I can't walk down the hall. I work out of my house and my HR department is in an office 1500 miles away.Walk down the hall today and ask your HR people to give you your company policies relating to harassment. I would imagine you'll find that what Cochran is alleged to have done at work would be covered in your company's policy. If you would for a local, state or federal government I would be very surprised if your HR people don't have fairly clear directives relating to Cochran's alleged actions.
While you are talking to you HR folks ask them how or if the polices would apply to supervisors whose behavior is directed at subordinates.
1. He was the main man and had many subordinates working for him.
2. He was employed by the City of Atlanta. His income and his benefits were derived by the taxes of the citizens of the City of Atlanta.
3. When he is working for the City of Atlanta he represents the city administration. When he is in uniform he represents the city administration.
4. I'm going to go out on a limb here as I haven't lived in Atlanta (my hometown) for a while, but I'm fairly certain that it is not the policy of the city government to promote any religion in any manner. The City of Atlanta does not support any religion or any specific interpretation of any religion.
5. City employees should know that if they work for the City of Atlanta they will not feel that there race, religion or atheism, disability, sexual orientation will in any way be a factor in their employment and/or advancement.
Cochran apparently distribute the book at work. We don't know that but it appears that is one of the factors that lead to his suspension and/or dismissal. I say that because it has been reported that during he was direct his suspension that he would not distribute the book at work or on city property. That hints to at least some of what is likely involved.
Employees did in fact complain. They either felt harassed or intimidated or coerced, we don't know exactly. We do know that Cochran's actions did in fact cause employees to report his behavior.
It was reported by WSBTV.com:
The Fire Chief for the City of Atlanta writes a book in which he compares homosexuals to baby rapers and goat ****ers and states that his beliefs come straight from the bible. Further in the book he states that his first priority as chief is run the department "to cultivate its culture to the glory of God".
Danger! Danger! Danger!
And then he hands the distributes the book to employees? I would imagine that any employee who read the book handed to him/her by the big chief is going to assume that "Chief Cocoran handed to me because he wants me to read his book about what he believes, and why. The chief is on a mission from God and God wants the chief to glorify God and instill his holy culture in the fire department. The chief doesn't cotton to gays. The chief gave me this book because he wants me to know how he feels. If I want to move up then it would be wise for me not to challenge the chief or his beliefs."
Imagine if the book was given to supervisor - it likely was. Now you have supervisor who may well believe that the chief was saying something to the effect that "we don't want gays in the firehouse. I put it in writing and put my name on it and I gave it to you for a reason."