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Harassment (Policy Against)

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Policy Information
  • Issue Date: February 7, 2003
  • Revision Date: January 27, 2011
  • Primary Contact: Employement Services Manager/EEO Officer
  • Responsible Member of Directorate: Vice President of Finance & Administration
  • Responsible Office: Human Resources
Policy Statement
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is committed to maintaining a positive working and learning environment, and an environment free of illegal discrimination and harassment. Institution scientists, administrators, managers and supervisors ashore and at sea are obligated to strongly support this effort; all shore-based and at-sea employees, postdocs and students of the Institution are expected to support this goal.

Reason for Policy
As a matter of policy, the Institution endorses the principle of equal employment opportunity and prohibits sexual harassment and all other forms of discriminatory harassment.

Contents
Policy Information
Policy Statement
Reason for Policy
Who Should Be Familiar With This Policy
Related Documents
Contacts
Definitions & Responsibilities
   Sexual Harassment
   Other Discriminatory Harassment
Overview
   Condition of Employment/Status in a Program
   Where and When Policy Applies
   Use of Institution Property
   Sexual Harassment
   Other Discriminatory Harassment
   Forms of Sexual Harassment and Other Discriminatory Harassment
   Offensive Conduct
   Retaliation
Procedures
   Reporting Perceived Harassment to the Institution
   Other Reporting
   Violations


Who Should Be Familiar With This Policy
? Employees
? Postdocs
? Students
? Other individuals who have a relationship with the Institution that enables the Institution to exercise some control over their conduct in places and activities that relate to the Institution?s business (e.g. Trustees, Corporation members, contractors, vendors, customers, etc.)

Related Documents

Institution Policies Other Documents
Human Resources: Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy
Human Resources: Respectful Workplace and Violence Prevention Policy
Brochure – Harassment: What is it and what can be done about it? (pdf)


Contacts
EEO Officer/Title IX Coordinator
eeo@whoi.edu
(508) 289-2705

Definitions & Responsibilities
These definitions apply to these terms as they are used in this policy.

Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any written, 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 or a postdoc or student’s status in a course, program or activity;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational experience and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive working, academic, or living environment.
Other Discriminatory Harassment Other discriminatory harassment means written, verbal or physical conduct, whether on or off the premises, which has the intent or effect of unreasonably interfering with any individual?s or group?s academic or work performance or which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or work environment, when such conduct is based upon age, race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, disability or status as a veteran.

Overview
Condition of Employment/Status in a Program Compliance with this policy is a condition of each employee?s employment and of each student or postdoc?s status in a program. Employees, postdocs, and students are encouraged to raise any questions or concerns about this policy or about possible discriminatory harassment with the EEO Officer/Title IX Coordinator.
Where and When Policy Applies This policy applies to all work-related settings and activities, whether inside or outside the workplace, and includes time at sea or in the field, business trips and business-related social events.
Use of Institution Property Institution property (e.g. telephones, copy machines, facsimile machines, computers, and computer applications such as e-mail and Internet access), at sea and on shore, may not be used to engage in conduct that violates this policy.
Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment is unlawful. For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any written, 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 or a postdoc or student’s status in a course, program or activity;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational experience and/or creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive working, academic, or living environment.
Other Discriminatory Harassment For purposes of this policy, other discriminatory harassment means written, verbal or physical conduct, whether on or off the premises, which has the intent or effect of unreasonably interfering with any individual?s or group?s academic or work performance or which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or work environment, when such conduct is based upon age, race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, disability or status as a veteran.
Forms of Sexual Harassment and Other Discriminatory Harassment Sexual harassment and other discriminatory harassment can take many forms. It can be blatant or subtle, verbal or physical, printed on paper or communicated electronically. Examples of conduct that can, depending on the circumstances, constitute sexual or other discriminatory harassment are:
  • Outright propositions/improper suggestions or requests for sexual favors
  • Threats or promises regarding compliance with sexual behavior
  • Sexist, racial or ethnic jokes, slurs, or cartoons; lewd or obscene remarks; disparaging remarks relating to gender, race, ethnicity, etc.
  • Abuse, insults, or jokes concerning sexual orientation, including insinuations or offensive comments about private life or lifestyle
  • Sexual or racial innuendoes or offensive sexual or racial statements disguised or presented as humorous
  • Unwanted physical conduct, including touching, pats, hugs, squeezes, brushing against, putting arm around another person
  • Unwelcome advances such as repeatedly asking someone out on a date in spite of past refusals
  • Actions or sounds – whistling, cat-calls, suggestive sounds, obscene gestures, display of offensive pictures or graffiti that would be found offensive by a reasonable colleague
  • Stalking or following someone in an unacceptably unprofessional fashion
  • Imbalance of attention, whether it be positive or negative, towards one employee, postdoc or student based upon gender or race that has the intent or effect of providing an inequitable work or educational environment
  • Any form of assault – sexual or otherwise.
Offensive Conduct Offensive conduct of a sexual nature or offensive conduct relating to age, race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, disability or veteran status will not in all cases constitute sexual harassment or discriminatory harassment as defined in this policy. However, such offensive conduct can be detrimental to the Institution?s working and learning environment. Therefore, such offensive conduct is also a violation of this policy, even if it does not meet the standard for sexual harassment or other discriminatory harassment.
Retaliation It is also unlawful and a violation of this policy to retaliate against an individual for making a report of sexual harassment or other discriminatory harassment or for cooperating with an investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment or other discriminatory harassment.

Procedures
Reporting Perceived Harassment to the Institution Employees of the Institution, postdocs and students should report promptly any incident of perceived harassment affecting them or others according to the procedure below:

Whenever possible, such incidents should be reported to the supervisor or academic advisor, department head or administrator, ship?s Captain or Chief Scientist, or other appropriate resource personnel. The individual to whom the incident is reported should ordinarily report a serious allegation to the EEO Officer/Title IX Coordinator. The EEO Officer is available to help an employee, postdoc or student resolve concerns while offering as much privacy and confidentiality as the Institution can provide under the circumstances.

If the circumstances warrant an investigation, the EEO Officer/Title IX Coordinator or designee will investigate the allegations, typically including interviewing anyone identified as an offending individual and witnesses who may have relevant information. The investigation will be undertaken promptly. While the location of incidents (e.g., at sea) may affect the timing of an investigation, the Institution will strive to complete an investigation as promptly as can reasonably be expected under the circumstances.

An alternative resource for employees, postdocs, and students is OpenLine. OpenLine is an outside service which provides a neutral, independent, confidential resource to help with resolving concerns in an informal manner acceptable to the individual. Employees, postdocs, and students can access the OpenLine by phoning 508-566-OPEN (6736) or emailing openline@comcast.net. Communications with the OpenLine are not considered official notice to the Institution and are confidential to the full extent possible unless or until the individual decides otherwise.

Initially, resolution through informal means is encouraged and, in most instances, will be satisfactory. However, if the problem remains unresolved, more formal action, including an investigation, may be taken.

Whether the report is made informally (through OpenLine) or formally (through the EEO Officer/Title IX Coordinator), it will be handled as discreetly and with as much confidentiality as is reasonably possible.
Other Reporting The Institution strongly encourages employees, postdocs and students to bring any concerns about possible sexual or other discriminatory harassment to the Institution’s attention. Inquiries may also be directed to the agencies responsible for government enforcement of employment discrimination laws as listed below:

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
One Ashburton Place, Rm. 601
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 994-6000

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
One Congress Street, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 565-3200
Violations As with any other Institution EEO policy, individuals found in violation of this policy are subject to disciplinary action, which can include counseling, warnings, transfers, suspensions, reductions in pay or duties, and termination of employment.

Appropriate disciplinary action also will be taken against anyone who engages in any retaliation against a person reporting sexual harassment or other discriminatory harassment or against any other person who cooperates with an investigation into alleged violations of this policy.

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Last updated: July 5, 2012
 


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