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Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation

The County of Riverside is committed to prohibiting and preventing unlawful (i.e. related to a protected class) discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. This applies to applicants for County employment as well as all County of Riverside employees, including, but not limited to, contract workers, volunteers, interns, externs, and elected officials.

Protected classes include: 

  • Race, color
  • Ancestry, national origin
  • Religious creed
  • Sex/gender (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions)
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity, gender expression
  • Age (40 and over)
  • Disability (physical and mental)
  • Military or veteran status
  • Medical condition
  • Genetic information
  • Marital status

Discrimination is the disparate (i.e. different) or adverse (i.e. negative) treatment of a person or applicant based on their protected class rather than on individual merit (i.e. not hiring or promoting someone, because they are over 40 or based on their race / color / etc.).

Harassment is a form of discrimination if it is unwelcome (i.e. unwanted) and is sufficiently severe (i.e. goes beyond appropriate workplace behavior) or pervasive (i.e. ongoing, continuous and/or repeated) and objectively offensive (i.e. whether a “reasonable person” would find the behavior objectively offensive) so as to substantially interfere with terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

Examples of harassing conduct include, but are not limited to: 

  • Epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts that relate to a protected characteristic or protected conduct. 
  • Verbal, written, recorded, or electronically transmitted messages or graphic material that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. 
  • A display in the workplace of demeaning, insulting, intimidating, or hostile objects, images, pictures or cartoons that relate to a protected characteristic or protected conduct. 
  • Demeaning, insulting or intimidating comments about an individual that relate to a protected characteristic or protected conduct. 

Examples of prohibited sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: 

  • Visual conduct: leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons or posters.
  • Verbal conduct: making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs and jokes. Verbal abuse includes but is not limited to, comments of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, or sexually degrading words used to describe an individual.
  • Physical conduct: touching, assault, impeding or blocking movements.
  • Offering employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
  • Making or threatening retaliatory action after receiving a negative response to sexual advances.

Retaliation is when adverse (i.e. negative) employment action is taken against an employee as a result of them engaging in legally protected activities.  Examples of protected activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Filing a discrimination or harassment complaint
  • Reporting discrimination or harassment
  • Participating in a discrimination or harassment investigation
  • Requesting a reasonable accommodation
  • Taking job-protected leave
  • Filing a complaint about hazardous work conditions

Examples of adverse employment actions may include:

  • Denial of a promotion
  • Negative performance evaluations
  • Refusal to hire
  • Imposition of discipline

If you have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, please complete and submit a complaint form

Disciplinary action up to and including termination will be instituted for unlawful discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation as defined by Board Policy C-25.

For more information, view: