February 1999 Bulletin

Academy Policy on Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to specifically prohibit sexual harassment in any form. The Academy will not tolerate the sexual harassment of any employee by an employee or any non-employee (including orthopaedic surgeons, vendors, customers, consultants or other individuals who interact with Academy employees).

For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as "unwelcome" sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made (either explicitly or implicitly) a term or condition of an individual's employment;

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

  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating a threatening, intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment of Academy employees include, but are not limited to:

  1. Demanding that an employee grant sexual favors, go on dates or wear revealing clothing;

  2. Engaging in sexual conversation, including jokes, suggestive comments, double entendres or commentary about someone's sex life or personal appearance;

  3. Sending messages which are sexually demeaning, insulting, intimidating or suggestive in nature, whether transmitted in a written, recorded or electronic format;

  4. Displaying sexual material, including sexually explicit objects, photographs, pictures, magazines, e-mails or Internet material;

  5. Expressing inappropriate romantic interest;

  6. Touching an employee in an inappropriate or sexually suggestive manner;

  7. Giving leering looks, impeding movement or acting in other sexually threatening ways;

  8. Allowing a stripper or sexually suggestive dancer to perform in the workplace or at an Academy function; and/or

  9. Displaying a general hostility towards individuals because of their gender. Sexual harassment may occur between members of the same or opposite gender.

Any employee who believes that another employee's or nonemployee's actions or words constitute unwelcome sexual harassment (to oneself or to another employee) at the work site or off-site while on Academy business has a responsibility to report or complain about the situation as soon as possible. The report or complaint should be made to one of the following: the employee's manager or director, the Department of Human Resources, or the Office of General Counsel.

All complaints of sexual harassment will be investigated promptly, thoroughly and fairly. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and, where necessary, with individuals who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge. Employees are required to cooperate in any investigation. Every attempt will be made to keep facts learned during the investigation as confidential as possible, and such facts will be disclosed only to those who have a legitimate need to know. The resolution of each complaint will be communicated in a timely basis to the parties involved, including a description of what action, if any, will be taken by management in response to the complaint.

Any employee who is found to have violated this sexual harassment policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination. In addition, any employee who knowingly falsely accuses another employee of sexual harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Any reprisal or retaliation against an employee who makes a good faith report of sexual harassment or who provides information about such harassment is strictly prohibited. Any employee who engages in such reprisal or retaliation will be disciplined, up to and including termination.

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