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Harassment Policy

I. Purpose of Policy

The purpose of this policy is to make every employee aware that Dartmouth-Hitchcock provides a work environment free from all forms of unlawful harassment, including but not limited to, sexual harassment. This policy includes D-H’s process for the complaint, investigation, and resolution of harassment concerns for D-H.

II. Policy Scope

This policy applies to the following persons at all Dartmouth-Hitchcock locations. In order to ensure the safety of its patients and employees, D-H reserves the right to require all patients, patients’ families, visitors, and all other persons on D-H property to comply with related state and federal nondiscrimination laws and statutes.

Positions covered by this policy include: Physicians/Fellows/Residents, Associate Providers, Non-Provider Staff, Temporary Staff, Per Diem/PRN Staff, Geisel (credentialed/privileged), Dartmouth College (credentialed/privileged), Volunteers, Travelers, Students, Externs, Vendors, Geisel (non-credentialed/non-privileged) and Dartmouth College (non-cred/non-priv).

The processes described in this policy do not preempt or supersede any legal procedures or remedies otherwise available to a victim of harassment under state or federal law.

Nothing in this policy provides any contractual rights, nor does anything in this policy alter or modify the employment-at-will relationship between D-H and its employees.

III. Definitions

Harassment: Harassment is a form of discrimination and includes unwelcome verbal, written, physical, or non-physical conduct that is based on a person’s protected status that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment or otherwise negatively affects an individual’s employment opportunities or benefits. Harassment can take many forms. Prohibited harassing conduct may include the following conduct directed at a person based on his or her protected status:

  • Epithets, nicknames, demeaning descriptions, slurs, or insults
  • Negative stereotyping, labeling, or categorizing a person
  • Threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts
  • Inappropriate jokes or “put downs”
  • Written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group that is posted or circulated by phone, email, voicemail, text message, social media, or similar.

Human Resources (HR): Employee Relations department. Employee Relations can be contacted by emailing employee.relations@hitchock.org or calling 603-653-1570.

Protected Status: A personal characteristic including race, color, age, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. Protected status is also referred to as “protected class” or “protected category”.

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, written, physical, and non-physical conduct based on sex 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 is used as a basis for an decisions affecting the individual or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's, work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or sexually offensive work environment. This provision applies to the target of such conduct, as well as individuals who may only observe such conduct.
  • While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct, which if unwelcome to any individual, may constitute sexual:
    • Physical conduct such as unwanted touching, pinching, poking, patting, grabbing, or brushing against another person’s body.
    • Unwanted sexual advances, propositions, or other sexual comments, such as sexually oriented gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, or comments about a person's sexuality or sexual experience, whether directed at a specific person or made in the presence of anyone else.
    • Sexually explicit emails or texts or other written communications.
    • Pressuring someone to go on a date.
    • 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 hire, compensation, reward, or to maintain any of the terms or conditions of employment.
    • 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.
    • Displaying pictures, posters, calendars, graffiti, objects, promotional materials, reading materials or other materials that are sexually suggestive, sexually demeaning, or pornographic, or bringing into the D-H work environment or possessing any such material to read, display, or view at work for non-work purposes.
    • Reading out loud or otherwise publicizing in the work environment materials that are in any way sexually revealing, sexually suggestive, sexually demeaning, or pornographic.
  • Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:
    • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
    • The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
    • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
    • The conduct does not have to take place on D-H premises.

  • Supervisor: any level of supervisory leadership, clinical or administrative, responsible for the employee and who has authority to conduct tangible employment actions, specifically to hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer, or discipline.

    IV. Policy Statement

    • D-H is committed to providing a safe and collegial work environment in which all individuals are treated with mutual respect and dignity and that is free of unlawful discrimination and harassment of any kind. In keeping with this commitment, D-H will not tolerate harassment of any employee by any person, including any supervisor, co-worker, patient/client, visitor, or any other third party based on any protected status.
    • All employees, as well as any member of the D-H community, including but not limited to patients, patients’ families, visitors, vendors, and all other persons on D-H property are expected to comply with this policy and all state and federal non-discrimination laws and statutes.
      • Concerns related to violations of this policy should be reported as set forth below.
    • D-H may require that a person who has violated this policy leave the premises and may report him or her to law enforcement agencies. Conduct alleged to constitute harassment under this policy will be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated to the complainant and considering all the circumstances.
    • This policy shall not be interpreted to limit D-H’s authority to discipline or take remedial action for workplace conduct which D-H deems unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definition of unlawful harassment.
    • Violation of this policy, as determined by D-H, in its sole discretion, may result in disciplinary action up to an including termination.

    1. Reporting Allegations of Harassment
      • Employees subject to conduct that he or she feels is unwelcome are encouraged to let the person engaging in the conduct know, verbally or in writing, that the conduct is not welcome, is offensive, and must stop. The employee should maintain and provide to his or her supervisor or Employee Relations copies of this documentation or alert them to the incident. If the employee does not want to address the conduct his or herself or is not comfortable with the perpetrator’s response, the employee is encouraged to report this conduct to any of the following persons:
        • His or her supervisor or any other member of management
        • Human Resources: Employee.Relations@hitchcock.org or (603) 653-1570. If a member of Human Resources is alleged to have engaged in behavior in violation of this policy, employees should report the incident to the Office of General Counsel.
        • Compliance Hotline: (888) 422-2084
      • If an employee believes that he or she is in immediate danger, he or she contacts D-H Security (603- 650-7896) or local law enforcement at 911.

    2. Employee and Supervisor Responsibilities Regarding Reporting Harassment
      • All employees, and particularly members of management, which includes without limitation all administrative and clinical supervisors, are responsible for keeping the work environment free of harassment. This includes complying with all D-H policies with respect to personal and professional conduct.
      • D-H urges the prompt reporting of complaints. If a supervisor receives information regarding harassment, the supervisor is obligated to report the harassment immediately to HR by emailing Employee.Relations@hitchcock.org or calling (603) 653-1570.
      • Any employee who becomes aware of an incident of harassment or possible harassment, whether by witnessing the incident or being told of it, must promptly report it to the persons identified above. Leaders receiving a complaint must forward the complaint to Employee Relations by emailing or calling Employee.Relations@hitchcock.org or (603) 653-1570.
      • An employee who knowingly submits a false or frivolous claim of harassment may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

    3. Investigation
      • Once D-H becomes aware of an alleged violation of this policy, Human Resources or its designee will promptly investigate the matter, regardless of whether alleged victim or complainant wants D-H to do so.
      • All staff members, whether complainant, witness or the subject of the investigation are required to be truthful, accurate, and cooperative throughout the investigation. D-H seeks to conduct a thorough investigation, refusal to participate in the investigation may result in disciplinary action.
      • Depending on the outcome of the investigation, D-H will take appropriate remedial action. Such action may include, but is not limited to, corrective action, up to and including immediate termination of employment.

    4. Limits to Confidentiality
      • While D-H strives to share information on a strict need-to-know basis and to conduct the investigation as discretely as possible, the identity of the complainant and nature of the complaint may be revealed to witnesses and the individual who is the subject of the investigation. As a result, D-H cannot guarantee that investigations and the information D-H uncovers will remain confidential.

    5. Non-Retaliation
      • D-H prohibits retaliation against an individual who reports harassment or is involved in any way with an investigation or resolution of a harassment complaint. Any employee who has had a complaint addressed through this policy or has participated in an investigation must immediately make a further complaint to the persons identified above if the employee is the further subject of retaliation or intimidation, or if the harassment recurs. Retaliation may include, but is not limited to, actions such as:
        • 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, or aided in the investigation of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.
        • Intentionally pressuring, falsely denying, lying about, or otherwise covering up or attempting to cover up conduct such as that described in any item above.
        • Employee-to-employee isolation, ridicule, intimidation, “silent treatment,” or embarrassment.
        • Encouraging others to retaliate.

    6. Other Information
      • Other resources for discussing harassment issues are the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights at (603) 271-2767 or humanrights@nhsa.state.nh.us, the Vermont Human Rights Commission at (802) 828-2480, or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at (800) 669-4000 or info@eeoc.gov.
      • Questions regarding this policy should be directed to Employee Relations at (603) 653-1570 or employee.relations@hitchcock.org.

    V. References

    Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Regulations: 29 C.F.R. Part 1604.11

    New Hampshire RSA 354-A:7

    D-H Policy ID: 457