The State Center Community College District (SCCCD), as your employer, must take all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring. Sexual harassment in employment violates the District’s policy and is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Sexual Harassment Defined
Sexual harassment is an unwanted sexual advance or visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (1) submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment; or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior. The following is a partial list:
· Unwanted sexual advances.
· Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
· Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances.
· Visual conduct: leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of sexually suggestive pictures, cartoons or posters.
· Verbal conduct: making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, sexually explicit jokes, comments about an employee’s body or dress.
· Verbal sexual advances or propositions.
· Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentary about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations.
· Physical conduct: touching, assault, impeding or blocking movements.
Sexual harassment includes harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation. Sexual harassment on the job is unlawful whether it involves co-worker harassment, harassment by a supervisor or manager, or by persons doing business with or for the District.
Preventing Sexual Harassment
A program to eliminate sexual harassment from the workplace is not only required by law but is the most practical way to prevent incidents from occurring, or to avoid or limit damages if harassment should occur despite preventive efforts.
SCCCD’s Complaint Procedure:
· The District’s complaint procedure provide for an immediate, thorough and objective investigation of any sexual harassment claim and appropriate disciplinary action against one found to have engaged in prohibited sexual harassment.
· Employees who believe they have been sexually harassed on the job, including by persons doing business with or for the District, should provide a written or verbal complaint to their own or another supervisor as soon as possible. The complaint should include details of the incident (s), names of any witnesses.
· All complaints of sexual harassment must be investigated. The designated representatives will immediately undertake an effective, thorough and objective investigation of the harassment allegations. The investigations will be completed and a determination regarding the harassment alleged will be made and communicated to the employees who complained and the accused harasser(s).
· If it is determined that sexual harassment has occurred, the District will take immediate effective, action commensurate with circumstances. Appropriate action will be calculated to deter any future harassment.
Protection Against Retaliation
SCCD’S policy and California law prohibit retaliation against any employee by another employee or by the District for using this complaint procedure or for filing, testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing conducted by a federal or state enforcement agency. Prohibited retaliation includes, but is not limited to, demotion: suspension, failure to hire or consider for hire, failure to give equal consideration in making decisions, failure to make employment recommendations impartially, adversely affecting working considerations or otherwise denying any employment benefit.
Once the District knows of the sexual harassment, it will take immediate steps to stop the harassment. The District will not permit any retaliation against any employee who complains of harassment, who participates in an investigation, or who opposes sexual harassment. Opposition includes, but is not limited to: seeking advice or assisting or advising any person in seeking advice of an enforcement agency regardless of whether a complaint is filed or, if
filed, substantiated; opposing employment practices that an employee reasonably believes to be unlawful; participating in an activity perceived to be opposition to discrimination by an employer covered by the law; or contacting, communicating with or participating in any federal, state, or local human rights or civil rights agency proceedings.
Any report of retaliation by the accused harasser, or by co-workers, supervisors or managers, will also be immediately, effectively and thoroughly investigated in accordance with the District’s investigation procedure outlined above. If a complaint of retaliation is substantiated, appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including discharge, will be taken.
Liability for Sexual Harassment
Any employee of SCCCD, whether co-worker, supervisor or manager, who is found to have engaged in unlawful sexual harassment is subject to discharge from employment. An employee who engages in sexual harassment , including any manager who knew about the harassment and took no action to stop it, may be held personally liable for monetary damages, SCCCD will not pay damages assessed personally against an employee.
Additional Enforcement Information
In addition to SCCCD’s internal complaint procedure, employees should also be aware that the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) investigate and prosecute complaints of sexual harassment in employment.
Employees who believe that they have been sexually harassed may file a complaint with the EEOC within 300 days of the harassment or with the DFEH within one year of the harassment. Both the EEOC and the DFEH serve as neutral fact finders and attempt to help the parties voluntarily resolve disputes.
If the EEOC finds a complaint is justified, it may bring a lawsuit in federal court seeking an order to prevent further unlawful activity, as well as orders to pay fines and damages, and remedies such as hiring, reinstatement, backpay, promotion and changes in the employer’s policies and or/ program practices. If the DFEH finds evidence of sexual harassment , and settlement efforts fail , the DFEH may take action against the employer and the harasser. If the commission finds that harassment occurred, it can order remedies, including damages and/or fines from each employer or harasser charged. In addition, the Commission may order hiring and reinstatement, backpay, promotions and changes in the policies or practices of the involved employer.
For more information, contact Director of Personnel at the District Office, the Dean of Students on your campus, or the nearest office of the EEOC or DFEH, as listed below:
State of California
Department of Fair Employment and Housing
1900 Mariposa Mall, Suite 130
Fresno, CA 93721-2504
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1765 West Shaw Ave., Suite 103
Fresno, CA 93711