IN THE CIRCUIT COURT, SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

IN AND FOR PASCO AND PINELLAS COUNTIES, FLORIDA

 

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO.  2004-077 PA/PI CIR

 

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RE:     SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION POLICY

The Sixth Judicial Circuit for many years has had a policy of promoting a workplace that is free from discrimination including sexual harassment and has had procedures in place that provide directions for employees to report any alleged occurrences of discrimination or sexual harassment.  The procedures addressed complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment by judges and court employees.

The Florida Supreme Court in Administrative Order 04-8 adopted a procedure for complaints against judges for sexual harassment and directed the Chief Judge to adopt an administrative order in compliance with the Chief Justice’s order.

A request was made to the Florida Supreme Court to allow the Sixth Judicial Circuit to retain its existing procedures for complaints of sexual harassment against judges.  That request was denied.  Therefore, it is

ORDERED:

1.  The Supreme Court’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures for Complaints Against Trial Court Judges is hereby adopted for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.  The Policy and Procedures in Appendix A are attached to and made a part of this Order.

2.  The Sixth Judicial Circuit Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures are hereby revised to delete all references to complaints against judges for sexual harassment.  The Revised Policy and Procedures in Appendix B are attached to and made a part of this Order.  The Revised Policy and Procedures supersede and replace the Policy and Procedures adopted by Administrative Order No. PA/PI-CIR-99-33.

3.  These policies shall apply to all court personnel of the Sixth Judicial Circuit without regard to position funding source, i.e. county, state, or other payroll classification.

4.  The Administrative Office of Courts shall as soon as practicable, distribute these policies to all court personnel of the Sixth Judicial Circuit and obtain signed confirmations of receipt of these policies from all employees, excluding constitutional officers.

Administrative Order PA/PI-CIR-99-33 is hereby rescinded.

DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida, this _____ day of October 2004.

_____________________________  David A. Demers, Chief Judge

                                                      

cc:        All Judges

            The Honorable Bernie McCabe, State Attorney

            The Honorable Bob Dillinger, Public Defender

            The Honorable Karleen F. DeBlaker, Clerk of Court, Pinellas County

            The Honorable Jed Pittman, Clerk of Court, Pasco County

            Carol Heath, Director, Court Services Division, Pinellas County Clerk’s Office

            Betty Henderson, Assistant Court Services Director, Pasco County Clerk’s Office       

            Gay L. Inskeep, Trial Courts Administrator

            Kerry L. Rice, Senior Deputy Court Administrator, Pasco County

            Bar Associations, Pasco and Pinellas Counties

            Law Libraries, Pasco and Pinellas Counties      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX A

 

SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

 

SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY AND

COMPLAINT PROCEDURES AGAINST JUDGES

 

1.          Policy

 

It is the policy of the Sixth Judicial Circuit to make the workplace free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment occurs if there are unwelcome sexual advances; unwelcome requests for sexual favors; or unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature from or involving an employee’s supervisors, peers, subordinates or other persons in contact with an employee during the course of the conduct of the employee’s business when:

 

1.          Submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment; or

 

2.          Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or

 

3.          Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

 

It is the policy of the Sixth Judicial Circuit that complaints of sexual harassment will be treated seriously and acted upon promptly. The following procedures apply to complaints against judges made by employees or applicants for employment. Compliance with these procedures satisfies a Chief Judge’s disciplinary responsibilities under Canon 3 D(1) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

 

2.          Notification

 

The Chief Judge may designate any person, including a non-judge, to be responsible for receiving and documenting complaints of sexual harassment against judges of this circuit.

 

Any employee or applicant for employment with the court who believes that he or she is the subject of sexual harassment by a county judge or a circuit judge, or a senior judge should report his or her complaint in writing to the Chief Judge or to the Chief Judge’s designee. If any person has difficulty in writing out the complaint, the Chief Judge shall designate a person, who will not be involved in the adjudication thereof, to aid the complainant in reducing the complaint to writing.

 

If the Chief Judge is the subject of a complaint, the employee or applicant should report the complaint to the court administrator who will refer such complaint to the Chief Judge of the judicial circuit within the territory of the Second District Court of Appeal having the longest continuous service as Chief Judge. The Chief Judge to whom such a complaint is referred will assume all complaint investigation and resolution duties as provided for in these procedures. The Chief Judge to whom such a complaint is referred will also be responsible for maintaining any records pertaining to the complaint.

 

 

If an employee or applicant chooses not to file a formal complaint, but the Chief Judge has actual knowledge or receives information that a substantial likelihood exists that another judge has engaged in sexual harassment, the Chief Judge will inquire into the matter and take appropriate action.

 

3.          Time for Filing Complaints

 

In order to ensure that the Sixth Judicial Circuit complaint procedures can be utilized without risk of precluding the filing of a charge of discrimination with state or federal entities, an employee or applicant should report an incident of sexual harassment within 90 days of the date of occurrence.

 

4.          Investigation

 

A complaint of sexual harassment against a judge will be investigated promptly and thoroughly. If a complaint has been made to the Chief Judge, he or she may designate another person to make an initial inquiry into the complaint.

 

The Chief Judge or the Chief Judge’s designee will interview the complainant within five days of the submission of the complaint to ascertain relevant facts and circumstances. If the complainant does not divulge names or details of the incident(s), the Chief Judge or the Chief Judge’s designee will rely upon information that is available, to the extent possible. If another person has been designated to make an initial inquiry into the complaint, such designee will report details of the complaint to the Chief Judge within ten days of the submission of the complaint.

 

The Chief Judge may dismiss the complaint as unfounded or insufficient to constitute sexual harassment. If the complaint is sufficient to constitute sexual harassment, the Chief Judge may appoint an investigating officer or officers to formally investigate the complaint.

 

The Chief Judge or investigating officer(s) will interview the complainant, the judge involved, and witnesses, if any, and will review relevant materials. If any investigating officers have been appointed, such persons will submit a written report to the Chief Judge within thirty days of the submission of the complaint.

 

5.          Resolution

 

The Chief Judge will determine the course of action for resolution of the complaint, and may appoint another person to resolve the complaint.

 

The Chief Judge may attempt to resolve the complaint informally through mutual conciliation by meeting with the complainant and judge to discuss a method of resolution, including alternative dispute resolution. In attempting to resolve the complaint, the Chief Judge may counsel or take other appropriate direct action with the judge involved.

 

If the complaint and investigation raise a substantial question as to a judge’s fitness for office, the Chief Judge will refer the complaint and all written documentation pertaining to the complaint to the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

 

 

 

6.          Documentation and Confidentiality

 

All information pertaining to a complaint of sexual harassment must be documented and maintained by the Chief Judge or the Chief Judge’s designee.

 

All records made or received by the Chief Judge or the Chief Judge’s designee through use of these complaint procedures are exempt from public disclosure under rule 2.051(c)(3)(A), Florida Rules of Judicial Administration. Such records are exempt for the duration of an initial inquiry, formal investigation and resolution of the complaint, and at all times thereafter, unless the records are forwarded to the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

 

If records pertaining to a complaint are forwarded to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, such records will be confidential under Rule of Judicial Administration 2.051(c)(3)(A), and rule 23(a), Rules of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, until any

formal charges against the judge are filed by the Investigative Panel of the Commission with the clerk of the Florida Supreme Court.

 

Records within the possession of the Chief Judge or the Chief Judge’s designee pertaining to a complaint that have been forwarded to the Judicial Qualifications Commission will only become public upon formal charges being filed with the clerk of the ‘Florida Supreme Court.

 

7.          Referral to the Judicial Qualifications Commission

 

These procedures do not preclude the referral of a complaint against a judge at any time by any person to the Judicial Qualifications Commission. If a complaint against a judge has been referred to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, no further action by a Chief Judge is required.

 

The Commission is responsible for investigating all reported instances of judicial misconduct. The Commission is located at: 1110 Thomasville Road, Tallahassee, Florida

32303-6224. The Commission’s Executive Director, Brooke S. Kennerly, can be contacted at (850) 488-1581.

 

8.          Referral to the Florida Commission on Human Relations or

the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

 

These procedures do not preclude the filing of a charge of employment discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 

The Florida Commission on Human Relations is located at: 2009 Apalachee Parkway, Suite 100, Oakland Building, Tallahassee, Florida 32301-4857. The telephone number for the Commission is: (850) 488-7082.

 

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office with jurisdiction over complaints arising in the Sixth Judicial Circuit is located at:

 

 

Tampa Area Office: 501 East Polk Street, Suite 1000, Tampa, Florida 33602. The telephone number for the Tampa office is: (813) 228-2310 or 1-800-669-4000.


APPENDIX B

 

Sixth Judicial Circuit

 

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures

Revised as of OCTOBER 1, 2004

It is the policy of the Court to provide all employees of the Sixth Judicial Circuit with a work environment free from sexual harassment or any form of discrimination; including discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, or age; and a work environment free from retaliation against those who oppose or report discrimination or sexual harassment.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, no employee, either male or female, shall be subjected to unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtures, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or any other verbal or nonverbal conduct that might be construed as sexual in nature. The above described conduct, either by supervisors, co-workers or non-employees will not be tolerated by the Court. Such behavior, whether committed by a supervisor or co-worker, will be considered employee misconduct and will result in appropriate disciplinary or other corrective action. Such conduct by a non-employee will result in appropriate corrective action, which may include contact with the individual’s employer.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal harassment and violates Title VII when:

1.          submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or  condition of an individual’s employment,

2.          submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or

3.          such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

An employee who believes he or she may be the subject of sexual harassment or discrimination should immediately report his or her complaint either orally or in writing in accordance with the procedures set forth below. In any instance in which the complainant believes that the reporting of a complaint to the individual specified below would be futile, the employee should proceed up the hierarchy to an appropriate level, up to and including the Chief Judge, in order to effectively register a complaint.

A.        Complaints Against Co-Employees and Supervisors

Complaints against co-employees should be reported to the complainant’s immediate supervisor. If the complainant believes that reporting the conduct of co-employees to the supervisor would be futile, or if the employee has a complaint about the supervisor, the employee should report the conduct to the Human Resources Director. The individual to whom the complaint is made shall immediately report the complaint to the Courts Administrator, who will in turn notify the Chief Judge. The Chief Judge will appoint persons to investigate all complaints against employees. Such persons may include the Court Counsel and the Human Resources Director when appropriate.

After due consideration of all available information, the appointed person(s) shall expeditiously report the nature and facts of the complaint to the Chief Judge. The Chief Judge shall make a determination based upon the complaint and the report and shall take appropriate corrective action. Said action may include employee disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. The Chief Judge shall advise the Courts Administrator of the Court’s decision regarding the discrimination or harassment complaint. The Courts Administrator will meet with the complainant and appropriate individuals to advise them of the decision and impose any appropriate disciplinary action.

B.        Complaints Against Judges by Employees

Any complaint of sexual harassment against a judge should be reported as provided in a separate policy (see Appendix A to Administrative Order 2004-077 PA/PI-CIR, Sixth Judicial Circuit Sexual Harassment Policy And Complaint Procedures Against Judges).  Any complaint of discrimination against a judge should be reported to the Courts Administrator, who will in turn report the complaint to the Chief Judge. Such complaint will be investigated following a procedure established by the Chief Judge. Such procedure may include, but is not limited to:

1.          Appointment of an independent person to investigate the complaint and report findings to the appointing judge.

2.          Referral to a court-appointed individual or group of individuals for investigation as discussed in paragraph "A" above.

3.          A meeting between the involved parties and the Chief Judge in an attempt to informally resolve the complaint. This procedure would be utilized only if mutually acceptable to all involved persons. The Chief Judge or the individuals involved may recommend formal alternative dispute resolution utilizing a court-certified mediator or arbitrator as a method for resolving the complaint. Alternative dispute resolution may be initiated at any stage of grievance resolution.

4.          Referral to the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Upon completion of any investigation under this paragraph, the Chief Judge shall make a determination based thereon and shall take appropriate corrective action, which may include referral to an appropriate outside agency.

C.        Complaints Against the Courts Administrator by Employees

Any complaint against the Courts Administrator shall be brought directly to the attention of the Chief Judge. The Chief Judge shall determine the procedure for addressing the complaint, as specified above.

Upon completion of any investigation, the Chief Judge shall make a determination based thereon and shall take appropriate corrective action.

D.        Complaints Against the Chief Judge by Employees

Any complaint of sexual harassment against the Chief Judge should be addressed as provided in a separate policy (see Appendix A to Administrative Order 2004-077 PA/PI-CIR, Sixth Judicial Circuit Sexual Harassment Policy And Complaint Procedures Against Judges).  Any complaint of discrimination against the Chief Judge shall be brought to the attention of the Courts Administrator, who in turn will consult with the senior most former Chief Judge.  Such former Chief Judge shall assume the responsibilities of the Chief Judge for purposes of carrying out the procedures under this policy.  Alternatively, employees may directly contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if they have complaints about the behavior on the part of the Chief Judge that indicates a violation of this policy.

E.         Confidentiality and Records

Any investigation of a complaint will be conducted in a professional, confidential, and expeditious manner.  Nothing in this policy will guarantee protection from public access other than as provided in Florida or federal law, or court rule.

All records made or received by the Chief Judge or the Chief Judge’s designee through use of these complaint procedures are exempt from public disclosure under rule 2.051(c)(3), and (8), Florida Rules of Judicial Administration. Such records of complaints against employees are exempt until a determination of probable cause is found.  Any record of resulting disciplinary action will be maintained in the disciplined employee’s personnel file.

Such records of complaints against judges are exempt for the duration of an initial inquiry, formal investigation and resolution of the complaint, and at all times thereafter, unless the records are forwarded to the Judicial Qualifications Commission.  If records pertaining to a complaint are forwarded to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, such records will be confidential under Rule of Judicial Administration 2.051(c)(3)(A), and rule 23(a), Rules of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, until any formal charges against the judge are filed by the Investigative Panel of the Commission with the clerk of the Florida Supreme Court.

 

Records within the possession of the Chief Judge or the Chief Judge’s designee pertaining to a complaint that have been forwarded to the Judicial Qualifications Commission will only become public upon formal charges being filed with the clerk of the ‘Florida Supreme Court.

F.         Protection from Retaliation

In no case will an employee be disciplined or otherwise retaliated against for opposing harassment or discrimination in the workplace by reporting in good faith any violation of this policy. However, any employee who is in receipt of a complaint or has knowledge of a violation and fails to take action by reporting the matter may be subject to disciplinary action ranging from a written reprimand up to and including dismissal. Any employee who knowingly files a false complaint of sexual harassment or other discrimination against another person shall be subject to disciplinary action ranging from a written reprimand up to and including dismissal.

 

G.        Posting

This policy and the administrative order adopting it shall be posted at each courthouse location. This policy shall, further, be distributed as part of all new employee manuals and generally distributed to all judges and court staff on a periodic basis.

 

 

 

Sixth Judicial Circuit

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT OF

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

 

 

I have received and read a copy of

                                                

(1)        the Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures Against Judges

 

(2)        the Sixth Judicial Circuit Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures Revised as of October 1, 2004.

as adopted by Administrative Order 2004-077 PA/PI-CIR . I understand the policy set forth regarding discrimination and sexual harassment, the procedure for reporting and resolving complaints, and the consequences of any violation of this policy.

__________________________________                                                                             Employee’s Name

__________________________________                                                                         Employee’s Signature

­__________________________                                                                                                    Date

 

 

Human Resources Director, Jim Battyanyi can be reached by calling (727) 453-7163.