County of Marin Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

Mary Hao, Director, Human Resources

Personnel Management Regulation 21

The Marin County Board of Supervisors, in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, and in support of our commitment to the principles and goals of equal employment opportunity and diversity prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants and persons providing services pursuant to a contract because of sex, race, color, ancestry, religious creed, national origin, physical or mental disability, medical condition, age, marital status, the taking of Family Medical Leave (FMLA) or pregnancy disability leave, sexual orientation, political or religious opinions or affiliations, gender identity, genetic information or any other factor unrelated to job performance.

To achieve the goal of equal employment opportunity, the Policy and its guidelines must be adhered to by all county employees and enforced by top management, supervisors, and section or division managers. All employees and applicants for employment must be informed that equal employment opportunity is basic policy.

 

Policy

  • The Marin County Board of Supervisors, in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, is committed to being an equal opportunity employer and has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on any Protected Class, as defined below in Section 21.1 B. All personnel actions including, but not limited to, recruiting, hiring, training, promoting, compensating, transferring and laying off, shall be based on merit and job requirements, without regard to Protected Classes.
  • Protected classes include actual or perceived membership in the following classes: (a) sex; (b) race; (c) color; (d) ancestry; (e) religious creed; (f) national origin; (g) physical or mental disability; (h) medical condition; (i) age; (j) marital status; (k) the taking of protected family and medical leave; (l) sexual orientation, (m) gender identity or expression; and n) genetic information. (collectively “Protected Classes” or individually “Protected Class”).
  • It is the duty and responsibility of all appointing authorities and County employees to adhere to the provisions of this policy.
  • County personnel procedures will not allow for the use of or collaboration with any organization that prohibits employment in violation of federal or state discrimination laws.
  • This policy of equal employment opportunity will be a part of new employee orientation.

Definitions

Discrimination

In conformance with the Board policy to provide a workplace free from discrimination and to provide for equal employment opportunities, barring any lawful or valid reasons, all employees and applicants will have equal access to County operations and employment regardless of their actual or perceived status in a Protected Class.

Retaliation

Retaliation constitutes a violation of this policy. Retaliation is defined as any adverse employment action which is reasonably likely to prevent the complaining party or others from engaging in opposition to employment practices that violate the County’s equal employment or anti-harassment policies. An adverse employment action could include but is not limited to a decrease in pay, change of hours, or reduction in authority and responsibility. Retaliation for filing a complaint about, or participating in, a PMR 21 investigation is also a violation of this policy and will not be tolerated

Harassment

  • Harassment constitutes a violation of this policy.
  • Harassment is unwelcome verbal, physical, visual, written or environmental misconduct based on a Protected Class, which is offensive to a reasonable person in like or similar circumstances.
  • Prohibited harassment can consist of virtually any form or combination of verbal, physical, visual/written or environmental conduct. It need not be explicit, or even specifically directed at the victim.
  • Prohibited harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following misconduct:
  • Verbal Misconduct: remarks, slurs, jokes, or innuendos based on a Protected Class or perceived status in a Protected Class.
  • Physical Misconduct: touching, assault, gestures, or physical interference with movement based on actual or perceived status in a Protected Class.
  • Visual or Written Misconduct: Display or circulation of material, such as, but not limited to, posters, cartoons, drawings, computer graphics, e-mails, or other depictions based upon actual or perceived status in a Protected Class.
  • Environmental Misconduct: Other misconduct based on a Protected Class or perceived status in a Protected Class.
  • County employees, applicants and persons providing services pursuant to a contract are eligible to file a complaint of harassment under this policy.

Complaint Resolution Process

Reporting Obligations

  1. Supervisors and Managers
    • Supervisors and managers are responsible for taking all steps necessary for all employees to promote equal opportunity employment and prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation from occurring within the County of Marin workplace. These steps include taking immediate action to stop any equal employment violation, harassment or retaliation and taking appropriate disciplinary action after timely investigation, where appropriate.
    • If an employee communicates alleged discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation, the manager, supervisor, department head or person performing supervisory duties to whom the allegation is communicated will ensure that it is reported to the Equal Employment Officer or Director of Human Resources. In the event the allegation involves the Human Resources Department, the allegation should be communicated to the County Administrator. Failure to report such an allegation may result in disciplinary action.
    • If the employee declines to complete the PMR 21 Complaint Form (hereinafter “Complaint Form”) the manager, supervisor or person performing supervisory duties will complete the Complaint Form and attempt to confirm with the complainant that the form is correct and request that the complainant sign the form. The person completing the form shall submit it to the appropriate person within fourteen (14) calendar days of being informed about the alleged violation by the employee.
  2. Other Employees
    • All persons are strongly encouraged to report to their manager, supervisor or person performing supervisory duties, the Equal Employment Officer, Director of Human Resources, or the County Administrator any instances of an alleged violation of PMR 21 which they have directly observed, whether or not reported by the employee who is the object of the alleged conduct.
  3. All Employees
    • Complaints under this policy must be filed within one hundred and fifty (150) calendar days from the date upon which the alleged violation occurred. If an employee or other complainant fails to fully complete the form, he/she will be given an opportunity to amend the complaint form within ten (10) calendar days. Forms must be amended within ten (10) calendar days in order to be processed.
    • All employees shall cooperate with any investigation of alleged violations of this policy conducted by the County, its agents, or employees.
    • Under no circumstances will an employee of the County who believes that he or she has been a victim of any violation of PMR 21 be required to first report that alleged conduct to a supervisor or other authority if that person or authority is the individual who has allegedly engaged in the conduct.
    • All persons are strongly encouraged to immediately report any suspected violation of this policy to their lead worker, supervisor, manager, department head, the Equal Employment Officer, the Director of Human Resources, or the County Administrator. The complainant will be asked to complete, sign, and submit the County’s Complaint Form. The Complaint Form is available on the MINE, from the Director of Human Resources, the Equal Employment Officer or a member of management. The Complaint Form is also provided as PMR 21-Form 1.

Investigation

  1. The investigation will be conducted in a way which ensures, to the extent feasible, the privacy of the parties involved. All investigations will be conducted in compliance with any applicable state and federal laws or regulations, including but not limited to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights, where appropriate.
  2. Complaints meeting the criteria for harassment, retaliation or discrimination as described in this policy will be fully and impartially investigated and/or immediate appropriate corrective action will be taken.
  3. The Equal Employment Officer will notify the complainant and the subject and, as appropriate, the applicable department head(s). The subject and the complainant have the right to a representative of his or her choice during such interview and shall be notified prior to the interview.
  4. Within fourteen (14) calendar days of the filing of a complaint, the Equal Employment Officer or other person assigned by the Director of Human Resources will initiate an investigation.

    Within one hundred and eighty (180) calendar days of the initiation of the investigation, the person designated to investigate and/or resolve the complaint will report, in writing, the findings of fact to the Equal Employment Officer or the Director of Human Resources upon completion of the investigation. If the investigator has not completed the investigation within one hundred and eighty (180) calendar , prior to the expiration of this deadline the investigator shall inform the complainant and the subject of the investigation of the reason s/he is unable to issue a report within the required time period and shall provide an estimated time for completion, which shall not exceed an additional ninety (90) calendar days. If the investigation has not been concluded within a total of two hundred and seventy (270) calendar days from its initiation and an appeal is available under section 21.5, the complainant may file an appeal unless the parties mutually agree to an extension of these timelines.

    After the Director of Human Resources receives the results of the investigation, the Director of Human Resources will determine whether the policy has been violated and will communicate this determination to the Department Head.

    Upon completion of consultation with the Department Head or designee, within thirty (30) calendar days of the receipt of the investigation findings, the findings of the investigation and whether any action will be taken, will then be communicated to the complainant and subject.

  5. In the event a complaint is sustained, remedial action will be decided in accordance with County policy and based upon the advice of the Director of Human Resources. If disciplinary action is taken, it shall be done in accordance with PMR 47. Due to the confidential nature of disciplinary actions, the complainant will not be informed of the particular remedial action taken.

Discrimination Appeals

Internal Appeal Procedures

  1. Examination Appeal

    If an applicant or employee is dissatisfied with the determination of a discrimination, harassment or retaliation complaint under 21.4 B. 4., and the complaint alleges he/she was not advanced in the examination process due to discrimination based on a Protected Class, the applicant or employee may petition in writing for a hearing before the Personnel Commission pursuant to PMR 31.11 A. 3. The petition shall be filed with the Director of Human Resources within fourteen (14) calendar days after receipt of the determination provided under PMR 21.4 B. 4. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with PMR 31.11 A. 4. through 31.11 A. 6.

  2. Selection Appeal

    If an applicant or employee is dissatisfied with the determination of a discrimination, harassment or retaliation complaint under 21.4 B. 4., and the complaint alleges he/she was not selected for a position in the County of Marin due to discrimination based on a Protected Class, the applicant or employee may petition in writing for a hearing before the Personnel Commission pursuant to PMR 33.6 B.4. The petition shall be filed with the Director of Human Resources within fourteen (14) calendar days after receipt of the determination provided under PMR 21.4 B. 4. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with PMR 33.6 B. 4. through 33.6 B. 7.

  3. Classification Appeal
    • An employee may file an appeal if he or she is dissatisfied with the determination under 21.4 B. 4., and the complaint alleges:
      1. there is a dispute between the employee and his or her department as to whether the employee is properly classified, or the employee’s classification was studied and the study resulted in a recommendation of no change or a lesser classification; and
      2. such action or inaction was due to discrimination or retaliation based on a Protected Class.
    • If the requirements of Section 21.5 A. 3. a. above have been met, the employee may petition in writing for a hearing before the Personnel Commission pursuant to PMR 40.11. A.3. The petition shall be filed with the Director of Human Resources within fourteen (14) calendar days after receipt of the determination provided under PMR 21.4 B. 4. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with PMR 40.11. A. 3. a. through 40.11. A. 4.
  4. Discipline Appeal

    If a regular employee is dissatisfied with the determination under 21.4 B. 4., and the complaint alleges he/she was suspended, demoted, dismissed or had a reduction in compensation due to discrimination or retaliation based on a Protected Class, the employee may petition in writing for a hearing before the Personnel Commission pursuant to PMR 47.7 B. or 47.7 C. (Peace Officers). The appeal shall be filed within the timeframes set forth in PMR 47.7 B. or 47.7. C. All procedures for hearing shall be governed by PMR 47.8.

  5. Other Discrimination or Retaliation Appeals

    If an employee is dissatisfied with the determination of a discrimination or retaliation complaint under 21.4 B.4, excluding the appeals identified in 21.5 A. 1 – 4 above, the employee will have the right to an appeal before the Personnel Commission, provided that the complaint has alleged discrimination. Discrimination, for the purpose of appeals, occurs when an adverse employment action, which is based upon a protected class, results in a material impact to the employee’s terms, conditions or privileges of employment. The petition shall be filed in writing with the Director of Human Resources within fourteen (14) calendar days after receipt of the determination provided under PMR 21.4 B. 4.

External Complaints

  1. The Human Resources Department will make available upon request information from the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding filing claims of equal employment opportunity violations, harassment, or retaliation with these entities.
  2. The County’s obligation to defend and indemnify its officers and employees is prescribed by California Government Code Sections 825 et seq. and 995 et seq. For allegations of harassment filed against a County employee in a court of law or other appropriate outside governmental agency, the determination to provide the employee with legal representation and/or pay the cost of settlement or judgment will be made consistent with all applicable requirements of the California Government Code including but not limited to those listed above.