• Sexual Harrassment


    Employee Rights and Responsibilities--Sexual Harassment
    The policy of the District forbids discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of sex.  The Board will not tolerate sexual harassment activity by any of its employees.  This policy also applies to non-employee volunteers or any other persons who work subject to the control of school authorities.
    I.          Definitions
    A.        Conduct of Sexual Nature
                Conduct of a sexual nature may include, but is not limited to, verbal or physical sexual advances, including subtle pressure for sexual activity; touching, pinching, patting, or brushing against; comments regarding physical or personality characteristics of a sexual nature; sexually-oriented “kidding”, “teasing”, double-entendres, and jokes; and any harassing conduct to which an employee would not be subjected but for such employee’s sex.
    B.         Unwelcome Conduct of a Sexual Nature
     
    1. Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature may constitute sexual harassment when the allegedly harassed
    employee has indicated, by his or her conduct, that it is unwelcome.
     
    2. An employee who has initially welcomed such conduct by active participation must give specific notice to the
    alleged harasser that such conduct is no longer welcome in order for such subsequent conduct to be deemed
    unwelcome.
     
    3. The District prohibits any conduct of a sexual nature directed toward its employees, and shall presume that any
    such conduct is unwelcome.
    II.         Sexual Harassment prohibited
    A.        For the purposes of this policy, unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, constitute prohibited sexual harassment if:
     
    1. submission to the conduct is made either an explicit or implicit condition of employment;
     
    2. submission(s) to or rejection(s) of the conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions, actions, or
    assessments that favor or adversely affect the harassed employee; or
     
    3. the conduct unreasonably and substantially interferes with an employee’s welfare or professional performance,
    and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
    B.         Specific Prohibitions
    1. Administrators and Supervisors
     
    a. It is sexual harassment for an administrator to use his or her authority to solicit sexual favors or attention
        from subordinates when the subordinate’s failure to submit will or may result in adverse treatment, or
        when the subordinate’s acquiescence will result in preferential treatment.
    b. Administrators and supervisors who either engage in sexual harassment or tolerate such conduct by
        other employees shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
     2. Non-managerial and Non-supervisory Employees
                a. It is sexual harassment for a non-administrative or non-supervisory employee to subject other such      
                    employees to any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.  Employees who engage in such conduct shall
                    be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
     III.      Responsibility
                Each administrator, supervisor, faculty member, and staff member will strive to provide a work environment free from sexual harassment.
    IV.       Filing a Complaint
    1.         It is the express policy of the District to encourage victims of sexual harassment to report such claims.  Any administrator, supervisor, faculty member, or staff member who feels that he or she has been directly the victim of sexual harassment by a District employee may file a complaint.  A complainant should begin the complaint procedure by initiating the informal consultation, after which a formal complaint for investigation may be filed according to the Administrative Rule for Sexual Harassment.  The investigation will be conducted in such a manner as to reasonably protect the privacy of those involved and concluded within a reasonable period of time.  Nothing in District policy requires the complainant to present the complaint to the person who is the subject of the complaint.  A formal complaint must be filed within 150 calendar days of the alleged occurrence.
    However, no one should be precluded from filing an informal complaint at any time; or from pursuing a claim of sexual harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission.
    V.        Policy of Non-Reprisal
    Privacy and discretion to the extent available will be maintained.  No employee/applicant for employment may be subject to restraint, interference, coercion, reprisals or retaliation as a result of the good faith reporting of charges of sexual harassment, for seeking information about sexual harassment, filing a sexual harassment complaint, or serving as a witness.
    VI.       Sanctions
    Any employee found to have engaged in sexual harassment, including willful false accusation of sexual harassment, shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, warning or reprimand, suspension, or termination, subject to applicable procedural requirements.
    VII.      Education of the School District Community
    The District has an obligation to make its employees aware of this sexual harassment policy and its various provisions.  It will be the responsibility of the Assistant Superintendent for Administration to make every effort to ensure that all members of the District community are informed and that new employees receive this information near or at the beginning of their period of association with the District.
    VIII.     Sexual Harassment
    The policy of the District recognizes that in order to maintain an environment in which the dignity and worth of all students of the District are respected, sexual harassment must be prohibited.  The Board has adopted policy GBAA to provide direction to this process.  The following procedures have been developed and approved by the Board to implement this policy.
    A.        Definition
    Sexual harassment is defined in policy GBAA.
    B.         Examples of prohibited behavior
                Prohibited acts of sexual harassment may take a variety of forms ranging from subtle pressure for sexual activity to physical assault.  Examples of the kinds of conduct included in the definition of sexual harassment include but are not limited to:
     
    1. Threats or intimidation of sexual relations or sexual contact which is not freely or mutually agreeable to both
    parties.
     
    2. Continual or repeated verbal abuses including graphic commentaries, innuendoes, comments, jokes, or
    propositions of a sexual nature; unwelcome touching or interference with movement; the visual display of
    derogatory cartoons, drawings or posters; or suggestive or insulting sounds, leering, whistling, or obscene
    gestures.
     
    3. Threats or insinuations that the student’s educational opportunities, grades, assignments, or other educational
    conditions may be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances.
     IX.     Reporting
    An aggrieved individual is encouraged to inform the person engaging in sexually harassing conduct that such conduct   is offensive and must stop.  If the aggrieved person is not comfortable with direct communication, or if direct communication is unsuccessful, the aggrieved person should initiate the complaint procedures described below.
    X.        Complaint Procedures
    A.        Informal Consultation
                The purpose of informal consultation is to clarify what constitutes sexual harassment, to provide guidance and information on administrative procedures, and to resolve inadvertent cases of harassment.  A request for informal consultation should be directed to either the immediate Supervisor, the Assistant Principal, the Principal, or the Assistant Superintendent for Administration.  The individual who receives the request for informal consultation must inform the complainant about the options available under this policy.  Anyone else receiving a complaint should encourage the complainant(s) to request an informal consultation or should notify one of the designated individuals directly.
                Contact with any of the designated individuals may conclude in one or more of the following options:
     
    1. Complainant decides that no sexual harassment has occurred.  In this case, no further action will be taken, and
    the consultation will  remain entirely confidential.
     
    2. Complainant decides that sexual harassment has occurred but chooses not to pursue further action.  The
    consultation will remain reasonably private.
     
    3. Complainant decides that sexual harassment has occurred and requests that an informal resolution be pursued. 
    At this point the complainant must be advised that, depending upon the circumstances of the complaint, it may be
    impossible to protect the complainant’s identity from the accused.
     
    4. Complainant decides that sexual harassment has occurred and chooses to file a formal complaint for
    investigation.
     
                            Documentation that the informal consultation has taken place should be made and kept and should
                            include a written statement from the complainant and/or notes taken by the consultant.  If such notes
                            are kept, the complainant should be so advised, and the notes should be reviewed by the
                            complainant for accuracy.  If the name of an accused is revealed during the informal consultation, the
                            accused should be advised of the allegations.
                 B.      Formal Complaint
                             1. Filing a Complaint
                            After completing the informal consultation step, a complainant who wishes to file a formal complaint for  investigation  and 
                            possible action should do so with the assistance of the individual who conducted the informal consultation, who will        
                            complete a Sexual Harassment Complaint Form and refer the matter to the Assistant Superintendent for Administration, or
                            his designee, who will conduct an investigation.  Once a formal complaint has been filed, it will proceed through all steps    
                            set forth below.
     2. Investigation
     
     The purpose of the investigation is to establish whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that the alleged
     violation of this policy has occurred.  In conducting the investigation, the Assistant Superintendent for
     Administration, or his designee, will interview the complainant and the accused and will normally interview other
     persons believed to have pertinent factual knowledge.  While it may be necessary at times to reveal the name of
     the accused or the complainant(s), reasonable privacy will be maintained by all personnel involved when
     possible.  Failure to maintain the reasonable privacy of the investigation could result in disciplinary action.  The
     investigation will afford the accused an opportunity to respond to the allegations.  Within a reasonable period of
     time (normally 30 calendar days from the time the complaint was filed), the investigator will provide both the
     complainant and the accused with written notification that the investigation has been completed, that a written
     report has been sent to the immediate supervisor of the accused (or his or her supervisor if the immediate
     supervisor is the accused), and that they will be notified as to what further action, if any, will be taken.
     
     3. Process of Formal Action
     
     After receiving a written report of the findings of the investigation from the Assistant Superintendent for
     Administration, the immediate supervisor (or the immediate supervisor’s supervisor, if the immediate supervisor is
     the accused), of the accused will initiate a consultation with the Assistant Superintendent for Administration. 
     Based upon the report and the consultation, the immediate supervisor or his or her supervisor, if appropriate, will
     decide upon one of three possible courses of action:
                a. a judgment that the allegations are not warranted;
    b. informal resolution as agreed upon by the parties; or
    c. corrective and disciplinary action as described below.
                             4. Protection of Complainant, Witnesses and Others
     
                At the time the formal complaint is filed, the complainant will be informed by the individual who conducted the       
                informal consultation and/or the Assistant Superintendent for Administration of steps which the investigation will follow, including the projected timetable for completion of the process.
     
    All reasonable action will be taken to assure that the complainant and those testifying on behalf of the complainant,
    or supporting the complainant in other ways, will suffer no retaliation as a result  of their activities in regard to the
    process.  Steps to avoid retaliation may include, but are not limited to:
    a. lateral transfers of one or more of the parties in an employment setting; and
    b. arrangements that employment evaluations concerning the complainant or others be made by an
        appropriate individual other than the accused.
     
     If in the judgment of the Superintendent it is in the best interest of the District, the accused may be relieved of
     his/her duties during the investigation, subject to applicable procedural requirements.
     5. Protection of the accused
    At the time the investigation commences, the accused will be informed in writing by the Assistant Superintendent
    of Administration of the allegations, the identity of the complainant, and the facts surrounding the allegations.
     
    In the event the allegations are not substantiated, reasonable steps will be taken to so advise those involved in the
    investigation who had knowledge of the allegations that no allegations of sexual harassment were substantiated.
     
    A complainant found to have been intentionally dishonest in making the allegations or to have made them
    maliciously is subject to disciplinary action, including suspension and/or dismissal subject to applicable procedural
    requirements.
    C.      Disciplinary action
             Any administrator, supervisor or employee who is found to have engaged in sexual harassment, including willful
             false accusation of sexual harassment, will be notified of the outcome of the investigation and will be subject to
             appropriate disciplinary action, which may include, but is not limited to, oral or written warnings, demotion, transfer,
             suspension or dismissal for cause, subject to applicable procedural requirements.
     
     D.    Remedial action
     The complainant will be notified of the outcome of the investigation.  If applicable, the complainant will 
     also be notified of the specific remedy available to him/her and the general category of disciplinary
     action taken against the accused.  Reasonable efforts will be made to insure that the complainant is
     free from any further harassment.  The individual who conducted the informal consultation will be
     responsible for counseling the complainant to insure that he/she is comfortable with the resolution and
     for following up with the complainant at least once within three months of the resolution to insure that
     the complainant has not been subjected to any further harassment.
    XI.            Education of the School District Community
    A.        Following the adoption of policy GBAA, principals and supervisors will provide each of their staff and faculty members with a copy of policy GBAA and make copies of these administrative procedures available in each school media center and each area and district office.  They will also conduct a review of policy GBAA and these administrative procedures for all staff members to provide orientation on the nature of sexual harassment; how to identify it, and the appropriate actions to follow should they encounter sexual harassment.
    B.         Principals and supervisors will provide orientation for new staff and faculty near or at the beginning of their association with the District.
    C.        Near or at the beginning of each subsequent school year, principals and supervisors will provide for their staff and faculty a review of policy GBAA and these administrative procedures.
    Policy GBAA, Issue Date 6/00
    NOTE:  The laws, rights and responsibilities relative to the issues of sexual harassment are also applicable to students.