We are confident that in your upcoming term of service, you will meet resource management and conservation professionals of the highest personal and professional integrity. Some of these people will inspire you, serve as mentors, and have a lasting effect on the rest of your life. You will come to value and treasure your opportunity to work side by side with these experienced professionals.Even in a workplace as professional as those of our cooperating agencies, discrimination can occur. It is the policy of all of our partner agencies to maintain a workplace environment free from any type of discriminatory conduct, including making statements or jokes, or committing acts regarding a person's race, color, national origin, religion, gender, physical condition, age, marital status or sexual orientation that are offensive, derogatory, or harassing. Nonetheless, over the years, a small number of our volunteers have reported that they were victims of violations of this policy. Therefore, we feel that it is our responsibility to advise you that there is a possibility, however remote, that you could be confronted with discriminatory behavior. Most of us immediately recognize the more overt forms of discrimination. There is one kind of discrimination that sometimes takes subtle and insidious forms, namely, sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is not merely defined as sexual advances and/or requests for sexual favors that are unwelcome. It is also verbal comments, gestures and/or physical contact which is deliberate, repeated, unwanted and unsolicited.Sexual harassment can sometimes be so subtle that it is not readily recognized at first. It may take the form of unwelcome verbal comments, jokes, suggestions or derogatory remarks based on sex; unwelcome physical touching, pats, squeezes, repeated brushing against or the impeding or blocking of one's movement; unwelcome visual harassment, sexually suggestive or derogatory pictures, drawings or cartoons; unwelcome communications, notes, phone calls or e-mail. This may include words or actions that the initiator intends to be "harmless", benign or playful, but which may not be so perceived by the recipient or an onlooker.From your perspective, you should take seriously and not tolerate any conduct that makes you feel uncomfortable, degraded or intimidated. Also, do not ignore offensive behavior because it occurs outside of work hours. Inform the initiator that his/her words and/or actions are unwelcome and state that they should not be repeated and will not be tolerated. If the behavior continues, or if you do not feel safe or comfortable confronting the individual directly, please report the situation immediately to your supervisor or, if this is not appropriate, to any other management representative of your choice.Many of our hosting sites have Personnel Directors or Equal Employment Opportunity Representatives who are trained to deal constructively and professionally with incidences of harassment. We urge you to consider contacting these officials. They will make sure that your concerns are dealt with in confidence to the extent consistent with a full and fair investigation. Oftentimes, they are experienced enough to resolve the difficulties you may be experiencing through informal discussions. However, they will also know when more formal measures are called for which they will advise you of, but will not take without permission (with the rare exception of serious assault).These measures could involve conducting a thorough investigation of your allegations, interviewing others who may have witnessed the behavior which has caused you discomfort, identifying any areas of factual dispute, and eventually reaching a conclusion as to whether the alleged conduct constituted a violation of agency policy or federal or state law. If this is indeed the case, they will know the next steps to take to invoke remedial action or sanction. They also will ensure that there will be no retaliation of any kind as a result of your utilization of their complaint procedures. No action will be taken against any individual who makes a good faith complaint or against any individual participating in the investigation or enforcement of this policy. However, any individual who knowingly makes a false claim of sexual harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.We all have a responsibility for maintaining high standards of conduct in the workplace. Sexual harassment has no place in it and should never be condoned. Most importantly, for your own well being, we urge you to not tolerate it and to take the steps outlined above, if necessary. Please remember that our agency partners will not be able to take remedial action to correct problems or individuals if they do not know that inappropriate behavior is occurring. Think of the next person who will be in the position you are in and allow our agencies to send out the message that sexual harassment is simply unacceptable.