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Workplace Respect is a core value at Fred Hutch. We believe it is essential to provide all employees with a respectful and safe working environment. As a result, we do not tolerate harassment or other discrimination against employees in the workplace or work-related situations. We also prohibit retaliation against any employee bringing forward a good-faith concern of harassment or other discrimination, or participating in an investigation of a concern. Consistent with our Open Door Policy, Human Resources and all levels of management, up through the Executive Team, have an “open door,” encouraging employees to feel safe in raising concerns.
Fred Hutch does not tolerate unlawful harassment or other discrimination on the basis of the following protected categories:
Harassment under this Policy may include conduct that creates a disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for an employee. Engaging in such conduct is a violation of this Policy.
If Fred Hutch determines that an employee’s conduct has violated this Policy, we will take steps to ensure the conduct is effectively addressed, and any employee found to have engaged in harassing or other discriminatory conduct may be subject to corrective action or discipline, up to and including termination. In certain situations, Fred Hutch also may be required to report a determination of harassment or other discriminatory conduct to a granting institution.
Because the intent of this Policy is to deter conduct that is unwanted, unreasonable, and demeaning, Fred Hutch may consider an employee’s conduct to be in violation of this Policy even if it falls short of unlawful harassment or discrimination under applicable law. When determining whether conduct violates this Policy, we consider whether a reasonable person could conclude that the conduct created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or demeaning environment.
This Policy applies to everyone who works for Fred Hutch or on the Fred Hutch campus, whether employee or non-employee.
Harassment can range from extreme forms such as violence, threats, or physical touching to less obvious actions like ridiculing, teasing, or repeatedly bothering colleagues or subordinates or refusing to talk to them.
For example, harassment may include the following types of conduct:
This list of examples is not exhaustive, and there may be other behaviors that constitute unacceptable harassment under the Policy.
“I was joking” or “I didn’t mean it that way” are not defenses to allegations of harassment. Nor is being under the influence of alcohol or other substances. This Policy applies to conduct at work and at work-related social events, office parties, off-site meetings or other gatherings, and seminars or other work-related travelling events. Employees are expected to be particularly careful about what they say and do in off-campus circumstances.
Sexual harassment, which is harassment specifically based on sex, can take two forms:
Sexual harassment can happen regardless of the individual’s gender, gender identity, or gender expression and can, for example, occur between same-sex individuals as well as between opposite-sex individuals. Sexual harassment does not require that the harassing conduct be motivated by sexual desire.
Any employee who believes he or she has been harassed, or has witnessed or heard about a potential violation of this Policy, should report the conduct so that Fred Hutch can take steps to remedy any violations of the Policy. Fred Hutch managers are required to promptly (ideally, within 24 hours) report to Human Resources any violation or suspected violation of this Policy.
If you suspect harassment, discrimination, or retaliation has occurred, you are encouraged to promptly provide a written or oral complaint to any of the following:
If you would prefer, you may alternatively report your concern through our Navex Global third-party hotline, available by calling 877.412.8841 or logging on to EthicsPoint. Concerns submitted through Navex Global are confidential. When Navex Global receives a concern of harassment or other discrimination, it will notify the Office of the General Counsel of a new claim. In turn, and only upon permission to Navex from the complainant, OGC will assure someone from HR follows up with the complainant, per the investigation process below.
When possible, a complaint should include details of the incident or incidents, names of individuals involved, and names of any witnesses.
The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Washington State Human Rights Commission, and the Seattle Office of Civil Rights are government agencies that investigate complaints of prohibited harassment, discrimination and retaliation in employment. If you think you have been harassed or discriminated against, or that you have been retaliated against for resisting, complaining or participating in an investigation, you should first contact HR or one of the other internal or external sources above. You may also, but are not required to, file a complaint with the appropriate agency via their websites, www.eeoc.gov, www.hum.wa.gov and https://www.seattle.gov/civilrights.
Managers who receive a complaint of, or learn of, information that suggests this Policy may have been violated are required to promptly (ideally within 24 hours) forward that complaint to Human Resources, and may be subject to discipline for failing to timely report. As soon as reasonably possible, Fred Hutch will investigate any allegations and take appropriate remedial action.
We will keep all complaints confidential to the extent possible while still fulfilling our obligation to investigate and end any harassing conduct.
Fred Hutch HR promptly investigates and responds to all complaints regarding potential violations of this Policy. Upon learning of conduct requiring further review, qualified investigators will complete thorough investigations in a timely and impartial manner. You can learn more about our investigations process below.
All persons to whom a concern is raised or who learn of a concern as part of a Fred Hutch investigation must do everything reasonably possible to keep the complaint confidential in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation while it is ongoing, to ensure fairness to all involved, and to protect the privacy of employees who have raised concerns or are accused of the concerning conduct. It may be, therefore, that the person who raised the concern may not learn all details of the investigation or the outcome.
Employees must cooperate and provide truthful information in an investigation.
Nothing in this Policy is to be construed as a guarantee of absolute confidentiality or intended to curtail employee rights under the law to discuss work-related matters. Disclosure of information learned through the complaint process and the investigation will be limited to disclosures that are necessary for Fred Hutch to fulfill its legal obligations to investigate and take prompt action to end harassment or other discrimination.
We recognize that employees may find it difficult to raise concerns about harassment or other discrimination, so we have a policy meant to encourage employees to come forward with their concerns without fear of retaliation. It is against Fred Hutch policy (and may be unlawful) for any employee to retaliate against another for their participation in the complaint process.
Retaliation is when someone penalizes another person for any of the following:
Retaliating against a coworker who raised a concern of harassment or discrimination, or otherwise participates in the investigation process, may result in corrective action or discipline, up to and including termination of employment.
If you have questions about this Policy, please contact Human Resources.
When we learn about a potential violation of our policy or law, it’s our job and obligation to investigate, and when a violation of our policy or law is found, to stop the concerning conduct. Our goal is to create a safe and respectful environment where everyone can do their best work.
A few examples of the types of matters we investigate include concerns of harassment and discrimination, disclosure of confidential or proprietary information, improper conflicts of interest, and abuse of Fred Hutch resources.
Some of these topics are sensitive, and we want people to feel as comfortable as possible coming to us with concerns. To that end, we try to keep matters as confidential as possible.
If you see or hear of something that might be a violation of our policy or law, we encourage you to speak up. If you are a manager, you are required to report any potential violations to HR. We provide a variety of channels for people to report concerns:
No. The law protects employees from retaliation for reporting or participating in an investigation, as does our Policy. We have a zero-tolerance approach to unlawful retaliation. Our Harassment Policy encourages employees to come forward with their concerns and participate in the investigations process, all without fear of retaliation.
Once a concern has been raised, Human Resources conducts a prompt and thorough investigation to determine facts. Each investigation is tailored to the specific issues being investigated and is also documented and tracked to ensure reasonable progress and timely closure of the investigation. Findings are then shared with a very small group of people, generally members of HR and Legal, on a need-to-know basis.
If you’re asked to participate in an investigation, here’s what you can expect:
Yes. Our employees have an obligation to participate in an investigation if asked.
We ask everyone to report a potential violation of policy or law, but if you are a manager, you are required to report anything that comes to your attention. If you have questions about whether something constitutes a violation, feel free to reach out to your HR Business Partner or anyone else in HR.
Not necessarily. Information regarding the investigation is shared on a need-to-know basis. There are many instances where a manager doesn’t need to know that you are participating in an investigation.
No, but notes may be taken.
Contact the lead investigator who reached out to you initially or your HR Business Partner. To protect the confidentiality of the investigation, you should not speak to anyone else, including your manager, about this investigation. We may not always be able to answer specific questions about an investigation, but are happy to talk to you about the process.
Outcomes range from no action to education, coaching or counseling, warnings, and other disciplinary actions up to and including termination. Outcomes are usually determined by business leaders with input from HR and Legal.
Confidentiality is important to preserve the integrity of the investigation while it is ongoing, to ensure fairness to all involved, and to protect the privacy of employees who have raised concerns or are accused of misconduct. Additionally, keeping things confidential helps minimize retaliation against participants and minimizes disruption in the workplace. Our request for confidentiality is not meant or intended to curtail your rights under the law to discuss work-related matters.
Contact your HR Business Partner or anyone else in HR.
The Personnel Policies and Procedures, read together or individually, do not constitute a contract of employment.
Human Resources, 206.667.4700
Responsible Official (VP or Sr. VP):
VP & CHRO
Manager responsible for policy:
VP & CHRO
Approval Date (this version):
Next Review Due:
7/1985, 6/1992, 2/1995, 12/1998, 12/1999, 01/2003, 9/2007, 9/2010, 9/2015
Original Approval Date:
This version reviewed and approved by specialty committee or specialty individual:
Associate General Counsel, Employment