Workplace Harassment

Harassment in the workplace can be seen by some as a harmless joke, locker-room talk between friends, or even as a compliment; although to others it can be something much different.  As defined by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commision), harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.  The EEOC goes farther to describe when and how harassment becomes illegal in the workplace.  

Harassment 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 abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.

Sticking Points

  • Offensive behavior is in the mind of the observer.
  • Harassment is repeated, unwanted behavior
  • If you don’t like it, ask the offender to stop
  • Intent is not necessary


Watch the below video

Whitewater Fire Department, Inc Harassment Policy

  • <<Insert Harassment Policy Here>>

We are committed to preventing discrimination and harassment in all aspects of our business.  We will take all reasonable measures to prevent discrimination and harassment.  However, if we are not aware that discrimination or harassment is taking place, we cannot address the situation.

If you experience conduct that may violate the Whitewater Fire Department, Inc Harassment Policy, or you observe or become aware of any conduct that may violate this policy by being discriminatory, harassing or retaliatory, you should immediately report the violation to any officer of rank within the Whitewater Fire Department.  If you believe an officer of rank may be violating this policy, you do not have to report the violation to that person.  You may report the possible violation to another officer of higher rank within the department. 

The Whitewater Fire Department will make every reasonable effort to maintain the confidentiality of all parties involved in any investigation.  We will disclose information to only those having a need to know in order to facilitate the investigation or resolution.

For more information on the Whitewater Fire Department, Inc’s Harassment Policy, contact the Fire Chief of Whitewater Fire Department, Inc.