GENERAL POLICY STATEMENT
The intent of the policy is to provide employees and volunteers of the Monmouth County Democrats (“MCD”) with an environment that is free of unlawful discrimination, bias, harassment and intimidation. Actions, words, jokes, or comments based on an individual’s race, color, creed, religion, gender and gender identity or expression (including transgender status), national origin, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic will not be tolerated.
The MCD will not tolerate harassment or discrimination by anyone in the workplace, its representatives nor its volunteers, whether at the MCD offices, at events sponsored by the MCD, at any off-site MCD campaign or social function or at any facility where MCD business is being conducted and discussed.
PARTIES WHO ARE OBLIGATED UNDER THE POLICY
- Candidates: Anyone running for elected office who is or has been supported by MCD;
- Current elected officials who are affiliated as Democrat;
- Monmouth County Municipal Chairs;
- All employees of MCD;
- All members of the MCD Executive Committee;
- Volunteers who spend 5 hours a day or more working on a campaign.
The MCD is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, and vendors.
The MCD does not, and shall not, discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender and gender identity or expression (including transgender status), national origin, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services.
The MCD is an equal opportunity employer. The MCD will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the basis of race, color, religion, gender and gender identity or expression (including transgender status), national origin, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic.
Harassment shall be defined as any unwanted contact, behavior or conduct committed on multiple occasions.
OTHER TYPES OF HARASSMENT
Unlawful harassment based on protected characteristics other than gender and gender identity is also prohibited. Harassment based on categories other than gender and gender identity can be defined as verbal or physical.
Conduct that is intended to denigrate or show hostility or aversion toward a protected group or against an individual because of membership in such a group, when that conduct:
- Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment;
- Has the purpose of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance and;
- Otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment opportunities.
Conduct that constitutes unlawful harassment based on an individual’s legally protected characteristics includes, but is not limited to:
- Epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping;
- Threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts based on an individual’s membership in a protected class;
- Denigrating jokes, cartoons, or pictures based on legally protected characteristics, and;
- Display or circulation in the workplace of written or graphic material (including e-mail) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group based on a protected category.
Bullying can constitute harassment that is prohibited by law. Bullying includes abusive words or actions that make an employee feel uncomfortable, threatened, or intimidated, and will not be tolerated by the MCD. For example:
- Threatening or intentionally intimidation (i.e., use of violence or blackmail);
- Hurling personal insults, using obscene gestures and using offensive nicknames, and;
- Publicly humiliating someone in any way (i.e., spreading rumors or hazing).
The employees and volunteers of the MCD are prohibited from harassing other employees and volunteers based on that individual’s sex, gender, or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment means any harassment based on someone’s sex, gender, or sexual orientation. It includes harassment that is not sexual in nature (for example, offensive remarks about an individual’s sex, gender or sexual orientation), as well as any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any other conduct of a sexual nature, when any of the following is true:
- 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 by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, and;
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
The MCD will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment, regardless of whether it:
- Verbal (for example, epithets, derogatory statements, slurs, sexually-related comments or jokes, unwelcome sexual advances, or requests for sexual favors);
- Physical contact (for example, assault or inappropriate physical contact);
- Visual (for example, displaying sexually suggestive posters, cartoons or drawings, sending inappropriate adult-themed gifts, leering or making sexual gestures);
- Online (for example, derogatory statements or sexually suggestive postings in any social media platform including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.).
The above list is illustrative only, and not exhaustive. No form of sexual harassment will be tolerated.
Allegations of misconduct (defined above) shall be reported to the Executive Director or a designated member of the Executive Committee of the Monmouth County Democrats. Allegations are to be taken seriously. Within 24 hours, the Executive Committee shall be notified of a report of misconduct within the party. The Executive Director shall contact all who are involved in the incident to notify them of the investigation. There shall be no retaliatory acts against the person who made the report, such as losing a position of power or losing support for a campaign.
The report shall be handed off to an investigator. Our recommendation is either a hired outside firm or volunteer with experience in this area (volunteer would need to be covered by liability insurance by MCD). The investigator shall be someone who is unbiased, such as an arbitrator or HR firm, with no personal or professional relationship with the MCD, the person who made the report, or the person being investigated. The investigator should not be an attorney retained by the MCD, as it would create an attorney-client relationship and may cause an appearance of bias. Investigations will be completed no later than 10 days following the initial report. All investigations shall be conducted promptly, confidentially and with sensitivity.
The Monmouth County Democrats have a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination, harassment and/or violence of any kind. Any member, staff, volunteer or candidate for office as a Democrat who is found, after appropriate investigation, to have violated this policy or to have observed this behavior and ignored or tolerated it may be subject to dismissal or loss of party support.
If the complainant wishes the behavior to be addressed informally without an investigation, a meeting shall be set between designated members of the Executive Committee and the accused to notify them of the action in question and present consequences for continuation of the behavior.
A database shall be kept of all reports, both formal and informal, to document instances of reporting. The document shall include the accused, the complainant, the date of the report, the action in question, and the result.
If the results of an investigation indicate that an executive committee member has engaged in sexual or other harassment or retaliation, he or she shall be immediately removed from the Executive Committee.
If the results of an investigation indicate that a volunteer or program participant has engaged in sexual or other discrimination or harassment or retaliation in connection with the operations and/or activities of the MCD, that person shall be subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of the volunteer relationship or the ability to participate in future programs, events or activities of the MCD.
If a situation occurs in which and Executive Committee Member or a volunteer is accused of discrimination, harassment or misconduct apart from their work as a volunteer with the MCD, the Chair of the Executive Committee, Executive Director or General Counsel should be notified immediately. Often, the MCD will not know all the details in a matter and are made to cast judgment based on what information is made public and what allegations are brought to its attention.
The Chair of the Executive Committee, Executive Director, in consultation with legal counsel, will make a recommendation to the Executive Committee about whether the situation requires the temporary or permanent removal of the volunteer from the MCD, or any other political organization for which the person represents the MCD. The decision could take one of three forms: temporary removal from a committee, permanent removal from a committee, or no change in the relationship.
A volunteer may be taken temporarily off one of our committees if there is a pending external investigation regarding a matter that is deemed to cause harm to the MCD. A person may be held in this temporary status indefinitely on a case by case basis until it is decided that the volunteer may return to the committee or be removed permanently. The decision to permanently remove a volunteer from a committee will depend on the outcome or the external investigation, the volunteer’s actions, and examination of whether the relationship would cause perceived damage to the MCD.
If the decision is made to alter the relationship with a volunteer of the Monmouth County Democrats, the Chair of the Executive Committee will notify the person. Further action will be taken to remove that person’s name from all active official lists including on our website and database to ensure no further invitations and solicitations are sent to this person going forward.
If the decision is made to continue the relationship, no further action is needed unless the decision is made to reinstate an active volunteer after he/she has been notified of being temporarily removed. In this case, the volunteer would be notified of reinstatement by the Chair of the Executive Committee.