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Rules of the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida
Title 6Gx50
Chapter 3. Personnel

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Policy 3.19Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment

  1. Purpose. The School Board recognizes that the goal of eliminating all forms of unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace will create a better work and learning environment for Board employees and students. This policy establishes procedures for the reporting, investigation and resolution of complaints of sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

  2. Scope and Applicability. This policy covers all phases of employment, including, but not limited to recruitment, testing, hiring, promotions, demotions, transfers, layoffs, termination, suspensions, rates of pay, benefits and the selection for training. The policy applies to all employees, applicants, non-employee volunteers, vendors or service providers.

  3. Policy. The School Board is committed to maintaining a work and learning environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect. All employees and applicants for employment of the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, have the right to work in an environment free from discrimination and conduct which can be considered harassing or coercive. Therefore, harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, parental status, disability or any other characteristic protected by federal and state law, will not be sanctioned or tolerated, regardless of whether it takes place in the Board's administrative or school centers during work-related assignments outside of administrative or school centers, during school related or work-related extracurricular activities or during a work-related social function. All employees and applicants for employment should be aware of the following:

  4. Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as:

    1. "Unwelcome" sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

      1. Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's employment;

      2. When submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis of employment decisions affecting such individual; or

      3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

    2. Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to, the following:

      1. Gestures, letters, notes, invitations, comments, slurs, jokes or epithets that are suggestive, derogatory or obscene;

      2. Unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, sexual molestation or assault, leering with sexual overtones, or impeding or blocking movement;

      3. Display of sexually suggestive objects, posters or cartoons;

      4. Continuing to express sexual interest after being informed that the interest is unwelcome;

      5. Offering favors such as employment benefits, promotions, favorable duties or shifts, recommendations, reclassification, etc., in exchange for sexual favors;

      6. Coercive sexual behavior used to control, influence, or affect the career, salary, and/or work environment of another employee;

      7. Coercive sexual behavior used to imply or withhold support for an appointment, promotion, or change of assignment;

      8. Coercive sexual behavior used to suggest that a poor performance report will be prepared or probation will be failed; or

      9. Engaging in a course of conduct which, under 748.048 Fla. Stat. constitutes the stalking of a staff member, student, chaperone, or parent in the workplace.

  5. Other Harassment.

    1. Harassment on the basis of any other protected characteristic is also strictly prohibited. This includes verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, marital status, citizenship or any other characteristic protected by law and that:

      1. Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment;

      2. Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or performance;

      3. Otherwise, adversely affects an individual's employment;

      4. Implies that submission to such conduct is made an explicit or implicit term of employment; or

      5. Implies that submission to or rejection of such conduct will be used as a basis for an employment decision affecting the harassed employee.

    2. Examples of such harassment include the following:

      1. Epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping;

      2. Threatening, intimidating or hostile acts, such as stalking; or

      3. Written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group and that is placed on walls or elsewhere on the employer's premises or circulated in the workplace.

  6. Complaint Procedure.

    1. Supervisors and managers are responsible for assuring that no employee is subjected to conduct that constitutes sexual or any other form of harassment. Any supervisor or manager receiving an oral or written complaint alleging discrimination, sexual harassment, harassment or retaliation shall refer the complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator opportunity for handling.

    2. Any employee, who believes that he or she has been the subject of sexual or any other form of harassment by anyone at the district or by any person who does business with the district, should, and is encouraged to, bring the matter to the attention of his/her supervisor, except when the immediate supervisor is the offending party, to the Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator. Any employee who is aware of behavior toward another employee which they feel may constitute sexual or any other form of harassment shall also report the matter to their supervisor except when the immediate supervisor is the offending party, or to the Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator.

    3. A prompt and thorough investigation of the alleged incident will be conducted and appropriate corrective action will be taken, if warranted. To the extent consistent with adequate investigation and appropriate corrective action, any complaints of harassment will be treated as confidential throughout the investigation. Once the investigation is completed, confidentiality shall be determined by the applicable laws. A person alleging that they are a victim of sexual harassment may request that their records remain confidential as specified in Florida Statute 119.07 (3) (u).

    4. Any individual found to have engaged in sexual or any other form of harassment will be disciplined as appropriate, up to and including termination. Individuals receiving action under this section may appeal such action in accordance with the appropriate grievance procedure or administrative process.

    5. The district will not in any way retaliate against an employee, potential employee, or former employee who, in good faith, makes a complaint or report of harassment, or participates in the investigation of such a complaint or report. Retaliation against any individual for good faith reporting of a claim of harassment or cooperating in the investigation will not be tolerated and will itself be subject to appropriate discipline. Incidents of retaliation shall be reported in the manner as provided in this section.

    6. The district will take all appropriate steps to enforce this policy.

    7. All employees must file the complaint pursuant to the procedure herein. The exception is the superintendent, internal auditor or chief counsel to the school board, who must file the complaint with the board chair.

  7. Limitations. Nothing in this policy is intended nor shall be construed to create a private right of action against the Board or any of its employees. The provisions herein do not affect the right of any person to file a charge of discrimination with any agency having jurisdiction over such claims.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY:Fla. Stat. 1001.41,1001.42,1001.43
LAWS IMPLEMENTED: 42 U. S.C. 2000e and 20 U. S.C. 1681
HISTORY:9/21/94; 5/21/97; 02/25/2002; 7/7/2010