Section 4. Non-discrimination and Anti-harassment
We are committed to maintaining a work environment free from discrimination and harassment. In accordance with this commitment, the County prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or any other protected class in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. Retaliation against any individual who has reported discrimination or harassment will also not be tolerated and will result in appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
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.
4.021 Discrimination means treating an individual less favorably because of their race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or any other protected class in accordance with applicable federal and state laws.
4.022 Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, and genetic information (including family medical history). It becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or offensive.
• Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. It may also include 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-mails, phone calls or voice messages, and text messages.
4.023 Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to 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.
4.024 Retaliation means treating employees unfavorably because they complained about discrimination or harassment on the job, filed a charge or complaint alleging discrimination or harassment, or participated in any manner in an employment discrimination proceeding. It includes mistreatment for raising discrimination that affects others.
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.
Individuals designated to receive complaints of this policy, including supervisors, Department Grievance Coordinators, and Department Heads are required to report such complaints to the Director of Harris County Human Resources & Risk Management or the Director’s Designee.
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 County employees and terminated County employees may assert a Whistleblower Grievance alleging violation of the Texas whistleblower act by filing a grievance within 90 days of a suspension, termination, or other adverse employment action. Whistleblower grievances must be filed directly with the County Grievance Coordinator using the forms established by HRRM. Thereafter, HRRM may reject the grievance or render a final decision within 60 days of receipt of the grievance.
4.036 False and malicious complaints of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation may be the subject of appropriate disciplinary action.
4.041 Any County employee who is found, after appropriate investigation, to have engaged in discriminatory or harassing behavior prohibited by this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.