Jun 6, 2016

County to update both EEOC and anti harassment policy to include more specifics about prohibited behavior

Humboldt County Human Resources Director, Dan Fulks, provided further clarification on two items for tomorrow's Board of Supervisors meeting.

"In general we are updating both policies to provide clearer policy direction and to include more specific examples of prohibited behavior.  Both policies have been vetted through the meet and confer process with all of our unions and have been reviewed by legal counsel.  The process to update these policies started about 3 years ago based on the evident need to update old wording and no other event(s) triggered these updates.

In answer to question #1 regarding the EEO Policy, there were minimal changes of no real material effect.  The new policy refers to the “Human Resources Director” rather than Personnel Director, it now has an updated County logo, and is formatted a little clearer for ease of reading.  Basically just an update.

In answer to question #2 below, yes the County had a “Sexual Harassment Policy” which was in dire need of updating as the law changed some time ago to include protections for all types of Harassment based on all legally protected classes.  We have been training employees based on the new law for the last 3-4 years and now have an updated policy that reflects current training practices, and best practices in HR.  Long term we plan to redistribute the new Harassment Policy in addition to trainings, each time an employee is evaluated to insure the information is readily available to employees on a regular basis."

Previous post:


On Tuesday, June 7, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will adopt a revised, updated equal opportunity policy and will adopt a policy prohibiting harrassment.

I do know that the County had updated it's language on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2010 because I was on the Human Rights Commission and a part of the group that worked with County Personnel on that change.


"The County is an equal opportunity employer. We enthusiastically accept our
responsibility to make employment decisions without regard to race, religion or
religious creed, color, age (over 40), sex (including gender identity and expression,
pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), sexual orientation (including
heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality), national origin, ancestry, marital
status, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), mental or
physical disability (including HIV status and AIDS), military service, or any other
classification protected by federal, state, or local laws or ordinances."


"All employees and customers shall be treated with dignity, respect and courtesy. A working
environment free from harassment and discrimination is essential to the well-being of an
employee and an employee's right to perform his or her job effectively without distraction or
interference from any unlawful discrimination or harassment.
I. Unlawful Prohibited Conduct: Discrimination, Harassment, & Retaliation
A. Examples of behaviors constituting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation,
include, but are not limited to:
• Verbal Abuse;
• Visual Abuse;
• Physical Abuse; and

1. Discrimination: Adverse actions, decisions or other treatment affecting an
employee and motivated by or directed toward the employee on the basis of
raee, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental
disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, gender, gender
identification, sexual orientation, pregnancy, genetic information or age,
including but not limited to those affecting hiring, placement, compensation,
assignments, leave, promotion, training, disciplinary action, lay-off, recall,
transfer, leave of absence, termination, and reinstatement.
2. Harassment: Any unwelcome or offensive conduct motivated by or directed to
a person on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical
disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, gender,
gender identification, sexual orientation, pregnancy, genetic information or
age, including harassment of a person of the same gender as the harasser.
3. Sexual Harassment: Any unwelcome or offensive behaviors regarding sexual
advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a
sexual nature when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or
implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an
individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive
work environment. This also includes any unsolicited written or oral
communications and physical or visual contact with sexual overtones including
emails, internet links, screen savers, etc.
There are two common types of Sexual Harassment, which include:
• ''quid pro quo" harassment: commonly referred to under Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, as
"conditional" harassment. Quid pro quo (this for that - i.e.,
something offered or given in exchange for something else)
harassment occurs when submission to the harassing conduct
described above is made an explicit or implicit term or condition of
employment; or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for
employment decisions.
• "hostile environmeiit" harassment: commonly referred to under
EEOC guide-lines as "work environment" harassment. Hostile
environment harassment occurs when the unwelcome sexual
advances, requests for sexual favors (even if not of a quid pro quo
or a conditional nature), verbal, visual and physical conduct of a
sexual nature creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work
environment."

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