This policy is intended to ensure an environment that respects the dignity and worth of each individual and is free from all forms of unlawful discrimination, including sexual harassment and harassment because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ancestry, disability, political affiliation or belief or activity, or any other protected characteristic or protected activity prohibited by law. Workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, will not be tolerated. This policy applies to all harassment occurring in the work environment whether on Library property or elsewhere. Harasser(s) and victim(s) may include Employees, Board Members, or anyone they interact with while representing the Library. This policy covers all Employees and Board Members of the St. Tammany Parish Library. This policy will be made available on the Library Website.
For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s employment; or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Some examples of what may constitute sexual harassment are: threatening or taking adverse employment actions if sexual favors are not granted; demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable or preferential treatment; unwelcome and reported flirtations, propositions, or advances; unwelcome physical conduct; whistling, leering, improper gestures, or offensive remarks, including unwelcome comments about appearance; sexual jokes or inappropriate use of sexually explicit or offensive language; and the display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures. Widespread favoritism in the workplace of a paramour based on the granting of sexual favors may create an illegal “hostile work environment.” The above list is not intended to be all-inclusive.
Other Prohibited Workplace Harassment
For purposes of this policy, other prohibited workplace harassment is defined as either verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ancestry, disability, or any other characteristic or activity protected by law and that:
- Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or
- Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance.
Some examples of such harassment include but are not limited to: using epithets or slurs; threatening, intimidating, or engaging in hostile acts that focus on a protected characteristic, including jokes or pranks; or circulating in the workplace written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion to a person or group because of a protected characteristic.
The Library requires the prompt reporting of all incidents of workplace harassment. If an Employee or Board Member believes they are being harassed or have observed harassment, they should promptly notify any supervisor, Assistant Director, or the Library Director.
When a report of harassment is made, the Library will undertake a prompt and thorough investigation as may be appropriate under the circumstances. The steps to be taken during the investigation will vary depending upon the nature of the allegations. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent practical and consistent with the Library's needs. Upon completion of the investigation, the outcome will be communicated to the aggrieved party and the person(s) accused, and remedial action will be taken, if appropriate. All actions taken on the complaint shall be documented, and documentation will be maintained in the Library Administrative Office.
Individuals who report harassment or are involved in the investigation of a harassment complaint will not be subject to reprisal or retaliation. Retaliation is regarded as a very serious violation of this policy and should be reported immediately.
The managers and supervisors of the Library will be held accountable for adhering to this policy, for reporting promptly any incident of harassment, and for maintaining a positive and productive work environment. If any manager or supervisor receives a report of harassment or believes they have observed harassment, the manager or supervisor is required to promptly notify one of the individuals listed above. Failure to make the required notification may subject the manager or supervisor to discipline, up to and including discharge.
Whistle Blower Policy
The Library strives to conduct its business with the utmost integrity and in strict accordance with all applicable federal, state, and local law. Accordingly, Employees and Board Members are encouraged to bring to the attention of the Library any improper actions of its Employees and Board Members. The Library shall not retaliate against any Employee or Board Member who makes such a disclosure in good faith.
Employees and Board Members are encouraged to utilize the administrative "chain of command" in reporting these actions. Should the Employee or Board Member feel intimidated or otherwise uncomfortable with such an approach, they should request a personal meeting with either the Library Director, an Assistant Director, or a Board Member before proceeding with such an issue to any agency or entity outside the Library system.
Upon hiring or appointment, each Employee or Board Member shall complete a sexual harassment training course during orientation. Every year thereafter, all Employees and Board Members shall attend one (1) sexual harassment training session or complete online training. Supervisors and Board Members are required to take the additional state-required supervisor training. The Library Director shall maintain attendance records for all sexual harassment courses offered to Employees and Board Members. If the course is taken online, the Employee or Board Member must print the certificate as proof of completion and submit it to their supervisor. If the course is taken in person, the Employee or Board Member must provide proof of completion and submit it to their supervisor. Board Members will submit their proof of training to the Library Administrative Office. All Employees and Board Members will sign an annual attestation that they have read and understand this policy. Failure to provide proof of training or a signed policy acknowledgement will result in disciplinary action for Library Employees.
Federal and State Laws
Sexual harassment violates the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines, Section 703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law, and LaR.S. 42:341-345.