Anti-Harassment Policy

The Kalamazoo Public Library is committed to providing and sustaining a work and public service environment that is free from prohibited discrimination and harassment.  Discrimination or harassment on the basis of any activity or characteristic protected by applicable law, which include race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, veteran status, disability, height, weight, familial status, and marital status is prohibited.

The library will not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment of any kind by or directed at KPL personnel, contractors, vendors, patrons or any other person. Unlawful discrimination includes harassment on any of these bases that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or that creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment.  Through enforcement of this policy and by education of staff, the library will seek to prevent, correct and discipline behavior that violates this policy.  Individuals should promptly report any incidents of harassment they experience or observe, as well as any suspected retaliation related to a complaint to library administration or the human resources manager.  All complaints of unlawful harassment will be handled in as discreet and confidential a manner as is possible under the circumstances.  Every report of perceived harassment will be investigated and corrective action will be taken where appropriate.  Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.

The library will not tolerate retaliation against any employees or other person(s) who in good faith reports a violation or perceived violation of this policy, or retaliation against any employee or other person who participates in any investigations as a witness or otherwise. 

Definitions

Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, veteran status, disability, height, weight, familial status, and marital status. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. 

Forms of Harassment

Verbal:  Oral or written communications (to include postings to social media sites whether or not associated or affiliated with KPL) that contain offensive name-calling, jokes, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threats. This includes comments or jokes that are distasteful or targeted at individuals or groups based on age, disability, marital status, national origin, race or color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Nonverbal:  Conduct such as staring, leering and giving inappropriate gifts; physical conduct such as assault or unwanted touching.  Visual images such as derogatory or offensive pictures, cartoons, drawings or gestures.  Such prohibited images include those in hard copy and electronic form. 

Sexual Harassment

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

  • 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 does not refer to behavior or occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior that is unwelcome, that is personally offensive, that lowers morale and therefore interferes with work effectiveness. Sexual harassment may take different forms.

Verbal: Oral or written communications (to include postings to social media sites whether or not associated or affiliated with KPL) that contain sexual innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, lewd remarks, threats. Requests for any type of sexual favor (this includes repeated, unwelcome requests for dates). Verbal abuse or "kidding" that is oriented toward a prohibitive form of harassment, including that which is sex oriented and considered unwelcome.

Nonverbal: 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 and notes, facsimiles, email, photos, text messages, Internet postings, etc., that is sexual in nature.

Physical: Unwelcome, unwanted physical contact, including but not limited to touching, tickling, pinching, patting, brushing up against, hugging, cornering, kissing, fondling; forced sexual intercourse or assault. 

Complaint Resolution Process

KPL encourages individuals who believe they are being harassed or have experienced discrimination in any form to firmly and promptly notify the offender that his/her behavior is unwelcome.

The library recognizes that such a communication may not be possible and has established a complaint resolution process. Any person electing to utilize this process will be treated courteously, the problem handled swiftly and as confidentially as feasible in light of the need to take appropriate corrective action, and the registering of a complaint will in no way be used against the individual nor will it have an adverse impact on the individual's employment status. While reporting such incidents may be a difficult personal experience, allowing harassment activities to continue will most certainly lead to less desirable outcomes. For that reason, individuals are strongly urged to utilize this process.

An individual who feels harassed, discriminated or retaliated against may initiate the complaint process by reporting the incident to their supervisor or human resources manager.  The complainant (the individual making the complaint) will then be asked to submit a written and signed complaint with the HR manager utilizing the Discrimination & Harassment Complaint form (on myKPL).   No formal action will be taken against any person under this policy unless a written and signed complaint is on file containing sufficient details to allow the HR manager to determine if the policy may have been violated. If a supervisor or manager becomes aware that harassment or discrimination is occurring, either from personal observation or as a result of an coming forward, the supervisor or manager should immediately report it to the HR manager.

Upon receiving the complaint, or being advised by a supervisor or manager that violation of this policy may be occurring, the HR manager will:

  1. Initiate the investigation to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that the alleged violation of this policy occurred.
  2. Notify the person(s) charged [hereafter referred to as "respondent(s)”] of a complaint.
  3. During the investigation, the HR manager, together with other management employee(s), will interview the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses to determine whether the alleged conduct occurred.
  4. Within 15 business days of the complaint being filed (or the matter being referred to the HR manager), the HR manager or other person conducting the investigation will conclude the investigation and submit a report of his or her findings to the library director.
  5. If it is determined that harassment or discrimination in violation of the library’s policy has occurred, the HR 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; (d) The quality of the evidence (first-hand knowledge, credible corroboration etc.).
  6. If the investigation is inconclusive or it is determined that there has been no harassment or discrimination in violation of this policy, but some potentially problematic conduct is revealed, preventative action may be taken.
  7. Within five (5) days after the investigation is concluded, the HR manager will meet with the complainant and the respondent separately in order to notify them in person of the findings of the investigation and to inform them of the action being recommended by the HR manager.
  8. The complainant and the respondent may submit statements to the HR manager challenging the factual basis of the findings. Any such statement must be submitted no later than five (5) working days after the meeting with the HR manager in which the findings of the investigation is discussed.
  9. Within 10 days from the date the HR manager meets with the complainant and respondent, the library will review the investigative report and any statements submitted by the complainant or respondent, discuss results of the investigation with the HR manager and other management staff as may be appropriate and decide what action, if any, will be taken. The HR manager will report the library’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 library’s decision will be in writing and will include finding of fact and a statement for or against disciplinary action. If disciplinary is to be taken, the sanction will be stated. 

False Accusations

If an investigation results in a finding that the complainant falsely accused another of discrimination or harassment knowingly or in a malicious manner, the complainant will be subject to appropriate remedial action up to and including possible termination.

Appeals Process

If either the complainant or respondent involved in a discrimination or harassment investigation is dissatisfied with the manner in which the issue is being handled, timeliness, or the outcome or resolution, that individual may appeal the decision. Written comments should be submitted to the library director 10 days from the date of the library’s written decision.


  • Policy adopted January 26, 2004
  • Revisions adopted December 14, 2009 and March 25, 2013