Harassment Training

Congrats on your recent promotion to supervisor! Now that you are a supervisor you are responsible for your employees and their actions. 

In this course you will learn about the different types of harassment, how to recognize harassment, how to report harassment and how to prevent harassment. 

Heart of America Group is committed to providing an environment free of unlawful harassment.  Accordingly, Heart of America Group will not tolerate sexual harassment or harassment based on gender, race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, medical condition or any basis prohibited by law.  In addition, we will attempt to protect employees from reported harassment by non-employees in the work place (suppliers, customers, etc.)  Although this policy refers to sexual harassment in most examples, it is intended to prohibit all forms of illegal harassment.  We require that everyone become familiar with this policy and strive to achieve a harassment-free work place.

What is Harassment?

What is Harassment?

Harassment can be defined as:

Unsolicited annoying, alarming or abusive conduct or words which are threatening, and which are prohibited by law.

Sexual Harassment can be defined as: 

Unwanted, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment.

Unlawful harassment includes, but is not limited to the categories listed below:

Verbal Conduct

  • epithets ("hey, Old Man")
  • derogatory comments
  • slurs
  • unwanted sexual advances 
  • lewd jokes
  • invitations
  • inquiries

Visual Conduct

  • derogatory posters
  • photography
  • cartoons
  • drawings
  • gestures
  • e-mail

Physical Conduct

  •  assault (unwanted or inappropriate touching)
  • blocking normal movement
  • interference with work, directed at someone because of his/her sex or any other protected basis

What is Harassment?

Threads or Demands 

to submit to sexual requests in order to keep your job or avoid some other loss, and offers of job benefits in return for sexual favors ( i.e. hiring, promotions or work assignment)

Retaliation

for having reported or threatened to report harassment


What is Harassment?

The law prohibits any form of protected-basis harassment, which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance, or which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.  This behavior is unacceptable in the work place itself and in other work-related settings.

Heart of America Group's Harassment Policy

What Does Our Policy Cover?

This policy is intended to cover all Heart of America Group employees.  Additionally, although the Company’s ability to discipline a non-employee (i.e. a customer or supplier) is limited by the degree of control, if any, that the Company has over the alleged harasser, any employee who has been subjected to harassment in the work place or in the course of their employment, by an individual who is not an employee, should file a complaint and be assured that action will be taken to address the situation fully and appropriately.  Complaints from persons outside the company about actions of employees or officers of the company in the work place or in work-related settings will also be investigated and handled pursuant to this policy.

A Note on Relationships Between Heart of America (HOA) Employees (fraternization)

Heart of America Group has no desire to intrude upon the personal lives of its employees. However, consenting romantic and sexual relationships between an employee and his/her co-worker or subordinate are strongly discouraged. Consenting romantic relationships and sexual relationships between employees of the same or differing authority levels can increase the likelihood of misunderstandings, supervision problems, complaints or favoritism, security, morale and possible claims of sexual harassment. Anyone entering such a relationship should be aware that, if a complaint of sexual harassment is subsequently made, it will be difficult to prove immunity on the grounds of mutual consent. 

Types of Harassment

Harassment

Includes, but is not limited to:

Verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her protected basis; e.g., race, religion, color, national origin, disability, age, and sex and that:

  • has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment;
  • has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance; or
  •  otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment opportunities

Sexual Harassment

Includes, but is not limited to:

Verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her protected basis; e.g., race, religion, color, national origin, disability, age, and sex and that:

  • has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment;
  • has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance; or
  •  otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment opportunities

Prohibited Behaviors

The behaviors listed below are not intended to be all-inclusive but are merely illustrations of prohibited conduct:

  • use of suggestive comments, sexual language, obscene gender-related comments, or jokes
  • pressure for sexual behavior
  • sexual remarks about a person's body or sexual activities
  • patting, pinching, kissing, or unnecessary body contact
  • sexually suggestive non-verbal expressions
  • the display in the work place of sexually suggestive objects or pictures
  • physical assault

Please Note...

There are other types of behavior that could be considered a violation of this policy and that could result in discipline up to and including termination.  Heart of America Group reserves the right to exercise judgement in determining other types of prohibited behavior.

Any prohibited behaviors directed towards a man, woman, or individual of the same gender is in direct violation of this policy and could result in discipline up to and including termination.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment- "This for That"

  • Submission to the advances is an expressed or implied condition for receiving a job benefit or refusal to submit results in a loss of a job benefit. “This-for-that.”
  • Involves harassment by supervisors or managers.
  • Involves tangible job detriment.

Hostile Work Environment

The harassing conduct unreasonably interferes with the individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

  1. Pervasive conduct that interferes with the work.
  2. Isolated vs. repeated remarks.
  3. Single vs. numerous incidents of unwelcome contact or touching.
  4. Pinups, pornographic magazines, calendars and lewd jokes.
  5. Offensive e-mail.

Hostile Work Environment Liability

  • Liability depends upon whether hostile environment is created by a supervisor or co-worker.
  • Employer is liable for hostile work environment created by co-workers if the employer knew or should have known of the harassment. No complaint is necessary.
  • Employer is liable for hostile work environment created by supervisors whether the employer knew or should have known of the harassment, unless the employer can demonstrate:
    • the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any harassing behavior (i.e. reasonable policy, effective investigation procedures, notice to employees, and
    • the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer or to avoid harm (i.e. unreasonably did not use the policy procedures).

Harassment Outside of the Workplace and After Working Hours

  • The Harassment Policy extends to Heart of America sanctioned and non-sanctioned activities

Harassment by Individuals Not Employed by Heart of America Group

  • Employers may be held liable for the harassment of employees by customers, suppliers, or other outside parties.
  • The employer must have some degree of control over these third parties in order to be held liable.

Same Sex Harassment - Male Harassing Male or Female Harassing Female

Harassment Based on Sexual Orientation/Preference

Sexual Favoritism

  • Generally not harassment but can be problematic and result in sex discrimination.

Retaliation

It is illegal and a violation of the Company’s Policy to retaliate against an employee who has:

  • Complained of, opposed or made a report of harassment; or
  • Testified or participated in any manner in a harassment investigation or proceeding; or
  • Files an EEOC or State charge.

Examples of Retaliation

  • Failure to hire or promote or withholding of pay increases.
  • Poor performance reports.
  • Onerous work assignments.
  • Withdrawing friendly courtesies, spreading rumors, the “cold shoulder.”
  • Demotion, discharge, or abolishing positions.
  • Further harassment.

Recognizing Unwelcome & Offensive Sexual Conduct

Your Responsibility

All executives have a leadership role at Heart of America Group.  You are expected to comply with the standards set forth in regard to discrimination/harassment as well as enforce those standards and practices. Being able to address issues as they come up is essential.  

When dealing with issues of sexual harassment recognize:

  • Apply “reasonable man/woman” standard
  • The “oversensitive” employee
  • A complaint is not always required
  • Employees who appear to be willingly to participate in “sex talk” and other sexual conduct
  • Employees who at first willingly participate, but then stop
  • Provocative dress and mannerisms

Harassment Prevention: Educate Employees

  • Make sure that all employees are aware of the Harassment Policy
  • Provide posters and material explaining harassment and discrimination
  • Watch instruction training videos
  • Correct inappropriate behavior immediately

Harassment Prevention: Be the Eyes and Ears

  • Pay attention to the interaction between your employees
  • Listen to concerns and complaints
  • Consistently correct behavior that is inappropriate         
  • Tenure and Title have no bearing on issues of harassment/discrimination

Harassment Prevention: Avoid Supervisor/Subordinate Personal/Romantic Relationships

Harassment Prevention: Respond Quickly to Each Claim

  • Respond to the claim quickly…REACT FAST!
  • Contact Trudy at the Operations Support Center …CALL FOR HELP!
  • Document everything in writing

Harassment Prevention: Do NOT Overlook Behavior Based on Personality

  • “That’s just how so and so is”…UNACCEPTABLE

Harassment Prevention: Avoid and Discourage all Physical Content

Harassment Prevention

Harassment Prevention: Educate Employees

  • Make sure that all employees are aware of the Harassment Policy
  • Provide posters and material explaining harassment and discrimination
  • Watch instruction training videos
  • Correct inappropriate behavior immediately

Harassment Prevention: Be the Eyes and Ears

  • Pay attention to the interaction between your employees
  • Listen to concerns and complaints
  • Consistently correct behavior that is inappropriate         
  • Tenure and Title have no bearing on issues of harassment/discrimination

Harassment Prevention: Avoid Supervisor/Subordinate Personal/Romantic Relationships

Harassment Prevention: Respond Quickly to Each Claim

  • Respond to the claim quickly…REACT FAST!
  • Contact Trudy at the Operations Support Center …CALL FOR HELP!
  • Document everything in writing

Harassment Prevention: Do Not Overlook Behavior based on Personality

“That’s just how so and so is...”. This is UNACCEPTABLE!

Harassment Prevention: Avoid and Discourage all Physical Contact

Reporting Harassment

Reporting Harassment

Complaints of harassment of any type should be reported immediately so that an investigation and corrective action can be taken, if appropriate.  If an executive or staff member has such a complaint, he or she should contact management through any of the following channels:

  • Executive Staff Member
  • Chief Operating Executive (COE)
  • Director of Risk Management: Trudy McLaughlin
  • Brand Leader
  • Chief Financial Officer: Chuck Ulrich
  • President: Mike Whalen
  • Lisa Blackwell

Harassment Reporting Procedures

An investigation will be promptly undertaken and appropriate disciplinary actions and corrective measures will be instituted if the executive’s or staff member's allegations warrant such action.  Persons who commit acts of intimidation or other harassing behavior of any type, will be warned to discontinue such conduct and will be disciplined according to the severity of the case.  Discipline may include actions up to and including termination of employment.

Harassment Reporting Procedures

Executives and staff members are assured that this policy has been established for their benefit and to allow them the freedom of expressing their feelings and/or complaints. The management of

Heart of America Group assures that the privacy of individuals involved will be respected to the greatest extent possible.  No executive or staff member need fear that he or she will be penalized for registering a harassment complaint or for participating in the investigation of a complaint.  The management of

Heart of America Group is dedicated to removing all forms of harassment and will strive to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation and resolution of any complaint.

REACT FAST AND CALL FOR HELP!

REACT FAST and CALL FOR HELP!

  • Respond quickly, within 24 hours of complaint.
  • Notify Trudy, Brand Enhancer and COE immediately.
  • Separate documentation should be accumulated for the complainant, alleged harasser, and each witness to support the complaint.
  • Always have your own witness present when interviewing (same sex as interviewee, if possible). Make sure your witness signs off on your documentation.
  • Be very careful not to bait or lead the witness, or give them more information than necessary. Example: Don’t say, “Did you see Joe touch Mary’s breast?” or “Did you hear Joe call Mary a ----- bitch?”
  • Keep the entire process as confidential as possible.
  • Both the complainant and the alleged harasser must put their own statements in writing.
  • Make sure everything is signed and dated.
  • After all the information is gathered, it should be reviewed and a decision made as soon as possible. Both of the parties should be made aware of the decision as soon as possible. Document the time and date that you inform them. Include a witness when you do.
  • A copy of all of the information should be kept in a confidential incident file at the OSC.
  • Do not include any others that do not need to be involved.

REMEMBER…REACT FAST & CALL FOR HELP!!!

How soon should you react to a complaint?

  • Within 48 hours.
  • Before the employees next shift.
  • Within one week.
  • Within 24 hours.
  • Within 72 hours.

Reporting a Complaint

The Company encourages individuals who believe they are being harassed to promptly and firmly inform the offender directly that the behavior is unwelcome.  The Company recognizes, however, that power and status disparities between harasser and the target of harassment may make such a confrontation difficult.  In the event that an employee feels uncomfortable with such direct communication or if such communication is ineffective or difficult, the steps outlined below should be followed.  In addition, all executives have an affirmative obligation to report, as outlined below, all instances in which they have information which leads them to believe that any employee has been the target of harassment, whether or not they have received a formal complaint of harassment.

1.  Notification of Appropriate Persons

If you believe that you have been subjected to harassment, or if you are an executive or supervisor who believes a staff member is being harassed, you should report the incident to any of the designated investigators.   Investigators are designated from time-to-time by written memorandum or any supervisor with whom you feel comfortable (herein after referred to as the ‘investigator”).  The designated investigators have been given specific training in receiving and investigating harassment complaints.  If you make a report to anyone not specifically designated as an investigator, he or she is responsible for relaying it to a designated investigator, who will pursue and resolve the complaint.

2.  Written Description of Misconduct

An accurate and detailed report of objectionable behavior or misconduct is needed to resolve a complaint of harassment.  Oral reports of harassment must be reduced to writing by either the complainant or the investigator.

3.  Time Frame for Reporting Complaint

The Company encourages prompt reporting of complaints so that rapid responses and appropriate actions can be taken.  However, due to the sensitivity of these problems, no limited time frame will be instituted for reporting harassment.  Delayed reporting of complaints will not in and of itself preclude the Company from taking remedial action, but the delay may be considered by the investigator in evaluating the charges.

4.  Protection against Retaliation

No executive, supervisor or staff member of the Company may, in any way, retaliate against anyone who makes a report of discrimination or harassment. Retaliation against a complainant, whether by the harasser or from another source, is itself considered harassment and a violation of this policy and should be reported immediately.  Any person found to have retaliated against another individual for reporting discrimination or harassment will be subject to the same disciplinary action applicable to harassment offenders.

Investigating the Complaint

1. Confidentiality

Any allegation of harassment brought to the attention of any executive or supervisor will be promptly investigated in as confidential a manner as possible to protect the privacy of the persons involved.  All reports of harassment shall be kept in confidence, except as absolutely necessary to investigate and resolve the complaint or to respond to any legal and/or administrative proceedings arising out of or relating to the harassment report.  Because of the sensitive nature of these issues, the Company strongly encourages both the alleged harasser and the individual charging that harassment has occurred to keep all matters related to the investigation confidential.

2. Identification of Investigators

Complaints will be investigated and resolved by the designated investigators. If the complainant reports harassment to an executive or supervisor, that person has an affirmative obligation to report the harassment complaint to a designated investigator for follow-up and resolution.

3.  Investigation Process

In pursuing the investigation, the investigator will take the wishes of the complainant into

consideration, but has a duty to investigate thoroughly the matter as he or she sees fit, keeping the complainant and the alleged harasser regularly informed as to the progress of the investigation and any action to be taken.  Once an individual has reported harassment, the Company must investigate and attempt to resolve the complaint.  Steps to be taken in the investigation may include, among others, the following:

  • Inform the complainant of his/her rights under this policy;
  • Inform the complainant of investigation and resolution procedures;
  • Confirm the name and position of the complainant;
  • Confirm the name and position of the alleged harasser;
  • Thoroughly ascertaining all facts that detail what happened (questions should and will be asked in a non-judgmental manner);
  • Check the Company’s records to determine whether the alleged; harasser or complainant has ever been charged with or complained of harassment in the past;
  • Determine the frequency and type of the alleged harassment and, if possible, the dates, times and locations when the alleged harassment occurred;
  • Determine whether there were witnesses who observed the alleged harassment;
  • Ask the complainant whether and how he/she responded to the alleged harassment;
  • Determine whether the complainant consulted anyone else about the alleged harassment or informed any executives or supervisors of the situation and determining what response, if any, the complainant obtained from those individuals;
  • Develop a thorough understanding of the relationship, degree of control and amount of interaction between the alleged harasser and complainant;
  • Determine whether the alleged harasser has made or carried out any threats or promises directed at the complainant;
  • Determine whether the complainant knows of or suspects that there are or may be other individuals who have been harassed by the alleged harasser;
  • Upon interviewing the alleged harasser, reminding him/her of the Company’s policy against retaliation for making a complaint of harassment;
  • Interview witnesses.

Resolving the Complaint

Upon completing the investigation of the harassment complaint, the investigator will communicate his/her findings and recommended actions to the complainant and to the alleged harasser.  

If the investigator finds that harassment occurred, the harasser will be subject to appropriate disciplinary procedures.  The investigator will inform the complainant and then the harasser of his/her findings and of the disciplinary action to be taken.  

If the harasser is not terminated, and in addition to any other disciplinary action taken, the Company will direct a letter to the harasser, informing him/her that in the event he/she is found to have engaged in further harassment, termination is a likely result.

If the investigator determines that no harassment occurred, this finding will be communicated to the complainant and to the alleged harasser. 

In the event that the investigator cannot determine whether harassment has occurred, both the complainant and the alleged harasser will be informed of this conclusion and will be informed that a record will be kept of this investigation which may be used in subsequent investigations involving the same persons.  The investigator will make credibility determinations.  Thus, the fact that the complainant’s charge is denied by the alleged harasser and that there are no witnesses will not mandate the conclusion that no resolution of the complaint can be reached.

Sanctions

Individuals found to have engaged in misconduct constituting harassment as defined in this policy will be disciplined.  At a minimum, such individuals will receive a reprimand.  Additional discipline may include withholding of promotion, reassignment, temporary suspension without pay or termination.  The Company may terminate an individual for a first finding of violation of this policy; the sanction for any subsequent confirmed violation occurring after the first finding of violation will be more severe than the first, and termination is a likely result.

False Accusations

The Company recognizes that the question of whether a particular course of conduct constitutes harassment requires a factual determination.  The Company recognizes also that false accusations of harassment can have serious effects on innocent persons.  If an investigation results in a finding that the complainant has knowingly made false accusations of harassment, the complainant will be, subject to the same sanctions, including termination, outlined above.

Heart of America Group has a strict no discrimination policy.  We absolutely do not permit or tolerate job discrimination of any kind based upon an executive’s or staff member’s sex, race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition or any basis prohibited by law.

Furthermore, we do not permit or tolerate any form of harassment to our customers or employees whether caused by employees, customers, or suppliers.  This includes both physical and verbal or visual harassment of a racial, sexual, religious, cultural, age, or other personal nature.

Finally, Heart of America Group is committed to an OPEN DOOR POLICY of communication.  You have the right, at anytime, to speak in confidence with anyone in our company with whom you feel comfortable about any matter of importance and receive a timely and honest reply to your question or comments, without fear of reprisal or retribution.

Untitled multiple choice question

  • Put your answer option here
  • Put your answer option here

Where to Find Help

Forms and Information

Employee complaints are very serious matters to the Heart of America Group.

You can find any information you need to file a complaint in the secure zone (using your login) on the HOA Pulse website (http://www.hoapulse.org/).

Final Exam

1. What is the Difference between Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Work Environment?

Who will be the first person you call when you have a harassment complaint?

  • Lisa Blackwell
  • COE
  • Brand Leader
  • Mike Whalen
  • Trudy McLaughlin
  • Co-Worker

True or False?

  • An individual needs to make a complaint to be a valid case.

True or False?

  • Sexual favoritism is problematic but doesn't result in discrimination.
  • Harassment outside of the workplace is not our problem.
  • If someone willingly participates in "sex talk" they cannot file a complaint.
  • Women need to understand that some guys are "just like that".
  • Gay jokes are funny and not a form of harassment.
  • Pinups, offensive e-mails and porn magazines are considered harassment.
  • If you hear offensive language, it is no big deal unless someone complains.
  • We shouldn't promote Muslims since 9/11 because of their background.
  • It is ok to touch people, as long as it's not sexual.
  • You have to know if it offends someone to be harassment.
  • If someone refers to themselves as a "gimp", they cannot be offended if others do it too.
  • To bring a lawsuit for sexual harassment, a complainant needs to show monetary or economic harm, such as being fired or demoted.
  • It is unlawful for a man to sexually harass another man because of his gender.
  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment can be committed by managers, co-workers and even customers.
  • Managers and supervisors can never be personally sued for harassment.
  • It is okay to refer to someone as a "bible thumper" or "holy-roller".
  • People over 50 shouldn’t be hired because they are high maintenance.
  • An employer that has an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy will avoid liability for harassment committed by an employee’s co-worker.

Which is a discriminatory phrase?

  • Hey You
  • Hey Man
  • Old Man
  • My Man

What do you do as soon as you receive a complaint?

R and C

What are two tangible tools that help defend us?