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The highlights of the revision include:1. The scope of the policy has been expanded to also include discrimination in the workplace. This is reflected in the revised title of the policy “Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Abuse of Authority”.
2. The Policy reinforces that UNDP does not, and will not, tolerate harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and abuse of authority in any form. Such prohibited conduct is subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal and ban from future employment with UNDP. It further clarifies that while consensual, intimate relationships between UNDP personnel are generally not prohibited, managers and supervisors should recognize that such relationships are not appropriate where one person manages, reviews or takes administrative decisions concerning the other person, is subordinate to the other person in the same line of reporting/authority, or is in a position in which some other conflict of interest may arise.
3. The application of the Policy has been clarified and the definition of workplace expanded. It now covers all UNDP personnel, namely staff, Service Contract holders, UNVs and Individual Contracts. External personnel, which include vendors, suppliers and partners, can now report actions of prohibited conduct against them by UNDP personnel.
4. The Policy makes a clear distinction between sexual harassment in the workplace, and sexual exploitation and abuse of local populations by UNDP personnel. The latter is regulated by the Secretary-General Bulletin ST/SGB/2003/13: Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse;
5. The obligations of UNDP personnel and managers and supervisors are reinforced by:
a. Putting greater emphasis on the completion of relevant mandatory courses;b. Requiring Directors of Bureaus and Heads of Office to provide an annual certificate to the Administrator confirming that they have fulfilled their responsibilities under this policy.
6. Provisions related to reporting prohibited conduct have been reinforced as follows:
a. The time for reporting prohibited conduct other than sexual harassment is extended from 6 months to a year (12 months) and the time limit for reporting sexual harassment cases has been removed entirely;b. Anonymous reports of prohibited conduct are allowed; c. Regarding allegations of sexual harassment, an additional process for reporting such allegations through an external helpline is being implemented;d. The Office of the Ombudsman may continue to offer initial guidance on options to be pursued for the resolution of complaints, while preserving the right to file a formal request directly with OAI at any time.
7. The Policy confirms that, as set out in the UNDP Policy for Protection against Retaliation, retaliation by any member of UNDP’s personnel against another member of UNDP’s personnel for having, in good faith, properly reported allegations of misconduct, or for having cooperated with a duly authorized audit or investigation, is strictly prohibited and is itself misconduct that will be treated accordingly.
8. The Policy also clarifies the rights of an alleged offender who separates from UNDP while an investigation into prohibited conduct is ongoing.
9. Finally, the Policy provides examples of each of the four types of prohibited conduct to help address misunderstandings regarding what actions and behaviours constitute harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination, and abuse of authority.