAG i f the complaint involves the commander Follow the chain of command and do not escalate beyond lowest level if possible HARASSMENT PREVENTION: Members’ Responsibilities

27 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA A victim of harassment should clearly communicate to the harasser - verbally, in writing, through a third party, or in some other way - that the conduct is unwelcome. Evidence that the victim participated in the conduct she or he later challenged, would generally defeat a harassment claim, since participation communicates welcome conduct. – However, participation does not necessarily mean the conduct is welcome – In particular acquiescence or submission to sexual demands does not necessarily mean that the conduct was welcome The victim or person affected by the conduct should promptly report it or file a complaint I f the conduct continues after the perpetrator becomes aware it is unwelcome WHAT SHOULD A VICTIM OF HARASSMENT DO?

28 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF PERSONALLY ACCUSED OF HARASSMENT? Immediate contact needs to be made with the next level of Command; You need to cooperate fully with any investigation. Protect yourself! Avoid all forms of risky behavior (verbal, non-verbal, physical, visual). And never be alone with another member where an incident could occur. Remember! The DAV Department of Alabama has Zero-Tolerance for all forms of harassment!

29 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA Leaders’ Responsibilities Monitor behavior, enforce respect Treat all complaints seriously and confidentially Do not ignore any allegation Respond to allegations immediately; investigate, as appropriate – Be sensitive but impartial – Interview parties and relevant witnesses – Ask open-ended questions – Collect relevant documentation/evidence Take appropriate corrective action, follow-up Ensure no retaliation Document your actions HARASSMENT PREVENTION

30 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA All complaints will be investigated promptly - in as impartial and confidential a manner as possible. Members are required to cooperate in any investigation. A timely resolution of each complaint should be reached and communicated to the parties involved. Any member, elected/ appointed officer who is found to have violated the harassment policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension and/ or Article 16 proceedings. DAV/DAVA prohibits any form of harassment for brining bona fide complaints - or providing information on harassment. INVESTIGATION OF HARASSMENT

31 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA - Bill sometimes makes comments to fellow member Ann Smith, about how attractive she is. She never says anything when he makes these comments. - One day, Ann requests help on her claim. Bill says that he will consider her request, and suggests the two of them go for drinks and to dinner. Ann makes it clear that she wants to keep their relationship purely professional and would therefore prefer not to go out with him. Bill says that he understands. - Two weeks later, Bill informs Ann he cannot help her with her VA Claim. - She asks Bill for an explanation, and he says that if she would be more “cooperative” with him, then her chance for help would improve. Ann asks what does cooperative mean. Bill smiles and says “You figure it out”. CASE STUDY #1

32 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA William keeps a large bible on his desk at the DAV Office and always wears a large silver cross around his neck. At times William will use biblical quotations to support his comments and assertions his observations are correct in conversations with his fellow veterans. Additionally, he usually tells people to have a “Blessed Day”. Joe, one of William’s fellow vets, has started referring to him as “Saint Willy”. This has gotten a lot of laughs around the chapter. William has confronted Joe about this and asked him to stop. Joe response was “can’t you take a joke”. Joe not only has not stopped referring to William as “Saint Willy”, but he has encouraged others to do so. CASE STUDY #2

33 DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA Pam, an attractive female veteran, likes to wear blouses with a plunging neckline, short tight skirts and high heels. When she walks in a meeting, many times her male comrades and some females stare at her, some with a knowing smile, others just shake their heads. Occasionally, one individual silently acts as if he is having a heart attack. She has repeatedly indicated to her comrades that their conduct embarrasses her, and has asked them to stop, but without much success. Some female comrades have mentioned that she causes her problems by the way she dresses. CASE STUDY #3


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