It is the intent of the Town of Sebago to provide a work environment that is free from discrimination or harassment. Therefore, it is the policy of the Town that sexual and verbal harassment is unacceptable conduct in the workplace and will not be tolerated from any source, including supervisors, co-workers and non-employees. Employees are encouraged to assist the Town with its goal of maintaining a workplace free of sexual and verbal harassment and with its commitment to deal seriously with allegations of sexual and verbal harassment when they arise.
Sexual Harassment Is Illegal under State and Federal Law.
It is illegal for any employee to sexually harass another employee, and for any supervisory employee to permit any act of sexual harassment in the workplace by anyone, whether or not an employee.
Definition of Sexual Harassment under State and Federal Law.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
2. submission to, or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Description of Sexual Harassment.
A. Physical assaults of a sexual nature such as:
1. rape, sexual battery, molestation or attempts to commit these assaults; and
2. intentional physical conduct which is sexual in nature, such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against another’s body, or poking another employee’s body.
B. Unwanted sexual advances, propositions or other sexual comments, such as:
1. sexually-oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes or comments about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience directed at or made in the presence of any employee who indicates or has indicated in any way that such conduct in his/her presence is unwelcome;
2. preferential treatment or promise or preferential treatment to an employee for submitting or attempting to solicit any employee to engage in sexual activity for compensation or reward; and
3. subjecting or threatening to subject, an employee to unwelcome sexual attention or conduct or making performance of an employee’s job more difficult because of that employee’s sex.
C. Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications anywhere in the organization by employees such as:
1. displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional materials, reading materials, or other materials that are sexually suggestive, sexually demeaning, or pornographic, or bringing into the work environment or possessing any such material to read, display or view at work.
2. reading or otherwise publicizing in the work environment material that are in any way sexually demeaning or pornographic; and
3. displaying signs or other material purporting to segregate an employee by sex in any area of the workplace (other than restrooms and similar semi-private lockers/ changing rooms.)
Any employee who believes he or she has been harassed should take the following steps to resolve the problem:
1. If an employee finds someone’s behavior offensive, they may attempt to resolve the behavior by calmly but firmly informing the individual that they find the behavior offensive and requesting that the behavior cease.
2. If the harassment continues and the employee does not feel comfortable discussing the behavior with the individual(s) involved, or if they believe some employment consequence may result from his/her confrontation with the individual whose behavior offends them, they should register a complaint, preferably in writing, with their supervisor or with the Town Manager. All complaints will be investigated promptly, and to the extent possible, on a confidential basis. Confirmed instances of verbal or sexual harassment will be dealt with by utilizing whatever disciplinary action the Town deems appropriate, up to and including termination.
3. If what the employee considers to be a reasonable length of time has gone by and they believe inadequate corrective action has been taken by their supervisor, they should register their complaint in writing with the Town Manager.
Legal Recourse Through the Maine Human Rights Commission.
With regard to a sexual harassment complaint, if the employee does not want to make the report internally, the employee may make the complaint to the Maine Human Rights Commission which is located at the State House Station 51, Augusta, Maine, 04333, telephone number 289-2326. Any complaint must be filed with the Commission within 180 days of the act of harassment. Once a signed charge form has been received by the Commission, an investigation will be conducted and a determination will be made by the Commission of whether or not there are reasonable grounds to believe sexual harassment occurred.
If the Commission determined that sexual harassment did occur, it will attempt to resolve the situation between you and your employer through informal means. If informal means of resolution are unsuccessful, the Commission counsel may file a civil action on your behalf in Superior Court seeking appropriate relief.
Maine Human Rights Act Protection Against Retaliation for Complaining about Sexual Harassment.
Under the law, no employee may be punished or penalized in any way for reporting, complaining about or filing a claim concerning sexual harassment, or for testifying in any procedure brought by anyone else.
This notice is provided to all employees in compliance with 26 M.R.S.A. 807(2). If anyone has any questions regarding this notification, please ask your supervisor or contact the Town Manager.