Statement of Conduct
What is Harassment?
Harassment can come in the form of physical or verbal actions. It happens when unwanted conduct or comments are made based on someone’s race, age, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or color. For many people, "sexual harrassment" is an emotionally charged topic, loaded with confusion and uncertainty. This is unfortunate, because sexual harassment can be readily understood. But what really is and what is not sexual harassment?
EOC Definition of Sexual Harassment
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment in the workplace as:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) 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.
Most federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, have accepted this definition.
1998 Supreme Court Decisions
Sexual harassment has been the subject of many lengthy and expensive lawsuits, suggesting it may be complicated to define and understand. On June 26, 1998, the United States Supreme Court handed down two landmark decisions that clarified the liability standards for sexual harassment. Together these two decisions established a new standard for making employers liable for a supervisor's sexual harassment of a subordinate under his or her authority.
How Common is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is common throughout the workplace, in all occupations and professions, educational backgrounds, age, racial and ethnic groups, and income levels. While the majority of reported cases of sexual harassment involve a male harassing a female, such cases can also involve a female harassing a male or either men or women harassing members of their own sex. In 2008, the EEOC received 13,867 complaints at the Federal level about sexual harassment, approximately 16% of which were filed by males.
Sexual harassment law in the United States has developed over the past four decades. Sexual harassment is a form of employment discrimination prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. It falls under the category of discrimination based on sex.
Unwelcomeness: What Does It Mean?
Sexual harassment takes a wide variety of forms, some mild and others severe. The behavior may range from a harmful joke to physical assault. Whether a particular behavior is defined as sexual harassment depends largely on whether the behavior is unwelcome to the target.
Unwelcome behavior is just that; it is behavior that is not welcome, not solicited and not wanted by the offended person. While you may perceive your behavior to be friendly and harmless, a co-worker may find the behavior offensive, so it is important to think before you act in a way that could be reasonably perceived as sexually offensive. Most adults who pause to think about it can distinguish between what might be perceived as welcome and unwelcome behavior, especially if they think carefully about how others might react.
Intent vs. Impact
It is important to understand that intent is not relevant in determining whether or not a behavior is sexual harassment. All that matters is the impact of the behavior on the work environment, or the offended individual. Regardless of the intent, the behavior will be judged on its impact. This fact is critically important. The statement "I didn't mean anything by it" is not a valid defense of harassing behavior.
A Matter of Respect
Sexually harassing behavior shows great disrespect. Nobody is likely to harass someone he or she respects, either accidentally or deliberately. Despite some claims of over-sensitivity, most adults understand the meaning of harassment, just as they know the meaning of teasing. An attitude of consideration and respect toward all those with whom we come in contact will go a long way toward creating an atmosphere that excludes sexual harassment.
Other Discriminatory Harassment
Argonne’s policy prohibits all forms of discriminatory harassment that are unlawful under applicable local, state, and federal law. Other types of federally prohibited discrimination include harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, and genetic information. State and local laws often include additional protections. The same general principles (such as unwelcomeness, severity or pervasiveness, hostile environment) that you have learned constitute sexual harassment also apply to other forms of harassment.
What if you experience sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is illegal and unacceptable in any working environment. Argonne has policies and support structures to enable every employee to work in an environment free of harassment. Here are some additional guidelines should you encounter harassment at work:
- Consider firmly, clearly and directly telling the harasser to stop.
- If the behavior continues, document the conversation or offending behavior.
- Follow Argonne’s complaint procedures. Remember that you have a responsibility to take advantage of whatever resources and procedures your employer provides to protect yourself and your environment from unlawful harassment.
The "Reasonable Person" Standard
If an unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature causes someone to take offense, it will be judged based on whether a "reasonable person" would find it offensive. This standard of a reasonable person has arisen from court attempts to interpret what behaviors should reasonably be considered sexual harassment. Since not everyone interprets behaviors in the same way, the courts find that, in order to be illegal, the conduct must be severe or pervasive and offensive to a reasonable person in similar circumstances. Under this standard, one-time unwelcome behavior will seldom qualify as sexual harassment unless it is sufficiently severe as judged by a reasonable person.
Sex or Power
Most workplace sexual harassment is based on power and not on romance, although failed romances can lead to sexual harassment. At work some people have authority over others. In these formal power relationships, subordinate employees do not always feel free to speak up to persons of higher authority who have control over their working conditions.
Types of Harassment
Sexual harassment does not occur just between a male boss and a female subordinate. Sexual harassment may occur in a variety of circumstances, including:
- between peers,
- by a subordinate toward a supervisor,
- by women against men,
- between members of the same sex – men can harass men; women can harass women, and
- by a third party, such as a vendor.
Glossary of Terms — click to show
Glossary of Terms
- Agent – one who acts for, or in the place of, another, by authority from him or her; one entrusted with the business of another; a substitute; a deputy. Managers and supervisors are agents of the employer.
- Circuit Courts – the name informally used to refer to the existing US court of appeals, which are organized into thirteen circuits covering different geographical areas of the country. The term derives from an age before mechanized transit, when judges and lawyers rode “the circuit” of their territory to hold court in various places.
- Coercion – the use of authority or force to impose an unwanted advance. The act of compelling by force of authority.
- Common Law Torts – legal actions against civil wrongs, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, interference with contract and defamation. Tort actions may provide more relief than the federal and state laws.
- Constructive Discharge – a legal term that means that the mistreatment or hostile conditions were so bad that the harassed employee was forced to leave work.
- Discrimination – any action that unlawfully or unjustly results in unequal treatment of persons or groups based on race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability or other factors protected under federal, state or local laws, such as marital status or gender identity.
- Disparaging Term – a term used to degrade or connote negative statements pertaining to such characteristics as race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation. These terms include insults, printed material, visual material, signs, symbols, posters, or insignia. The use of these terms constitutes unlawful discrimination.
- Domination – the exercise of power in ruling; arbitrary and abusive influence; to be larger in number, quantity, or importance; to be in control.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – a federal agency established in 1964 by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This agency is charged with eliminating discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age in employment.
- EEOC Guidelines – In 1980, the EEOC issued guidelines which declare sexual harassment a violation of Section 703 of Title VII, set criteria for determining when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment, define criteria for employer liability, and recommend steps employers should take to prevent sexual harassment. These guidelines have been updated periodically.
- Empathy – the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.
- Fair Employment Practices – State fair employment practices agencies provide assistance in sexual harassment cases similar to the federal EEOC. Laws on sexual harassment, and other types of discrimination, vary considerably from state to state.
- Gender – the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with a person's sex.
- Harassment – the act of harassing, or state of being harassed; a feeling of intense annoyance, anxiety or worry caused by being tormented.
- Hostile Work Environment – a form of sexual harassment that occurs when unwelcome sexual conduct is severe and pervasive and unreasonably interferes with an individual's job performance and creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment.
- Impact – the effect or consequence of an action. The impact of behavior of a sexual nature is more important than the person's intentions in determining sexual harassment.
- Innuendo – an indirect or subtle, usually derogatory implication; an insinuation.
- Intent – the purpose or intention of an action, from the actor's point of view. A person's good intent is not relevant in determining whether behavior may be sexual harassment.
- On Notice – having received notification. Once you are "on notice" you cannot claim that you were unaware of the matter. For example, when you receive a Court Summons, you are "on notice" that you must appear as ordered, and you can't plead ignorance.
- Peer – a person who is of equal standing with another in a group; one of the same rank, quality, endowments, character, etc.; an equal; a match; a mate.
- Perspective – a way of regarding situations or topics. People interpret situations based on their beliefs and attitudes.
- Protected Class – a group named in a law as protected from discrimination. Some protected classes include gender, race, age, and religion.
- Proximity – the property of being close together; the region close around a person or thing.
- Quid Pro Quo – a Latin phrase that means "something for something" or "this for that." It is one form of sexual harassment, in which an employee must submit to some form of unwelcome sexual conduct in exchange for an employment benefit, such as a promotion, or the job itself.
- Reasonable Person – the standard used by courts to assess whether particular conduct is illegal by determining whether a reasonable person would find it severely or pervasively offensive under similar circumstances.
- Retaliation – taking or threatening to take an unfavorable action against an individual, or withholding or threatening to withhold a favorable action that could discourage a reasonable employee from making or supporting a charge of harassment or discrimination.
- Sex Discrimination – the action taken by an individual to deprive a person of a right because of their sex. Such discrimination can occur overtly, covertly, intentionally, or unintentionally.
- Sexism – attitudes and beliefs that one gender is superior to another.
- Sexual Harassment – any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that occurs in the workplace. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination and violates both Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as well as State discrimination laws.
- Sexual Harassment (Legal Definition) – a form of sex discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person's job, pay or career, or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is used as a basis for career or employment decisions affecting that person, or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
- Strict Liability – liability that does not require the employer to be aware of the illegal behavior. An employer is strictly liable for quid pro quo sexual harassment by any supervisor, meaning it does not have to be aware of the harassment to have liability, but, under federal law, is not strictly liable for hostile work environment sexual harassment.
- Subordinate – placed in a lower order, class, or rank; holding a lower or inferior position. In traditional hierarchical work settings, workers are subordinate to their management.
- Third Party Harassment –
- when a party or parties not sexually harassed directly but indirectly suffer the consequences of sexual harassment.
- also, when a person who is not an employee of an organization but may subject an employee to harassment in a work setting (e.g., a client, vendor, customer, visitor); in which case the employer is responsible for stopping and preventing the harassment.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended – legislation that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin; including sexual harassment.
- Unsolicited – not requested; not sought after.
Validity of IAEA Training Course Participant Award
By accepting the award of participation in the IAEA Training Course Program, it is agreed to comply with the obligation of attending all lectures and other course-related working sessions.
All participants are required to stay at the lodging reserved by Argonne. Hotel reservations must not be altered or cancelled. No exceptions will be granted.
Should a participant not be present at a training course session, without prior notification to and consent from the IAEA and the host country, the award may automatically be cancelled, and may be sent home.
If an unexpected problem or medical emergency causes a participant to be late or absent from the course, it is required to call +1-630-252-3386 (during training course hours) or +1-630-252-7148 (course off-hours and weekends) to inform the training course staff and to receive any special instructions. If at any time a participant is taken to a medical facility for treatment (emergency or non-emergency), a phone call is required as soon as possible. If the call goes to voicemail, participant name and contact information should be left on the message.
Review of Safety and Security at Argonne National Laboratory
The participants in the IAEA Training Course Program shall be treated the same as Argonne employees and other site occupants with respect to Environment, Safety and Health (ESH). Argonne will provide site-specific training (e.g., building orientation and emergency procedures) on the first day of the training course in order to ensure protection of the participants, employees, and the property of Argonne.
It is the participant’s responsibility to follow all instructions from the training course host and understand all instructions. If you do not understand the procedure, please ask for clarification. The training course security plan approves participants to have access to the training area of Building 223 and the Cafeteria-Building 213. To avoid any complications, do not access any of areas of the Argonne site unless otherwise authorized or escorted by the Argonne host.
Review of Safety and Security at Other Training Locations
The participants in the IAEA Training Course Program shall be treated the same as Argonne employees and other site occupants with respect to Environment, Safety and Health.
It is the participant's responsibility to follow all instructions from the training course host and understand all instructions. If you do not understand the procedure, please ask for clarification. To avoid any complications, do not access any of areas of the site unless otherwise authorized or escorted by the host.