Anti-Violence, Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy (Respect in the Workplace)       

 

Oakville Improv recognizes the dignity and worth of every improviser, student, audience member, employee, contractor, and volunteer in our community, and to that end believes in providing and maintaining a work environment in which all everyone feels safe and is free from workplace violence, bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

Oakville Improv’s Anti Violence, Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy (also known as Respect In the Workplace Policy) applies to all improvisers, students, audience members, employees, contractors and volunteers and covers all forms of violence, harassment and discrimination prohibited under human rights legislation.

 

Definitions

“Workplace” means any place where business or work-related activities are conducted. It includes, but is not limited to, the physical work premises, work being conducted on other premises, work-related social functions (social events, etc.), work assignments outside Oakville Improv Inc.’s office, work-related travel, and work-related conferences or training sessions.

“Bullying” means acts or verbal comments that have the potential of psychologically hurting or isolating a person. The comments, acts, or behaviour, typically intend to offend, degrade, intimidate, or humiliate an individual or group of people. While bullying usually happens where there is a pattern of such behaviour, it could also be one incident that is sufficient in establishing workplace bullying, particularly where the one incident has a lasting effect on the individual.

“Discrimination” means the differential treatment of an individual on the basis of race, sex, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, same-sex partnership status, sexual orientation, age, disability, citizenship, family status or marital status, creed, gender identity or gender expression or any other factor that is legislatively protected within the province where the working, learning or performing is conducted (“Prohibited Grounds”).

Harassment” means engaging in a course of disagreeable comments or conduct that is known, or ought to reasonably be known, to be unwelcome. It may include unwelcome, unwanted, offensive, or objectionable conduct that may have the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment; interfering with an individual’s work performance; adversely affecting an individual’s employment (or casting) relationship; and/or denying an individual’s dignity and respect. Harassment may result from one incident or a series of incidents. It may be directed at specific individuals or groups.  If a person does not explicitly object to harassing behaviour, or appears to be going along with it, this does not mean that the behaviour is okay. The behaviour could still be considered harassment under the Code.

Examples of harassment and discriminatory conduct include, but are not limited to:

  1. Humiliating an improvisor, student, audience member, employee and volunteer employee in front of others;
  2. Subjecting an individual to unwelcome remarks or jokes;
  3. Consistent subjection of an individual to practical jokes or ridicule;
  4. The making of any work-related decision (including matters of hiring, promotion, compensating, work assignments, evaluations, training or job security) not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of any of the Prohibited Grounds;
  5. Comments which are intended, or that ought to reasonably be known, to promote stereotyping on any of the Prohibited Grounds;
  6. Jokes or comments which draw attention, for example, to a person’s disability, age, ethnic, racial, or religious background or affiliation or which draw attention to a person’s gender or sexual orientation with the effect of undermining such person’s role in a professional or business environment or that by their nature are known or ought to reasonably be known to be embarrassing or offensive; and
  7. Derogatory remarks, verbal abuse or threats directed toward members of one gender or regarding one’s sexual orientation or with respect to a person’s or group’s ethnic, racial or religious background or affiliation.

Harassment includes “Sexual and Gender Based Harassment” which includes any unsolicited conduct, comment, or physical contact of a sexual or gender based nature that is unwelcome by the recipient.  Types of unwelcome conduct of a sexual or gender based nature which may constitute Sexual and Gender Based Harassment include but are not limited to:

  1. Any unwelcome sexual advance (oral, written or physical);
  2. Gender-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics or mannerisms;
  3. Paternalism based on gender which a person feels undermines their self-respect or position of responsibility;
  4. Propositions of physical intimacy;
  5. Unwelcome sexual or gender-related comments, innuendoes, remarks, jokes or taunts;
  6. Bragging about sexual prowess;
  7. Leering or inappropriate staring;
  8. Sexually degrading words or displays of suggestive pictures;
  9. Inquiries or comments about a person’s sex life or sexual behaviour;
  10. Sexual jokes or stories causing embarrassment or offence, that are told or carried out after the person telling the story or joke has been advised that they are embarrassing or offensive or that by their very nature are known or ought to reasonably be known to be embarrassing or offensive;
  11. Unnecessary physical contact such as patting, touching, pinching or hitting;
  12. Displays of sexually degrading, offensive or derogatory material such as graffiti or pictures, digital or otherwise; and
  13. Physical or sexual assault.

Sexual Solicitation:  All improvisors, students, audience members, employees and volunteers have a right to be free from an unwelcome sexual solicitation or advance made by a person in a position to confer, grant, or deny a benefit or advancement to the employee or performer, and from a reprisal or a threat of reprisal for the rejection of such an unwanted sexual solicitation or advance.

“Violence” means:

  1. The exercise of physical force by a person against an improvisor, student, audience member, employee or volunteer in the space that causes or could cause physical injury to the improvisor, student, audience member, employee or volunteer;
  2. An attempt to exercise physical force against an improvisor, student, audience member, employee or volunteer in the space that could cause physical injury to the improvisor, student, audience member, employee or volunteer;
  3. A statement or behaviour that is reasonable for an improvisor, student, audience member, employee or volunteer to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the improvisor, student, audience member, employee or volunteer in the space that could cause physical injury to the improvisor, student, audience member, employee or volunteer.

A Poisoned Environment is created by comments or conduct (including comments or conduct that are condoned or allowed to continue when brought to the attention of management) that create a discriminatory work environment. The comments or conduct need not be directed at a specific person, and may be from any person, regardless of position or status. A single comment or action, if sufficiently serious, may create a poisoned environment.

 

Policy Statement and Procedures

Oakville Improv Theatre Company is committed to maintaining an environment that upholds the safety, dignity and respect of all employees, volunteers, improvisors, students and audience members and supports every individual’s right to work in an environment free from any form of harassment, intimidation or violence. Every person working in conjunction with Oakville Improv Theatre Company is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect in any environment where company work is being conducted, including but not limited to auditions, rehearsals, meetings, company functions, fundraising events, off-site performances and tours, and work-related conferences and training sessions.

 

To be clear: Harassment and discrimination of any form will not be tolerated, condoned or ignored at Oakville Improv Theatre Company.

 

Employees and volunteers, as well as all persons working in conjunction with Oakville Improv Theatre Company, such as improvisors, students, customers, contractors and vendors, are expected to support and demonstrate the principles of dignity and respect in relation. All employees/volunteers must work in compliance with this policy as a condition of employment/volunteer engagement. Failure to adhere to this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including the possibility of the termination of employment/volunteer engagement. Students may be asked to leave the class or may be permanently dismissed from the program.

Violence

Oakville Improv Theatre Company maintains a zero-tolerance policy for violence. Acts or threats of violence which involve or affect our employees, volunteers, contractors, students, improvisors, or audience members will not be tolerated.

All employees, volunteers, contractors have a responsibility to report any violent incidents or threats to a manager. Oakville Improv Theatre Company is committed to investigating and resolving all incidents and complaints of violence in a fair and timely manner.

Workplace Harassment

Harassment, sexual harassment or bullying will not be tolerated from any person at Oakville Improv Theatre Company. Everyone at Oakville Improv Theatre Company must be dedicated to maintaining a respectful working, learning and performing environment. No employee, volunteer, student, improvisor or audience member may engage in any form of harassment toward a co-worker, volunteer, student, improvisor, audience member, contractor, client or partner.  Employees and volunteers have a responsibility to report any incidents of harassment to a manager.  Oakville Improv Theatre Company will investigate and resolve all concerns, complaints, or incidents of harassment in a fair and timely manner.

Responsibilities

Everyone is responsible for creating and maintaining a violence, harassment and discrimination free working, learning and performing environment. All persons present at Oakville Improv Theatre Company are expected to uphold and abide by this policy, by refraining from any form of violence, harassment, bullying or discrimination and by cooperating fully in any investigation of a violence, harassment bullying or discrimination complaint.

All employees, volunteers, students and improvisors are requested to report promptly when they become aware of alleged actions or complaints of violence, harassment, bullying or discrimination.

The Artistic and Managing Director, Members of the Board of Directors, managers, performers (improvisers, musicians), instructors, ensemble directors, and volunteers have the additional responsibility to act immediately on observations or allegations of harassment or discrimination.  Directors and managers are responsible for creating and maintaining a violence, harassment and discrimination-free organization. This responsibility includes actively promoting a positive work environment and intervening when problems occur.

 

Reporting An Incident

Oakville Improv Theatre Company recognizes that individuals may find it difficult to come forward with a complaint under this policy because of concerns of confidentiality. To this end, you may report the incident through the Anonymous Reporting Form 

All complaints, whether anonymous or not, concerning workplace violence, bullying, harassment, or discrimination, as well as the names of parties involved, shall be treated as confidential to the furthest extent possible in law. Oakville Improv Theatre Company’s obligation to conduct an investigation into the alleged complaint may require limited disclosure.

Reports will be handled on a case by case basis, beginning with a conversation between the complainant and a two person panel made up of the Board President and a designated Board Member. The complainant will be given an opportunity to choose between a selection of panel members. It is our hope to make this process as comfortable and unbiased as possible as we navigate the delicate nature of our community/work environment and the uniqueness of each situation. The conversation will help inform any future action and will take into account the complainant’s wishes as well as the best practices for our company.

We will maintain the anonymity of those making reports and share pertinent information with our staff and community as each situation dictates.  Please note, should you choose not to identify yourself during the reporting of the incident, we will not be able to contact you, and may not be able to enforce the policy to the fullest extent.

We would also like to share these links to 24-hour crisis lines, shelters, organizations, movements, etc. that relate to harassment in the workplace, sexual harassment, violence against women and more. The resources are mainly Halton-centric and Canadian focused:

Artist Producer Resource | Crisis Resources Canada
https://halton.cmha.ca/our-services/in-a-crisis/
https://www.savisofhalton.org/
https://www.hrlsc.on.ca/en/welcome

As it pertains to violence, where the Company believes there to be imminent danger to an employee or volunteer, it may divulge such confidential information as is reasonably necessary. No record of the complaint will be maintained on the employee/volunteer personnel file of the complainant. At the conclusion of each complaint process, all related documentation will be maintained for safekeeping in a confidential manner by the designated Board Member (at the time of this writing, Carrie Thomas).

Reporting Procedures are listed below.

 

Reporting Procedures


Step 1 – Self-help

Performers, students, employees and volunteers are encouraged to attempt to resolve their concerns by direct communication with the person(s) engaging in the unwelcome conduct. Where a person feels comfortable doing so, they should communicate their disapproval in clear terms to the person(s) whose conduct or comments are offensive. Keep a written record of the date, time, details of the conduct, and any witnesses who are present.

Step 2 – Management Support and Intervention

Employees and volunteers who are not comfortable with step one (1) and who believe they are victims of violence, discrimination, or harassment, or who become aware of situations where such conduct may be occurring, are encouraged to seek advice and support from management.  You may do so by contacting carrie@oakvilleimprov.com or you may make use of our Anonymous Reporting Form noted above in Reporting Process.

Step 3 – Formal Complaint

If informal or anonymous attempts at resolving the issue are not appropriate, or are proving to be ineffective, a formal complaint may be filed. To file a formal complaint please provide management with a brief written account of the offensive incident(s), i.e., when it occurred, the persons involved and names of witnesses, if any. The account should also include the remedy sought and be signed and dated by you.

All complaints will be investigated. The investigation process will involve interviews of the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses named by either party. Generally, within fifteen (15) business days of the incident or notice thereof, the individual responsible for the investigation will investigate the incident and prepare a written report of the investigation findings.

The complainant will be informed of the results of the investigation in writing.

Should the investigation determine that harassment has occurred, appropriate resolutions will be recommended. Resolutions resulting from an investigation may include education, communication or any level of discipline appropriate in the situation.

Disciplinary action for violations of this policy will take into consideration the nature and impact of the violations, and may include a verbal or written reprimand, a suspension (paid or unpaid), or termination of employment for cause as determined by the Company.

Deliberate false accusations are of equally serious nature and will also result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment for cause. Note, however, that an unproven allegation does not mean that the conduct did not occur or that there was a deliberate false allegation.

Should the investigation determine that harassment has not taken place, the matter will be closed, and all parties informed.

 

Complaints against Third Parties

Oakville Improv Theatre Company recognizes that an improviser, employee, contractor or volunteer may be subject to violence, harassment or discrimination by students, audience members or by others who conduct business with the Company. If you believe that a person who does not work for the Company has subjected you to such conduct, you should seek the advice of Management who will take whatever action is appropriate in the circumstances.

 

No Retaliation

Retaliation or reprisals are prohibited against any individual who has complained or has provided information regarding a complaint under this policy. Any retaliation or reprisals are subject to immediate corrective action, up to and including termination of employment for cause or dismissal from volunteer program. Alleged retaliation or reprisals are subject to the same complaint procedures and penalties as complaints of violence, discrimination, and harassment.