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Discrimination and Harassment

All employees and those with whom they work, including suppliers, dealers, customers, visitors, and contingent workers, have the right and responsibility to work in an environment free from harassing or discriminating behavior. It is the responsibility of each employee to refrain from creating a discriminatory or harassing environment. Each employee is also responsible for treating others with dignity and respect and to report all incidents of harassment immediately so that they can be quickly and fairly resolved.

Herman Miller, Inc., will not tolerate discrimination or harassment. Harassing and discriminating behavior undermines the integrity of employment relationships and interferes with effectiveness. An employee is responsible for ensuring that Herman Miller, Inc.'s workplace is free from prohibited harassment, whether or not the behavior or comments result in a violation of the "law."

Herman Miller, Inc., will not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, religion, height, weight, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. State and federal laws prohibit discrimination in recruitment, hiring, compensation, training and apprenticeship, promotion, upgrading, demotion, downgrading, transfer, layoff and termination, firing, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.

State and federal law also prohibits harassment on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, and religion.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, including gender-based or same-sex-based comments and conduct, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Examples of such conduct might include, but are not limited to: off-color jokes, language, cartoons, nicknames, or propositions; repeated unwanted social invitations; crude gestures; touching or pinching; sexually oriented posters; and suggestive or insulting sounds.

It violates Herman Miller, Inc.'s policy when:

  • Submission to unwelcome conduct or communication of a sexual nature is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of employment
  • Submission to or rejection of the advances is used as a basis for tangible job benefits and/or employment decisions
  • Conduct interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment

Other discriminatory harassment is defined as any behavior or pattern of behavior that creates an intimidating or offensive work environment or otherwise affects employment opportunities.

Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to: epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, threatening or intimidating acts that relate to an employee's protected characteristic, and written or graphic material that degrades or shows hostility or aversion toward an employee with a protected characteristic.

It violates Herman Miller, Inc.'s, policy when a working environment is oppressive to members of a protected group because of the actions of coworkers, work team leaders, or customers.

The following are some examples of conduct/behavior that may be considered harassing and/or discriminating. The list provided below is by no means all-inclusive:

  • Verbal harassment, such as name calling or derogatory comments
  • Lewd or sexually suggestive comments, offensive language, or jokes of a sexual nature
  • Physical harassment, such as assault, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement when directed at an individual
  • Visual forms of harassment, such as displaying derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings that are offensive
  • Requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct or communication or sexual advances
  • Transmitting sexually suggestive, derogatory, or offensive materials via company computers, e-mail, or voice mail or accessing such information on the internet
  • Use of abusive or threatening language toward another employee or any other person on company premises
  • Comments that stereotype an individual
  • Inducing another employee to violate company policies
  • Threatening retaliation for reporting inappropriate behavior or conduct

Sexual and discriminatory harassment is unacceptable in the workplace itself and in other work-related settings such as business trips and social events with coworkers (whether or not the social event is sponsored by the company). Such conduct by customers, suppliers, or visitors to Herman Miller, Inc., also will not be tolerated.

If an employee believes he/she is being harassed or discriminated against or if an employee is aware of or has observed harassing/discriminating behavior, he/she should report the incident immediately to a People Services representative or to any other representative of management. Any management representative, including a work team leader, who receives a report of harassment or discrimination must report it immediately to a People Services representative.

An investigator assigned by the People Services Department will conduct an investigation of a complaint. The investigation could include interviewing the alleging and the accused employees and any witnesses to the harassment/discrimination. The accused employee's work team leader may also be contacted. An employee is expected to participate fully in any investigation of a complaint. Complaints of discrimination and harassment will be promptly, carefully, and thoroughly investigated.

The privacy of the person issuing the complaint and of the person accused and the steps taken in the investigation will be kept confidential to the extent consistent with the need to conduct a thorough investigation. The People Services Department will report its findings to the person making the complaint and to the person or persons involved.

If the investigation establishes that the complaint is valid, immediate and appropriate corrective action will be taken to stop the harassment and prevent its recurrence. Herman Miller, Inc., will take necessary and appropriate remedial action, depending on the particulars of each case. The investigator will make a recommendation for corrective action, consistent with company practice, to a People Services representative and the accused employee's work team leader.

The company will not tolerate any form of reprisal or retaliation against an employee reporting any incident of claimed harassment or participating in a related investigation.

In addition to being subject to discipline up to and including separation of employment, an employee needs to be aware that he/she may be held personally liable for monetary damages if found guilty of harassment.

A workshop on preventing harassment and discrimination in the workplace is available to all employees.

Contact us for additional information.

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