Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment


The Foundation seeks a collegial, productive, supportive, and appreciative culture and workplace in which all individuals can benefit equitably. The work environment is expected to be conducive to these goals and respectful interactions among staff are necessary to achieve the goals. Harassment is antithetical to the goals. This Policy addresses the Foundation’s approach to preventing, addressing, and mitigating any behavior that could constitute sexual or other prohibited harassment or retaliation.

Policy Statement

The Foundation is committed to maintaining a work environment that is free of harassment. The Foundation strongly disapproves of and prohibits harassment on the basis of an individual’s actual or perceived gender, race, pregnancy, color, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Harassment is prohibited by and against all employees, applicants and third parties (including visitors, vendors, independent contractors, grantees, customers and clients). Prohibited harassment can be verbal, non-verbal, physical or visual, and may occur at or outside of work, including via phone, computer or text, at social functions (whether or not Foundation sponsored) and via social media platforms.

The Foundation prohibits harassment which violates this Policy and/or applicable law.

Prohibited Harassment

Prohibited harassment includes but is not limited to unwelcome behavior based on an individual’s actual or perceived protected characteristic where the purpose or effect of the behavior is to substantially interfere with the individual’s work performance or to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment or where the behavior otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment opportunities. For purposes of this Policy, the phrase “working environment” is not limited to the physical location where an individual is assigned to perform his or her duties.

Prohibited harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following: epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; unwanted touching or conduct; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual or group (including through email); or “pranks” or other forms of “humor” that are demeaning or hostile toward an individual or group because of that individual or group’s protected characteristic(s). Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment; (b) an individual’s submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for an employment decision affecting that individual; or (c) the purpose or the effect of such conduct is to substantially interfere with the affected individual’s work performance or to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment (even if the individual who complains of it is not the intended target of the sexual harassment).

Examples of conduct which may constitute prohibited sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Lewd or sexually suggestive comments, gestures or actions;
  • Unwelcome sexual advances;
  • Explicit sexual propositions;
  • Sexual innuendo;
  • Requests for sexual acts or favors (with or without accompanying
  • promises or threats of reciprocal favors or actions);
  • Foul or obscene sexual language or gestures;
  • Sexually oriented "kidding," "teasing," or "practical jokes";
  • Jokes or slurs about gender-specific traits;
  • Display of foul, obscene, or sexually explicit printed or visual
  • material, including pictures, greeting cards, articles, books, magazines, photos, or cartoons;
  • Physical contact such as patting, pinching, or intentionally
    brushing against another's body; or
  • Slurs, jokes or degrading comments concerning sexual preferences, orientation or gender identity or expression.

In addition, the Foundation specifically prohibits the access, copying, download or dissemination of documents and information which violate this Policy, including but not limited to sexually explicit, graphic or demeaning materials, messages, statements or photos, via all Foundation-related technology and communications systems (including but not limited to email, voicemail, internet, smart phones, computers, etc.) and otherwise in the workplace.

Prohibition Against Retaliation

The Foundation prohibits retaliation against an individual because that person reported, in good faith, behavior which may violate this Policy or participated, in good faith, in an investigation or proceeding into behavior which may violate this Policy. The Foundation prohibits retaliation which violates this Policy and/or applicable law.

Reporting Sexual and Other Prohibited Harassment and Retailiation

Individuals who believe that they have encountered or witnessed behavior which may violate this Policy should immediately report the behavior to the Vice President and General Counsel, Managing Director, People and Culture, or any other member of the Executive Leadership Team. An employee may also use any of the reporting avenues described in the Policy on Reporting Illegal or Unethical Conduct.

If a supervisor is notified of behavior which may violate this Policy, or observes it, the supervisor must immediately report the behavior to the Vice President and General Counsel, Managing Director, People and Culture, or any other member of the Executive Leadership Team. This report may not be made on anonymous basis.

Investigation of Complaints

The Foundation will promptly investigate all reported complaints of sexual or other harassment, or of retaliation, prohibited by this Policy. Every effort will be made to treat all complaints as confidential consistent with the need to investigate and take corrective action. Confidentiality cannot, however, be guaranteed.

Resolution of Complaints

Individuals who are found to have violated this Policy (including a supervisor who fails to report as required) will be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination, as deemed appropriate by the Foundation in its sole discretion. An applicant who violates this Policy may have his or her offer of employment withdrawn, or may be denied the opportunity to interview for the position at issue. An employee can be terminated for a single violation of this Policy.


This Policy is not a contract or agreement to provide any particular term or condition of employment. This Policy is subject to revision at any time in the sole discretion of the Foundation. Nothing in this Policy changes the fact that employees at the Foundation are employed on an “at-will” basis, meaning that the employee or the Foundation may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without notice or cause.

Compliance with Law

The Foundation will revise this Policy as necessary to comply with changes in the law. Without limiting the foregoing, in compliance with Illinois law, the Foundation will provide annual training on issues related to workplace conduct and sexual harassment.


Updated October 2020


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