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3502 - Harassment

Harassment Policy

Layton City is committed to maintaining a work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment that is based on a person’s sex, race, color, age, religion, ethnicity, disability, national origin, or genetic information consistent with applicable laws.  (For purposes of this policy, the term “harassment“ includes discriminatory conduct).  The City prohibits all forms of illegal harassment by its employees.   The City will not tolerate harassment toward its employees by its citizens, contractors and/or vendors.  Harassment is unlawful, and such prohibited conduct exposes not only the City, but the individual involved in such conduct, to significant liability under the law.  Employees at all times should treat other employees respectfully and with dignity in a manner so as not to offend the sensibility of a co-worker.  Accordingly, the City's management is committed to vigorously enforcing its Harassment policy at all levels of the organization.  All complaints will be promptly investigated and appropriate action will be taken against individuals found to have engaged in harassing conduct.


  1. Harassment is inappropriate conduct that undermines the employment relationship and, with the exception of sexual harassment, may not refer to occasional comments that may be considered socially unacceptable.
  2. Harassment on the basis of any protected class or characteristic is strictly prohibited under this policy.  Harassment includes verbal, written (electronically or otherwise), or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her sex, race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by law.  The conduct includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping;
    2. Threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts;
    3. Jokes and displays or circulation in the workplace of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group (including through e-mail, texting, blogging, posting on social networks, etc.).
  3. Harassment also includes inappropriate sexual conduct as defined below.
  4. This policy applies to all conduct both on and off City premises and City work time that affects an employee’s work environment.  This would include, but not be limited to communications sent from personal accounts to other employee's personal accounts or City accounts; blogging; and posting on social networks.
  5. Retaliation against any employee who rejects, protests, or complains about harassment is prohibited.  A complaint procedure is available to employees to report all types of harassment.
  6. If employees feel that a supervisor, any other employee, or visitor is harassing them because of their race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, ethnicity, genetic information or physical or mental disability, the employee should immediately file a complaint with the City in accordance with the “Making Complaints” procedure below.

Sexual Harassment

In keeping with this harassment policy, the City maintains a strict policy prohibiting sexual harassment.  The City strongly disapproves of sexual harassment in any form and will not tolerate it affecting the workplace.  All employees will be held responsible for ensuring that the workplace is free of sexual harassment.  Supervisors are held responsible to see that this policy is fully implemented.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, age or national origin.  Sexual harassment is included among the prohibitions.  Sexual harassment, according to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or sex-based nature where (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment (2) an employment decision is based on an individual's acceptance or rejection of such conduct; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Statement of Prohibited Conduct

Because various courts define sexual harassment differently, the City prohibits any inappropriate sexual conduct or behavior regardless of whether or not it is presently determined to be sexual harassment by the courts.  The City considers the following conduct to represent examples of the types of acts that violate the City's Sexual Harassment Policy.   The list is not exhaustive:

  1. Unlawful physical acts of a sexual nature, such as rape, sexual assault or abuse,      lewdness or attempts to commit these offenses.
  2. Unwelcome physical conduct, which is sexual in nature, such as touching, hugging, kissing, pinching, patting, grabbing, brushing against another employee's body, or poking another employee's body. 
  3. Consensual physical conduct that is sexual in nature in the workplace.
  4. Unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or sexual comments, including sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, or comments;
  5. Consensual sexual advances, propositions or sexual comments, including sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, or comments in the workplace;
  6. Preferential treatment or promises of preferential treatment to an employee for submitting to sexual conduct, including soliciting or attempting to solicit any employee to engage in sexual activity for compensation or reward; and
  7. Subjecting, or threats of subjecting, an employee to unwelcome sexual attention or conduct or intentionally making performance of the employee's job more difficult because of that employee's sex.
  8. Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications, electronic or otherwise, anywhere in the City's work place by employees, such as displaying or publicizing pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional materials, reading materials, or other materials that are sexually suggestive, revealing, demeaning, or pornographic, or bringing into the city work environment or possessing any such material to read, display or view at work.  A picture will be presumed to be sexually suggestive if it depicts a person of either sex who is not fully clothed or in clothes that are not suited to or ordinarily accepted for the accomplishment of routine work in and around the workplace and who is posed for the obvious purpose of displaying or drawing attention to private portions of his or her body.
  9. Segregating employees by sex in any area of the work place (other than restrooms and similar semi-private lockers/changing rooms). 
  10. Retaliation for inappropriate sexual conduct complaints, such as:
    1. Disciplining, changing work assignments of, providing inaccurate work information to, or refusing to cooperate or discuss work-related matters with any employee because that employee has complained about or resisted harassment, discrimination or retaliation; or was willing to testify regarding such conduct; and,
    2. Intentionally pressuring, falsely denying, lying about or otherwise covering up or attempting to cover up conduct such as that described in any item above; or unnecessarily contacting a victim or witness of the prohibited conduct. 
    3. An employee who is accused of inappropriate sexual conduct by another employee is prohibited from contacting the victim in relation to the alleged conduct, or from in any way attempting to prevent the victim or witness from pursuing the inappropriate sexual conduct complaint.  The accused employee shall not question, coerce, intimidate, retaliate or communicate in any way during the investigation with the employee who has filed a report of inappropriate sexual conduct with the City, except that any communication that must occur due to an employment or work necessity shall be done professionally and courteously and shall be limited to the purpose of accomplishing the task and shall be limited in content to the task.  Any action of this sort will subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination, regardless of the outcome of the inappropriate sexual conduct charge.

    Retaliation against complainant(s) and/or witness (es) of inappropriate sexual conduct will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

  11. False information regarding the complaint or during the investigation:

    If, after investigating any complaint of inappropriate sexual conduct or unlawful discrimination, the City learns that the complaint is not bona fide or that an employee has intentionally provided false or misleading information regarding the complaint, disciplinary action up to and including termination may be taken against the individual who provided the false or misleading information.

Procedures for Making, Investigating and Resolving Harassment and Retaliation Complaints

A.         Making Complaints

Complaints of acts of harassment or retaliation that are in violation of this policy will be accepted in writing or orally, and anonymous complaints will be taken seriously and investigated.  Any employee who has a complaint of, or has observed harassment, or retaliation, has an obligation to report it immediately, to any of the following so that the City may investigate and resolve the problem: Supervisor, Department Director, Assistant City Manager (336-3830), City Manager (336-3803), City Attorney (336-3592), Assistant City Attorney (336-3591), Prosecuting Attorney (336-3596), Human Resources Officer (336-3825), any member of the City Council or Mayor, or any employee serving in the Harassment Investigation Group (which currently includes Stephanie Combes (336-3891), Marlesse Jones (336-3596), Scott Adams (336-3946), Kristen Eklund (336-3522) and Kent Andersen (336-3790).  If the complaint involves the employee's supervisor or someone in the direct line of supervision, or if the employee, for any reason, is uncomfortable in dealing with his or her immediate supervisor, the employee may go to any other person listed above.  Supervisors who receive complaints must immediately notify their Department Director, or the City Manager’s or Attorney’s office.  Complaints may be made at any time, day or night.  If a complaint needs to be made after normal business hours (24 hours a day), please call an attorney from the City Attorney’s office by dialing (801) 589-3197, (801) 725-4748, (801) 830-5600, or (801) 391-7733.  The filing of a complaint need not be limited to someone who was the target of harassment or retaliation.

Only those who have an immediate need to know, including the investigative officers and/or his/her designee, the alleged target of harassment or retaliation, the alleged harassers or retaliators and any witnesses, will or may find out the identity of the complainant.  Confidentiality will, to the extent practical under the law and under the necessities of disciplinary action, be protected.  All parties contacted in the course of an investigation will be advised that all parties involved in a charge are entitled to respect and that any retaliation or reprisal against an individual who is an alleged target of harassment or retaliation, who has made a complaint, or who has provided evidence in connection with a complaint is a separate, actionable offense.

B.            Investigation of Complaints

Whether formally or informally notified or informed of a possible harassment incident, the City has a duty to investigate all such complaints as expeditiously and professionally as possible. Investigations should be conducted under the direction of the Assistant City Manager, unless he or she is involved in the complaint, in which case the City Manager will select another person to oversee the investigation. The Assistant City Manager, or in his or her absence the City Attorney or Assistant City Attorney, should be notified of all incidents that might be considered violations of this policy. The Assistant City Manager shall coordinate and oversee the investigation process to its conclusion. The City will make every effort to maintain the information provided to it in the complaint and investigation process as confidentially as possible. Interviews should be conducted­ in private and may be tape-recorded or notes may be taken.  Those interviewed should be counseled to keep the interview confidential. The Assistant City Manager should maintain written records of all harassment allegations and investigations.

Step 1: Notify the Assistant City Manager, or in his/her absence, the City Attorney’s office. A determination will be made by the Assistant City Manager, or City Attorney’s office regarding who will interview the complainant.  The designated interviewer should take the following steps:  Ask the complainant to complete a “Written Complaint of Inappropriate Conduct or Harassment” and describe the situation in as much detail as possible.   Promptly interview the complainant using the written complaint as a guide. Inform the complainant of the investigation procedure. Ask him/her if s/he is comfortable with the person conducting the investigation.  If not, coordinate with the Assistant City Manager to find someone she/he is comfortable with.  Assure them that retaliation will not be tolerated and only people with a “need to know” will be informed of the complaint.  At the end of the complainant interview, the interviewer should:

  • Explain to the complainant the necessity of keeping the complaint confidential;
  • Advise the complainant to avoid the accused except as required for work;
  • Explain complainant’s responsibility to report any further instances or any retaliation;
  • Make an appointment with the complainant to give a progress report;
  • If the complainant is concerned about violence, notify the Layton Police Department.

Step 2: The Interviewer reviews the information gathered during Step 1 with the Assistant City Manager and/or City Attorney’s office.  If they determine the behavior, as alleged, appears to violate the law or policy, the Assistant City Manager should:

  • Notify the affected Department Director, unless it would impose a conflict with the investigation, and any others with a “need to know”; notify the Police Department if necessary;
  • Review these procedures to insure that internal requirements are followed;
  • Inform complainant that a formal investigation will begin; the person being harassed may be requested to sign a formal complaint or the City may proceed on its own initiative without a formal harassment complaint;
  • Determine whether immediate interim measures are necessary to prevent unlawful retaliation; if deemed necessary, interim arrangements should be made so the affected employees will not have to work closely together during the investigation. This may involve a transfer, physical separation, change in assignment, etc. Care should be taken in these arrangements to avoid favoring one party over the other.
  • Determine who will conduct the investigation (must be an objective, uninvolved and knowledgeable investigator); Determine others to be involved in the investigation process; (The Assistant City Manager may appoint a Harassment Investigation Board, consisting of the designated investigator, and up to two (2) other persons from a group of employees pre-selected by the City Manager to assist with harassment investigations.  Board members should be chosen from the group to avoid involving persons from the same department, and to address gender sensitivity issues.  The designated investigator should serve as chair to this investigation board if it is used.
  • Create a list of witnesses to be interviewed;
  • Develop scripts common for all interviews.

Step 3: The designated investigator interviews the accused harasser.  During the interview, remind the accused that an employee who is accused of harassing another employee is prohibited from contacting the victim in relation to the alleged harassment, or from in any way attempting to prevent the victim from pursuing the harassment complaint. The accused employee shall not question, coerce, intimidate, retaliate, or communicate in any way during the investigation with the employee who has filed a report of harassment with the City.  Any action of this sort will subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination, regardless of the outcome of the harassment charge.

Step 4: The designated investigator interviews any other people who may be able to provide information.

Step 5: If after initial interviews there are discrepancies in the facts, or new facts have emerged, the designated investigator may talk again with complainant, accused or other witnesses to give them an opportunity to respond and clarify.

Step 6: The designated investigator should inspect the physical evidence for clues, if applicable.

Step 7: The designated investigator then reviews the investigation results with the Assistant City Manager and City Attorney’s office, who will then inform the affected Department Directors and City Manager so they can determine appropriate disciplinary measures, if any, to be taken.  If a harassment claim is determined to be unsubstantiated, the affected Department Director and City Manager will be informed and they may restore the affected parties to their original status, or take other action to alleviate possible problems.

Step 8: The Assistant City Manager should report back to the complainant the general findings of the investigation.  Employee assistance program support services, if available, should be offered to the complainant and the accused.

C.        Cooperation

All employees will fully cooperate in any investigation of harassment or retaliation. Disciplinary action, up to and including termination, will be taken against any employee who makes false statements, or who obstructs or does not fully cooperate with any investigation of harassment or retaliation.

Penalties for Misconduct

Harassment has no legitimate business purposes; accordingly, the employee who engages in such conduct or who in any other way is found in violation of this policy should be and will be made to bear the full responsi­bility for such unlawful conduct.

A written record of each action taken pursuant to this policy will be placed in the offending employee's personnel file.  The record will reflect the nature of the complaint, results of the investigation and action taken.

Based upon the investigation, the City will take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Any employee employed in a supervisory capacity who has knowledge of harassment involving any of those employees he/she supervises, and does not report the matter as outlined in this policy, shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Citizens, Contractors and/or Vendors

Any vendor, citizen or contractor who is deemed to be harassing a city employee will be dealt with within the provisions of State and Federal law.  Those having a business association with the City may have the association terminated.


All of the above policies regarding harassment will apply to non-employees as well as City employees with regard to notification and investigation of harassment claims against a city employee.  Non-employees who feel they may have been harassed by a City employee or agent of the City should be informed of the City’s harassment policy and should be referred to the Assistant City Manager or Human Resources Officer for assistance.

Procedures for Education and Training

New Hires - As part of the new hire orientation, harassment policy and procedures will be reviewed with new employees, and they will be given a copy of the City’s harassment policy and sign a statement that they have received and understand it. 

Ongoing Employee Training - All employees should be reminded at least annually about the city’s harassment policy and reporting procedures. 

Management Training - Department Directors and Supervisors should receive annual training in applying harassment policy and procedures, including effective investigation procedures, effective listening procedures, EAP referral procedures, and sensitivity to employee fears of embarrassment, blame, and retaliation.

Training for the Harassment Investigation Group – The Assistant City Manager and designated employees in the Harassment Investigation Group should receive annual training in sexual harassment investigation procedures.

All training should be documented and maintained by the Human Resources Officer.  The City should post notices informing employees about the law and reporting procedures

Policy Evaluation

The Human Resources Officer should conduct periodic surveys to gauge employee satisfaction with this policy, and the effectiveness of the education, reporting, and investigation processes.

Enacted, 7/22/1993
Amended, 4/5/1995
Amended, 1/1/1996
Amended, 12/9/1993, Previous Policy,
Amended, 2/12/1996, Previous Policy,
Amended, 3/28/2001, Previous Policy,
Amended, 2Minor Edit, 1/2/2004
Minor Edit, 2/26/2004
Minor Edit, 3/3/2004
Amended, 12/1/2004, Previous Policy 3502
Amended, 9/21/2006, Previous Policy 3502
Amended, 4/3/2007, Previous Policy 3502
Amended, 4/10/2007
Amended, 4/10/2007
Amended, 1/7/2008, Previous Policy 3502
Amended, 2/6/2008
Amended, 3/17/2009, Previous Policy 3502
Amended, 12/28/2009, Previous Policy 3502
Amended, 2/10/2010, Previous Policy 3502
Amended, 4/30/2013, Previous Policy 3502
Amended, 4/21/2014, Previous Policy 8/26/2013