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Harassment, Bullying, Discrimination
and Retaliation

 

  1. Statement of Policy
    Federal and state law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion or political beliefs, creed, sex, age, disability, national origin or sexual preference or any other protected status recognized under state and/or federal law. Among these prohibitions is the harassment of fellow employees. Trempealeau County is committed to maintaining a place of employment and a work environment that is free from discrimination and any form of harassment whatsoever.

    Harassment is unlawful and is conduct that exposes both Trempealeau County and individuals engaging in harassment to significant liability under the law. Employees at all times should treat other employees and members of the public doing business with Trempealeau County respectfully, with dignity and in a manner so as not to offend the sensibilities of a co-worker or member of the public. Accordingly, Trempealeau County is committed to vigorously enforcing this Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Policy at all levels within Trempealeau County.

    No employee should be subjected to behavior that is personally offensive, which lowers morale or interferes with productivity in the workplace. Each employee has a duty to help maintain a workplace free from harassment. This duty involves refraining from any insulting, degrading, demeaning or exploitative behavior toward other employees, including sexual harassment.

    Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical acts of a sexual nature where (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or a condition of an individual's employment; (2) an employment decision is based on an individual's acceptance or rejection of such conduct; or (3) such conduct interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

    It is also unlawful to retaliate or take reprisal in any way against anyone who has articulated any concern about any form of harassment or discrimination against the individual raising the concern or against another individual.

    Examples of conduct that would be considered harassment or regarded as retaliation are set forth in the Statement of Prohibited Conduct below. These examples are provided to illustrate the kind of conduct prohibited by this Policy and the list is not exhaustive.

    Trempealeau County has an affirmative duty to investigate and eradicate all forms of harassment, discrimination and complaints about conduct in violation of this Policy. All employees should be advised that Trempealeau County will impose strict penalties for all confirmed violations of this Policy.
  2. Statement of Prohibited Conduct
    Trempealeau County considers the following conduct to be a representative sample of the kinds of acts that violate this Harassment Policy:
    1. Physical Contact of a Degrading, Demeaning or Sexual Nature. This includes:
      1. Any punching, hitting, slapping, rape, battery, molestation or attempts to commit any such assaults; and
      2. Intentional physical conduct that is offensive or sexual in nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against another employee's body, or poking another employee's body.
    2. Unwanted Sexual Advances, Propositions, or Other Sexual Comments. This includes:
      1. Sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, or comments about a person's sexuality or sexual experience directed at or made in the presence of any employee who indicates or has indicated in any way that such conduct in his or her presence is unwelcome;
      2. Preferential treatment or promises of preferential treatment to any employee for submitting to sexual conduct, including soliciting or attempting to solicit any employee to engage in sexual activity for compensation or reward; and
      3. Subjecting or making threats of subjecting an employee to unwelcome sexual attention or conduct, or intentionally making performance of the employee's job more difficult because of that employee's sex.
    3. Sexual, Discriminatory or Otherwise Offensive Displays or Publications Anywhere in Workplace by Employees. This includes:
      1. Displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional materials, reading materials, or other materials that are offensive to other employees, sexually suggestive, demeaning, or pornographic, or bringing into the work environment or possessing any such material to read, display, or view at work.

        Materials will be presumed to be offensive to other employees if such materials depict persons, symbols, situations, objects, caricatures, language or any other thing known to be generally offensive to certain classes of persons or known to be offensive to a particular employee.

        Materials will be presumed to be sexually suggestive if such materials depict through words, symbols, situations or in any other way a person of either sex who is not fully clothed or in clothes that are not suited to or ordinarily accepted for the accomplishment of routine work in and around the Trempealeau County and who is posed for the obvious purpose of displaying or drawing attention to the private portions of his or her body.
      2. Reading or otherwise publicizing in the workplace or during work-related activities materials that are in any way offensive to other employees, sexually suggestive, demeaning or pornographic; and
      3. Displaying signs or other materials purporting to segregate an employee by sex, race, creed, color, age, disability or sexual preference in any area of the workplace.
    4. Retaliation for Harassment Complaints. This includes:
      1. Disciplining, changing work assignments of, providing inaccurate work information to, or refusing to cooperate or discuss work related matters with any employee because that employee has complained about or resisted harassment, discrimination, or retaliation; and
      2. Intentionally pressuring, falsely denying, lying about or otherwise covering up or attempting to cover up conduct, such as that described in any item above.
    5. Other Acts: Any language, gesture or action depicting hostility toward any employee or member of the public because of that individual's race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, sexual preference or any other protected classification.

The above list is intended to be representative only, and does not include all acts prohibited under this Policy

  1. Penalties for Misconduct
    Harassment is unlawful and hurts other employees. Every incident of harassment creates a negative work environment in which all employees suffer the consequences.

    Harassment and sexually based conduct has no legitimate business purpose; accordingly, all complaints of harassment will be investigated by the County, and any employee who is found to have engaged in such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.
  2. Procedures for Making, Investigating, and Resolving Harassment and Discrimination Complaints
    1. Complaints
      Trempealeau County will provide its employees with a prompt and thorough procedure for reporting incidents of sexual harassment, retaliation, and other forms of discriminatory conduct. Accordingly, Trempealeau County designates your Department Head, the Human Resources Director, or any other 3rd party deemed qualified to investigate harassment and discrimination complaints. The names and responsibilities of each investigator will be routinely and continuously posted so that any employee seeking such names can do so with anonymity and remain inconspicuous to other employees with whom he or she works. Nonetheless, the County cannot guarantee the confidentiality of certain facts during the course of an investigation.

      Management investigators may appoint "designees" to assist them in handling harassment complaints. The purpose of having several persons to whom complaints may be made is to avoid situations where employees are faced with complaining to a person, or a close associate of a person, who might be the subject of a complaint.

      Complaints of harassment or retaliation that are in violation of this Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Policy will be accepted in writing or orally. All complaints, including anonymous complaints, will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. Anyone who has observed sexual harassment or retaliation should report it to designated personnel immediately. A complainant need not be the person who was the target of harassment or retaliation. All employees have an affirmative duty to report any harassment, discrimination or retaliation that they know of.

      The identity of complainants will be revealed only to those persons who have an immediate need to know. All persons contacted in the course of an investigation will be advised that the parties involved in a charge are entitled to confidentiality and respect and that any breach of such confidentiality and respect or other act of retaliation or reprisal against the complainant or other individuals involved with the complaint is a separate, actionable violation of this Policy.
    2. Investigations
      Each management employee who is responsible for investigating claims of harassment or discrimination under this policy will receive training regarding harassment and the appropriate method to administer the procedures outlined herein. Such employees will have the responsibility for investigating complaints or having a properly trained designated investigator do so.

      A trained employee or his/her designee will investigate all complaints expeditiously. The investigator will produce a written report, which, together with the investigation file, will be shown to the complainant within a reasonable time upon request. The investigator is empowered to recommend remedial measures based upon the results of the investigation, and Trempealeau County will promptly consider and act upon any such recommendation. Trempealeau County will maintain a file on all harassment charges and the particulars of the investigation. Such files will be available to investigators and to federal, state, and local agencies charged with equal employment or affirmative action enforcement.
    3. Cooperation
      An effective harassment policy requires the support and example of Trempealeau County personnel in positions of authority. Trempealeau County agents or employees who engage in harassment or retaliation or who fail to cooperate with Trempealeau County-sponsored investigations of harassment or retaliation may be severely sanctioned by suspension or dismissal. By the same token, officials who refuse to implement remedial measures, obstruct the remedial efforts of other Trempealeau County employees, and/or retaliate against sexual harassment complainants or witnesses may be immediately discharged.

Room 217
36245 Main Street
P.O. Box 67
Whitehall, WI 54773

Phone
(715) 538-2311
Fax
(715) 538-4776

Email

Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Closed Major Holidays

Resources

Amy Spriggle
Director of
Human Resources
Extension 213

Christa Sokup
Human Resources Generalist
Extension 224