Policies and Regulations NEPN Code: GBAA-R
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Personnel
Harassment

  1. Definitions
    1. Harassment: Harassment consists of physical or verbal conduct related to a person’s race, color, religion, creed, ancestry, gender (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, military/veteran status, genetic information or other basis prohibited by law when the conduct is so severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it:
      1. has the purpose of effecting or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment;
      2. has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance which deprives the staff member access to employment or academic opportunities.
    2. Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance(s), request(s) for sexual favors and/or other verbal, physical, and/or visual contact(s) of a sexual nature, or communication of a sexual nature when:
      1. submission to such conduct or communication is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term of a person’s initial employment; or
      2. submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting the individual; or
      3. such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or education, creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment; or
      4. such conduct is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of depriving the employee access to employment opportunities or benefits provided by the School District or depriving a student of educational opportunities.
    3. Sexual harassment may include but is not limited to:
      1. unwelcome verbal harassment or abuse based upon gender;
      2. unwelcome pressure for sexual activity;
      3. unwelcome, gender-motivated, or inappropriate patting, pinching, or physical contact, other than necessary to avoid physical harm to persons or property;
      4. unwelcome behavior or words, based upon gender, including demands for sexual favors, accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning the individual’s employment or educational status;
      5. unwelcome behavior or words, based upon gender, including demands for sexual favors, accompanied by implied or overt promises of preferential treatment with regard to an individual’s employment or educational status.
  2. Reporting Incidents of Harassment - Grievance Procedures
    Any person who believes he or she has been the victim of harassment as defined above by an employee of the District shall report the alleged acts immediately to a Supervisor or building principal, the department director, or the Civil Rights Officer on the Complaint Investigation form available from the building principal/supervisor, the Human Resources Department or on the District website.
    1. Designated Personnel. The building principal/supervisor is the person designated by the District for receiving reports of harassment at each District building. All other reports shall be directed to the applicable department director. Upon receipt of a report, the building principal/supervisor or department director shall ask the person reporting to complete the Complaint Investigation form and immediately notify the Civil Rights Officer and forward the written report form to the Civil Rights Officer. Failure to forward any harassment report or complaint as provided herein will result in disciplinary action. If the complaint involves the building principal/supervisor or department director, the complaint shall be filed directly with the Civil Rights Officer. If the complaint involves the Civil Rights Officer, the complaint shall be filed directly with the Superintendent.
    2. Districtwide. The School Board hereby designates the In-House Counsel as the District’s Civil Rights Officer to receive reports or complaints of harassment from any individual, employee or victim of harassment and also from the building principal/supervisor or department director as outlined above. The District shall post on employee bulletin boards and on the website the mailing address and telephone number of the Civil Rights Officer.
    3. Submission of a complaint or report of harassment. Submission of a complaint or report of harassment will not affect the individual’s employment or work assignments.
    4. Confidentiality. The District will make attempts to respect the confidentiality of the complainant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed as much as possible consistent with the District’s legal obligations and the necessity to investigate allegations of harassment and take disciplinary action when the conduct has occurred.
    5. Procedure. The complaining employee will be asked to put the facts surrounding the conduct in writing on a form provided by the District that includes the following: Complainant’s name and address; date of the incident; type of harassment; description of the incident; name of any witnesses; what action, if any, has been taken; and signature of the complainant.
    6. Required Reporting. If the accusations include possible criminal activity such as molestation, sexual battery, or similar contact, the Civil Rights Officer shall comply with all mandatory state reporting requirements including, but not limited to, contact with the Department of Social Services and/or law enforcement.
      Nothing in this procedure forecloses individuals from seeking redress for their concerns through other legal avenues, such as the Office of Civil Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the South Dakota Division of Human Rights.
  3. Investigation
    Upon receipt of a written report alleging harassment, the Civil Rights Officer shall immediately authorize an investigation. This investigation may be conducted by the Civil Rights Officer or any District official or by a third party designated by the District. The investigating party shall provide a written report of the status of the investigation within ten (10) working days to the Superintendent and the Civil Rights Officer.
    In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes harassment, the District should consider the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the advances, if any, relationships between the parties involved, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.
    The investigation may consist of personal interviews with the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and others who may have knowledge of the alleged incident(s) or circumstances giving rise to the complaint. The investigation may also consist of any other methods and documents deemed pertinent by the investigating party.
    The District may take immediate steps, at its discretion, to protect the complainant, students, and employees pending completion of an investigation of alleged harassment.
    During the investigation all parties directly involved in the complaint may have representation. If any party elects to be represented at any step of the complaint procedure, the name of the representative must be provided, in writing, to the Civil Rights Officer within two (2) days of the filing of the Complaint Investigation form, notification of any investigation, or the filing of any appeal.
  4. School District Action
    1. Upon receipt of a recommendation that the allegations of a complaint constitute a violation of District policy, the District will take such action as appropriate based upon the results of the investigation.
    2. The results of the investigation of each complaint will be reported in writing and kept on file in the Human Resources Department. The report shall include findings of fact and will document the disciplinary action taken, if any, as a result of the complaint.
    3. The complainant will be advised of the decision in writing on a form supplied by the District within ten (10) working days from the conclusion of the investigation.
    4. If either party is not satisfied with the written decision rendered by the District, he or she may appeal the decision in writing to the Superintendent within ten (10) working days following receipt of the decision. The appeal must include the original Complaint Investigation form, a copy of the written decision, and a written statement as to the reason for appeal.
    5. The Superintendent will review the material submitted, investigate the circumstances, and respond in writing within fourteen (14) working days of the appeal with a determination to uphold, modify, or reverse the decision. At the Superintendent’s discretion, an additional investigation may be conducted, including interviews with the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and others who may have knowledge of the alleged incident(s) or circumstances giving rise to the complaint. The appeal may include any other methods or documents deemed pertinent by the Superintendent.
    6. If either party is not satisfied with the decision rendered by the Superintendent, he or she may request a hearing in executive session with the School Board. The request for hearing must be submitted in writing through the Superintendent’s Office within ten (10) working days following receipt of the Superintendent’s decision. The appeal must include the original Complaint Investigation form, a copy of the written decision from the Superintendent, and a written statement as to the reasons for appeal. The hearing will be scheduled within thirty (30) working days of the request for hearing. The parties involved will be notified in writing of the time and date of the scheduled hearing.
    7. The School Board will render a decision in writing within ten (10) working days of the hearing.
  5. Prohibition against Retaliation
    The District will discipline any individual who retaliates against any person who reports alleged harassment or who retaliates against any person who testifies, assists, or participates in any investigation, proceeding, or hearing related to a harassment complaint.
    Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment. Retaliation is itself a violation of federal and state laws and District policy prohibiting discrimination and may lead to separate disciplinary action against an individual.
    If any school personnel or student who has filed a complaint or has testified, assisted, or participated in the investigation of harassment believes that he or she has been retaliated against because of his or her participation, he or she should follow the procedures set forth above.
  6. False Charges
    Charges found to have been intentionally dishonest or made maliciously without regard for truth may subject complainants to disciplinary action.
  7. Uncomfortable Situations
    The District recognizes that not every uncomfortable situation constitutes harassment. Whether a particular action or incident is a personal, social relationship without a discriminatory employment effect requires a determination based on all the facts and surrounding circumstances. False accusations can have a serious detrimental effect on innocent parties.
  8. Discipline
    Any action taken by the District pursuant to this policy will be consistent with requirements of applicable collective bargaining agreements and District policies. The District will take such disciplinary action it deems necessary and appropriate, including but not limited to, warning, suspension, or immediate discharge to end harassment and prevent its recurrence.

 

Legal References:

Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
South Dakota Executive Order 81-08
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Age Discrimination Act of 1975
Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act
Americans With Disabilities Act and Amendment Act

Related Policies/Regulations:

AC/AC-R – Equal Opportunity/Nondiscrimination
ACD – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Religion
ACE/ACE-R – Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
JIAA/JIAA-R – Harassment (students)

 

Regulation   Board Action (formerly 4132)
Approved: 04-13-92 26837T  
Amended: 02-28-94 27602.2f  
Revised: 04-14-97 28758  
Revised: 07-12-99 29400  
Revised: 07-08-02 33293  
Revised: 10-27-08 35194  
Revised: 09-13-10 35819  
Reviewed: 08-11-14 36976  
Reviewed: 08-24-15 37275  
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