Aqua Clara International (ACI) has as its central mission the development, support, and ongoing evaluation of humanitarian services that focus on effective safe water, sanitation, and health delivery systems in developing countries. In meeting this purpose it is committed to creating and maintaining work environments in which people are treated with dignity, decency and respect, whether the work environment is that of its central office in Holland, Michigan, or in any of the developing countries where it conducts its programs. For this reason, ACI has a zero tolerance policy regarding harassment or discrimination of any kind. All individuals, associated with, or employed by ACI are covered by and are expected to comply with this policy. Hereinafter the term “individual” shall mean all persons associated with, or employed by the ACI. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any individual who violates this policy up to and including termination.
The harassment of any individual because of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital or parental status, disability or other status protected under state or federal law is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.
As part of this policy, sexual harassment of any individual is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.
Any unwelcome verbal or written comments of a sexual nature (e.g. jokes, innuendos, or slurs), physical conduct (e.g. touching or gesturing), unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature shall be considered sexual harassment which violates this policy and shall subject the offender to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination when:
1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment;
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a factor in any decision affecting the individual’s employment, including but not limited to any decision related to advancement, performance assessment, compensation, assignments, schedules, discipline and termination; or
3. Such conduct interferes with an individual’s employment or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment environment.
Other Forms of Harassment
It is also ACI policy that any unwelcome verbal or written comments or physical conduct of a hostile or offensive nature based on a person’s race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, marital or parental status, disability, or other status protected under state or federal law shall also be considered harassment which violates this policy and shall subject the offender to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination, when such conduct interferes with an individual’s employment or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Procedure for Filing a Complaint of Harassment or Discrimination
Any individual who believes that he or she has been the subject of any form of harassment and/or discrimination by any other individual or outside party engaged in business with ACI should, and is encouraged to, file a verbal or written complaint with the President or Field Director immediately. However submitted, the individual filing the complaint must provide the name of the alleged harasser, and specific allegations and witnesses, if any, for further processing of the complaint to occur.
If a Field Director or other staff member becomes aware that harassment or discrimination is occurring, either from personal observation or as a result of an individual coming forward, that person is required to immediately report it to the President.
The President or Field Director will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of the alleged incident or behavior named in the complaint to the extent possible, and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted. To the extent consistent with adequate investigation and appropriate corrective action, any complaints of harassment or discrimination will be treated as confidential.
Any individual found to have engaged in any form of harassment and/or discrimination will be disciplined as appropriate, up to and including discharge. Disciplinary action may also be taken against any individual who fails to cooperate fully and honestly in the investigation of a complaint of harassment or discrimination, or who files a complaint of harassment or discrimination in bad faith.
ACI will not in any way retaliate against an individual who, in good faith, makes a complaint or report of harassment or discrimination, or participates in the investigation of such a complaint or report. Retaliation against any individual for reporting a claim of harassment or discrimination in good faith, or cooperating in the investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination will not be tolerated and will itself be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including termination.
ACI expects all individuals to act responsibly in maintaining a work environment free of harassment and discrimination, and will take all appropriate steps to enforce this policy.
Once a complaint is received, a fair and impartial investigation of the complaint will begin immediately. These investigations will be conducted as confidentially as possible, on a need-to-know basis. Interviews in confidence will be conducted with the employee filing the complaint, as well as the individual(s) against whom the complaint has been filed. Any witnesses to the alleged harassment will also be interviewed in confidence if necessary. The investigation and the results will be fully documented in writing.
Once the investigation has been completed, if the charge is found to have merit, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against the employee who violated the policy, up to and including immediate termination of employment based on the severity of the infraction. ACI is committed to ensuring that disciplinary actions be applied in a consistent manner, and that they be sufficient to stop the harassment and to prevent its recurrence.
Should the investigation indicate that an individual has become the victim of harassment by a third party not employed at the same organization but with which they conduct business, management will take appropriate action dealing with the management of the accused offender to resolve the complaint.