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Anti-harassment policy

It has always been the policy of the Middletown Township Public Library that all employees have a work environment free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. It is the Library’s firm policy that all employees are responsible for conducting themselves and ensuring that the workplace is free from discrimination or harassment because of race, creed, color, national origin, handicap, ancestry, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, nationality, or because of the liability for service in the armed forces of the United States.

Definitions

Discrimination or harassment because of race, creed, color, national origin, handicap, ancestry, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, nationality, or because of the liability for service in the armed forces of the United States by a supervisor, co-worker, visitor, or client is strictly prohibited. All employees must avoid any action or conduct directed to co-workers or others at the workplace which could be interpreted or viewed as such discrimination or harassment, including (but not limited to) verbal statements, physical conduct, or employment decisions directed to or based upon an individual’s race, creed, color, national origin, handicap, ancestry, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, nationality, or because of the liability for service in the armed forces of the United States. As to sexual harassment, it includes unwelcomed sexual advances or requests for sexual favors (all of the above is hereinafter referred to as prohibited behavior). These shall include incidents or conduct where:

  1. A person’s race, creed, color, national origin, handicap, ancestry, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, nationality, or because of the liability for service in the armed forces of the United States is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting that individual; or
  2. Submission to prohibited behavior is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or employment status; or
  3. Such prohibited behavior has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Complaint procedure

Any individual who believes that he or she has been subjected to prohibited behavior by a supervisor, co-worker, visitor or client must immediately bring the matter to the attention of the Library, either by notifying his or her Department Head, the Library Director, or the President of the Library Board.

The employee subject to the prohibited or harassing behavior may also, but is not obligated to, personally notify the alleged harasser that the behavior he or she is exhibiting, or is subjecting the employee to, is considered by the employee to be offensive and unwelcome and should cease.

Any complaint or notification of prohibited behavior and/or retaliation for reporting or participating in an investigation should be, if at all possible, put in writing and directed to your choice of the above Library officials. Notifications or complaints of prohibited behavior will be treated seriously and receive prompt and appropriate attention. If determined appropriate by the Library and with the consent of the complainant, the individuals involved may be referred to the Township’s Employee Assistance Program for appropriate assistance.

If the notification or complaint is referred for investigation, the investigation may include interviews with the complainant, the alleged discriminator or harasser, and persons with information about the alleged prohibited behavior or incidents. When the investigation is completed the findings will be reviewed with the complainant. If the investigation indicates prohibited behavior took place, corrective or disciplinary action will be taken against the harasser based upon the findings and incidents. If the complaint of prohibited behavior cannot be corroborated by sufficient credible evidence, action may be taken to reinform or re instruct the employees involved of the Anti-harassment Policy and of appropriate standards of conduct in the workplace, or a referral to the Employee Assistance Program may be recommended, if appropriate.

The Library reserves the right to advise and instruct all employees of appropriate workplace standards and conduct at any time. Advice, instruction, or referral is and should not be deemed, as discipline or as a charge or accusation of improper behavior.

All employees have the obligation, to the extent required by the Library, to cooperate in all Library investigations of harassment or discrimination. It is the employees’ obligation to assist the Library in the Library’s attempts to eliminate harassments in the workplace.

Confidentiality

The notification and complaint procedures set forth in this policy will be conducted, to the extent possible, in a manner intendeq to preserve the privacy of all parties. However, the individual accused of discrimination and/or harassment normally has the right to be informed who is making the accusation and the nature of the accusation, and during the course of the investigation other employees may hear of the matter or portions thereof or be questioned regarding their knowledge of the incidents or conduct involved. To the extent possible with the above requirements and limitations, privacy and confidentiality will be endeavored to be maintained.

Retaliation

It is also a violation of this policy for any employee to retaliate against another individual because they have made a notification or complaint, or participated in a complaint procedure, or have given statements, information, or evidence in any investigation or proceeding arising hereunder.

Disciplinary action

Should the investigation and findings indicate a sufficient basis, disciplinary action for employees in violation of this policy may be instituted which may include: counseling, oral warning, written warning or reprimand, suspension without pay, or termination.

To the extent required by law or Collective Bargaining Agreements, disciplinary action shall be in accordance with N.J.A.C. 4A:2-2.l et. seq. and any applicable provisions or procedures of any applicable Laws or Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Employees making notifications or complaints, and others participating in the process, must recognize that an employee accused or subject to possible discipline charges for prohibited conduct has certain constitutional, statutory, or collective bargaining contractual rights to due process and to defend himself or herself from a complaint alleging discrimination or harassment that may result in proposed discipline. Those rights may require and result in a hearing or hearings before a hearing officer or Court at which person making a notification or complaint, or having knowledge of acts related to the complaint or incidents of prohibited behavior, may be required or requested to testify.

This policy, to be fully enforced and effective through discipline, may require the employee making the notification or complaint, and others knowledgeable of relevant events or facts, to testify and be questioned by the individual’s attorney at such a hearing.

It is important, to insure that the Library maintains a workplace free from such discrimination or harassment and that this policy is effectuated properly, that employees who are subject to or aware of such behavior and others who have knowledge fully participate in the hearing processes established by law.

Adopted: May 19, 1999

What is harassment?

Discrimination or harassment is any action or conduct which could be interpreted or viewed as verbal statements, physical actions or conduct, or employment decisions directed to or based upon an individual’s race, creed, color, national origin~ handicap, ancestry, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, nationality, or because of the liability for service in the armed forces of the United States. As to sexual harassment, it includes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors (all of the above is hereinafter referred to as prohibited behavior). This shall include incidents or conduct where:

  1. A person’s race, creed, color, national origin, handicap, ancestry, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, nationality, or because of the liability for service in the armed forces of the United States, is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting such individual;
  2. Submission to prohibited behavior is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or has an effect on that individual’s employment status;
  3. Such prohibited behavior has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Such prohibited behavior can take the form of, by way of example only and not limited to, the following types of conduct:

Harassment: Specifically directed or stereotypical racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, or gender-based remarks, jokes, “pinup” posters and remarks about appearance or body features having a possible sexual, ethnic, racial, or physical disability connotation;
Seductive Behavior: Inappropriate, unwanted, offensive physical or verbal sexual advances or sexually-oriented comments;
Sexual Coercion: Solicitation of sexual activity or other sex-linked behavior by promise of reward or threat of punishment; and
Sexual Assault: Physical conduct such as inappropriate touching, grabbing, patting or repeated brushing against another’s body.

“But I didn’t intend that!” or “It was just a joke!”

The intent of the accused discriminator or harasser is not a defense — discrimination or harassment is not defined by the intent of the alleged discriminator or harasser, but by the effect of the behavior on the recipients or others.

Thus, if the behavior from the perspective of an objectively reasonable person alters or affects the working conditions so that it could be deemed or found to be intimidating or hostile, such prohibited behavior could be improper discrimination or harassment.

Where can harassment come from?

Improper harassment can come from anyone – a supervisor, manager, co-worker, customer, visitor or supplier. Racial, ethnic, sexual or other types of harassment are not necessarily limited to supervisor/employee interaction or decisions. Such harassment can arise from conduct or statements of co-workers or even visitors, if not addressed promptly by management. Sexual harassment is not limited to male to female interactions. Harassment can include such situations as a woman harassing a man, a woman harassing a woman or a man harassing a man.

In addition, under New Jersey law, a person need not be the direct recipient of offensive prohibited behavior, but if surrounded by repeated instances of others being improperly discriminated against or harassed, his or her own working conditions may be so impaired so as to constitute improper discrimination or harassment. ·

Respond appropriately if you encounter discrimination or harassment

If you experience discrimination or harassment or witness such incidents or conduct, you should immediately make a report to your Department Head or one of the other officials designated to receive such notifications or complaints.

The Middletown Township Public Library will not tolerate any inappropriate behavior nor should you. Below are a few techniques you may consider using as part of the continual education and communication process because the offender may not know that the conduct is offensive to you. These suggestions do not replace prompt reporting of prohibited behavior. The Library wants to know about such conduct so it can take prompt and appropriate action, as necessary. Report incidents immediately; do not wait for a recurrence.

Steps to take

If you choose:

  • Tell the offender specifically what you find offensive.
  • Tell the offender that his or her behavior is bothering you.
  • Say specifically what you want or do not want to happen such as “please don’t tell that kind of joke in front of me”, “please call me by name, not honey” or “please do not touch me”.
  • DO NOT blame yourself for someone else’s behavior.
  • DO NOT choose to ignore the behavior, unless it truly is not offensive.
  • DO NOT try to handle any severe or repeated discrimination or harassment problem by yourself. GET HELP FROM MANAGEMENT!!

Is it really prohibited behavior?

You should always consider whether your conduct might be offensive to a co-worker, superior, customer, vendor, or visitor – therefore, you must act respectfully and properly at all times.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my verbal or physical behavior possibly interpreted as of a sexual nature?
  • Are my statements or conduct possibly offensive or suggestive to others, or could it be perceived as offensive or suggestive to those who witness it or hear it?
  • Could or do my statements or conduct make other employees’ or visitors uncomfortable or the job environment unpleasant?

If the answer to any of these or similar question is “YES” the conduct may be a prohibited behavior and you should reassess your conduct and cease the questionable or prohibited conduct.

Adopted: May 19, 1999

Dress

First and foremost, all Library employees should be aware of the impression they make on the public. It is in the interest of the Library and all of its employees to appear before the public dressed in a manner that reflects the seriousness of our responsibilities. The library wishes to create a positive atmosphere where employees can work comfortably and creatively.

While in most cases Library employees demonstrate common sense and careful judgment regarding their daily work attire, this policy is provided to clearly communicate and govern the appropriate attire for Library employees.

Guidelines

  1. All staff, men and women, regardless of department or work assignment, shall wear clean and well-maintained attire, including shoes, that is appropriate to the conduct of library business.
  2. Good grooming is required.
  3. Every employee is expected to exercise good judgment in selecting apparel for office/work wear.
  4. Some examples of acceptable attire: business suit with skirt or slacks; dress; tailored pants with a knit shirt, or blouse; longer tailored shorts or culottes, worn with hosiery; pants or skirts with a holiday sweater. Building Service Workers shall wear a uniform-type shirt and pants.
  5. The following attire shall be deemed inappropriate:
    1. Clothing which exposes the midriff, lower back below the shoulder blades, or below the waist.
    2. Cut-off garments.
    3. Tank tops, halter tops, muscle shirts, T-shirts.
    4. Gym shorts, short-shorts, tennis shorts, leggings and over-sized cargo pants. Longer dress shorts, culottes and tailored Capri or cropped pants are permitted.
    5. Garments with rips or tears.
    6. Jeans. (exception: employees whose job title is Library Page may be permitted to wear jeans.)
    7. Thong-sandals or bare feet.
    8. Hats or caps worn indoors.
    9. Clothing with slogans or large letter advertising, including words and images. (A garment with a small emblem or designer logo/initials is acceptable, such as on a collar, cuff or pocket)
    10. Athletic apparel such as sweat suits, fatigues, running outfits. Dressy sweatshirts are acceptable. Dressy sweatshirts shall include holiday motif and/or decorated sweatshirts, but not those whose decoration is primarily advertising- see “i” above.

Some of the garments mentioned above may be worn by staff for specific library programs or events, such as story times, creative drama, celebrations of National Library Week, promotion of the library, or patriotic and/or seasonal events. Here, good judgment is expected, and some latitude in the policy will be granted. For example, dressing in costume for Halloween would be allowed.

Implementation

The responsibility for enforcing this policy in the first step is at the Department Head level.

Department Heads shall have the authority to remind employees of dress policy violations and may send employees home to change their clothing. Employees sent home to change into appropriate garments do so on their own time. If, in this process, the time allotted for the lunch hour is exceeded, the employee will be docked for the excess time used.

The Library Director and Department Heads will exercise their discretion in deciding borderline cases under the guidelines listed.

The Director shall be informed of all dress policy violations and can authorize exceptions to the Dress Policy in unusual circumstances, following receipt of a special written request by the employee.

Repeated abuse of the Dress Policy will subject the employee to disciplinary action and possible termination.

Approved: 4119/95
Revised: 8/24/98
Revised: 4/17/02, Effective Date: May 17, 2002

Materials selection

See the Materials selection policies page.

Children’s book selection

See the Materials selection policies page.

NJSA 18A

NJSA 18A: 73-43.1. Definitions

For the purpose of this act:

a. “Library” means a library maintained by any State or local governmental agency, school, college, or industrial, commercial or other special group, association or agency, whether public or private.

b. “Library record” means any document or record, however maintained, the primary purpose of which is to provide for control of the circulation or other public use of library materials.

L. 1985, c. 172, § 1.

18A: 73-43.2. Confidentiality of library users’ records

Library records which contain the names or other personally identifying details regarding the users of libraries are confidential and shall not be disclosed except in the following circumstances.

a. The records are necessary for the proper operation of the library;

b. Disclosure is requested by the user; or

c. Disclosure is required pursuant to a subpoena issued by a court or court order.

L. 1985, c. 172, § 2.

18A: 73-43.3. Rules and regulations

The State Librarian shall adopt pursuant to section 18 of P.L. 1969, c. 158 (C. 18A: 73-33) and the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L. 1968, c. 410 (C. 52:148-1 et seq.) rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

L. 1985, c. 172, § 3.

eBooks disclaimer

See the Materials selection policies page.

Travel reimbursement

It is the policy of the Library to reimburse employees and volunteers for reasonable and necessary expenditures incurred by individuals on library business. All overnight business trips must be pre-approved by the Board of Trustees. Actual miles traveled will be reimbursed at the approved mileage rates set by the Library.

Allowable expenses

  • Mileage for use of personal vehicle, using the most direct route
  • Transportation when reasonable and necessary, including to, from the destination, and vehicle rental
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Registration and conference materials
  • Parking when receipts provided

Non-allowable expenses

  • Spouse or companion expenses
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Spa charges
  • Salon services
  • Pay-per-view movies
  • Parking tickets
  • Commuting expenses incurred by local miles from any employee residence

Compensatory time: For multi-day major conferences such as PLA or ALA, that routinely include weekend days and considerable travel time for which the employee is paid, the attendee will not receive “comp time”, for those weekend days. For a conference held on Saturday, the employee will receive equivalent time off during their workweek.

At the request of the library, volunteers may attend a workshop, class or program on library services or techniques. If approved in advance by the Library Director, all of the above policies will also apply to volunteers.

Procedures

  1. Claims for reimbursement of actual travel expenses, other than for miles must be accompanied by detailed invoices and/or receipts showing proof of payment with all taxes detailed. All expense claims are subject to strict review and internal audit verification.
  2. All New Jersey and Florida room reservations must be encumbered on a Purchase Order, since the Township policy will not make direct reimbursements to employees for hotel reservations in Atlantic City, or elsewhere in New Jersey or Florida (in Florida, you must first attain a form from the Florida Department of Taxation and present it to the hotel at the time of check-in.
  3. Travel advances are not ordinarily made and must be approved in advance at least 30 days prior to travel. Hotel charges and transportation changes may be paid by the Library directly to the hotel carrier in advance of the trip, provided they are properly encumbered on approved purchase orders.

Introduced and First Reading on: March 17, 2010
Second Reading on: April 21, 2010
Updated Revised Draft: April 20, 2010

Background checks

  1. All applicants for employment shall fill out and sign the Middletown Public Library Application for Employment form.
  2. Anyone age 18 or older who is offered a position shall be subject to the following background checks,
  • Fingerprinting with state & federal background check for conviction of criminal or drug offenses
  • Record of any filings of child abuse
  • Listing as a registered offender in any official state database
  • Physical, with drug test
  1. Test results shall be submitted directly to the Middletown Public Library from the official agency or firm that conducts the test.
  2. Candidates may not be employed unless such investigations have been initiated.
  3. The Library will pay for the tests.
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