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SEXUAL HARASSMENT/ETHICS WORKSHOP Grays Harbor ColleGe

SEXUAL HARASSMENT DEFINED  Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual

favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 

Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment.

Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions.

Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Sexism, Sexual Discrimination and Sexual harassment  Sexism is the attitude of a person of one sex that he

or she is better than a person of the other sex.  Sexual discrimination is an action taken as a result of

sexist attitudes.  Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual advances, or

visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Liability  An employer is responsible for acts of sexual harassment

in the workplace where the employer or its agents know or should have known of the conduct, unless it can be shown that the employer took immediate and appropriate corrective action.  More specifically, employers are strictly liable for

harassment by a supervisor that results in a tangible employment action.  Supervisors may also be personally liable for proven

allegations of sexual harassment.

To Be Considered Sexual Harassment, Conduct Must …..  Be sexual in nature.  Directed at the victim because of his or her gender.  Be unwelcome.

Types of Harassment ď Ž Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Occurs when employment benefits have been conditioned upon sexual favors. ď Ž Hostile Environment Harassment

Occurs when an individual is subjected to unwelcome sexual conduct that unreasonably interferes with his or her job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. Reasonable Person Standard

Tangible Employment Action  If an employment action results in significant changes

in employment status, it is “tangible”.  Employer is generally liable in situations where a

tangible action resulted from a situation or complaint of sexual harassment.

If No Tangible Employment Action….  Then an employer may escape liability for a

supervisor's harassment that creates a hostile environment but does not result in tangible action by providing that: 

The employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct any harassment.

The employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of the preventative or corrective measures provided.

Complaint Procedures GHC Board Policy 625 specifically states that sexual harassment in any form is illegal and will not be tolerated. This policy has an informal and formal compliant procedure. Informal Procedure:  Employees are encouraged to discuss the offensive or inappropriate with the person involved.  If this is too intimidating, there are others on campus who can assist such as administrators or counselors. Formal Procedure:  Meet with and file a formal written complaint with the Chief of Human Resources.  Complaints will be held in confidence to the extent possible.  The college may elect to conduct an investigation.  If the complainant and the accused agree, informal meetings may be held in lieu of an investigation.

Manager Responsibilities  Be aware.  Take action when appropriate.  Address misconduct immediately and seriously.  Support the investigation.  Be a role model.

Employee Ethical Conduct

Basic Ethical Principle: ď Ž Public office, whether elected or appointed, may not

be used for personal gain or private advantage.

General Ethical Principles  A state officer or employee may not receive

compensation from any person, except the State of Washington, for performing his or her official duties.  Caveat—an employee of a college or university may

receive remuneration (money) from the institution’s foundation.

Basic Rules for Gifts ď Ž A state officer or employee may not accept a gift if it

could reasonably be expected to influence the performance or non-performance of his or her official duties. ď Ž A state officer or employee may not accept a gift from

any person with a value in excess of $50.00 per year.

Gift Rule Exceptions A gift does not include:  Items from family or friends if the clear purpose is not to gain

or maintain influence in the employee’s agency or institution.  Items exchanged at social events by co-workers.  Reasonable expenses (travel, room, meals) for speeches or

seminars.  Items returned or donated to charity within 30 days.  Discounts available to individual as members of a broad

based group.

Gift Rules Exceptions (continued) A gift does not include:  Admission to a charitable event.  Gifts from dignitaries.  Food and beverages at hosted receptions.  Food and beverages on infrequent occasions in the

ordinary course of meals, when related to official duties.

Honoraria Definition: An honorarium is money or anything of economic value offered for a speech, appearance, or article in connection with an officer’s or employee’s official duties. Basic Rule: A state officer or employee may not receive an honorarium unless it is specifically authorized by his or her employer.

Honoraria An agency or institution may NOT permit an officer or employee to accept an honorarium if: 

The person offering the honorarium is seeking to contract with the state.

The person offering the honorarium is regulated by the state.

The person offering the honorarium will be seeking legislation or policy changes in subject areas controlled by the agency.

Use of State Resources Reference is to GHC Board Policy 521, Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources.  A state officer or employee may not use state resources--the office, money, property, time, personnel--for personal benefit or to benefit another person.  This restriction does not apply if the state officer or

employee uses state resources to benefit others as part of his or her official duties.

Use of State Resources De Minimus Rule When may an employee use state resources for personal purposes? When there is little cost to the state. Must be brief in duration, occur infrequently, and be

the most effective use of time and resources. The use must not disrupt or distract from the

conduct of state business due to volume or frequency. Cannot compromise security or software.

Does not disrupt other state employees or obligate

them to make personal use state resources.

Prohibited Use of State Resources  Cannot use state resources for outside business.  Cannot support, promote or solicit for an outside

organization or group.

 Cannot use state resources for campaigns or ballot

propositions.

 Cannot use state resources commercially for

advertising or selling.

 Use of state computers for private purposes except

on a deminimus basis.

Prohibited Uses of State Resources (continued) ď Ž Cannot use state property removed from state

facilities. ď Ž Cannot use for personal use consumable state

resources such as paper, envelopes, or spare parts.

Confidential Information  A state officer or employee may not disclose

confidential information to an unauthorized person.  A state officer or employee may not disclose

confidential information for his or her personal benefit or for the benefit of another person.  A state officer or employee may not accept

employment or engage in business if it might reasonably be expected to require the disclosure of confidential information.

Employing Former State Employees One year restriction: a former state officer or employee may not accept employment or compensation from an employer within one year of leaving state employment if all three of the following conditions are present: 1. Officer or employee during two years immediately

preceding termination of state employment negotiated or administered a contract with the new employer. 2. The contract had a total value in excess of $10,000. 3. The former officer or employee’s duties with the new

employer would include fulfilling or implementing that contract.

Employing Former State Employees ď Ž Former officer or employee may not, within two

years following termination of state employment, have a beneficial interest in a contract or grant that was expressly authorized or funded by executive in which the former officer or state employee participated.

Summary  Do NOT accept gifts.  Seek approval for honoraria early.  Do not make personal use of state resources.  Do not use state resources for political campaigns.  Do not accept compensation for outside activities

related to your work as a state employee.  Do not assist in state transactions you influence.  Do not disclose confidential information.  Plan employment following state service to avoid conflict.

Summary Before you act, ask yourself these questions: ď Ž How would this appear to a KING Television

investigative reporter seeking to expose state employee misconduct? ď Ž How would this appear on the front page of the

Seattle Times?

Assisting in State Transactions A state employee may not assist a person in a transaction involving the state, if he or she participated in that transaction. Example: A state purchasing manager may not assist a private vendor bidding for a contract with the state if the PM helped write the terms and conditions under which vendors would bid for state contracts.

A state officer or employee is NOT prohibited from assisting a person in a transaction with the state if it falls within his or her official duties Example: Financial aid employee assists a student in obtaining financial aid or other grants from the state.


Sexual Harassment Workshop