Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment Handbook Statement: Rhode Island

Author: Amy E. Mendenhall, Marissa L. Dragoo, Corinn Jackson, and Judith A. Paulson, Littler

When to Include

Rhode Island employers with 50 or more employees should include this statement in their handbook because Rhode Island law requires that employers provide a written sexual harassment policy that includes certain elements appearing in this policy, such as contact information for the state and federal agencies that enforce antidiscrimination laws.

Customizable Handbook Statement

Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment

[Company Name] is committed to providing a work environment free of harassment. The Company complies with Rhode Island law and maintains a strict policy prohibiting sexual harassment and harassment against employees or applicants for employment based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions), country of ancestral origin, disability, age (40 and over), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, homelessness, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, lawful use of tobacco products outside of the workplace, military/reservist status and any other category protected under applicable federal, state or local law.

All employees are expected to comply with the Company's Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment policy, as set forth in the National Handbook. The purpose of this policy is to provide Rhode Island employees with additional information regarding harassment.

While the Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment policy sets forth the Company's goals of promoting a workplace that is free of harassment, the policy is not designed or intended to limit the Company's authority to discipline or take remedial action for workplace conduct that we deem unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the definition of unlawful harassment.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful. It is also unlawful to retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint of harassment, including a complaint of sexual harassment, or for cooperating in an investigation of a complaint for harassment, including sexual harassment.

Any employee who believes that he or she has been harassed or discriminated against should provide a written or verbal report to his or her supervisor, another member of management, to Human Resources [or insert name and department of appropriate company representative] as soon as possible. The responsibility to investigate complaints of harassment has been assigned to [insert name and contact details of appropriate company representative]. [Insert name of appropriate company representative] can be reached at [insert contact information].

Employees who believe they have been harassed or discriminated against may also file a formal complaint with either or both of the government agencies listed below:

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that investigates harassment complaints, including claims of sexual harassment. The EEOC can be reached at:
    • John F. Kennedy Federal Building, 475 Government Center, Boston, MA 02203
    • Tel: 800-669-4000
    • Fax: 617-565-3196
    • TTY: 800-669-6820
  • The Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights (RICHR) is the state agency responsible for handling complaints of harassment, including sexual harassment. The RICHR can be reached at:
    • 180 Westminster Street, 3rd Floor, Providence, RI 02903
    • Tel: 401-222-2661
    • Fax: 401-222-2616
    • TTY: 401-222-2664

Guidance for Employers

  • This statement is intended to be used together with a national Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment policy statement.
  • Rhode Island law requires that, at the time of employment, covered employers must provide new employees with a written copy of the employer's policy against sexual harassment. Employers must also provide written copies of the sexual harassment policy to employees upon request.
  • The policy must include:
    • A statement that sexual harassment in the workplace is unlawful;
    • A statement that it is unlawful to retaliate against an employee for filing a complaint of sexual harassment or for cooperating in an investigation of a complaint for sexual harassment;
    • A description and examples of sexual harassment;
    • A statement of the range of consequences for employees who are found to have committed sexual harassment;
    • A description of the process for filing internal complaints about sexual harassment and the work addresses and telephone numbers of the person or persons to whom complaints should be made; and
    • The identity of the appropriate state and federal employment discrimination enforcement agencies, and directions as to how to contact these agencies.
  • The majority of the elements required to appear in a sexual harassment policy under Rhode Island law are included in the National Handbook. However, the final two elements required to be included in a Rhode Island sexual harassment policy are not included in the National Handbook and, instead, are included in the Rhode Island Supplement.
  • Download the Rhode Island Sexual Harassment poster and post in a conspicuous place accessible to employees.
  • Rhode Island law encourages employers to provide harassment training to new employees, covering, at a minimum, the information included in this statement.
  • Rhode Island law also encourages employers to train supervisory and managerial employees on the company's harassment policy, the specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees and the methods to be used to ensure that sexual harassment complaints are immediately addressed and appropriate corrective action is taken.

Additional Resources

Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment Handbook Statement [15-19 Employees]

Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment Handbook Statement [20+ Employees]

Sexual Harassment Training by State