Harassment, Discrimination, Violence, and Retaliation Policy

Harassment, Discrimination, Violence, and Retaliation Policy

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by the USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a Complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Harassment, Discrimination, Violence, and Retaliation Policy

*The former Non-Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedure and the Workplace Violence Policy and Procedure were incorporated into this one policy and procedure then dissolved.

Crossnore Communities for Children believes that all staff, clients, families and other stakeholders are entitled to work and live in a safe environment free of harassment, discrimination and violence.  Furthermore, Crossnore commits to creating and maintaining a work environment in which all people are treated with dignity, decency and respect, free from intimidation, oppression and exploitation. Crossnore will not tolerate acts of unlawful discrimination, violence, or harassment of any kind.

Crossnore affords equal employment opportunities to employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability status, genetic information, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

All staff, clients and families and stakeholders regardless of their positions, are covered by and are expected to comply with this policy and to take appropriate measures to ensure that inappropriate conduct does not occur and are individually responsible for helping to create a safe environment. Any staff member who has direct knowledge of discrimination, harassment or violence that has occurred is obligated to inform their direct supervisor or Human Resources.

Disciplinary action may be taken against any staff who violates this policy. Based on the seriousness of the offense and the illegal nature of these activities, disciplinary action may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension, or termination of employment.

Directors, managers and supervisors who knowingly allow or tolerate discrimination, harassment or retaliation, including the failure to immediately report such misconduct to Human Resources (HR), are in violation of this policy and subject to discipline.

Through implementation of this policy and by education of employees, Crossnore will seek to prevent, correct and discipline behavior that violates this policy.

Crossnore commits to having a defined process by which all alleged violations of this policy will be promptly investigated and responded to in a timely manner.

Crossnore defines terms below:

  • Staff: Staff shall include both paid employees (paid through W2’s), independent contractual staff (paid through 1099’s), vendors, volunteers and interns.
  • Stakeholders: Community partners, or any other persons with whom staff, clients and families have contact as representatives of Crossnore Communities for Children.
  • Violence (including workplace violence): any abuse, threat, intimidation or assault that occurs within a setting connected with Crossnore. Violence can be physical or verbal and may be initiated by anyone (including but not limited to current and former employees, volunteers, clients, family members, vendors, contractors, etc.).  This definition includes all violations of physical, emotional, social, moral and cultural safety.  Examples include but are not limited to: physically harming another, shoving, pushing, harassing, intimidating, bullying, cyberbullying, inappropriate activities/use of social media, teasing, coercing, brandishing weapons, psychological traumas such as threats or talk of engaging in those activities, rumors, obscene phone calls/messages, stalking, swearing or shouting.
  • Discrimination: Treating staff, clients, families and other stakeholders differently, or less favorably based on factors such as the person’s race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information or marital status. Examples of areas where this can occur in the workplace are: provision of employment opportunities (hiring, termination); benefits or privileges (e.g. salaries, attendance at trainings, meetings); creating discriminatory work conditions; or to use discriminatory evaluative standards (e.g. performance reviews). 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 of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This policy is intended to comply with the prohibitions stated in these anti-discrimination laws.
  • Harassment: 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 Crossnore.

The following examples of harassment are intended to be guidelines and are not exclusive when determining whether there has been a violation of this policy:

  • Verbal harassment includes comments that are offensive or unwelcome regarding a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, appearance, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status or other protected status, including epithets, slurs and negative stereotyping.
  • Nonverbal harassment includes distribution, display or discussion of any written or graphic material that ridicules, denigrates, insults, belittles or shows hostility, aversion or disrespect toward an individual or group because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability status, genetic information, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
  • Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is not tolerated by Crossnore. Crossnore has adopted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) definition of, 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.”

Sexual harassment occurs when unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature:

  • Is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment.
  • Is used as a basis for an employment decision.
  • Unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or otherwise offensive environment.

Sexual harassment may take different forms. The following examples of sexual harassment are intended to be guidelines and are not exclusive when determining whether there has been a violation of this policy:

  • Verbal sexual harassment includes innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, lewd remarks and threats; requests for any type of sexual favor (this includes repeated, unwelcome requests for dates); and verbal abuse or “kidding” that is oriented toward a prohibitive form of harassment, including that which is sexual in nature and unwelcome.
  • Nonverbal sexual harassment includes the distribution, display or discussion of any written or graphic material, including calendars, posters and cartoons that are sexually suggestive or show hostility toward an individual or group because of sex; suggestive or insulting sounds; leering, staring, whistling, obscene gestures, content in letters, notes, facsimiles, e-mails, photos, text messages, tweets and Internet postings, or other forms of communication that are sexual in nature and offensive.
  • Physical sexual harassment includes unwelcome, unwanted physical contact, including touching, tickling, pinching, patting, brushing up against, hugging, cornering, kissing, fondling, and forced sexual intercourse or assault.
  • 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.

Lodging a bona fide complaint will in no way be used against the employee or have adverse impact on the individual’s employment status. However, filing groundless or malicious complaints is an abuse of this policy and will be treated as a violation.

Any person who is found to have violated this aspect of the policy will be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.

  • Confidentiality:  All complaints and investigations are treated confidentially to the extent possible, and information is disclosed strictly on a need-to-know basis. The identity of the complainant may be revealed to the parties involved during the investigation, and Human Resources will take adequate steps to ensure that the complainant is protected from retaliation during and after the investigation. All information pertaining to a complaint or investigation under this policy will be maintained in secure files within the HR department.

The Board of Trustees of Crossnore Communities for Children adopted this policy on January 1, 2017 and revised it on August 27, 2021.

For more information, please call (828) 733-4305 or email info@crossnore.org

Harassment, Discrimination, Violence, and Retaliation Procedure

*The former Non-Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedure and the Workplace Violence Policy and Procedure were incorporated into this one policy and procedure then dissolved.

Crossnore encourages the prompt reporting of all incidents of discrimination, harassment, violence, or retaliation. Prompt and early reporting/intervention will allow for rapid action to be taken before relationships become irreparably damaged.

Anyone can report an incident, not just the victim (this includes those who have observed incidents).

Incidents can be reported to any of the following:

  •   Supervisor
  •   Human Resources
  •   Chief Operating Officer (Executive Sponsor of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, and Human Resources)
  •   CEO

When the CEO is the subject of suspected violations of this policy, the report should be made to the Chair of the Board. Trustees who suspect harassment at any level should contact the Chair of the Board directly.

It is preferable for all incidents to be reported in writing.  In the event that the individual (complainant) is unable to do this, it is the responsibility of those hearing about the incidents first hand to create a report of the incident, and to ask the reporting individual (complainant) to sign the statement. Reports should include details of the situation, behavior and impact to the individual.

  • Reports of harassment, discrimination, violence or retaliation may be submitted on a confidential basis.  Reports of harassment, discrimination, violence or retaliation will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.
  • This initial report should be sent immediately to Human Resources.
  • Human Resources will partner with involved parties to create a safety plan. This may include separating the individuals directly involved in the claim, through transfer to another work area/schedule or by being placed on administrative leave.
  • Human Resources will notify the Chief Operating Officer of the incident.
  • Human Resources will promptly investigate any reported allegations of harassment, discrimination, violence or retaliation. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved, and where necessary with any individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge.
  • Upon conclusion of the investigation, Human Resources will prepare a written report of their findings. If the investigation determines a violation of policy has occurred, Human Resources will recommend an appropriate course of disciplinary action.  A summary report will be shared with the Chief of the division(s) included in the claim, who reserves the right to review with the Executive team.
  • The Chief of the division(s) included in the claim will review the report, and will decide what action will be taken based on the recommendations.
  • Once a final decision is made, Human Resources will notify the claimant and the respondent that the investigation has been concluded.
  • If concerns remain, or individuals are not satisfied with results, active employees may refer to the Staff Grievance Policy and Procedure.