Date of Issue: 09-01-99
Effective Date: 10-01-99
Developed by: Earl
Issued by authority of:
Earl Obelenus, Fire Chief
The purpose of this Guideline
is to clearly establish the Browndale Fire Company’s commitment to provide
a work environment free from harassment, to define discriminatory harassment
and to set forth the procedure for investigating and resolving internal
complaints of harassment.
This guideline applies to
all terms and conditions of volunteer membership including but not limited
to disciplinary action, reinstatement, training, appointment or election
Harassment of an applicant,
member by another member or officer based on race, religion, color, national
origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation,
gender or age is explicitly in violation of State and Federal law and will
not be tolerated by the Browndale Fire Company.
Personnel found to be participating
in any form of job based harassment or retaliation against members shall
be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the
Because of the tremendous
importance of a workplace free from any form of harassment, this guideline
shall be reviewed quarterly by all officers. Additionally, at least
annually, all members will review this guideline ensuring that its contents
are known by the personnel.
All jobs within an emergency
service organization are extremely important to the public safety of our
community. It is critical that all emergency service personnel treat
other emergency service personnel with dignity and respect. Because
of the unique circumstances present in many emergency service jobs, it
is the responsibility of each and every member to make sure that there
is not inappropriate behavior occurring in the station or at any official
or unofficial function of the company. Inappropriate behavior which
impacts the workplace or has potential to impact the workplace will not
Verbal Harassment – Epithets,
derogatory comments, slurs, or otherwise offensive words or comments on
the basis of race, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, disability,
medical condition marital status, pregnancy, sexual preference, gender
or age, whether made in general, directed to an individual or group of
people regardless of whether the behavior was intended to harass.
This includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate sexually oriented comments
on appearance, including dress or physical features, sexual rumors, code
words or race oriented stories.
or blocking movement, leering or physical interference with normal work,
privacy or movement when directed at an individual on the basis of race,
religious creed, national origin, ancestry, disability medical condition,
marital status, pregnancy, sexual preference, gender or age. This
includes pinching, patting, grabbing, inappropriate behavior in or hear
bathrooms, eating areas or making explicit or implied threats or promises
in return for submission of physical acts.
prejudicial, stereotypical or otherwise offensive posters, photos, cartoons,
notes, bulletins, drawings, or pictures on the basis of race, religious
creed, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital
status, pregnancy, sexual preference, gender or age. This applies
to both posted material in or on Browndale Fire Company equipment, apparatus
or property in the workplace.
Sexual Harassment—Any act
which is sexual in nature and is made explicitly or implicitly a term or
condition of membership, is used as the basis of membership decision, unreasonably
interferes with an individual’s work performance or create an intimidating,
hostile or offensive environment.
Confrontation—If any person
feels he or she is the victim of any form of harassment, he or she should
inform the person participating in the behavior that he or she finds it
offensive. This one-to-one confrontation has been demonstrated to
be an effective way to end harassing behaviors. If inappropriate
behaviors do not stop, the offended individual can either initiate an informal
or formal complaint as described below. Because confrontation is
difficult for some people and because of the complex nature, the members
are not required to confront an offending party prior to initiating this
Informal Complaint—Any member
or applicant who believes he or she is a victim of discriminatory workplace
harassment should make a complaint orally and/or in writing with any of
1. Immediate Supervisor/Officer
2. President, Fire Chief
or member of the Board of Trustees
Any officers who observe
inappropriate behavior or receive a harassment complaint shall notify the
President of the company.
Formal Complaint (Preliminary
Complaint)—Any member or applicant who alleges to be a victim of discriminatory
workplace harassment should, within 30 days of the alleged incident:
1. Contact his or her immediate
2. Contact the President,
Fire Chief, Member or the Board
The preliminary complaint
can be verbal or written.
Extension of Time—The party
in charge of investigating the complaint may extend the time requirements
set forth in this procedure when he or she determines it is in the best
interest of fairness and justice to the parties involved.
Review of Preliminary Complaint—Upon
notification of a harassment complaint, the officer or assigned member
shall conduct a preliminary determination as to whether there is any merit
of the complaint. If no merit is found, the officer or assigned member
may still meet with the parties involved to attempt to conciliate the complaint
or conflict between the parties.
Formal Complaint—If after
an initial investigation is conducted, there is no resolution and/or no
conciliation of the preliminary complaint, the President and/or his designee
will promptly issue written notice of the right to file a formal written
complaint via hand delivery or certified mail, return receipt. The
complaint shall be signed and shall describe in detail the facts asserted
to constitute harassment. The complaint shall be filed within ten
(10) calendar days after being notified or the right to file a formal complaint.
Upon receipt of a formal
complaint, the President, Fire Chief, a member of the Board of Trustees
or appointed designee, will contact the alleged, who will be informed
of the basis of the complaint, will be given a copy of the same, and afforded
an opportunity to respond. The response shall be in writing, addressed
to the President, Fire Chief, Member of the board of Trustees or appointed
designee and received within seven (7) calendar days after being notified
of the complaint.
Review of the Response and
Findings—Upon receipt of the response, the President, Fire Chief, member
of the Board of Trustees or appointed designee may further investigate
the formal complaint. Such investigation may include an interview
with the complainant, the accused harasser(s) and other persons determined
to have any relevant information concerning the complaint. This may
include victims of similar conduct.
Factual information gathered
through investigation will be reviewed to determine whether the alleged
conduct constitutes harassment, giving consideration to all factual information,
the totality of the circumstances including the nature of the verbal, physical,
visual and sexual conduct and the context in which the alleged incident(s)
The results of the investigation
and determination as to whether harassment occurred shall be final and
binding and will be reported to the appropriate parties including the complainant,
the alleged harasser(s), and the President within twenty (20) calendar
days from the receipt of the response.
Disciplinary Action—If harassment
is determined to have occurred, the President or appropriate officer shall
recommend prompt and effective remedial action against the harasser.
The action will be commensurate with the severity of the offense, up to
and including suspension or expulsion from the company. Copies of
the final report, including disciplinary action taken will be distributed
to both parties.
in any manner against a person for filing a harassment charge or initiating
a harassment complaint, testifying in an investigation, providing information
or assisting in an investigation, is expressly prohibited and subject to
disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the company.
The President or designated appointee will take reasonable steps to protect
the victim from any retaliation as the result of communicating a complaint.
will be maintained to the fullest extent possible in accordance with applicable
State, Federal and Local laws.
False Complaints—Any complaint
made by a member of the Browndale Fire Company regarding job-based harassment,
which is conclusively proven false, shall result in discipline. This
discipline may include dismissal from the company. This section is
not to discourage personnel from making complaints regarding job-based
harassment; however, false complaints adversely impact the workplace and
the career and reputation of the accused, even when disproved, and will
not be tolerated.
Limitations—The use of this
procedure is limited to complaints related to discriminatory workplace
harassment on the basis of race, religious creed, national origin, ancestry,
disability, medical condition, marital status, pregnancy, sexual preference,
gender or age. All other complaints shall be handled through the
chain of command or as described within the company’s by-laws.
shall be disseminated to all members by posting on bulletin boards.
Specific training will be provided on this subject matter.
VII. Superseded Guideline
This is a new guideline
on this subject matter.