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If either "awful" or unlawful harassment is occurring in your workplace, do not ignore it. Report it immediately to your department's Fair Employment Practices Liaison or the Office of Fair Employment Practices.
Unlawful harassment is a form of employment discrimination directed at a person or persons because of their protected status (race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, marital status, ancestry, pregnancy or sexual orientation).
Miami-Dade County's unlawful harassment policy ensures a work environment free of discrimination and includes harassment on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion, retaliation, age, disability, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or the exercise of constitutional or statutory rights.
In order for offensive comments and jokes to create an unlawful hostile work environment, two requirements must be met:
- the comments and jokes must be based on a person's membership in a protected class, such as race, gender, or religion; and
- the conduct must unreasonably interfere with an employee's ability to do his or her job. The victim can be anyone affected by the conduct, not just the individual at whom the offensive conduct is directed.
This Administrative Order is intended to make clear that all County employees who believe they have been unlawfully harassed must notify the County's Office of Human Rights and Fair Employment Practices or Fair Employment Practices Liaison or their supervisor, and may file a complaint for a prompt and proper investigation.
If an investigation confirms the existence of unlawful harassment, the Office of Human Rights and Fair Employment Practices will pursue prompt and corrective action, including remedial relief for the victim and appropriate disciplinary action against the offender.
Employment actions that are based on an employee's performance or other legitimate reasons are not harassment.
Learn more about harassment and its different forms by reading the following resources:
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and may consist of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct. Conduct may constitute sexual harassment when it explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
The victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee can be a sexual harasser. The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
In each case, the victim decides whether a certain behavior is welcome or unwelcome. It is the impact of the behavior on the victim that counts, not the intent of the behavior.
All cases filed with the Office of Human Rights and Fair Employment Practices are taken seriously. Each case is reviewed for sufficiency and investigated based on its merit. The sex of the complainant has no bearing on the claim. Therefore, a man or a woman can file a case of sexual harassment; and, the complainant may be of the same sex as the harasser.
"Textual Harassment" includes the sending of offensive or other inappropriate text messages and "Sexting," which involves the sending of sexually explicit messages.
Awful Harassment is not illegal but may be directed at all persons and is not based on your protected status.
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