Equal Employment Opportunity Anti-Harassment
The goal of the program is to stop unwelcome conduct before it rises to the level of unlawful harassment and to prevent unwelcome conduct from recurring. Harassment is illegal, nonproductive, and a serious threat to the morale of Exchange associates. It is a form of misconduct that wrongfully deprives associates of the opportunity to work in a hostile free environment.
Exchange policy is to ensure every associate enjoys a non-hostile work environment free of discrimination or harassment of any kind. All employment decisions, such as hiring, promoting, and training, will be made exclusively on the basis of job-related criteria (e.g., associate’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and performance). Disciplinary actions will be taken solely on the basis of an associate’s behavior and performance.
Harassment in the workplace is a form of discrimination and violates EEO rules and regulations. The categories covered by EEO laws are race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity) national origin, age (40 or above), disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or retaliation for participating in protected EEO activity. Harassment based on an individual’s status as a parent is also a violation of Exchange policy and may be pursued through alternative means such as the negotiated grievance procedure (union) or administrative grievance procedure (non-union).
Harassing conduct in the workplace is defined as any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct by anyone, including senior leaders, managers, supervisors, coworkers, or non-associates. Examples of non-associates include individuals that may be encountered during the course of business, such as customers, security guards, and delivery or maintenance staff. This conduct, based on any characteristic protected by law, is further distinguished when:
- The behavior can reasonably be considered to adversely affect the work performance; or
- An employment decision affecting the associate is based upon the associate’s acceptance or rejection of such conduct.
Examples of harassing conduct prohibited by this policy, when based on a protected characteristic, include the following, whether they occur in person, on social media, or in any other manner:
- Offensive jokes, comments, objects, or pictures
- Unwelcome questions about a person’s identity
- Undue and unwelcome attention
- Ridicule or mockery
- Insults or put-downs
- Unwelcome touching or contact
If conduct is based on another person’s protected characteristic is unwelcome – that is, the conduct is unwanted or undesired – the conduct should not occur. Not all unwelcome conduct is harassing conduct. For example, it is not harassment for a supervisor to tell an associate that s/he is not performing a job adequately. Of course, the supervisor may not treat associates who are similar in their work performance differently because of a protected characteristic. Also, occasional and innocuous compliments generally do not constitute harassing conduct, but rather reflect the reality of human experience and common courtesy.
The Exchange prohibits unwelcome conduct, as well as unlawful harassment. The goal is to stop unwelcome conduct before it rises to the level of unlawful harassment and to prevent unwelcome conduct from recurring. These procedures seek to ensure that management has an opportunity to promptly correct, and prevent the recurrence of, unwelcome conduct before it becomes as severe or pervasive as to violate the law.
Associate Actions to Report Harassment
In general, if an associate believes they have been subjected to harassing conduct they should tell the person who engaged in the conduct to stop. If the target of the perceived harassing conduct is uncomfortable confronting the person who engaged in the conduct or if the conduct continues, the target of the conduct should come forward quickly and report the conduct to any of the following:
- Tell any management or HR official;
- Call the Exchange Hotline (800) 527-6789; or
- Contact an Exchange EEO Counselor in a timely manner, within 45 calendar days of the harassing conduct.
Note: Neither paragraph a. nor b. changes the requirement to contact an EEO Counselor if an Exchange associate wants to file an EEO complaint.
Management Actions after Associate Reports Harassment
When an allegation of harassment is brought to the attention of management, the Exchange will conduct a prompt, thorough, and fair inquiry and take appropriate action based upon the outcome of the inquiry. The inquiry must begin within 10 days of your receipt of the associate’s allegation of harassment.
The goal of an inquiry is not to make a determination of whether any laws were violated. Rather, the goal is to determine whether harassing conduct (even if not unlawful) is taking place, to stop and address it as swiftly as possible, and to prevent it from recurring.
Within one business day of an associate reporting harassment to a manager or HR Official, the PMO (GM/DCM) must create a new entry in the Harassment Reporting System.
Management will appoint a neutral independent party to conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial inquiry. The individual selected to conduct the inquiry will prepare a written report within 30 days of being appointed.
At the conclusion of the inquiry, management will take immediate and appropriate action to stop the harassing conduct, regardless of whether the conduct violated EEO rules and regulations. Appropriate action may range from speaking to the alleged harasser about the behavior to termination of employment. The corrective action deemed appropriate must be implemented within 60 days of receipt of the associate’s notification of alleged harassment.
Management actions will still be required whenever an associate brings the harassment to their attention but subsequently files an EEO complaint. EEODI will process the associate’s complaint and will reference management’s inquiry.
NOTE: In accordance with applicable directives or regulations, coordinate any resulting disciplinary action or corrective action with the appropriate office (i.e., HR, GC).
Cooperation and Confidentiality
All parties—the person who reports harassing conduct (and the target of the alleged conduct, if different from the person who reported), the alleged harasser, and any potential witnesses—will be expected to cooperate with an investigation so that it can be conducted in a prompt, thorough, and fair manner.
The EEODI and HR offices will keep reports and management inquiries of harassing conduct confidential to the greatest extent possible, as consistent with the law and a thorough and fair process. This means that only individuals who need to know about alleged harassing conduct will be told about it. For example, conducting a thorough and fair investigation will require that the person conducting the investigation talk to the alleged harasser. A thorough and fair investigation may also require providing the identity of the target of the conduct to the alleged harasser. Further, the HR representative and/or the person conducting the investigation will (in most cases) need to talk with the top management in the office of the alleged harasser and the target of the conduct, as well as supervisors and coworkers necessary for the investigation.
Following the outcome of an investigation, the (GM/DCM/PMO) will inform the person who reported the harassing conduct (and the injured party, if different from the person who reported) of the outcome of the investigation. In addition, the (GM/DCM/PMO) will provide information regarding the outcome of an investigation only to management officials with a need to know such information.
The Exchange will not tolerate retaliation against a target of harassing conduct, anyone who reports harassing conduct, anyone who opposes harassing conduct, or anyone who provides information regarding harassing conduct. Any associate who retaliates against any of these individuals will be disciplined appropriately and promptly. Management will be held accountable for preventing and promptly stopping and correcting any retaliatory conduct.
Source: EOP 12-1, Mar 20