Diversity Management Sexual Harassment Awareness
It is the policy of the City of Miami Beach to provide equal employment opportunity for all, regardless of race, gender, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, familial status, citizenship, or sexual orientation. As part of its continuing diversity management efforts, in keeping with the guidelines on sexual discrimination issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the City of Miami Beach fully supports legislation to protect and safeguard the rights and opportunities of all people to seek, obtain, and hold employment without being subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind in the work-place. It is the policy of the City of Miami Beach to provide an environment free of sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment Awareness
Sexual harassment is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As such, each City of Miami Beach employee, male or female, as a condition of employment, and in accordance with the policies of the City, commits to uphold and affirm such Harassment Policy as the City has adopted and in so committing agrees to: not making unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature a condition of any employee’s employment; not making employment decisions based on submission to or rejection of such conduct; and not creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment by any such conduct.
Sexual harassment refers to behavior that is personally offensive, fails to respect the rights of others, lowers morale and, therefore, interferes with work effectiveness. Sexual harassment may be overt or subtle. By definition sexual harassment is insulting and demeaning to the recipient and cannot be tolerated in the work-place. A victim of sexual harassment does not have to be the harassed person; it includes anyone affected by the offensive conduct. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and may consist of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct. Conduct may constitute sexual harassment when it explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.The victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee can be a sexual harasser.
In each case, the victim decides whether behavior is welcome or unwelcome. It is the impact of the behavior on the victim that counts, not the intent of the harasser. All complaints filed with the Labor and Employee Relations Division of the Human Resources Department is taken seriously. Each case is reviewed for sufficiency and investigated based on its merit. The sex of the complainant has no bearing on the claim. With the technological advances sexual harassment now includes “Textual Harassment,” which is “texting” offensive or other inappropriate messages, and “Sexting,” which involves sending of sexually explicit messages, and also includes, but is not limited to, photographs or other pornographic material and jokes.
Sexual harassment may take different forms including:
- Verbal: Innuendos, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, threats.
- Non-verbal: Sexually suggestive objects or pictures, graphic commentaries, suggestive or insulting sounds, leering, whistling, obscene gestures.
- Physical: Unwanted physical contact including touching, pinching, brushing the body, sexual assault.
Each management employee, including first-line supervisors, is responsible for maintaining a work environment free of sexual harassment. This responsibility includes, but is not limited to, reminding employees under their supervision of the City’s policy against engaging in sexual harassment. When a manager or supervisor becomes aware of a sexual harassment incident, it is their responsibility to inform Yvette Thornton in the Labor and Employee Relations Division of the Human Resources Department whether or not the affected individual wishes to have his/her situation reported or does not wish to seek remedial action. Ms. Thornton can be reached by calling 305.673.7524.
Given the seriousness of this type of discrimination, the City recognizes that invalid, unfounded, or false accusations of sexual harassment can have serious and deleterious effects on innocent individuals. If the complaint
is found to be false and a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts, and made with malicious intent, the party filing the false complaint shall face disciplinary action. Appropriate disciplinary action shall also be taken against any employee who violates this policy.
Filing a Sexual Harassment Complaint
Any employee who believes he or she has been the subject of sexual harassment should report the incident(s) immediately to his or her supervisor, department director or Ms. Thornton.
If a complaint is against a Department Director, the complaint shall be filed directly with Ms. Thornton. Complaints shall be investigated in a confidential and timely manner. Information concerning a complaint will not be released to third parties or to anyone within the City who does not have a need to know. The purpose of this provision is to protect the confidentiality of an employee who files a complaint, to encourage employees to report any incidents of sexual harassment, and to protect the reputation of any employee wrongfully accused of sexual harassment.
Investigating complaints will usually include conferring with the parties involved and any named or apparent witnesses. Employees shall be guaranteed impartial and fair treatment. All employees shall be protected from coercion, intimidation, retaliation, interference, or discrimination for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation. If the investigation reveals that the complaint is valid, prompt attention and disciplinary action, designed to stop the harassment immediately and prevent its recurrence, will be recommended to the appropriate authority within the City.