Workplace Harassment Information
What is Workplace Harassment?
Workplace harassment includes sexual harassment and harassment based on protected class. The behavior need not be intentional in order to be considered harassment.
Sexual harassment is "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, 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 by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such 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 working environment."
Harassment based on a protected class means verbal or physical conduct that slanders or shows hostility or hatred toward an individual because of his/her protected status that:
- Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment;
- Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance; or
- Otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment opportunities.
Reporting a Complaint of Workplace Harassment
Notification of Appropriate Staff or Agency
Individuals who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment or individuals who have knowledge of sexual harassment against or by a State employee may report the incident and/or alleged harasser to the following persons who have been identified and trained to receive complaints of sexual harassment:
- Employee Relations Division, State Personnel Department
- Agency Human Resource Office – AA/EEO Division
- Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Description of Misconduct
An accurate record of objectionable behavior or misconduct is needed to resolve a formal complaint of sexual harassment. Verbal reports of sexual harassment must be reduced to writing by either the complainant or the individual(s) designated to receive complaints, and be signed by the complainant. Individuals who believe they have been or currently are being harassed should maintain a record of objectionable conduct to effectively prepare and corroborate their allegations.
While the State encourages individuals to keep written notes in order to accurately record offensive conduct or behavior, it must be recognized that, in the event that a lawsuit develops from the reported incident, the confidentiality of the complainant’s written notes may not be recognized under Indiana law, and the notes may have to be disclosed.
Time Frame for Reporting Complaints
The state encourages a prompt reporting of complaints so that rapid response and appropriate action may be taken. However, due to the sensitivity of these problems and because of the emotional toll such misconduct may have on an individual, no limited time frame will be instituted for reporting sexual harassment complaints. Late reporting of complaints will not in and of itself preclude the State from taking remedial action.
Protection Against Retaliation
The state will not in any way retaliate against an individual that makes a report of sexual harassment nor permit any supervisor, officer or employee to do so. Retaliation is a serious violation of the sexual harassment policy and should be reported immediately. Any person found to have retaliated against another individual for the good faith reporting of sexual harassment will be subject to the same disciplinary action provided for sexual harassment offenders.
Policy on Workplace Harassment Prevention
The standardized policy issued by the Indiana State Personnel Department concerning prevention of workplace harassment can be viewed here.