Sexual Harassment Policy

   Sexual Harassment Policy


Employee Relations Hotline : 414-278-2000




  • Milwaukee County is committed to providing a workplace that is free from sexual harassment. 

    • Employees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the spirit and intent of this policy.

    • Offensive behavior, including harassment, will not be tolerated

    • Employees are encouraged to report all harassment, whether as a recipient or an observer.

    • Every harassment claim will be appropriately investigated.

    • Any employee found to have acted in violation of this policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.


 What is Sexual Harassment?

  •  Sexual harassment may be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.


  • It Occurs When:

  • The victim's submission to such conduct is made explicity or implicity a term or condition of employment; or

  • The victim's submission to or rejection of the conduct by the harasser is used as the basis for employment decisions, and/or retaliation; or

  • the coduct has the effect of unreasonably interferring with the victim's work performance or otherwise acts to create a hostile environment: 

  • (A work environment that a reasonable person would find hostile and/or offensive)



  • Its not always about the intent- it is about the effect that it ends up having on others.

  • Claiming that you were just joking or having fun is NO EXCUSE for making someone feel uncomfortable-

    • Regardless of whether or not someone is offended by your words or actions!




but are not limited to: 




    • Making sexual or derogatory comments;

  • Grabbing or touching parts of the body;

    • Sending letters, notes, cartoons, e-mails or

  • Brushing against another's body;

    • Audio of a sexually suggestive nature;

  • Physical attacks; including rape or other gross sexual imposition;

    • Placing harassing phone calls;

  • Treating employees differently because of their gender;

    • Making repeated requests for dates;

  • Viewing, downloading, or displaying sex-related:

    • Requesting sexual favors.

    Cartoons, Pictures, Videos or Similar Material.

Behaviors such as the ones listed above WILL NOT, under any circumstances be tolerated!

 It is ALSO about RESPECT:

  • At Milwaukee County:

    • Behavior or comments that are unprofessional or disrespectful will not be tolerated.

    • We strive for a professional and respectful work environment - an environment where all employees, regardless of gender, feel comfortable.


  • The following examples may/may not constitute sexual harassment, but are unprofessional and DO NOT belong in the workplace:

  • Using language that is degrading or abusive;

  • Telling jokes of a sexual nature or making sexually explicit comments;

  • Referring to someone as "babe," a "hunk," "honey" or similar terms;

  • Talking about one's sex life or the sex life of co-workers, customers or others;

  • Turning innocuous statements into sexual innuendoes.


  • What does all of this mean?

  • NOT a manager, NOT a co-worker, NOT an elected official, NOT a contractor, NOT a vendor or customer-

  • Regardless of what they may tell you, nobody has the right to say or do things of a sexual nature that make people afraid, embarrassed or uncomfortable at work.

  • Never assume that if no one complains no one is offended.

  • Others may not feel comfortable telling you that your advances, jokes, comments, etc. offend them.

  • These types of behaviors do not belong in the workplace!!
  • These behaviors are taken very seriously; and may result in disciplinary action for the employee; up to and including termination!

 Importance of Reporting Sexual Harassment:

  • If you are being harassed:
    • One way to resolve the problem is to tell the Harasser to Stop to see if it fixes the issue.
  • If you are uncomfortable confronting the Harasser:
    • You DO NOT ever have to endure sexual harassment or try to resolve the matter yourself.

      • There are other avenues available to you to report the conduct making you uncomfortable.

      • For Example: You could make a report to your manager or to your department's Human Resources representative, your manager's manager, or the manager of a different department.



  • Sometimes, employees do not report inappropriate behavior.

    • This may be interpreted by the harasser as a sign that the behavior is not a problem or that the victim is not offended.


  • Most employees who do not report sexual harassment fail to act out of fear:

    • Fear of losing a job

    • Fear of not being believed

    • Fear of being blamed

    • Fear for safety or

    • Fear of Retaliation


  • Sometimes employees hesitate to report harassment out of fear of the consequences to the harasser.

    • Keep in mind that if someone is disciplined for engaging in inappropriate behavior, it's because this person has violated an important policy.

    • You are not creating the problem - this person has caused the problem by engaging in inappropriate behavior.


 By Reporting the Problem:

  • You are helping Milwaukee County enforce an important policy, as well as helping to ensure that other people are not subjected to similar behavior.

  • This is the only way we will be successful at keeping sexual harassment out of the workplace.

    • And REMEMBER-- no employee will be subject to any form of retaliation or discipline for making a sexual harassment complaint.


  • Report the incident:

    • So that Milwaukee County will conduct a prompt, thorough investigation and will take appropriate action to correct any conduct found to be inappropriate


  • You may escalate your concern to our Employee Relations Hotline:  414-278-2000
  • Reporting incidents is the surest way to correct problems and prevent reoccurrence!


An IMPORTANT NOTE to Managers & Supervisors:

  • As a manager or supervisor, you play an important role at Milwaukee County:

    • Model Appropriate Behavior:

      • It is hard to hold others accountable for professional and respectful behavior unless you are setting the example.

      • This also means providing leadership by discussing the policy, encouraging reporting, and providing training opportunities for your staff to help them understand sexual harassment.

    • Report and Act on Problems:

      • If you see or hear of unacceptable behavior within or outside of your work group

      • Whether by a manager, employee, elected official, customer, vendor, or contractor


  • It is your responsibility to report and act on that behavior promptly.

    • Your knowledge of inappropriate behavior may result in County liability if prompt and appropriate action is not taken.


Report the behavior to Human Resources so that the problem can be investigated immediately!!

  • Do not abuse the authority of your position:  
    • As a manager or supervisor, you are in a unique position.

      • You make decisions about:

        • Salary increases,

        • Promotions,

        • Bonuses, etc.


  • You may NEVER imply that an employee's terms and conditions of employment are conditioned upon a sexual relationship.
  • Personal Relationships between a Manager and an Employee in his/her work group must be reported to the next-level manager or Human Resources in order to assess the potential business risk and determine appropriate actions.

  • Asking an employee for a date or making Sexual Advances toward an employee who reports directly or indirectly to you puts that person in a very awkward situation.

    • You may consider the relationship consensual, but the employee may be very uncomfortable with it.

    • The employee may find it difficult to say no, and he/she may be concerned that saying no could affect his/her employment.

  • Even Consensual Relationships between a Manager and Employee;

    • They may be concerned about reporting work issues pertaining to the employee with whom you are having a relationship, or they may feel their own promotions, work assignments, etc. are less favorable than those received by the employee you may be seeing.

    • This may put others in the work group in an awkward situation.


Milwaukee County’s Commitment:

  • Milwaukee County takes Sexual Harassment seriously.

  • After we’ve concluded our investigation, any person found to have engaged in sexual harassment or in any inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature will be disciplined.

  • Such disciplinary action may include termination, even for the first offense.


  • Remember: Milwaukee County will not tolerate sexual harassment that affects employees in the workplace or at County-sponsored events.


We are all expected to conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with the spirit and intent of this policy!



To view the Sexual Harassment Policy PDF Version: Cick Here

Created: 4/23/2013; REVISED 5/8/2013




Milwaukee County is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer that is actively seeking qualified applicants for various positions throughout County government. Milwaukee County does not discriminate based on age, ancestry/national origin, arrest/conviction record, color, creed, disability, marital status, military membership, race, sex or sexual orientation.


If special accommodations are needed, please contact 414-278-4143

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