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SEXUAL HARASSMENT
YOUR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and conduct unbecoming a public employee and is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, Sections 110.105, 110.112, 110.1221 and 110.233, 119.71(2)(g); 760.01, 760.05, 760.06 and 760.40 Florida Statutes, Department of Corrections Rules, Chapter 33-208, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), and Department of Management Services Rules, Chapter 60L-40.001, F.A.C.

 

The Department of Corrections is committed to creating and maintaining a work environment free from sexual harassment.  Accordingly, all Department employees are put on notice that sexually harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated.

 

This document provides Department employees with the information necessary to understand what sexual harassment is and what their rights and responsibilities are with regard to this issue.

WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines broadly define sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, offensive remarks about a person’s sex, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct explicitly or implicitly affects employment decisions with regard to an individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

SEXUALLY HARASSING BEHAVIOR

The alleged conduct must be of a sexual nature and must be unwelcome or unwanted.  Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Threatening actions against an individual for sexual favors;
  • Stating or implying a desire for sexual relations or inappropriate physical contact;
  • Use of sexually degrading words to describe an individual, or any offensive words, remarks, or jokes of a sexual nature;
  • Display of sexually explicit or suggestive objects such as pictures or photographs in the workplace;
  • Making offensive comments about someone based on their sex; or
  • Uninvited physical contact such as touching, patting, hugging, or pinching

EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Understand the Department’s policy on sexual harassment and procedures for filing a complaint.
  • Know that all employees have the legal right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment and intimidation.
  • If an employee believes s/he is sexually harassed, s/he should file a complaint through the appropriate procedure. Employees should understand, however, that the actions described herein must be severe and pervasive in order to be considered sexual harassment.  A single occurrence therefore generally does not rise to the level of illegal sexual harassment.  Often, simply telling the offending person that their behavior is unwelcome is sufficient to resolve the problem.  If the offensive behavior continues, filing a complaint of sexual harassment is in order.
  • If any employee is aware that sexual harassment is occurring between coworkers or between a coworker and a client of the Department, s/he is required to report it through the proper procedure. This includes employees, visitors, applicants, vendors, volunteers, or other qualified individuals as determined by the Office of Human Resources.

MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Management is required to take any complaint of sexual harassment seriously and give it immediate attention.
  • Once an employee has informed management that sexual harassment has occurred, the manager must immediately have the employee report the matter to the Complaint Coordinator in the Employee Relations Section of the Office of Human Resources.
  • If an employee states s/he does not want to file a complaint, management must nevertheless report the matter, in writing to the Complaint Coordinator in the Employee Relations Section of the Office of Human Resources.
  • Management should be alert and sensitive to potential sexual harassment or offensive behavior within the workplace.

FILING A COMPLAINT

Complaints must be filed within 365 days (300 days if filing with EEOC) from the date the alleged harassment occurred.  If the harassment was continuous, the complaint must be filed within 365 days (300 days if filing with EEOC) from the date of the most recent occurrence.

Any employee who believes s/he is a victim of sexual harassment has the right to file a formal complaint as prescribed in “Filing and Processing Discrimination Complaints,” Procedure 208.052.

Complaints filed with the Department must be filed with the Complaint Coordinator in the Employee Relations Section of the Office of Human Resources.

Formal complaints are initiated when an employee completes a “Discrimination Complaint,” DC2-881, obtained from Employee Relations staff or the Department’s intranet website.  The Office of Inspector General may investigate and the Complaint Coordinator will notify the complainant of the resulting determination at the conclusion of the investigation.

An employee may withdraw her/his complaint at any time if the issues have been resolved to her/his satisfaction.  Withdrawal of a formal complaint must be made in writing by submitting an “Internal Discrimination Complaint Withdrawal,” DC2-883 or a written request to withdraw her/his complaint to the Complaint Coordinator.   The Agency, however, may continue with the investigation based upon the seriousness of the allegation(s).

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Any employee who is found to have committed sexual harassment shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Any employee who fails to report her/his knowledge of sexual harassment to the appropriate authority shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Any employee who knowingly files a false complaint of sexual harassment shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.  However, employees who have acted in good faith and on reasonable grounds believe that sexual harassment has occurred shall not be subject to discipline.

LIABILITY UNDER LAW

Any employee who is found to have committed sexual harassment may also be subject to penalties under federal and state law.  S/he may be held personally liable for her/his misconduct through civil suit by the injured party and may also be subject to criminal prosecution.

Any employee who is found to have knowingly filed a false complaint of sexual harassment may be held personally liable for her/his misconduct through civil suit by the injured party and may also be criminally prosecuted.

Additionally, an employee who fails to use the Department’s internal complaint procedure or who does not file externally with the EEOC or the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) within the required timeframes may not be legally able to establish a claim of sexual harassment in a Title VII civil suit.

PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION

It is prohibited for any management official or other employee to retaliate against an employee with regard to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment either solely or in part because s/he filed a complaint or reported alleged sexual harassment.  Any official or other employee found to have retaliated against an employee shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

EMPLOYEE’S RIGHT TO SEEK REMEDY OUTSIDE THE DEPARTMENT

In addition to the Department’s internal procedures, an employee has the right to file a complaint alleging a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act with the EEOC or FCHR.  Additional information regarding these options may be obtained from:

                • Florida Department of Corrections
                  Complaint Coordinator – Employee Relations Section
                  501 South Calhoun Street
                  Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2500
                  (850) 717-3202
                • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
                  Miami District Office
                  100 SE 2nd Street, Suite 1500Miami, FL 33131Toll free: (800) 669-4000
                • Florida Commission on Human Relations
                  4075 Esplanade Way, #110 Tallahassee, FL 32399
                  Phone: (850) 488-7082   Toll Free: (800) 342-8170
FDC

The Florida Department of Corrections is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Certain veterans and spouses of veterans receive preference in employment by the state as provided by Chapter 295, Florida Statutes, and are encouraged to apply.