Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

Library Board approved January 23, 2018. Revised February 25, 2020.

Introduction

The Oak Park Public Library is committed to maintaining a work environment that is free of all forms of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment, which are all illegal under the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) and Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). In keeping with this commitment, the library will not tolerate discrimination or harassment by anyone, including any supervisor, employee, vendor, patron, consultant, contractor, board member, or other visitors of the library. Violation of this policy shall be considered grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Definitions

1. Sexual harassment as defined by the IHRA, consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any other verbal, physical, or visual conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission to the conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a condition of the individual’s employment;
  2. Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision affecting the harassed employee; or
  3. The harassment has the purpose or effect of interfering with the employee’s work performance or creating an environment that is intimidating, hostile, or offensive to the employee.

2. Sexual harassment, as defined above, may include, but is not limited to:

  1. Uninvited sex-oriented verbal “kidding” or demeaning sexual innuendoes, leers, gestures, teasing, sexually explicit or obscene jokes, remarks or questions of a sexual nature; 
  2. Graphic or suggestive comments about an individual’s dress or body; 
  3. Displaying sexually explicit objects, photographs, writings, or drawings;
  4. Unwelcome touching, such as patting, pinching or constant brushing against another’s body; or 
  5. Suggesting or demanding sexual involvement of another individual, whether or not such suggestion or demand is accompanied by implicit or explicit threats concerning one’s employment status or similar personal concerns.

3. Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical, or visual, that is based upon a person’s actual or perceived protected status such as race, color, ancestry, national origin, citizenship status, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, military or veteran status, genetic information, order of protection status, or any other category protected by applicable law. The library will not tolerate harassing conduct that affects tangible job benefits, interferes unreasonably with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. The conduct forbidden by this policy specifically includes, but is not limited to:

  1. epithets, slurs, negative stereotypes or intimidating acts that are based on a person’s protected status; and
  2. written or graphic material circulated within or posted within the workplace that shows hostility toward a person because of their actual or perceived protected status.

4. Discrimination consists of employment actions taken against an individual based on an actual or perceived characteristic protected by law, such as sex, race, color, ancestry, national origin, citizenship status, religion, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, military or veteran status, genetic information, order of protection status, or any other category protected by applicable law. In other words, discrimination occurs when an individual is treated differently or unequally because the individual is a member or perceived member of a protected group.

Reporting Procedure 

Everyone is responsible to help ensure that harassment and discrimination do not occur and are not tolerated. An individual who believes that they have been subjected to sexual or other types of harassment or discrimination, or who has witnessed harassment or discrimination, should immediately submit a complaint to their immediate supervisor, any other director, manager, or supervisor, or the Director of Human Resources. If a director, manager, or supervisor receives a complaint of harassment or discrimination or becomes aware of such conduct, the complaint or conduct shall be immediately reported to the Director of Human Resources. 

Elected Officials

Any allegation of sexual harassment made by an elected official against another elected official may be reported to the President of the Library Board or their designee. If the Board President or their designee is the person making the allegation or is the person alleged to have committed the harassment, then the report may be made to any other elected official. The Board President shall, in consultation with the library’s legal counsel, ensure that an independent review is conducted with respect to such allegations.

Investigation Procedure

The Director of Human Resources, or its designee, shall promptly investigate all complaints and make all reasonable efforts to resolve the matter. These efforts may include, but are not limited to, convening conferences with the complainant and/or the accused harasser/discriminator to discuss the complaint and the results of the investigation. The right to confidentiality, both of the complainant and of the accused, will be respected consistent with the library’s legal obligations and with the necessity to investigate allegations of misconduct and to take corrective action when this conduct has occurred. A substantiated complaint against an employee will subject the individual to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The library will also take appropriate action to address a substantiated complaint of discrimination or harassment by a third party or non-employee. If an investigation results in a finding that the complainant falsely accused another of harassment or discrimination knowingly or in a malicious manner, the complainant will be subject to appropriate discipline, including the possibility of discharge.

Retaliation Prohibited

Reporting harassment or discrimination or participating in an investigation will not reflect adversely upon an individual’s status or affect future employment. Any form of retaliation against an individual who reports harassment or discrimination or participates in an investigation is strictly prohibited by the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Illinois State Officials and Employees Act, the Illinois Whistleblower Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and library policy. Any individual who retaliates against another for exercising their rights under this policy shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

Annual Training

The library will provide annual sexual harassment prevention training for all employees in accordance with Illinois law. All employees shall annually take the Sexual Harassment Prevention Training course developed by the Illinois Department of Human Rights, or other competent vendor meeting the training requirements as set by law. Evidence of annual completion of the required training shall be submitted to and maintained by the Human Resources Department. 

Reporting Outside of the Library

The purpose of this policy is to establish prompt, thorough and effective procedures for responding to every complaint and incident so that problems can be identified and remedied internally. However, an individual has the right to contact the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about filing a formal complaint. An IDHR or EEOC complaint must be filed within 300 days of the alleged incident(s) unless it is a continuing offense.

Contact Information:

Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR)
Chicago: 312-814-6200 or 800-662-3942; TTY: 866-740-3953

Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC)
Chicago: 312-814-6269; TTY: 312-814-4760

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Chicago: 800-669-4000; TTY: 800-869-8001

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