Affirmative Action Plan

Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Affirmative Action (AA) Plan
11351 Ulmerton Rd., Rm. 311-K Largo, FL 33778-1630 (727) 518-3202

Data Year: April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015 Plan Years: April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2020

Action Oriented Initiatives and Good Faith Efforts

As referenced throughout this plan, the equal employment opportunity and affirmative action initiatives and good faith efforts outlined below should be practiced throughout the Department, as they express FVF’s commitment to achieving our goals. The Department’s expectation of is that all of our members, but especially our leaders, will strive to make FVF a diverse and discrimination-free workplace that espouses the highest values of equality.

APPENDICES

FDVA Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The Florida Veterans Foundation (FVF) hereby affirms our commitment that all appointments; terminations; assignments; retentions; maintenance of status; shall be made without regard to an individual’s age; sex; race; color; gender; religion; creed; national origin; handicap; marital status; political affiliation; or disability, unless a specific requirement constitutes a bona fide occupational qualification. Other personnel matters, including but not limited to decisions regarding benefits; transfers; discipline; department-sponsored training; education; and social and recreational programs, will also be administered in accordance with equal opportunity requirements.

Any form of workplace discrimination is strictly prohibited. No member may be subjected to retaliation as a result of making a report; filing a complaint; testifying; assisting or participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing with regard to discrimination; or otherwise opposing any discriminatory practice prohibited by FDVA’s policy, state and federal law or regulation.

It is FDVA’s policy to investigate complaints of discrimination thoroughly and promptly. To the extent allowed by law, FDVA will keep complaints confidential. If an investigation confirms that unlawful discrimination has occurred, FDVA will promptly take corrective action. Such response may include a disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

A member who believes she or he has been discriminated against or subjected to retaliation has the right to file a complaint. Complaints may be filed with FDVA’s Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, Human Resources Office, 11351 Ulmerton Road, Suite 311-K, Largo, Florida 33778-1630. Complaints may also be filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

FDVA Discrimination and Harassment Policy

STATE OF FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES SECTION Human Resources

NUMBER 5030.101

EFFECTIVE DATE: 1 May 2015

SUBJECT: Discrimination and Harassment (Including Sexual Harassment)

APPROVED BY: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

I. AUTHORITY AND REFERENCES Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1992 Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Section 110.105, Florida Statutes, Employment Policy of the State Section 110.1221, Florida Statutes, Sexual Harassment Section 760.10, Florida Statutes, Unlawful Employment Activities Rule 60L-36.004, Florida Administrative Code, Sexual Harassment (Attachment A)

II. POLICY

This policy is established to ensure all members of the Florida Veterans Foundation (FVF) have a clear understanding of conduct that constitutes discrimination and harassment, and the consequences of engaging in this prohibited conduct. All appointments, terminations, assignments and maintenance of status, compensation, privileges, and other terms and conditions of membership with the FVF are made without regard to age, sex, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, or handicap, except when a specific sex, age, or physical requirement constitutes a bona fide occupational qualification necessary to proper and efficient administration. FDVA promotes a work environment free from harassment that may detract from an employee’s ability to perform their job. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

III. DEFINITIONS

A. Discrimination: differential treatment in conditions of employment based upon race, color, sex (including pregnancy), religion, national origin, age, disability, or marital status.

B. Harassment: offensive or unwelcome conduct based on race, color, sex (including pregnancy), religion, national origin, disability, or age, severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Examples include, but are not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.

C. Harassment as Retaliation: the law also prohibits harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying or participating in an investigation, proceeding or lawsuit under the Equal Employment Opportunity laws that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

D. Sexual Harassment: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature from any person directed towards or in the presence of any member or applicant when:

1. Submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s membership,

2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for membership decisions affecting such individual, or 3. 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.

E. Types of Sexual Harassment: There are two types of sexual harassment.

1. The first, Quid Pro Quo (something for something), occurs when the harasser is in a position of authority and uses that authority to seek sexual favors for job conditions or benefits such as: hiring, promotion, favorable performance evaluations, flexible schedules, no discipline, pay raises or any other privileges. The request for sexual favors may be stated or implied.

2. The second, Hostile Work Environment, occurs when the harasser exhibits hostile misconduct that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating or offensive work environment. The harasser may or may not be in a position of authority. A co-worker or non-member of the foundation, as well as a supervisor, may be the harasser in hostile environment sexual harassment.

3. Members are expected to refrain from engaging in intimidating or offensive conduct, and supervisors are expected to put a stop to this conduct when witnessed, regardless of whether an employee voices a concern about the conduct. There is no requirement that an employee ask for the conduct to “stop” (although employees are encouraged to ask for conduct to stop without fear of retaliation).

IV. EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIPS

A. FDVA strictly prohibits dating and sexual relationships between supervisors and subordinates.

B. Other relationships are permitted only if the members work in separate work units, work outside each other’s chain of command, and the relationship does not interfere with the operation of the workplace. These relationships should be reported to an immediate supervisor or human resources representative.

If you have any questions, please contact your supervisor, Human Resources or the FDVA General Counsel/Ethics Officer. Please also review FDVA’s Ethics Policy 5030.129, especially the prohibitions on Misuse of Public Position, Conflicts of Interest and Avoiding the Appearance of Impropriety, and Employment of Relatives.

C. Members who violate this policy or whose conduct interferes with the operation of the workplace may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the FVF.

IV. COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

A. Filing a Complaint – If you believe you are a victim of discrimination or harassment, you have the right to do any or all of the following:

1. A member confronted with discrimination or harassment is encouraged to ask the offending person to cease the offensive conduct immediately. In many cases, this will be sufficient to end the conduct.

2. Make a complaint to any supervisor within the FVF. The supervisor is then required to report the complaint to their supervisor and to the FDVA Inspector General immediately. The supervisor shall then take reasonable measures to separate the employee who made the complaint from the alleged perpetrator(s) of the discrimination or harassment, pending completion of the agency investigation (for example: temporarily reassigning the alleged perpetrator(s) to a different shift assignment). If appropriate, the supervisor shall request authority from their facility Administrator or Bureau Chief to place the alleged perpetrator(s) on administrative leave with pay pending completion of the agency investigation. The member who made the complaint must not be adversely affected by the separation or have any change in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment as a result of making a complaint.

3. A member who wishes to file a formal complaint of discrimination or harassment shall do so in writing. The complaint must be sent to the FDVA Inspector General at the address listed below. The attached Complaint Form (Attachment B) may be used. The complaint must be signed by the complainant and contain at least the following information:

a) The name, business address, and telephone number of the person filing the complaint;

b) The name of the person(s) who allegedly committed the act of discrimination or harassment and the alleged victim; and

c) A clear and concise statement of the facts, including pertinent dates, locations, witness (es) and other evidence in support of the complaint.

4. All complaints of discrimination or harassment can be filed electronically via the FDVA intranet (http://www.fdva.org/FORMS/IG/IG_form1.asp ) or faxed or mailed to the FDVA Inspector General:

Inspector General Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs 11351 Ulmerton Road, Suite 311-K Largo, Florida 33778-1630 Phone: (727) 518-3202, Ext.5613 Fax: (727) 518-3857

5. Any supervisory or managerial member who has knowledge of alleged discrimination or harassment shall immediately report the matter directly to the FDVA Inspector General. Failure to do so shall subject the supervisor to disciplinary action, in accordance with Rule 60L-36.004, Florida Administrative Code.

B. Investigation

1. Supervisors and managers should not investigate any allegations of discrimination or harassment themselves, but should immediately report all allegations of discrimination, harassment or improper conduct immediately to the FDVA Inspector General.

2. The FDVA Inspector General or assigned staff shall initiate prompt review of all complaints of discrimination or harassment. If the complaint does not contain all of the information required above, the complainant will be requested in writing to furnish the missing information.

3. All FVF members are required to take steps to protect the privacy of those involved during the review and any related investigation, to the extent feasible and permitted by law.

4. The FDVA Inspector General has the authority and discretion to investigate and recommend action on a complaint in the manner he or she considers appropriate, following applicable laws and best business practices. The FDVA Inspector General may investigate a complaint directly, or may request assistance from FDVA Division Directors to assign appropriate personnel to conduct or assist with conducting an investigation.

5. If, after review, it is determined that a complaint is not truly a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment, but is instead a general grievance, a dispute over discipline, or other concern, the FDVA Inspector General shall direct the complainant to the appropriate policy, and document this guidance.

6. The FDVA Inspector General or designee shall investigate complaints of discrimination or harassment, document the findings, and make recommendations for resolution to the appropriate Division Director and the FDVA Deputy Executive Director.

C. Resolution and Response

1. Resolution of a complaint may result in actions other than member discipline. Sometimes disputes are a result of a misunderstanding or a breakdown of communication, and can be resolved through efforts to improve communication or clarify expectations. Additional education, training, or review of FVF policies is sometimes warranted. Changes may need to be made to the work environment, conditions of membership, or work procedures. Sometimes it is sufficient that the offending employee apologize to the complainant, and ensure that the conduct is not repeated. All FVF members are encouraged to cooperate to create an office environment conducive to productive work.

2. Resolution and Response: The appropriate FVF Supervisor shall determine the appropriate resolution to the complaint. This may require the consensus of more than one Supervisor, depending upon the circumstances. The Supervisor, or their designee, shall implement the resolution, and prepare a written response to the complaint, using the Response to Discrimination or Harassment Complaint Form. The response shall be reviewed by the FDVA General Counsel prior to submission to the complainant.

3. The Supervisor or designee (usually the member’s direct supervisor) shall provide the written response to the complainant, and meet with the complainant to discuss the response, as appropriate.

4. The complainant shall be asked to indicate on the Response Form whether the matter has been satisfactorily resolved, provide comment, and sign the form. If the complainant is unwilling to sign, the designee shall write on the form that the complainant refused to sign, and the date and time the Response was provided to the complainant.

5. Note that the response process is similar to an exit interview, and the satisfaction of the complaining member (although desired) is not required.

D. Retention

The complaint and the resolution will be maintained by the Inspector General for the period proscribed by the state retention schedule for public documents.

V. DISCIPLINARY ACTION

A. Any member of the FVF who is found to have violated this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

B. Any member in a supervisory capacity who has actual knowledge of impermissible discrimination or harassment, or who tolerates the existence of a hostile work environment, and does not take corrective action or report the matter, shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

C. Any member, who knowingly files a false complaint of discrimination, or harassment against another member, shall be subject to disciplinary action.

D. It is prohibited to retaliate against any person who has in good faith filed a complaint, opposed a complaint, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding involving allegations of discrimination or harassment. Retaliation by a member will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination from the FVF.

VI. NOTICE AND TRAINING REQUIREMENTS

A. Each FVF Unit and office shall conspicuously post upon its premises, a notice approved by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on member rights, where notices to members, applicants for
membership, and members are customarily posted. The FDVA Human Resources Officer is responsible for ensuring that up-to-date notices are maintained at each office location.

B. Upon original appointment, members of the FVF shall be furnished a copy of Rule 60L-36.004, Sexual Harassment and this policy. The member shall be given a reasonable opportunity to read the policy, have it explained, and discuss it. The member will sign a written statement to this effect, which will be included in their personnel file.

VII. COMPLAINANT’S RIGHT TO SEEK REMEDY OUTSIDE OF THE DEPARTMENT
Members also have the right to file a complaint with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 calendar days of the alleged incident, or with the Florida Commission on Human Relations within 365 calendar days of the alleged incident.
• U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): 1-800-669-4000. • Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR): 1-800-342-8170
Florida Administrative Code Rule 60L-36.004: Sexual Harassment.

(1) Agencies shall not tolerate sexual harassment within the work force. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature from any person directed towards or in the presence of an employee or applicant when:
(a) Submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;
(b) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
(c) 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.

(2) Agencies shall make known to their employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Each agency shall make available to employees a copy of this Rule 60L-36.004, F.A.C., and a copy of the agency’s procedures for investigating and resolving complaints of sexual harassment. Each employee shall acknowledge understanding and acceptance of this rule and the agency procedure, and documented evidence of the acknowledgement shall be retained in the employee’s personnel file.

(3) Agencies shall develop and implement procedures to investigate and resolve complaints of sexual harassment. Agencies shall designate a person or persons to receive complaints of sexual harassment. Complaints shall be reduced to writing, signed by the complainant, and contain at least the following information:
(a) The name, business address, and telephone number of the person filing the complaint;(b) The name of the person who allegedly committed the act of sexual harassment and the alleged victim; and
(c) A clear and concise statement of the facts, including pertinent dates, locations, witnesses and other evidence in support of the complaint.
If the complaint does not contain all of this information, the agency shall, in writing, request the complainant to furnish it.

(4) Agencies shall initiate prompt review of all complaints. Agencies shall take steps to protect the privacy of those involved during the review and any related investigation.

(5) During an investigation of sexual harassment, agencies shall fully comply with investigatory procedures and rights contained in collective bargaining agreements between the State and the certified bargaining representatives for State employees. If the standard agency procedure conflicts with the collective bargaining agreement, the latter shall prevail.

(6) The filing of a complaint pursuant to agency procedure, regardless of disposition, shall not preclude the complainant from also filing a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) or the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If the complainant files a complaint with either the FCHR or the EEOC, and the agency undertakes an investigation to provide information to those entities, the agency need mot also conduct the investigation otherwise required by its own procedures; however, an employee who has committed sexual harassment shall be disciplined regardless of the type of investigation.