POLICY TITLE: Anti-Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Policy Statement
POLICY NUMBER: 2210 (Revised November 2019)
2210.00 Purpose: SVFPD strictly prohibits workplace harassment. All employees, applicants, volunteers, and independent contractors (“workers”) working with SVFPD are to be treated with respect and dignity. SVFPD is committed to providing an atmosphere free of harassment and discrimination based on factors (legally protected categories) such as sex, sexual orientation, race, color, ancestry, religious creed, disability, pregnancy or related medical condition, age, genetic characteristic, medical condition, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, marital status, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or any other protected class under applicable law.
2210.20 Application: This policy applies to all phases of the employment relationship, including recruitment, testing, hiring, upgrading, promotion/demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, rates of pay, benefits, and selection for training. This policy applies to all officers and employees of the SVFPD, including, but not limited to, board members, full- and part-time employees, per diem employees, temporary employees, volunteers, and persons working under contract for the SVFPD. It prohibits co-workers, third parties, supervisors, and managers from engaging in discrimination, harassment, or retaliatory conduct toward workers on any protected classifications identified above.
2210.30 Harassment Defined: Harassment may consist of offensive verbal, physical, or visual conduct when such conduct is based on or related to an individual’s sex and/or membership in one of the above-described protected classifications in paragraph 1, and:
• Submission to the offensive conduct is an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment.
• Submission to or rejection of the offensive conduct forms the basis for an employment decision affecting the employee.
• The offensive conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Examples of what may constitute prohibited harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Kidding or joking about sex or membership in one of the protected classifications.
• Hugs, pats, and similar physical contact.
• Assault, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement.
• Cartoons, posters, e-mails and other materials referring to sex or membership in one of the protected classifications.
• Threats intended to induce sexual favors.
• Continued suggestions or invitations to social events outside the workplace after being told such suggestions are unwelcome.
• Degrading words or offensive terms of a sexual nature or based on the individual’s membership in one of the protected classifications.
• Prolonged staring or leering at a person.
• Similar conduct directed at an individual on the basis of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, disability, medical condition, age (over 40), marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected classification under applicable law.
2210.40 Policy Publicizing. All personnel shall be informed of the District's sexual harassment policy and complaint process prior to their need to know, and again when any complaint is filed. Also, said policy and complaint process shall be readily available to all personnel and members of the general public utilizing the District's facilities and services.
• At the time of affiliation a copy of the Policy and Procedures Manual shall be made available to all new personnel, and, by virtue of its containment therein, a copy of this sexual harassment policy shall also be available. A copy of Cal Chamber’s “Sexual Harassment Hurts Everyone” brochure shall be included in each new employee “Welcome” packet.
2210.50 Internal Reporting Procedure: It is important that workers inform SVFPD as soon as possible about any prohibited harassment because nothing can be done to remedy the situation if SVFPD does not know that it exists.
• Any individual who feels comfortable doing so should let a fellow worker know when that worker’s behavior or comments are offensive or unwelcome, even if the situation does not rise to the level of a violation of this Policy. However, individuals are not required to handle these situations on their own. If an individual is not comfortable handling a situation directly with another worker, the individual should immediately report the conduct to one of the persons listed below.
• Any employee who believes that he or she or any co-worker has been the victim of sexual or other prohibited harassment by coworkers, supervisors, clients or customers, visitors, vendors, or others must immediately notify the Chief, Assistant Chief or, in the alternative, the Administrative Officer. Personnel Liaison, or SVFPD’s Chairperson, depending on which individual the employee feels most comfortable contacting.
• Additionally, supervisors who observe or otherwise become aware of harassment that violates this policy have a duty to take steps to report such conduct, to initiate the process for investigating and remedying such harassment and prevent its recurrence.
2210.60 Supervisory Responsibility: If individuals are assigned positions of supervision, each supervisor has the responsibility of maintaining a work environment free of harassment. This responsibility includes being available to discuss this Policy with the workers that they supervise and to assure the workers that they are not required to endure any form of prohibited harassment.
· If someone reports a harassment allegation to a supervisor, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to take immediate action by documenting the incident(s) and reporting the allegation of harassment to the SVFPD Board Chairperson, depending on the nature and target of the allegations. Any supervisor who fails to take appropriate action to report or address harassment, discrimination or retaliation can and will be disciplined up to and including termination.
2210.70 Employee Obligation: Employees are not only encouraged to report instances of harassment, they are obligated to report instances of harassment. Employees are obligated to cooperate in every investigation of harassment, including, but not necessarily limited to:
• Coming forward with evidence, both favorable and unfavorable to a person accused of harassment.
• Fully and truthfully making a written report or verbally answering questions when required to do so during the course of a SVFPD investigation of alleged harassment.
• Knowingly, falsely accusing someone of harassment, knowingly giving false or misleading information in an investigation of harassment, or otherwise not acting in good faith shall be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including, termination of employment.
2210.80 Investigation: Upon the filing of a complaint with the SVFPD, the complainant will be provided with a copy of this policy.
· The Chairperson is designated by the SVFPD to investigate complaints of harassment. The Chairperson may, however, delegate the investigation and/or oversight of it at his/her discretion. The Chairperson or delegate will investigate all complaints of harassment in a prompt, objective, and thorough manner, including interviews of those with relevant knowledge. In the event the harassment complaint is against the Chairperson, an investigator shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners, and the Board will assume the role of the Chairperson throughout the process.
· SVFPD will ensure that a prompt and thorough investigation is undertaken and will track progress to ensure timely closure. The investigation will be designed to maintain, to the extent possible, the privacy and confidentiality of all parties and witnesses involved. Complete confidentiality cannot occur, however, due to the need to investigate fully and to take effective remedial action.
· The Chairperson or delegate is responsible for directing an investigation into such allegations and for implementing appropriate remedial action, where warranted.
2210.81 Internal Documentation Procedure: When an allegation of harassment is made by an employee, the person to whom the complaint is made shall immediately prepare a report of the complaint according to the preceding section and submit it to the Chairperson or delegate.
· The investigator shall make and keep a written record of the investigation, including notes of verbal responses made to the investigator by the person complaining of harassment, witnesses interviewed during the investigation, the person against whom the complaint of harassment was made, and any other person contacted by the investigator in connection with the investigation. The investigator’s notes shall be made at the time the verbal interview is in progress. Any other documentary evidence shall be retained as part of the record of the investigation.
· Upon completion of the investigation, the results (i.e., the finding only of sustained, not sustained, or inconclusive) shall be given to the complainant, the alleged harasser, and the Chairperson or delegate. All information obtained in connection with the investigation shall remain confidential to the extent possible.
· Based on the report and any other relevant information, the Chairperson or delegate shall, within a reasonable period of time, determine whether the conduct of the person against whom a complaint has been made constitutes harassment. In making that determination, the Chairperson or delegate shall look at the record as a whole and at the totality of circumstances, including the nature of the conduct in question; the context in which the conduct, if any, occurred; and the conduct of the person complaining of harassment.
· The determination of whether harassment occurred will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Chairperson or delegate.
2210.90 Remedies: If the Chairperson or delegate determines that the complaint of harassment is founded, the Chairperson or delegate, in connection with appropriate management, shall take immediate and appropriate disciplinary action consistent with the requirements of law and any policies pertaining to employee discipline.
• Other steps may be taken to the extent reasonably necessary to prevent recurrence of the harassment. Disciplinary action shall be consistent with the nature and severity of the offense, the rank of the harasser, and any other factors relating to the fair and efficient administration of the SVFPD’s operations.
2210.100 Confidentiality: All records and information relating to the investigation of any alleged harassment and resulting disciplinary action shall be confidential, except to the extent disclosure is required by law, as part of the investigatory or disciplinary process, or as otherwise reasonably necessary. Reports to Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
• In addition to this policy, the State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) provides additional information regarding the legal remedies and complaint process available through government agencies. If a worker thinks he or she has been harassed, discriminated against, or that he or she has been retaliated against for complaining, that person may file a complaint or obtain additional information from DFEH at (800) 884-1684. Charges filed with the DFEH are subject to the DFEH’s investigation procedure.
• Retaliation against anyone for opposing conduct prohibited by this policy or for filing, in good faith, a complaint with or otherwise participating in an investigation, proceeding or hearing conducted by the SVFPD or DFEH is strictly prohibited by the SVFPD and state regulations. Engaging in retaliatory conduct may subject the offending person to, among other things, disciplinary action, up to and including, termination of employment.
POLICY TITLE: Affirmative Action (updated November 2019)
POLICY NUMBER: 2220
2220.10 It is the policy of Scott Valley Fire Protection District that there shall be no discrimination based upon sex, sexual orientation, race, color, ancestry, religious creed, disability, pregnancy or related medical condition, age, genetic characteristic, medical condition, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, marital status, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or any other protected class under applicable law in any personnel action, including recruitment, appointment, performance evaluation, promotion, the granting of leaves, and any disciplinary or grievance action.
2220.20 Allegations of wrong doing, such as arbitrary and discriminatory action, should be made through the "Grievance Procedure," as described in Policy #2180, or complaints to regulatory agencies.