HR-171 Respectful Workplace Conduct
Respectful Workplace Conduct
The purpose of this policy is to educate employees about the variety of forms, both obvious and subtle, in which harassment, discrimination, intimidation and inappropriate workplace conduct occur. We are committed to offering employees training to identify harassment and discrimination, and provide employees with confidential procedures under which they can report harassment and discrimination. This policy also is intended to make clear to employees that harassment, discrimination, intimidation and inappropriate workplace conduct will not be tolerated at TriMet and if substantiated will subject an employee to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Conduct that is not unlawful or prohibited by some legal principle but that is still hostile, disrespectful, or harmful to the work environment or working relationships will also not be tolerated. Employees may be terminated from employment if convicted of criminal activities that are directly related to work responsibilities or have an adverse or negative impact on TriMet’s business or employees in the workplace.
This policy applies to all TriMet employees. This policy is administered by and subject to the oversight of Human Resources (“HR”). Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action.
It is TriMet’s policy that all employees be able to work in a productive, respectful atmosphere, free from harassment by co-workers, supervisors, managers, independent contractors, or other individuals. Harassment on the basis of gender, pregnancy, race, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, gender identity, military/veteran status, political affiliation, or any other group protected by law is strictly prohibited under this policy. Retaliation on the basis of a complaint or report of harassment is also strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.
Employee conduct on and off the job is expected to continuously comply with the requirements set forth in essential functions and selection criteria of the job description.
1. What should I expect from a respectful workplace?
TriMet demands a work ethic based upon integrity, fairness, and personal respect for each employee. Negative slurs, stereotyping, profiling, use of offensive written or graphic materials, or threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts on the basis of protected characteristics will not be tolerated. Employees should treat each other respectfully, work professionally with one another, and act professionally in their dealings with subordinates, peers, and supervisors.
2. Do all employees have the same responsibility to avoid and prevent discrimination, harassment, retaliation and intimidation, and to ensure a respectful workplace?
Yes. This policy applies equally to all persons working for TriMet as employees or contractors.
3. What behaviors are prohibited in a respectful workplace?
The following behaviors are strictly prohibited:
BIAS HARASSMENT - Demeaning, insulting, offensive, threatening, or intimidating actions or words directed at a person on the basis of the person’s gender, race, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, gender identity, military/veteran status, political affiliation, or any other group protected by law.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT - Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward an individual because of gender. Sexual harassment includes conduct that is not sexual in nature but is gender-related. Sexual harassment also includes the harassment of the same or of the opposite sex. No person will subject an employee to unwelcome sexual advances or intimidating or harassing behavior, or condition an individual’s employment or continued employment on submitting to such advances or behavior. Specifically,
- RETALIATION: Retaliation against an employee for refusal to submit to sexual advances. Such refusal will not be used as a basis for any decision adversely affecting an employee’s employment with TriMet, including performance evaluations, wages, advancement, assigned duties, shifts, career development, or any term or condition of employment, including any action which, within the context of the employee’s work situation, is adverse to a term or condition of the employee’s employee. In addition, no such effect may be threatened or implied.
- FAVORISTISM: No person will confer, or promise or imply to confer, employment opportunities or benefits upon an employee in return for submitting to sexual advances or as a response to intimidating or harassing behavior of another employee.
- INTIMIDATION: No person will directly, indirectly, or through other persons coerce, bully, intimidate, threaten or abuse an employee, or otherwise engage in behavior that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
DISRESPECTFUL CONDUCT - Physical or verbal conduct or behavior that is coercive, bullying, intimidating, threatening, abusive, or is intended to or does in fact materially and negatively affect an employee’s working conditions.
4. What are some examples of prohibited bias harassment?
Derogatory comments, including written or graphic material (regardless of the format, i.e. electronic, written, verbal, etc.), epithets, slurs or jokes aimed at, or use of objects having a derogatory or discriminatory association with, a person’s race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, gender identity, military/veteran status, political affiliation, or any other legally protected characteristic.
5. What are some examples of prohibited sexual harassment?
The following is a partial list of prohibited sexual harassment examples:
Unwanted sexual advances; offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors; making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances; visual conduct that includes leering, making sexual gestures or displaying of sexually suggestive objectives or pictures, cartoons or posters; verbal conduct that includes making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or jokes; verbal sexual advances or propositions; verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, or suggestive or obscene letters, notes of invitations; physical conduct that includes touching, assaulting or impeding or blocking movements.
6. How would you describe a “hostile work environment”?
For purposes of unlawful discrimination under state and federal law, a “hostile work environment” is a work atmosphere in which there is offensive conduct based on gender, pregnancy, race, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, gender identity, military/veteran status, political affiliation, or any other group protected by law. It is any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
7. Can conduct that is not prohibited under state or federal law still violate the Respectful Workplace Conduct Policy?
Yes. Even if not unlawful, workplace conduct that is coercive, bullying, intimidating, threatening, abusive, or is intended to or does in fact materially and negatively affect an employee’s working conditions is prohibited by this policy.
8. What should an employee do if he or she believes that he or she has been a victim of workplace harassment or disrespectful conduct?
If an employee experiences or witnesses unlawful harassment in the workplace, it should be reported to the employee’s supervisor immediately. If the supervisor is unavailable or the employee is uncomfortable contacting the supervisor, the employee should contact the Director of Employee Services, Human Resource Manager or Senior Human Resource Representatives in the HR department or any other Executive Director.
9. If an employee witnesses or learns of possible harassment or disrespectful conduct, what is the employee’s duty to respond?
All employees have a duty to prevent unlawful harassment in the workplace. If an employee witnesses or learns of possible harassment, the employee also has a duty to report the harassment to his or her supervisor, the employee should contact the Director of Employee Services, Human Resource Manager or Senior Human Resource Representatives in the HR department or any other Executive Director. Under this policy, employees are also expected to prevent and report disrespectful conduct.
10. What is the procedure for reporting harassment and disrespectful conduct?
Any employee who believes that he or she has been the subject of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, or other conduct prohibited by this policy, should report the alleged charge immediately in accordance with the following procedure:
(a) Any employee who has a concern, grievance or complaint about conduct prohibited by this policy should report it directly to his or her immediate supervisor, unless the supervisor is involved or the employee feels uncomfortable making the report to his or her supervisor, in which case the employee is to report his or her concerns to the Director of Employee Services, Human Resource Manager or Senior Human Resource Representatives in the HR department or any other Executive Director.
(b) TriMet will promptly initiate a thorough administrative investigation of the complaint. The employee reporting the matter will be requested to give a statement about what was said, what was done, where it occurred, and what behavior the employee believes to have been inappropriate. The alleged harasser will similarly be requested to give a statement. TriMet will request the complainant to give the names of any other individuals who the employee believes may have knowledge concerning the incident or similar incidents. If TriMet believes that these potential witnesses will be helpful in resolving the matter, TriMet will conduct interviews of those individuals for corroboration of the matters described by the complainant. Any employee with knowledge of the allegations will be encouraged to participate fully and truthfully in the administrative investigation.
(c) If it is determined after the investigation that conduct in violation of this policy has in fact taken place, appropriate corrective action will be taken against the person or persons responsible. Depending on the findings of the investigation, the corrective action could range from counseling of the employee to disciplinary actions, up to and including termination. If the investigation reveals that someone outside of TriMet’s employ has engaged in harassment of a TriMet employee, TriMet will take appropriate actions to address the conduct by such individual or companies employing such individuals.
All information disclosed pursuant to this procedure will be held in confidence to the extent practicable. Disclosure will be made on a need-to-know basis in order to investigate and resolve the matter or as necessary to further the investigation.
11. What happens after a report of harassment or disrespectful conduct is investigated?
TriMet will be proactive in following up with the complainant to ensure the harassment is not recurring, that discipline was effective, and has not caused any real or perceived negative consequences for the complainant. If new complaints are raised, TriMet will promptly investigate the new allegations to evaluate whether the resolution was effective or if retaliation has occurred. Individuals who report harassment or disrespectful workplace conduct, or who participate in an investigation of such behavior, shall not be retaliated against or otherwise treated adversely.
12. What happens if I am retaliated against for filing a complaint?
If you feel that someone is retaliating against you for filing a complaint, report it immediately to your supervisor, the Director of Employee Services, Human Resource Manager or Senior Human Resource Representatives in the HR department or any other Executive Director. An investigation will be conducted swiftly and if appropriate, corrective action will be taken.
13. What kind of disciplinary action could be taken against the person who engages in harassment or disrespectful conduct?
If it is determined conduct in violation of this policy occurred, the following is a list of the types of disciplinary action that may be taken against the harasser:
- Verbal/written warning;
- Sensitivity training or education on the harassment laws and appropriate workplace conduct;
- Re-assignment of workers to different locations or shifts; and/or
14. What if the alleged harasser is or was someone with whom I was romantically involved?
TriMet will treat and respond to all kinds of harassment in the same manner, including harassment allegedly occurring by a current or former romantic partner. TriMet does not prohibit co-workers from dating or becoming romantically involved. However, employees who are romantically involved may not be in a direct supervisory relationship.