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Prevent Workplace Harassment: Training for All Employees

Establishing a respectful workplace free from harassing and discriminatory conduct

Hillary Schwanbeck

on 3 July 2013

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Transcript of Prevent Workplace Harassment: Training for All Employees

Case Study
Frank has been an outside salesperson with the company for a long time. He is known as “the hugger” because he always greets people with a hug.

One of the newest employees tells a coworker that she doesn’t like being hugged and won’t tolerate it. If Frank hugs her, she’s going straight to HR.

Is there a legitimate complaint of harassment?
Is it Quid Pro Quo?
Can one of your co-workers be held liable for "quid pro quo" sexual harassment toward you?

If a female boss starts giving the worst assignments to a former boyfriend who broke up with her and is refusing her requests to continue their relationship, could she be found guilty of sexual harassment?

If you feel that you have been denied some job benefits because you would not date your manager, would you have to show that the advances were unwelcome?
Training Objectives
What we will learn today
Training for All Employees
Prevent Workplace Harassment
- The definition of workplace harassment, including hostile environment and sexual harassment

- How to recognize workplace harassment situations,

- What to do if faced with a situation, and

- Tips on preventing harassment
Some discussions might be uncomfortable or offensive because of the sensitive nature of the subject

Use of humor is not intended to make light of the subject or its seriousness

Questions are encouraged!
Can a coworker win a Workplace Harassment claim against you even if the coworker never told you that your behavior was offensive or asked you to stop?
You unintentionally left an unopened adult magazine or Victoria's Secret catalog in your office?
Epithets (descriptive name or title), derogatory comments or slurs that are based on sex/gender, whistling, cat-calling, etc.
Avoiding Unwelcome Behavior
Think about the House Rules
Imagine how others might be feeling
Respect the people around you
Think before acting or telling a joke
Exercise Common Courtesy
Apply your own "Reasonable Person" standard
Our Commitment to
Our Employees
The Company is committed to a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.

Each individual has the right to work in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices, including harassment.

Therefore, the Company expects that all relationships among persons will be business-like and free of bias, prejudice and harassment.
Why do I need to know this?
Ground Rules
Some discussions might be uncomfortable or offensive because of the sensitive nature of the subject

Use of humor is not intended to make light of the subject or its seriousness

Questions are encouraged!
Have you ever told a "dirty joke" in the office?

Have you ever made fun of another employee's personal characteristics such as accent, style of dress, or an older employee's computer phobia?

Have you ever quit a job or transferred to another work unit to get away from a bad situation with a supervisor or coworker?
If you unintentionally left an unopened adult magazine or Victoria's Secret catalog in your office, could another employee possibly win a Workplace Harassment claim against you?
Is it workplace harassment if a boss complains about your overall work habits when you return to the office after taking some time off work for a religious holiday?
Derogatory posters, cartoons, emails, drawings, pictures, etc.
Assaults, impeding or blocking movement, physical interference with someone, movement directed at someone based on their gender
Members of different genders, races, nationalities, religions, etc. AND members of the same!
Dictionary Definition
“To disturb, torment, or pester on a persistent basis”
We may feel that our manager is "pestering" or "tormenting" us.

But is that alone considered "Workplace" harassment?

Let's find out ...
EEOC Definition - Workplace Harassment
is behavior that is not welcome, not solicited and not wanted by the offended person.
One that both a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive and one that the object of the harassment perceives to be hostile or abusive.

Determined by looking at..
"Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and/or age. Harassment becomes unlawful where

1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or

2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.”
Severity of
the conduct
Unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance.
Who is a "reasonable person"?
Reasonable Person
I am determined by a person in a similar status to the victim
Simplified Definition of Workplace Harassment
Being treated inappropriately in a work setting because of your race, sex, creed, religion, national origin, age, color or disability.
Racist jokes told by a number of coworkers and your manager almost daily within earshot of all unit employees.

"Sexy" or suggestive photos, calendars, or screen savers in a number of offices and cubicles where you and other staff gather formally and informally to talk

Insulting ethnic and religious jokes told frequently at formal and informal employee gatherings.

Open discussions of fellow employees' sex lives and frequent overheard phone calls with sexual overtones.

Almost all of your coworkers mock and make fun of the disabled clients your office serves.
You Decide:
Hostile Environment?
EEOC Definition - Sexual Harassment
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Defining Harassment
2 Types
Sexual Harassment
Quid Pro Quo
Hostile Environment
“This for that”

Submission to sexual favor or treatment is a condition of employment

Person in position of power
Conduct is severe and/or pervasive

Creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment

Affects performance or employment decisions
Case Study - Revisited
Frank, who we discussed earlier, greets the new employee Ann with a great big hug when he first meets her. Ann reports it to the HR person who then talks to Frank and tells him to stop hugging people.

Frank does stop; however, when he enters any area where Ann is, he states in a loud voice, “There’s Ann. She’s the non-hugging one.” This continues for a few weeks and then Ann walks into her cubicle to discover packages of Huggies diapers.

What is the issue here?
How does your organization measure up?
Discuss the matter with any other member of management with whom you feel comfortable.
Contact your HR Department, HR Admin, or Achilles Group
If you talk to someone about a harassment issue, all would be obligated by law to investigate the situation!
Discuss the matter with your supervisor, or with your supervisor’s manager
Discuss the matter with the harasser and ask the harasser to stop
Steps to take if you're being harassed
What exactly is retaliation?
Defined as negative or derogatory behavior and/or actions (by anyone in the Company) toward an employee who has made a harassment complaint.
The EEOC prohibits retaliation and the Company has the responsibility to monitor the actions of the alleged harasser or any other employee toward the Claimant.

Management cannot legally “punish” or “get even” because of a claim.
Physically threatening or humiliating conduct
Frequency of
the conduct
Full transcript