POLICY AGAINST ABUSE, HARASSMENT, AND DISCRIMINATION
Current as of January 10, 2018.
Rapid Fire Theatre Society (“Rapid Fire”) reviews this policy on an annual basis as part of its ongoing commitment to its membership and audience.
If you have any questions or causes for concern based on this policy, or if you have any suggestions to improve this policy, please contact our Artistic Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) and General Manager (email@example.com).
Abuse, harassment, and discrimination are violations of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Bill of Rights and Rapid Fire will not tolerate a violation of these laws or this Policy in any manner or form.
Rapid Fire aims to ensure that all performers, staff, volunteers, members, instructors, students, clients, and associates of Rapid Fire are aware that abuse, discrimination, and harassment are unacceptable practices which are incompatible with the standards of this organization. Rapid Fire shall take proactive steps to prevent, and reactive steps in response to, any incidents of abuse, harassment, or discrimination.
Rapid Fire pledges to protect the personal worth and dignity of all performers, staff, volunteers, members, instructors, students, clients, and associates of Rapid Fire and promotes a work environment which supports diversity and recognizes and values people for their individual skills, knowledge, abilities, experiences and contributions.
Rapid Fire is committed to growing and maintaining a safe performing, volunteering, working, and learning environment that is free from abuse, harassment, and discrimination in any manner or form, and where all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, can contribute fully, and have equal opportunities.
1A PERFORMANCE CONTENT
Rapid Fire recognizes that, as an improvised comedy theatre, our performances can and will often push boundaries and potentially include language, characters, situations, and other content that could be seen as inappropriate or even offensive. It is not the intention of this policy to punish artists, or to stifle their artistic expression, solely on the basis that elements of their performance may be considered inappropriate or offensive.
Rapid Fire recognizes that determining whether or not abuse, harassment, or discrimination has occurred in a given performance will often require a nuanced understanding of context and social cues. It is Rapid Fire’s hope that, with a combination of communication, common sense, respect, and empathy, the community can create and enjoy a creative performance environment that prioritizes safety from abuse, harassment, and discrimination, while still honoring artistic expression and freedom of expression.
This Policy extends to the following individuals:
- artists, including performers, musicians, technicians, and show directors;
- instructors and students;
- employees and contractors of Rapid Fire Theatre, including full-time, part-time, temporary, probationary, casual and contract staff, co-op students, interns and apprentices;
- visiting artists and festival participants;
- members of the Board of Directors and related committees; and
- all other members of Rapid Fire Theatre.
(collectively “Associated Individuals”)
Associated Individuals have the right to freedom from abuse, harassment, and discrimination, and they have a positive duty to:
- refrain from abuse, harassment, and discrimination;
- proactively curtail abusive, harassing, and discriminatory comments and behaviours so as not to create a poisoned work environment.
- promptly and effectively respond to allegations or reports of abuse, harassment, and discrimination in connection with Rapid Fire; and
- fully cooperate with any investigation into any complaint, allegation, or report of suspected abuse, harassment, and discrimination in connection with Rapid Fire.
Associated Individuals must conduct themselves in accordance with the behavioural expectations outlined in this Policy in any situation that could negatively impact Rapid Fire. This includes:
- wherever any performance is conducted in association with Rapid Fire;
- wherever any business is conducted in association with Rapid Fire;
- in the community at large in association with Rapid Fire; and
- in any other situation that could negatively impact Rapid Fire.
3 PROHIBITED CONDUCT
The following conduct is prohibited in association with Rapid Fire:
Rapid Fire does not tolerate abuse in any form.
For the purposes of this Policy, abuse is defined as threatened, attempted, or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause damage, harm, or injury. Abuse can be physical or verbal, and it can take many forms, including:
- the use of force against an individual or group, including hitting, shoving, pushing, or kicking;
- inciting others to do physical damage, harm, or injury to an individual or group; or
- any intentional act that causes, or may cause, physical damage, harm, or injury to an individual or group.
- any act, gesture, or statement that gives an individual reasonable cause to believe that there is risk of damage, harm, or injury to themselves, another person, their property, or the property of Rapid Fire;
- any statement, whether verbal, written, or otherwise, that an individual reasonably interprets to be menacing or taunting in nature;
- communication, including body language or behaviours, indicating that the speaker intends to do damage, harm, or injury to an individual or group; or
- intimidating behaviours such as shaking fists, throwing things, destroying property, or wielding weapons or articles that could be used as, or perceived to be, weapons.
Note: Behaviours that are threatening to the health or safety of an individual or group, including the presence or use of weapons, and especially any behaviours that are violent, require immediate action to prevent escalation and to ensure the safety of others.
Rapid Fire does not tolerate harassment in any form.
For the purposes of this Policy, harassment is defined as any number of comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. Harassment can occur based on any of the grounds of discrimination identified in this Policy, and can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning, or otherwise unwelcome, based on a ground of discrimination identified in this Policy.
3B-1 Disrespectful and/or discriminatory behaviour
For the purposes of this Policy, disrespectful and/or discriminatory behaviour is defined as any comment demeaning the dignity of a person or group, or ridiculing a person or group based on characteristics that are related to a ground of discrimination. Examples may include:
- comments, gestures, jokes, or other behaviours which are humiliating, persecuting, mobbing, ridiculing, belittling, offensive, hurtful, disparaging, traumatic, or which otherwise diminish an individual or group’s dignity or well-being;
- comments, epithets, remarks, jokes, or innuendos related to an individual or group’s race, gender identity, gender expression, sex, disability, sexual orientation, creed, age, or any other ground of discrimination;
- singling out an individual or group humiliating, demeaning, teasing or joking based on any ground of discrimination;
- deliberately excluding an individual or group from relevant activities or otherwise attempting to discredit, socially isolate, or disempower an individual or group;
- spreading false information about an individual or group;
- displaying or circulating, whether in print form or via electronic means, images or materials which are racist, pornographic, or otherwise offensive to or discriminatory against an individual or group;
- hostile or derogatory remarks and taunts; and
- behaviour and actions which are gender-based and paternalistic that undermine a person’s self-respect or position of responsibility.
Note: 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 welcome or acceptable.
3B-2 Sexual and gender-based harassment
For the purposes of this Policy, sexual and gender-based harassment is defined as any comment, conduct, gesture, or contact of a sexual or gender-based nature that is unwelcome and that is likely to cause offence, embarrassment, or humiliation to an individual or group. Sexual and gender-based harassment may be intentional or unintentional, physical or verbal, and it can take many forms. Examples may include but are not limited to:
- persistent expression of sexual interest after being informed that such interest is unwelcome;
- unwelcome or aggressive physical contact that is sexual or gender-based, including touching, groping, grabbing, patting, pinching, hugging, or brushing up against another individual’s body;
- unwelcome or aggressive flirtations or propositions of physical intimacy, whether indirect or explicit;
- unwelcome or aggressive gender-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics, mannerisms, or clothing;
- unwelcome or aggressive epithets, slurs, derogatory terms, taunting, threats, and other language that is sexual or gender-based;
- spreading sexual rumours;
- rough, blue, lewd, ribald, vulgar, explicit, suggestive, or otherwise inappropriate humor, innuendoes, or comments of a sexual nature;
- rough, blue, lewd, ribald, vulgar, explicit, suggestive, or otherwise inappropriate humor, innuendoes, or comments about members of a specific sex or gender;
- displaying or circulating, whether in print form or via electronic means, sexually explicit or suggestive images;
- inappropriate staring or leering; and
- bragging about sexual prowess or questions or discussions about sexual activities.
Note: If a person does not explicitly object to sexually harassing behaviour, or appears to be going along with it, this does not mean that the behaviour is welcome or acceptable.
3B-3 Sexual and gender-based solicitation
For the purposes of this Policy, sexual and gender-based solicitation is defined as any comment, conduct, gesture, or contact of a sexual or gender-based nature that might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived as soliciting sexual favours or otherwise placing a condition of a sexual nature on an individual or group’s participation, employment, working conditions, opportunities for advancement, or other benefits. Examples may include but are not limited to:
- unwelcome invitations or requests of physical intimacy, whether indirect or explicit;
- demands for dates or sexual favours; and
- inciting others to perform sexual favours.
Note: If a person does not explicitly object to sexual solicitation, or appears to be going along with it, this does not mean that the sexual solicitation is welcome or acceptable.
Rapid Fire does not tolerate discrimination against an individual or group based on one or more of the following grounds:
- Sexual orientation;
- Gender identity;
- Gender expression;
- Family status;
- Marital status;
- Ethnic origin;
- Place of origin;
- Religious affiliation;
- Record of offences;
- Perception that one of the above grounds applies; and
- Association or relationship with a person identified by one of the above grounds.
Discrimination may be intentional or unintentional, it can take many forms, and its presence may be obvious or subtle. Where many factors affect a decision or action, if even one factor is discriminatory, it will constitute a direct violation of this Policy.
Note: If a person does not explicitly object to discriminatory language or behaviour, or appears to be going along with it, this does not mean that the discriminatory language or behaviour is welcome or acceptable.
4A WHAT TO DO IN RESPONSE TO ABUSE, HARASSMENT, OR DISCRIMINATION
If you feel that you are being abused, harassed, or discriminated against contrary to this Policy, or if you know or suspect that someone else is, you can choose to respond by approaching the suspected offender directly, or by reporting a violation to Rapid Fire:
4A-1 APPROACHING THE OFFENDING INDIVIDUAL DIRECTLY
You may choose to respond without immediately involving Rapid Fire leadership (though you can contact Rapid Fire at any time) by advising the person engaging in the offending behaviour that their behaviour is unwelcome and asking them to stop it immediately.
Rapid Fire supports this option only if you do not feel that your health, safety, or professional standing is in danger.
4A-2 REPORTING A VIOLATION
If you feel that you are being, or have been, subjected to conduct in violation of this Policy, or if you know of or suspect the occurrence of conduct in violation of this Policy, you should promptly report it to us. You can do so directly by informing any one or more of the following individuals at Rapid Fire:
- Artistic Director (firstname.lastname@example.org);
- General Manager (email@example.com);
- President of the Board of Directors (firstname.lastname@example.org); or
- Player Liaison (email@example.com).
Alternatively, you can use our anonymous online reporting form:
Once Rapid Fire receives your oral or written report, it will be kept in the utmost confidence, subject to any legal requirements to the contrary, or until maintaining utmost confidentiality serves to make the investigation and/or resolution of the alleged violation difficult or impossible.
Note: If you are alleging sexual harassment, you have the right to also make a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission. If you are alleging assault or sexual assault, you have the right to also contact the police to lay criminal charges.
Note: Rapid Fire has a duty to report any criminal act that is made known to them, or that it reasonably suspects has occurred, to the police. Rapid Fire also has a duty to report any violation of this Policy that is made known to them, or that they reasonably suspect has occurred, to the Board of Directors. If you are under 18 years of age at the time you allege harassment or sexual harassment, Rapid Fire is required by law to inform your parents or legal guardians.
4B THE INVESTIGATION
After a report is received, Rapid Fire will immediately begin an investigation. Rapid Fire’s Investigation Committee shall select a panel composed of three people selected by the Committee at its sole discretion, based on the nature and subject of the complaint (the “Panel”).
To better investigate a complaint, the Panel, the Investigation Committee, and Rapid Fire may seek outside professional advice, including legal advice and human resource advice, in order to ensure an efficient, effective, and fair investigation. Any outside professional assisting in the investigation will be bound by a duty of confidentiality.
All investigations will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Unless there are practical or other legitimate reasons to follow a different process, investigations will follow the following stages:
4B-1 INFORMATION GATHERING
The Panel will interview the complainant first, followed by any witnesses (separately), and finally the alleged offender (separately).
All information gathered will be kept in the utmost confidence, subject to any legal requirements to the contrary, or until maintaining utmost confidentiality serves to make the investigation and/or resolution of the alleged violation difficult or impossible. The Panel will endeavor to make this process as timely, comfortable, and unbiased as possible as it gathers the facts relevant to the situation.
The Panel will compile and analyze the information and come to a determination as to whether or not the allegations of a breach of this Policy are substantiated, based on the evidence gathered.
The Panel will then draft a report. The report will contain, at minimum, a detailed timeline of the complaint, a summary of the evidence gathered, the Panel’s final determination, and the reasons for that determination.
The Panel will deliver a copy of the report to the Arbiter, who will be:
- the Artistic Director, unless the nature of the complaint involves
- the Artistic Director or places the Artistic Director in a conflict of interest, whether directly or indirectly, in which case the report shall be delivered to
- the President of the Board of Directors, unless the nature of the complaint involves the President of the Board of Directors or places the President of the Board of Directors in a conflict of interest, whether directly or indirectly, in which case the report shall be delivered to
- the Chair of the Investigation Committee.
The Arbiter will make the final determination and take such action as they deem necessary under the circumstances to resolve the matter. Although the Arbiter should carefully consider the Panel’s report in arriving at a final determination, they are not bound to agree with the investigation panel or follow its determination.
Should the Arbiter determine that the investigation discloses insufficient grounds or basis to substantiate a violation of this Policy, Rapid Fire will inform the complainant and the alleged offender of this determination. No corrective action will be taken, and no record of the reported violation will be placed on the alleged offender’s employment file, if any.
Should the Arbiter determine that the investigation discloses sufficient grounds or basis to substantiate a violation of this Policy, Rapid Fire will inform the complainant and the alleged offender of this determination. A record of the reported violation will be placed on the alleged offender’s employment file, if any.
The organization will take such disciplinary, educational, and/or other corrective action as the Arbiter deems appropriate under the circumstances, according to the evidence gathered, and at his or her sole discretion. The corrective action taken shall be reasonably calculated to reasonably address the effects on the complainant and to prevent any further unacceptable conduct.
Examples of corrective action include but are not limited to termination, removal of the offender from a volunteer or directorial role, removal of the alleged offender from a teaching position, removal of the alleged offender from a class without refund or compensation, removal of the offender from the cast, or revocation of a performer’s ability to participate in or attend Rapid Fire performances and events. Criminal and/or civil charges may be brought against the alleged offender.
4B-4 NO RETALIATION
Retaliation in any form by an Associated Individual against someone who reports a potential violation, or who assists in an investigation, will be considered a violation of this Policy and will not be tolerated. Anyone who feels that they have been the victim of, or threatened with, retaliation should immediately inform one or more of the individuals identified above (4A-2 REPORTING A VIOLATION).
Regardless of the final determination, Rapid Fire will, to the extent that it is able, protect the individual who made the initial report, and anyone else who gave information as part of the investigation, from any form of retaliation by peers, co-workers, superiors, co-participants, or otherwise as a result of them having made a report or having provided evidence as part of an investigation into the reported violation.
5 STATEMENTS OF RESPONSIBILITY
Associated Individuals must take timely and appropriate action to report or deal with incidents of abuse, harassment, or discrimination of any type, whether personally observed or brought to their attention. Under no circumstances should an Associated Individual dismiss or downplay a complaint made in good faith. Associated Individuals agree to complete any and all training required by Rapid Fire.
Rapid Fire will take timely and appropriate action to report or deal with incidents of abuse, harassment, or discrimination of any type, whether personally observed or brought to their attention. Under no circumstances will Rapid Fire dismiss or downplay a complaint made in good faith. Rapid Fire will provide training to Associated Individuals on an ongoing basis, and further information and resources upon request.