EEO Statement and Non-harassment Policy

The City of Ponchatoula is committed to the principles of equal employment. We are committed to complying with all federal, state, and local laws providing equal employment opportunities, and all other employment laws and regulations. It is our intent to maintain a work environment which is free of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation because of age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy (including childbirth, lactation and related medical conditions), physical or mental disability, genetic information (including testing and characteristics), veteran status, uniformed service member status, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws. The City is dedicated to the fulfillment of this policy in regard to all aspects of employment, including but not limited to recruiting, hiring, placement, transfer, training, promotion, rates of pay, and other compensation, termination, and all other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

The City of Ponchatoula will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of all allegations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, or any violation of the City’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy in a confidential manner. The city will take appropriate corrective action, if and where warranted. The city prohibits retaliation against any employee who provides information about, complains, or assists in the investigation of any complaint of discrimination or violation of the City’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy.

We are all responsible for upholding the City’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and any claimed violations of that policy should be brought to the attention of your Supervisor, Superintendent, the Human Resources Manager or the Mayor.

Policy Against Workplace Harassment

The City of Ponchatoula has a strict policy against all types of workplace harassment, including sexual harassment and other forms of workplace harassment based upon an individual’s age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy (including childbirth, lactation and related medical conditions), physical or mental disability, genetic information (including testing and characteristics), veteran status, uniformed service member status, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws. All forms of harassment of, or by, employees, vendors, visitors, customers, and clients are strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as 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.

While it is not possible to identify each and every act that constitutes or may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of sexual harassment are provided below: (a) unwelcome requests for sexual favors; (b) lewd or derogatory comments or jokes; (c) comments regarding sexual behavior or the body of another employee; (d) sexual innuendo and other vocal activity such as catcalls or whistles; (e) obscene letters, notes, emails, invitations, photographs, cartoons, articles, or other written or pictorial materials of a sexual natures; (f) repeated requests for dates after being informed that interest is unwelcome; (g) retaliating against an employee for refusing a sexual advance or reporting an incident of possible sexual harassment to The City of Ponchatoula or any government agency; (h) offering or providing favors or employment benefits such as promotions, favorable evaluations, favorable assigned duties or shifts, etc., in exchange for sexual favors; and (i) any unwanted physical touching or assaults, or blocking or impeding movements.

Other Harassment

Other workplace harassment is often verbal or physical conduct that insults or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual because of the individual’s age, race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy (including childbirth, lactation and related medical conditions), physical or mental disability, genetic information (including testing and characteristics), veteran status, uniformed service member status, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Again, while it is not possible to list all the circumstances that may constitute other forms of workplace harassment, the following are some examples of conduct that may constitute workplace harassment: (a) the use of disparaging or abusive words or phrases, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts that relate to the above protected categories; (b) written or graphic material that insults, stereotypes or shows aversion or hostility towards an individual or group because of one of the above protected categories and that is placed on walls, bulletin boards, email, voicemail, or elsewhere on the City’s premises, or circulated in the workplace; and (c) a display of symbols, slogans, or items that are associated with hate or intolerance towards any select group.

Reporting Discrimination and Harassment

Any employee who feels that he or she has witnessed, or been subject to, any form of discrimination or harassment is required to immediately notify their Supervisor, Superintendent, the Human Resources Manager or the Mayor.

The City of Ponchatoula prohibits retaliation against any employee who provides information about, complains, or assists in the investigation of any complaint of harassment or discrimination.

We will promptly and thoroughly investigate any claim and take appropriate action where we find a claim has merit. Discipline for violation of this policy may include but is not limited to reprimand, suspension, demotion, transfer, and discharge. If the City determines that harassment or discrimination occurred, corrective action will be taken to effectively end the harassment. As necessary, the City may monitor any incident of harassment or discrimination to assure the inappropriate behavior has stopped. In all cases, the City will follow up as necessary to ensure no retaliation for making a complaint or cooperating with an investigation.

Disability Accommodation

The City of Ponchatoula complies with federal and state disability regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Qualified applicants or employees who inform the City of Ponchatoula of a physical or mental disability requiring accommodation in order for them to perform the essential functions of their jobs should inform the Human Resources Manager of this so that we can together discuss what accommodations are available and appropriate.

Procedure for reasonable accommodation requests:

Employee advises Human Resources of the need for accommodation. Employee completes a Request for Accommodation form and returns it to the Human Resources Manager.

The Human Resources Manager, the Superintendent and the Mayor will discuss the accommodation request and reasonable accommodations.

The employee may be required to provide documentation supporting a disability, including medical certification.

If a reasonable appropriate accommodation is readily available, the request will be approved and the accommodation implemented.

If an accommodation is not readily ascertainable, the matter will be pursued further with assistance from appropriate external resources.

The City will consider the request but reserves the right to offer its own accommodation to the extent permitted by law. Some, but not all, of the factors that the City will consider are cost, the effect that an accommodation will have on current established policies and the burden on operations — including other employees — when determining a reasonable accommodation.

Religious Accommodation

The City of Ponchatoula is dedicated to treating the religious diversity of all our employees equally and with respect. Employees may request an accommodation when their religious beliefs cause a deviation from The City of Ponchatoula’s dress code, schedule, basic job duties, or other aspects of employment. The City will consider the request but reserves the right to offer its own accommodation to the extent permitted by law. Some, but not all, of the factors that the City will consider are cost, the effect that an accommodation will have on current established policies and the burden on operations, including other employees when determining a reasonable accommodation. At no time will the City question the validity of a person’s belief.

Religious accommodation request forms are available from the Human Resources Manager.