Section 4. Non-discrimination and Anti-harassment
We are committed to maintaining a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment opportunities and prohibits any discrimination and harassment as protected by applicable law. We expect all relationships among persons in the workplace to be business-like and free of bias and prejudice.
4.01 CROWN ACT
Harris County values their employees and prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and style. This includes, but is not limited to, hair texture, hair type, or protective hairstyles such as afros, braids, locks, and twists. This does not alter the ability of Department Heads to restrict certain hairstyles due to a bona fide occupational qualification or that directly interfere with an essential job function or a safety/security precaution.
4.02 DEFINITION OF HARASSMENT
4.021 Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination and is illegal. For the purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
• submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
• submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
• 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.
4.022 Harassment on the basis of any of the other protected characteristics is also strictly prohibited. Those protected characteristics are race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or any other protected class in accordance with applicable federal and state laws.
4.023 Harassing conduct includes epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; and written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group. It can also take many other forms, including, but not limited to, e-mail, phone calls or voice messages, or text messages.
4.03 REPORTING VIOLATIONS
4.031 If you have witnessed or been the subject of discrimination, including harassment or retaliation, you must report it to:
• your supervisor; or
• your Department Grievance Coordinator; or
• the person designated in your departmental harassment policy; or
• your Department Head; or
• the Director of Harris County Human Resources & Risk Management or the Director’s designee.
4.032 If you make a report under this section and are not satisfied with the response given, you must report the alleged act(s) to another person on the list.
4.033 All reports will be investigated promptly and thoroughly. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and any witnesses to the alleged conduct. Employees must cooperate in all investigations. Immediate and appropriate corrective action will be taken and may include but is not limited to; reporting the complaint to another designated individual, initiating an investigation, evaluating the possibility of temporary work relocation and reassignment, and taking appropriate corrective action.
4.034 Retaliation against someone for reporting harassment or discrimination or for participating in an investigation is a serious violation of this policy. If you think someone is retaliating against you, report it immediately. Appropriate corrective action will be taken, if necessary.
4.035 False and malicious complaints of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation may be the subject of appropriate disciplinary action.