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You are here Parents School Policy on Sexual Harrassment

Our Lady of Lourdes National School is fully committed to creating an environment within the school that is free of sexual harassment and which promotes an environment in which the dignity of men and women is respected.

The Board of Management recognises that sexual harassment can seriously damage working and social conditions for staff and has prepared this policy document to promote an environment which is free from sexual harassment and to clearly outline behaviour which would be considered as inappropriate or unacceptable.

While all staff are responsible for creating a work environment free of threat, harassment and intimidation, special responsibility lies with the Principal and Board of Management to ensure that proper standards are maintained.

This policy is not intended to stifle normal healthy relationships among staff of the school but rather is intended to promote a healthy working environment.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Our school sees sexual harassment as including all unwelcome and sexually, or otherwise on gender ground, offensive, humiliating or intimidating actions involving acts of physical intimacy, spoken words, gestures, or the production, display or circulation of written material or pictures, or requests for sexual favours.
Sexual harassment may be by a parent/guardian or business contact in addition to other staff members.
The Employment Equality Act provides that different treatment of a person in the workplace or in the course of employment, because of sexual harassment, whether in the workplace, in the course of employment or outside the workplace, constitutes discrimination on the gender ground. (It should be noted that for the purposes of the civil service procedures sexual harassment includes same sex sexual harassment.) Same sex sexual harassment will, if proven, constitute a disciplinary offence.
It refers to conduct of a sexual nature which is unwanted by the recipient. It is behaviour which is uninvited, unreciprocated, one-sided, imposed. It is the unwanted nature of sexual harassment which distinguishes it from behaviour which is welcome and reciprocal. A single incident of sufficiently outrageous conduct will suffice - it doesn't necessarily have to be repeated. It should also be noted that it is the impact of the conduct on the recipient and not the intent of the perpetrator that determines whether the behaviour is acceptable.

Sexual harassment may occur between men and women or between members of the same sex. The following are examples of behaviour covered by this policy which may be considered as inappropriate/unacceptable behaviour.

Physical
o Unwelcome physical contacts such as pinching, patting or unnecessary touching
o Sexual assault or rape (any form of sexual violence is a criminal offence)
Verbal
o Unwelcome sexual advances
o Demands for sexual favours
o Sexual suggestive jokes, remarks or insult or innuendo
o Unwelcome pressure for social contact
Non-Verbal/Visual
o Display of pornographic or sexually suggestive pictures and objects
o Offensive gestures, leering, whistling

What you should do if you are being sexually harassed
o Keep a record of individual incidents as they occur.
o Make the harasser aware that the behaviour is unwelcome and offensive. If it is too difficult or intimidating to approach the harasser yourself, the approach could be made on your behalf by a senior staff member or your INTO representative.
o If the problem continues or if it is not appropriate to resolve the problem informally (for example, because of the severity of the harassment) it will be necessary to use the formal complaints procedure.
o A formal complaint should be processed through the Chairperson Board of Management. Alternatively you are free to raise the matter with another member of management who, for example, may be of the same sex or with your INTO representative who may raise the matter on your behalf.
o On receipt of a formal written complaint a formal investigation process will be initiated.
o All complaint's of sexual harassment will be treated seriously and will be investigated promptly and in a confidential manner by the Board of Management.

Disciplinary Action
It is the policy of the Our Lady of Lourdes National School to make every effort to provide an environment within the school free from sexual harassment. Appropriate disciplinary action, which may include dismissal for a serious offence, will be taken against any employee who is proven to have violated this policy.

Employees shall be protected from intimidation, victimisation or discrimination for filing a complaint or assisting in an investigation.

Retaliating against an employee for complaining about sexual harassment is considered a disciplinary offence. Equally a malicious complaint will be treated as misconduct.

Where disciplinary action is taken following a complaint and subsequent investigation, the harasser may appeal the action to the Board of Management.

References:
The Employment Equality Act, 1998 Section 23