County to adopt new bias, harassment policy

April 15, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll commissioners are expected to adopt an updated county policy today on handling employee discrimination and harassment complaints.

The county is updating its policy in part because of 1991 U.S. Senate hearings when law professor Anita Hill testified that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her on the job, said Jimmie L. Saylor, Carroll's director of human resources and personnel services.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its compliance manual for handling complaints after the Senate hearings, Mrs. Saylor said.

Much of the language in Carroll's "Equal Employment Opportunity and Sexual Harassment Policy" comes from the EEOC manual, she said.

The new policy adds definitions of discrimination and harassment and outlines a more detailed procedure for investigating and resolving complaints.

Sexual harassment is considered a form of discrimination, the policy says.

Mrs. Saylor met with two of the commissioners Tuesday to discuss the policy, and they said they expect to adopt it at 11 a.m. today.

Current policy, called the "Equal Opportunity Policy," was written in 1986.

"The commissioners will not discriminate or tolerate discrimination by or against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of age, religion, gender, race, color, national origin or disability," the new policy reads.

The policy applies to the commissioners, county employees, contractual employees, members of county boards and commissions, and volunteers working on behalf of the commissioners.

The policy formalizes how the county already has been handling complaints, Mrs. Saylor said. In the past three years, the county has investigated three or four harassment complaints, she said.

"We feel if we do a good job here investigating and following through and taking action, employees won't feel a need to go to the EEOC," she said.

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