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Sexual Harassment Policy

This represents the policy of St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8concerning sexual harassment. Any questions concerning the context or content of this policy should be discussed with your Fire Chief and/or the Governing Authority. It is the belief of St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8that its employees are the primary means by which the goals and objectives of the district will be met. All employees of the St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8 must understand its position on harassment.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, or inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature when the conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment or the holding of office, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace are prohibited by federal law through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and by state law through La. R.S. 23:301 et seq.

These laws prohibit both quid pro quo harassment, which arises when consent to sexual demands are made an express or implied condition of employment, and hostile work environment harassment, which arises when the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and created an abusive working environment.

Sexual harassment may be defined as unsolicited, offensive behavior that inappropriately asserts sexuality over employees including but not limited to the following:

  1. Verbal: Sexual innuendos, suggestive comments, threats, sexual humor.
  2. Non-Verbal: Leering, whistling, obscene gestures, showing inappropriate images.
  3. Physical: Touching, brushing the body, coerced sexual activity, assault, impeding egress or passage. 

Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace shall not be tolerated and St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8 will take appropriate action to end any such harassment and/or prevent the recurrence of any such misconduct.

If a person’s behavior makes an employee uncomfortable, the employee should feel free to immediately advise the person that, in the employee’s opinion, the behavior is inappropriate, and that the employee would like it stopped.

Any employee of St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8 may file a complaint of sexual harassment.

Any employee who believes he or she has been subjected to unlawful sexual harassment, or has been retaliated against for reporting such activities or assisting in a related investigation of such activities must report the alleged act immediately or as soon as possible to the Fire Chief or any other member of management and/or the Board. It is not necessary for an employee to complain to an offending supervisor to report sexual harassment. If, for whatever reason, the employee does not feel that the persons named in this paragraph are suitable persons to whom to report the incident, the employee should contact any of the board of commissioners.

Whether or not an incident is sexual harassment requires a complete factual investigation, and St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8’s Fire Chief and/or the Fire District board members will conduct such investigations on all complaints in a manner so as not to cause any serious effect on innocent employees who either file a complaint and/or may be the subject of a filed complaint. In all instances, a prompt and thorough investigation will take place, considering protection of the rights and dignity of all persons involved. It is mandatory that all parties to an allegation of sexual harassment participate in the investigation of the incident, and cooperation in the investigation of claims of harassment is an express element of each employee’s employment with the St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8.

The St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8 Fire will take those steps it feels necessary to resolve the problem, which may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension, or termination.

The St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8 will investigate by gathering information, in as confidential a manner as possible, given the need to investigate the complaint, from all concerned parties, and it will not retaliate against any employee as a result of reports of alleged harassment or cooperation with any investigation.

The St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8 may consult its legal representative for assistance in determining whether conduct that has occurred does in fact constitute sexual harassment. The St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8 may also make subsequent inquiries from time to time to ensure offensive conduct does not resume and/or that the subject of such harassment has not suffered any retaliation. No retaliation of any kind will be tolerated because an employee in good faith reports an incident of suspected harassment. The supervisor, or other person to whom the complaint was made, will work to establish mutually agreed upon safeguards against retaliation while attempting to mediate any sexual harassment complaint. Any employee, manager, or supervisor found by the St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8 to have unlawfully sexually harassed, or unlawfully retaliated against, another employee will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination. If any employee, manager, or supervisor is found by the St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8 to have intentionally made a false allegation of sexual

harassment, that individual will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation by the St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8, a complainant may pursue a claim under state and/or federal law.

Each Board Member and District Employee shall complete annually a 1-hour course in Preventing Sexual Harassment from the following approved course training:

https://www.civilservice.louisiana.gov/Divisions/Training/PreventingSexualHarassment.aspx

or

https://lma.teachable.com/p/sexual-harassment-prevention

and sign the Affidavit Acknowledgement and Receipt of Sexual Harassment Policy for St. Tammany Parish Fire District #8. These forms shall be kept on file either in hard copy or digitally with each Board Member and District Employees annual Sexual Harassment training certificate.

In addition, the mandatory annual Sexual Harassment report must be filed with the Fire Chief and Fire District board no later than February 1 of each year containing information from the previous calendar year. The Board Secretary shall be responsible for providing the Sexual Harassment Report.




Sources:

Louisiana Legislative Auditor

https://www.lla.la.gov/local-government-entities/index.shtml

Louisiana Municipal Association

https://www.lma.org/LMA/Publications/Sample_Policies_Agreements/LMA/Publications/

State Civil Service Louisiana

https://www.civilservice.louisiana.gov/Divisions/Training/PreventingSexualHarassment.aspx
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