AVOYELLES PARISH SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Procedural Order

Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure

Effective Date:​​ 7/1/2008

Revised Date: 12/21/2023

 

PURPOSE

The purpose of this procedure is to establish a uniform policy for the​​ reporting,​​ 

investigation and review of incidents involving discrimination​​ and harassment​​ 

involving Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office employees.

 

INTRODUCTION

Discrimination in employment against protected classes of people.​​ 

• Employees wishing to file a complaint of discrimination or harassment​​ may​​ 

 ​​​​ utilize any or all the procedures listed in this Complaint Procedure.​​ Complaints​​ 

 ​​​​ not alleging discrimination or harassment should be pursued​​ through the internal​​ 

 ​​​​ Three Step Grievance Procedure.

• Use of this Complaint Procedure does not preclude any employee from​​ seeking​​ 

 ​​​​ recourse through the appropriate state or federal agencies at any​​ time. (See​​ 

 ​​​​ Section, Reporting​​ to​​ an Agency). Therefore, if an employee​​ wishes to file a​​ 

 ​​​​ complaint of discrimination or harassment, he/she has the​​ following options:

- File an internal complaint pursuant to this internal​​ Discrimination and​​ 

 ​​ ​​​​ Harassment Complaint Procedure;

-File a complaint directly with the Louisiana Commission on​​ Human​​ 

 ​​ ​​​​ Rights (LCHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity​​ Commission​​ 

 ​​ ​​​​ (EEOC);

 

PROHIBITED CONDUCT

To ensure that all of our workers enjoy a working environment free from​​ 

harassment and discrimination, we prohibit any person from harassing or​​ 

discriminating against any employee or other worker because of race,​​ color, sex​​ 

(whether or not sexual in nature), pregnancy, religion, national​​ origin, age,​​ 

disability, veteran status, protected activity (such as opposition​​ to prohibited​​ 

discrimination or participation in the statutory complaint​​ process) or any other​​ 

basis prohibited by law. Prohibited conduct includes​​ but is not limited to:

• Making decisions relating to a person's employment, evaluation, wages,​​ 

 ​​​​ advancement, assigned duties, or any other conditions of employment​​ 

 ​​​​ based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age,​​ 

 ​​​​ disability, veteran status, protected activity or any other basis prohibited​​ 

 ​​​​ by law.

• Making offensive or derogatory statements, comments, slurs or gestures​​ 

 ​​​​ because of a person's race, color, sex, pregnancy, religion, national​​ 

 ​​​​ origin,​​ age, disability, veteran status protected activity or any other basis​​ 

 ​​​​ prohibited by law.

• Engaging in any other verbal or non-verbal behavior of an offensive or​​ 

 ​​​​ derogatory nature, because of a person's race, color, sex, pregnancy,​​ 

 ​​​​ religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, protected activity​​ 

 ​​​​ or any other basis prohibited by law.

• Unreasonably interfering with work performance or creating an​​ offensive​​ 

 ​​​​ or intimidating working environment because of a person's race,​​ color,​​ 

 ​​​​ sex, pregnancy, religion, creed, national origin, age, disability,​​ veteran​​ 

 ​​​​ status, protected activity or any other basis prohibited by law.

• Engaging in unwelcome: flirtation, sexual advances, requests for sexual​​ 

 ​​​​ favors, propositions, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual​​ 

 ​​​​ nature, or displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures or drawings, or​​ 

 ​​​​ inappropriate E-mails.

• Conditioning a person's employment, evaluation, wages, advancement,​​ 

 ​​​​ assigned duties, or any other condition of employment upon his or her​​ 

 ​​​​ submission to sexual advances.

 

RETALIATION IS PROHIBITED

We prohibit retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination​​ or​​ 

harassment, participates in an investigation of a complaint under this​​ policy or​​ 

who otherwise acts to enforce or uphold this policy.​​ Retaliation​​ is a serious​​ 

violation of this policy and will be subject to appropriate​​ disciplinary action, up to​​ 

and including dismissals. If you feel you are​​ being retaliated against in violation​​ 

of this policy, please follow the​​ complaint procedures outlined below. We cannot​​ 

take action to stop such​​ behavior if we do not know about it. In the same manner,​​ 

false accusations​​ have a damaging effect on the accused and will not be tolerated.​​ 

The act of​​ making false accusations may lead to disciplinary actions. Questions​​ 

From​​ A.P.S.O. employees regarding this procedure,​​ should be addressed to the​​ 

Division Commander​​ from within the division which the employee is assigned.

 

INDIVIDUALS AND CONDUCT COVERED

This policy applies to all applicants, employees and other workers. The​​ Avoyelles​​ 

Parish Sheriff’s Office prohibits discrimination, harassment and​​ retaliation by any​​ 

person, including but not limited to;​​ supervisors,​​ managers, co-workers, or non-

employees, such as vendors, consultants,​​ clients or customers. Conduct prohibited​​ 

by these policies is unacceptable​​ in the workplace and in any work-related setting​​ 

outside the workplace,​​ such as business trips, business meetings, and business-

related social​​ events.

 

REPORTING AN INCIDENT OF HARASSMENT, DISCRIMINATION OR RETALIATION

• The Department​​ requires​​ you to report all incidents of discrimination,​​ 

 ​​​​ harassment, or retaliation, regardless of the offender's identity or position.​​ If you​​ 

 ​​​​ feel you have been harassed or discriminated against, please follow​​ the​​ 

 ​​​​ procedure in Section, Reporting Procedures. Likewise, if you believe​​ you have​​ 

 ​​​​ witnessed behavior that violates this policy, regardless of​​ whether the behavior​​ 

 ​​​​ was directed at you, please immediately report the​​ incident by following the​​ 

 ​​​​ same procedure outlined below.

• Early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective​​ method of​​ 

 ​​​​ resolving actual or perceived incidents of discrimination,​​ harassment or​​ 

 ​​​​ retaliation. We cannot remedy a problem unless we know​​ about it. Therefore,​​ 

 ​​​​ while no fixed reporting period has been established,​​ we strongly urge you to​​ 

 ​​​​ report all incidents and concerns immediately so​​ that rapid and constructive​​ 

 ​​​​ action can be taken.

• Important notice to all employees: Employees who have experienced​​ conduct​​ 

 ​​​​ they believe is contrary to this policy have an obligation to take​​ advantage of this​​ 

 ​​​​ complaint procedure. Failure to fulfill this obligation​​ could affect your rights in​​ 

 ​​​​ pursuing legal action.

 

REPORTING PROCEDURES

• The Department​​ requires​​ anyone who feels he/she has been a victim of​​ 

 ​​​​ discrimination or harassment to report such incidents to the Chief Deputy​​ who​​ 

 ​​​​ serves as a neutral party in investigating the facts and circumstances​​ of any​​ 

 ​​​​ allegation. The Chief Deputy is a person officially designated and​​ authorized to​​ 

 ​​​​ conduct inquiries into equal employment opportunity​​ complaints. The​​ Chief​​ 

 ​​​​ Deputy will conduct investigations as he sees fit. In​​ the event that the Chief​​ 

 ​​​​ Deputy is absent from duty, the Deputy Chief of​​ Operations shall be designated​​ 

 ​​​​ to act in his place for the length of the​​ absence.

• If the Chief​​ Deputy feels that the complaint would be better handled by​​ another​​ 

 ​​​​ individual, the Chief​​ Deputy may seek the permission of the​​ Sheriff​​ to have​​ 

 ​​​​ another investigating officer assigned to investigate the​​ complaint. The assigned​​ 

 ​​​​ investigating officer shall initiate an internal​​ investigation. Complainants are​​ 

 ​​​​ urged to report incidents as soon as​​ possible, since a delay in reporting may​​ 

 ​​​​ make it difficult to gather​​ appropriate information and documentation.

• All complaints of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation will be​​ promptly​​ 

 ​​​​ and thoroughly investigated. A clear written statement from the​​ Complainant​​ 

 ​​​​ assists the Chief Deputy in conducting the investigation and​​ will be requested by​​ 

 ​​​​ him. The investigation may include individual​​ interviews with the parties​​ 

 ​​​​ involved and, where necessary, with​​ individuals who may have observed the​​ 

 ​​​​ alleged conduct or who may have​​ other relevant information. All employees​​ 

 ​​​​ must cooperate fully during the​​ investigation and provide all relevant​​ 

 ​​​​ information concerning the​​ investigation. The alleged offender should be​​ 

 ​​​​ contacted during the​​ investigation. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout​​ 

 ​​​​ the​​ investigation process to the extent possible and to the extent consistent​​ with​​ 

 ​​​​ our duty to prevent and correct harassment, discrimination and​​ retaliation.

• An EEO Committee, whose purpose will be to review the findings​​ and/or​​ 

 ​​​​ recommendations of the Chief​​ Deputy, will be appointed by the​​ Sheriff and shall​​ 

 ​​​​ be comprised of​​ three members. Once the Chief​​ Deputy​​ or investigating officer​​ 

 ​​​​ concludes the investigation, he will issue a fact-finding report, a preliminary​​ 

 ​​​​ finding, or recommendation concerning the​​ complaint, which will be provided to​​ 

 ​​​​ the EEO Committee within a​​ reasonable time after the conclusion of the​​ 

 ​​​​ investigation, but not to exceed​​ three (3) months, unless there are exigent​​ 

 ​​​​ circumstances for the delay. The​​ length of time spent by the Chief Deputy or​​ 

 ​​​​ Investigating Officer in​​ investigating the complaint,​​ will depend on the severity​​ 

 ​​​​ of the allegations,​​ the number of persons to be interviewed, and general​​ 

 ​​​​ availability of​​ witnesses. Once the EEO Committee has received and reviewed​​ 

 ​​​​ the Chief​​ Deputy's report, findings or recommendation, the Committee will​​ 

 ​​​​ determine whether there is reason to believe discrimination has occurred​​ and​​ 

 ​​​​ what, if any, action or remedy should be taken. The EEO Committee​​ will then​​ 

 ​​​​ submit a report to the Sheriff,​​ who in tum will decide whether to​​ affirm, reject,​​ 

 ​​​​ or modify the EEO Committee's recommended actions.​​ Should a decision be​​ 

 ​​​​ made that the complaint does not warrant a finding​​ of discrimination, the​​ 

 ​​​​ complaining employee may file a charge with either​​ the EEOC or LCHR. (This​​ 

 ​​​​ option does not preclude, however, the​​ requisite time requirements set by each​​ 

 ​​​​ agency). The EEO officer will be​​ responsible for maintaining all records and​​ 

 ​​​​ documentation of each​​ investigation for at least 2 years.

 

REPORTING TO AN AGENCY

• If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed and want​​ to file a​​ 

 ​​​​ complaint, you have the right to file a complaint directly with​​ either:

Louisiana Commission on Human Rights

(LCHR)

Post Office Box 94094

1001 North Twenty-Third Street,

Administrative Bldg., Rm. 262

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804

(225) 342-6969

or

Equal Employment Opportunity​​ Commission (EEOC)

New Orleans Field Office

1555 Poydras Street, Suite 1900

New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

(504)595-2826

• A charge of discrimination in employment must be filed with the LCHR​​ within​​ 

 ​​​​ 180 days or with the EEOC within 300 days of the alleged​​ discriminatory act.​​ 

 ​​​​ Filing a complaint through the internal procedure does​​ not extend the deadline​​ 

 ​​​​ for the internal procedure for filing a separate​​ charge with the LCHR or the​​ 

 ​​​​ EEOC. Employees wishing to file a​​ complaint should contact those office's​​ 

 ​​​​ directly within the requisite time​​ limits.

 

SUPERVISOR’S RESPONSIBILITIES

• Any supervisor who receives​​ a complaint of harassment, discrimination or​​ 

 ​​​​ retaliation​​ shall:

     -Refer the complainant to the mandatory reporting procedures

     -Instruct the complainant to continue to work

     -Take steps to ensure that the complainant is not subjected to further​​ 

 ​​​​ harassment, discrimination or retaliation. The complainant must not be​​ 

 ​​​​ required to do anything other than report the alleged violation, cooperate​​ 

 ​​​​ fully in the investigation and provide all relevant information concerning​​ 

 ​​​​ the investigation.​​ 

-Advise the complainant that if future violations occur, he/she is to​​ 

 ​​​​ directly inform the violator that the conduct is unwelcomed and must​​ 

 ​​​​ stop, and further, to report the new violations in accordance with​​ 

 ​​​​ established Reporting Procedures.

-Document the complaint

-If applicable, advise the violator to remove any offensive material

-Notify the appropriate Division Commander of the complaint and​​ 

 ​​​​ forward a copy of the documentation to the Chief Deputy.

 

SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY

 

The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office and all its employees and elected officials shall comply with Louisiana State Law in regards to Sexual Harassment, specifically, R.S. 42:342. This includes both reporting any sexual harassment and actions that can and cannot be taken against those to be reported and those reporting the actions in question.

It is the belief of the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office that its employees are the primary means by which the goals and objectives of the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will be met. All employees of the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office must understand its position on harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical or inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature when the conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment or the holding of office, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace are prohibited by federal law through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and by state law through La. R.S. 23:301 et seq. These laws prohibit both quid pro quo harassment, which arises when consent to sexual demands is made an express or implied condition of employment, and hostile work environment harassment, which arises when the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and created an abusive working environment.

Sexual harassment may be defined as unsolicited, offensive behavior that inappropriately asserts sexuality over employees including but not limited to the following

  • Verbal: Sexual innuendos, suggestive comments, threats, sexual humor

  • Non-Verbal: Leering, whistling, obscene gestures, showing inappropriate images

  • Physical: Touching, brushing the body, coerced sexual activity, assault, impeding egress or passage

 

Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace shall not be tolerated and Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will take appropriate action to end any such harassment and/or prevent the recurrence of any such misconduct.

If a person’s behavior makes an employee uncomfortable, the employee should feel free to immediately advise the person that, in the employee’s opinion, the behavior is inappropriate, and that the employee would like it stopped.

Any employee of Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office may file a complaint of sexual harassment. Any employee who believes he or she has been subjected to unlawful sexual harassment or has been retaliated against for reporting such activities or assisting in a related investigation of such activities, must report the alleged act immediately or as soon as possible.  It is not necessary for an employee to complain to an offending supervisor in order to report sexual harassment. If, for whatever reason, the employee does not feel that the persons named in this paragraph are suitable persons to whom to report the incident, the employee should contact the Sheriff or his designee.

Whether or not a particular incident is sexual harassment requires a complete factual investigation, the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will conduct such investigations on all complaints in a manner so as not to cause any serious effect on innocent employees who either file a complaint and/or may be the subject of a filed complaint. In all instances, a prompt and thorough investigation will take place, giving careful consideration to protect the rights and dignity of all persons involved.

It is mandatory that all parties to an allegation of sexual harassment participate in the investigation of the incident, and cooperation in the investigation of claims of harassment is an express element of each employee’s employment with the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office. The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will take those steps it​​ feels necessary to resolve the problem, which may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension or termination.

The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will investigate by gathering information, in as confidential a manner as possible, given the need to investigate the complaint, from all concerned parties, and it will not retaliate against any employee as a result of reports of alleged harassment or cooperation with any investigation. The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office may consult its legal representative for assistance in determining whether conduct that has occurred does in fact constitute sexual harassment.

 

The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office may also make subsequent inquiries from time to time to ensure offensive conduct does not resume and/or that the subject of harassment has not suffered any retaliation.

No retaliation of any kind will be tolerated because an employee in good faith reports an incident of suspected harassment. The supervisor, or other person to whom the complaint was made, will work to establish mutually agreed upon safeguards against retaliation while attempting to mediate any sexual harassment complaint.

Any employee, manager, or supervisor found by the Parish to have unlawfully sexually harassed, or unlawfully retaliated, against another employee will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination. If any employee, manager or supervisor is found by the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office to have intentionally made a false allegation of sexual harassment, that individual will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination.

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation by the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office, a complainant may pursue a claim under state and/or federal law.

 

MANDATORY SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING

Pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 42:343, each elected official and each public servant is required to receive a minimum of one hour of education and training on preventing sexual harassment during each year of his public employment or term of office, as the case may be. Additionally, the parish will comply with the State laws of the mandatory reporting of those who have and have not completed their training per year (R.S. 42:344). 

 

 

 

 

Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training

 

Pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 42:343, each elected official and each public servant is required to receive a minimum of one hour of education and training on preventing sexual harassment during each year of his public employment or term of office, as the case may be. Additionally, the parish will comply with the State laws of the mandatory reporting of those who have and have not completed their training per year (R.S. 42:344). 

 

Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office Sexual Harassment Policy

The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office and all its employees and elected officials shall comply with Louisiana State Law in regards to Sexual Harassment, specifically, R.S. 42:342. This includes both reporting any sexual harassment and actions that can and cannot be taken against those to be reported and those reporting the actions in question.

 

It is the belief of the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office that its employees are the primary means by which the goals and objectives of the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will be met. All employees of the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office must understand its position on harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical or inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature when the conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment or the holding of office, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace are prohibited by federal law through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and by state law through La. R.S. 23:301 et seq. These laws prohibit both quid pro quo harassment, which arises when consent to sexual demands is made an express or implied condition of employment, and hostile work environment harassment, which arises when the workplace is permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and created an abusive working environment.

Sexual harassment may be defined as unsolicited, offensive behavior that inappropriately asserts sexuality over employees including but not limited to the following

  • Verbal: Sexual innuendos, suggestive comments, threats, sexual humor

  • Non-Verbal: Leering, whistling, obscene gestures, showing inappropriate images

  • Physical: Touching, brushing the body, coerced sexual activity, assault, impeding egress or passage

 

Sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace shall not be tolerated and Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will take appropriate action to end any such harassment and/or prevent the recurrence of any such misconduct.

If a person’s behavior makes an employee uncomfortable, the employee should feel free to immediately advise the person that, in the employee’s opinion, the behavior is inappropriate, and that the employee would like it stopped.

Any employee of Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office may file a complaint of sexual harassment. Any employee who believes he or she has been subjected to unlawful sexual harassment or has been​​ retaliated against for reporting such activities or assisting in a related investigation of such activities, must report the alleged act immediately or as soon as possible.  It is not necessary for an employee to complain to an offending supervisor in order to report sexual harassment. If, for whatever reason, the employee does not feel that the persons named in this paragraph are suitable persons to whom to report the incident, the employee should contact the Sheriff or his designee.

Whether or not a particular incident is sexual harassment requires a complete factual investigation, the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will conduct such investigations on all complaints in a manner so as not to cause any serious effect on innocent employees who either file a complaint and/or may be the subject of a filed complaint. In all instances, a prompt and thorough investigation will take place, giving careful consideration to protect the rights and dignity of all persons involved.

It is mandatory that all parties to an allegation of sexual harassment participate in the investigation of the incident, and cooperation in the investigation of claims of harassment is an express element of each employee’s employment with the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office. The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will take those steps it feels necessary to resolve the problem, which may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension or termination.

The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office will investigate by gathering information, in as confidential a manner as possible, given the need to investigate the complaint, from all concerned parties, and it will not retaliate against any employee as a result of reports of alleged harassment or cooperation with any investigation. The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office may consult its legal representative for assistance in determining whether conduct that has occurred does in fact constitute sexual harassment.

 

The Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office may also make subsequent inquiries from time to time to ensure offensive conduct does not resume and/or that the subject of harassment has not suffered any retaliation.

No retaliation of any kind will be tolerated because an employee in good faith reports an incident of suspected harassment. The supervisor, or other person to whom the complaint was made, will work to establish mutually agreed upon safeguards against retaliation while attempting to mediate any sexual harassment complaint.

Any employee, manager, or supervisor found by the Parish to have unlawfully sexually harassed, or unlawfully retaliated, against another employee will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination. If any employee, manager or supervisor is found by the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office to have intentionally made a false allegation of sexual harassment, that individual will be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination.

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation by the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office, a complainant may pursue a claim under state and/or federal law.

 

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