Sexual Harassment Policy
The Herrin City Library strongly opposes sexual harassment in any form. Sexual harassment is against library policy and is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of l964 as well as the Illinois Human Rights Act. It is also unlawful to retaliate against a person who has lodged a complaint of sexual harassment.
It is the policy of the Herrin City Library Board of Trustees that all employees have a right to work in an environment free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature 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 the individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Any employee, who believes that he or she is being subjected to sexual harassment, whether from an employee or a patron, is urged to report such conduct immediately to the Director in accordance with the Sexual Harassment Reporting Procedure.
Library Employee/Patron Relationship
The Board affirms its commitment to ensuring an environment for all patrons free of sexual harassment. The Board views sexual harassment of patrons by library employees as an abuse of authority and, therefore, such harassment will not be tolerated. Likewise, sexual harassment of library employees by patrons will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment of a patron by a library employee or of an employee by a patron means:
- Any sexual advance
- Any request for sexual favors
- Any acceptance by an employee of a sexual advance or request for sexual favors from a patron
- Any conduct of a sexual nature by an employee directed toward a patron when (i) the patron’s submission to or rejection of such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a patron’s participation in any library-sponsored activity, or (ii) such conduct has the purpose or effect on a patron of reasonable sensibilities of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive library environment for the patron.
Any patron who suspects that she or he has encountered sexual harassment should report the incident to the Library Director as soon as possible. Any employee who witnesses or has knowledge of sexual harassment by a library employee against a patron shall immediately report it to the Library Director. Any employee who is being sexually harassed by a patron shall immediately report this to the Director.
Examples Sexual harassment prohibited by this policy includes verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct. The terms “intimidating,” “hostile,” or “offensive” as used above include conduct which has the effect of humiliation, embarrassment, or discomfort. Examples of verbal sexual harassment include: explicit sexual propositions, sexual innuendo, suggestive comments, foul or obscene language, insults of a sexual nature, and humor or jokes about sex or gender-specific traits. Examples of non-verbal sexual harassment include: suggestive or insulting sounds, leering, whistling, obscene gestures, display of foul or obscene printed or visual material. Examples of physical sexual harassment include: sexual touching, patting or pinching of a sexual nature, intentionally brushing the body, coerced sexual intercourse, and sexual assault.
Duty to Report Sexual Harassment by Patrons to Fellow Patrons
All library employees have the affirmative duty to report incidents of sexual harassment perpetrated by patrons upon fellow patrons, whether witnessed firsthand or reported to them. Such incidents must be reported to the Library Director.
It is a violation of this policy to retaliate or to take reprisal in any way against anyone who has articulated any concern about sexual harassment or discrimination against the person raising the concern or against another individual.
Sexual Harassment Reporting Procedure
The following procedure shall be used by any patron or employee who suspects that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment.
Documentation of any incident may be submitted with any report (what was said or done, the date, the time and the place), including, but not limited to, written records such as letters, notes, memos and telephone messages.
All allegations, including anonymous reports, will be accepted and investigated regardless of how the matter comes to the attention of the municipality. However, because of the serious implications of sexual harassment charges and the difficulties associated with their investigation and the questions of credibility involved, the claimant’s willing cooperation is a vital component of an effective inquiry and an appropriate outcome.
Step 1 Reporting by Patrons
Any patron who suspects that he or she is the victim of sexual harassment by a library employee or a fellow patron should report it to the Library Director as soon as possible.
Reporting by Employees
A complaint by a library employee that sexual harassment has occurred shall first be presented to the Library Director. If the Director is the subject of the complaint, then the complaint should be presented to the President of the Board of Trustees.
If the alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment is a library patron, normal disciplinary procedures should be followed. In all other cases, the Library Director shall meet with the complainant to discuss the allegations.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the Library Director’s decision, an appeal of that decision may be made to the Board of Library Trustees. Such an appeal shall be instituted by filing with the Secretary of the Board a statement setting forth the reasons for the appeal. The Board or a committee hereof shall meet with the complainant, the Library Director, and any representatives to discuss the allegations of discrimination. The hearing with the Board shall be informal, however, the complainant and the administration may present evidence, call, and cross-examine witnesses. The Board may ask questions of the complainant, the administration, and any witnesses. The rules of evidence shall not apply; however, hearsay evidence shall not be presented for proof of any ultimate facts. The Board shall issue its written decision.
All hearings shall be held in private and at times convenient for the parties. In the event that the person designated to hear a complaint is the alleged offender, then the employee may immediately move to the next step of the procedure. At any step, the person hearing the complaint may conduct or direct such investigation as they deem appropriate, including obtaining a response from the alleged offender. There shall be no harassment or retaliation by any person involved in the process for any reason.
CONSEQUENCES FOR KNOWINGLY MAKING A FALSE REPORT
A false report is a report of sexual harassment made by an accuser using the sexual harassment report to accomplish some end other than stopping sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. A false report is not a report made in good faith which cannot be proven. Given the seriousness of the consequences for the accused, a false or frivolous report is a severe offense that can itself result in disciplinary action. Any person who intentionally makes a false report alleging a violation of any provision of this policy shall be subject to discipline or discharge pursuant to applicable municipal policies, employment agreements, procedures, employee handbooks and/or collective bargaining agreements.
In addition, any person who intentionally makes a false report alleging a violation of any provision of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act to an ethics commission, an inspector general, the State Police, a State’s Attorney, the Attorney General, or any other law enforcement official is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. An ethics commission may levy an administrative fine of up to $5,000 against any person who intentionally makes a false, frivolous or bad faith allegation.
Legal Recourse, Investigative, and Complaint Process Available through the Illinois Department of Human Rights and Human Rights Commission
Any library patron or employee may also use the legal recourse, investigative, and complaint process through the Illinois Department of Human Rights and Human Rights Commission. The address and telephone numbers are: Illinois Department of Human Rights 222 S. College, Rm. 101A Springfield, IL 62700 (217) 785-5l00.