Objective

Academy at the Farm strives to create and maintain a work environment in which people are treated with dignity, decency and respect. The environment of the company should be characterized by mutual trust and the absence of intimidation, oppression and exploitation. Employees should be able to work and learn in a safe, yet stimulating atmosphere. The accomplishment of this goal is essential to the mission of the company. For that reason, Academy at the Farm will not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment of any kind. Through enforcement of this policy and by education of employees, the company will seek to prevent, correct and discipline behavior that violates this policy.

All employees, regardless of their positions, are covered by and are expected to comply with this policy and to take appropriate measures to ensure that prohibited conduct does not occur. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any employee who violates this policy. Based on the seriousness of the offense, disciplinary action may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension or termination of employment.

Prohibited Conduct Under This Policy

Academy at the Farm, in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local anti-discrimination and harassment laws and regulations, enforces this policy in accordance with the following definitions and guidelines:

Discrimination

It is a violation of Academy at the Farm’s policy to discriminate in the provision of employment opportunities, benefits or privileges; to create discriminatory work conditions; or to use discriminatory evaluative standards in employment if the basis of that discriminatory treatment is, in whole or in part, the person’s race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information or marital status.

Discrimination of this kind may also be strictly prohibited by a variety of federal, state and local laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This policy is intended to comply with the prohibitions stated in these anti-discrimination laws.

Discrimination in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including termination.

Harassment

Academy at the Farm prohibits harassment if any kind, including sexual harassment, and will take appropriate and immediate action in response to complaints or knowledge of violations of this policy. For purposes of this policy, harassment is any verbal or physical conduct designed to threaten, intimidate or coerce an employee, co-worker or any person working for or on behalf of Academy at the Farm. Verbal taunting (including racial and ethnic slurs) that, in the employee’s opinion, impairs his or her ability to perform his or her job is included in the definition of harassment.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is prohibited under Academy at the Farm’s anti-harassment policy. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature . . . when . . . submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions . . . or such conduct has the purpose or effect of . . . creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Courteous, mutually respectful, pleasant, non-coercive interactions between employees, including men and women, that are appropriate in the workplace and acceptable to and welcomed by both parties are not considered to be harassment, including sexual harassment.

Retaliation

No hardship, loss, benefit or penalty may be imposed on an employee in response to:

  • Filing or responding to a bona fide complaint of discrimination or harassment.

  • Appearing as a witness in the investigation of a complaint.

  • Serving as an investigator of a complaint.

Retaliation or attempted retaliation in response to lodging a complaint or invoking the complaint process is a violation of this policy. Any person who is found to have violated this aspect of the policy will be subject to sanctions up to and including termination of employment.

Complaint Process

Academy at the Farm will courteously treat any person who invokes this complaint procedure, and the company will handle all complaints swiftly and confidentially to the extent possible in light of the need to take appropriate corrective action. Lodging a complaint will in no way be used against the employee or have an adverse impact on the individual’s employment status. Because of the damaging nature of harassment to the victims and to the entire workforce, aggrieved employees are strongly urged to use this procedure. However, filing groundless or malicious complaints is an abuse of this policy and will be treated as a violation.

Confidentiality

During the complaint process, the confidentiality of the information received, the privacy of the individuals involved and the wishes of the complaining person will be protected to as great a degree as is possible. The expressed wishes of the complaining person for confidentiality will be considered in the context of the company’s legal obligation to act on the charge and the right of the charged party to obtain information. In most cases, however, confidentiality will be strictly maintained by the company and those involved in the investigation. In addition, any notes or documents written by or received by the person(s) conducting the investigation will be kept confidential to the extent possible and according to any existing state or federal law.

Complaint procedure

Academy at the Farm has established the following procedure for lodging a complaint of harassment, discrimination or retaliation. The company will treat all aspects of the procedure confidentially to the extent reasonably possible.

  1. An individual who feels harassed, discriminated or retaliated against may initiate the complaint process by filing a complaint in writing with Academy at the Farm’s office manager. No formal action will be taken against any person under this policy unless the office manager has received a written and signed complaint containing sufficient details to determine if the policy may have been violated. The complainant (the employee making the complaint) may obtain the complaint form from the office manager. If a supervisor or manager becomes aware that harassment or discrimination is occurring, either from personal observation or as a result of an employee’s coming forward, the supervisor or manager should immediately report it to the office manager.

  2. Upon receiving a complaint or being advised by a supervisor or manager that violation of this policy may be occurring, the office manager will notify the company and review the complaint with the company’s legal counsel.

  3. Within five working days of receiving the complaint, the office manager will notify the person(s) charged [hereafter referred to as “respondent(s)”] of a complaint and initiate the investigation to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that the alleged violation of this policy occurred.

  4. During the investigation, the office manager, together with legal counsel or other management employees, will interview the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses to determine whether the alleged conduct occurred.

  5. Within 15 business days of the complaint being filed (or the matter being referred to the office manager), the office manager or other person conducting the investigation will conclude the investigation and submit a written report of his or her findings to the company.

  6. If it is determined that harassment or discrimination in violation of this policy has occurred, the office manager will recommend appropriate disciplinary action. The appropriate action will depend on the following factors: a) the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the conduct; b) prior complaints made by the complainant; c) prior complaints made against the respondent; and d) the quality of the evidence (e.g., first-hand knowledge, credible corroboration).

  7. If the investigation is inconclusive or if it is determined that there has been no violation of policy but potentially problematic conduct may have occurred, the office manager may recommend appropriate preventive action.

  8. Within five days after the investigation is concluded, the office manager will meet with the complainant and the respondent separately, notify them of the findings of the investigation, and inform them of the action being recommended.

  9. The complainant and the respondent may submit statements to the office manager challenging the factual basis of the findings. Any such statement must be submitted no later than five working days after the meeting with the office manager in which the findings of the investigation are discussed.

  10. Within 10 days from the date the office manager meets with the complainant and respondent, the company will review the investigative report and any statements submitted by the complainant or respondent, discuss results of the investigation with the office manager and other management staff as may be appropriate, and decide what action, if any, will be taken. The office manager will report the company’s decision to the complainant, the respondent and the appropriate management assigned to the department(s) in which the complainant and the respondent work. The company’s decision will be in writing and will include findings of fact and a statement for or against disciplinary action. If disciplinary action is to be taken, the respondent will be informed of the nature of the discipline and how it will be executed.

 

Alternative legal remedies

Nothing in this policy may prevent the complainant or the respondent from pursuing formal legal remedies or resolution through local, state or federal agencies or the courts.

Anti-Harassment