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Home » Officer Columns » AFM Updates Sexual Harassment Policy

AFM Updates Sexual Harassment Policy

  -  AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

Sexual harassment is a form of illegal discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the March AFM International Executive Board meeting, the board adopted an updated sexual harassment policy that is unambiguous and instructive. The policy applies to all AFM employees whether they work in our New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, or Washington, DC, offices, as well as those AFM employees who work “on the road” (international representatives and negotiators/organizers).

The updated policy is one part of a three-part initiative in response to heightened awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace. This initiative includes: (1) updates to the AFM sexual harassment policy, establishing zero tolerance for sexual harassment; (2) training on the new policy for all AFM staff, with an emphasis on preventing sexual harassment, recognizing it when it occurs, and reporting it to AFM leadership so it can be dealt with appropriately; and (3) providing guidance for AFM local officers who receive complaints from members about sexual harassment occurring in AFM-represented workplaces.

sexual harassment

AFM Director of Symphonic Services and Special Counsel Rochelle Skolnick is leading the training for US AFM employees. She has also created a training module for local officers and will be presenting it at AFM regional conferences this year. Skolnick observes, “We are at a moment as a society when there is less tolerance than ever before for the sexualization of workplace interactions, ranging from off-color banter to abuse of power in an attempt to attain sexual control. By providing these resources to all AFM staff and local officers, the AFM takes a strong stand against abusive behavior and in support of a workplace culture that values the full participation of all individuals.”

The first staff training sessions took place April 4 in the AFM New York City office. Copies of the Sexual Harassment policy were distributed to those attending, followed by a 30-minute training presentation. Attendance at one of the two sessions was mandatory. Additional sessions will be held for the Los Angeles and Washington, DC, offices. There will be virtual training presentations (via GoToMeeting) for AFM staff who work on the road.

The AFM Canadian Office staff attended a Toronto workshop entitled “Respect in the Workplace,” presented by Niagara Street HR Consulting Inc. on April 9. It covered legislation (anti-workplace harassment, sexual harassment, violence, and bullying), employer/employee reporting responsibilities, and how to report. The workshop also covered Ontario Labour and Employment law and gave an overview of the Canada Labour code.

The AFM is firmly committed to a workplace environment that is free from sexual harassment. Training AFM employees serves to educate our staff and sends a strong and clear message that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. 

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