Borough of Emerson, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Emerson 5-7-1996 by Ord. No. 1063. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Borough of Emerson hereby adopts a formal policy on sexual harassment which shall be distributed to every employee of the Borough of Emerson and which shall be strictly enforced.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct based on gender when:
A. 
Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment; or
B. 
Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
C. 
Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment including, but not limited to:
(1) 
Generalized gender-based remarks and behavior.
(2) 
Inappropriate, unwanted, offensive physical or verbal sexual advances.
(3) 
Solicitation of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by promise of reward.
(4) 
Coercion of sexual activity by threat of punishment.
(5) 
Gross sexual imposition such as touching, fondling, grabbing or assault.
All employees, female or male, shall be permitted to work in an environment free from all forms of unlawful discrimination and conduct which can be considered harassing, coercive or disruptive, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of employee misconduct which undermines the integrity of the employment relationship. Sexual harassment debilitates morale and interferes with work productivity and, therefore, will not be tolerated.
In order to ensure the integrity of the work environment, supervisory personnel are required to ensure adherence to and compliance with this policy; and, upon being informed of possible sexual harassment, are required to take appropriate immediate action in response, including informing employees of their right to file a discrimination complaint with the Administrator.
Employees are encouraged, whether directly or through a third party, to notify the alleged harasser that the behavior in question is offensive and unwelcome. However, failure to do so does not preclude filing a complaint. Employees are encouraged to promptly report all alleged incidents of sexual harassment to the Administrator.
A. 
The complaint filed must include the following information:
(1) 
The name and department of the complainant;
(2) 
The name and department of the charged party;
(3) 
The nature and circumstances, in detail, of the alleged sexual harassment, including but not limited to, the injuries or consequences suffered by the complainant, the names of any witnesses to such actions and the duration of the actions questioned; and
(4) 
Whether such harassment has been previously reported to a supervisor or other person, and if so, when and to whom.
B. 
Nothing in this section shall prevent the complainant from providing other information or documents he or she believes are essential to the fair adjudication of their case.
C. 
The initial complaint may be made orally or in writing. If the complaint is made orally, the Administrator shall reduce same to a written document, which shall, if it is deemed accurate, be signed by the complainant.
D. 
The Borough Administrator is hereby designated as the sexual harassment officer. The Police Captain of the Borough is hereby designated as the alternate officer. Persons who, by reason of the circumstances, are uncomfortable directing a complaint to the Administrator may report same to the alternate officer.
A complaint of sexual harassment shall be investigated by the Administrator in a timely manner and shall include, but not be limited to:
A. 
Interviewing the complainant in detail;
B. 
Interviewing all potential witnesses, including those persons who may have knowledge of similar incidents;
C. 
Interviewing the charged party in detail;
D. 
Reviewing municipal files for similar incidents involving the complainant and the charged party;
E. 
Assessing the presence or absence of corroborative evidence for either party.
To the extent possible, the sexual harassment investigative proceedings will be conducted in manner to protect the confidentiality of the complainant, the alleged harasser and all witnesses. All parties involved in the proceedings will be advised to maintain strict confidentiality, from the initial meeting to the final decision, to safeguard the privacy and reputation of all involved.
It shall be a violation of this policy for any employee to take reprisals against any person because she/he has filed a complaint, testified or assisted in any proceeding under this policy. Threats, other forms of intimidation, and/or retaliation against the complainant or any other party based on involvement in the complaint process may be cause for disciplinary action.
All complaints will be addressed by the Personnel Administrator. The alleged harasser will be notified once a formal complaint is filed with the Administrator. A finding of no probable cause as a result of an investigation does not necessarily establish that an accusation is false. However, this policy shall not be used to intentionally bring frivolous or malicious charges against an employee.
Disciplinary action for employees found in violation of this policy may be progressive in nature, but not required to be, and may include:
A. 
Written reprimand.
B. 
Suspension (with or without pay).
C. 
Demotion.
D. 
Termination.
E. 
Referral to the criminal justice system.
To the extent permitted by law, the Borough will not be liable for damages obtained as a result of a decision of a nonlocal agency or court of superior administrative remedies described herein.
Employees of the Borough shall be provided with training, by a person trained to lead or implement such training, which shall include a detailed discussion of the following:
A. 
A detailed explanation of what constitutes sexual harassment.
B. 
The procedures for filing a sexual harassment charge.
C. 
The procedures to be followed in the investigation of a sexual harassment charge.
D. 
Management's obligation regarding incidents of sexual harassment.
E. 
Recordkeeping requirements.
A. 
Since a charge of sexual harassment is a grave and serious one, false accusations of sexual harassment are, and will be treated as, a disciplinary offense and will result in a level of punishment appropriate for a person actually engaging in such behavior.
B. 
A person who knowingly and/or recklessly fails to give truthful testimony to the Administrator shall also be guilty of having made false accusations.
A copy of the sexual harassment policy will be distributed to all Borough employees and will be posted in a prominent place in the Emerson Municipal Building. All Borough employees within 30 days of adoption of this chapter and/or within 30 days of employment shall sign a form indicating that he/she has received and read a copy of the ordinance.