SPEAKERS COLLECTIVE DIGNITY AND RESPECT POLICY
Last updated: 11 May 2021
1.1 There is no place for any form of discrimination, harassment, victimisation or sexual misconduct at the Speakers Collective. Such behaviour is contrary to the values and ideals of our shared community and diminishes the dignity and integrity of all parties.
1.2 At the Speakers Collective, we work together with a shared commitment to challenge stigma, facilitate important conversations and promote learning on a variety of social issues. We know that this requires us to be involved in difficult areas and at times challenge people and ideas but any member of the Speakers Collective must do that in line with this policy. Failure to do that puts their membership at risk.
1.3 The Speakers Collective consider members to be representing the Speakers Collective in all their interactions, whether acting on behalf of the Speakers Collective (e.g. speaking at a Speakers Collective event or introduced as a Speakers Collective member) or not.
Aims and objectives
1.4 The aims of this Dignity and Respect Policy are to:
• Support and sustain a positive (thriving) working environment for all freelancers involved with the Speakers Collective and anyone we come into contact with through our work, free from any form of inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour;
• Make it clear that discrimination and harassment are unacceptable and that all members of our Speakers Collective have a role to play in creating a thriving environment for everyone, free from discrimination and harassment;
• Provide a framework for respect and good conduct to prevent and eliminate all forms of bullying and harassment, including racial and sexual harassment;
• To highlight the options available to members and anyone who comes into contact with one of our members, who feel they are or have been subject to bullying, harassment, racial discrimination, sexual misconduct, or any other inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour;
• Provide a mechanism by which complaints can, wherever possible, be addressed in a timely way.
1.5 The Speakers Collective expects all members to treat each other and any external stakeholders with respect, courtesy, compassion and consideration at all times, in line with our values and our pledge: https://www.speakerscollective.org/pledge
1.6 All members are expected to behave professionally and have the right to expect professional behaviour from others.
1.7 We recognise that all members are individuals and work as freelances (not as employees of the Speakers Collective) and that all members have personal responsibility for complying with this policy and demonstrate active commitment to it by:
• Treating others with dignity and respect at all times.
• Discouraging any form of discrimination and harassment by suitably challenging inappropriate behaviour, making it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable (and raising concerns in a sensitive, compassionate and appropriate way so these can be dealt with).
• Supporting any member who feels they have been subject to discrimination and / or harassment.
1.8 This policy applies to all members of the Speakers Collective and their interactions with each other and any external stakeholders, including on social media.
Statement of policy
1.9 The Speakers Collective is dedicated to creating and maintaining a safe, welcoming, inclusive and diverse community that nurtures a healthy environment and culture of mutual respect and consideration, allowing all members and the stakeholders we interact with to thrive without fear of harassment, racial discrimination, bullying, sexual violence, abuse, coercive behaviour, sexual harassment or related misconduct.
1.10 This policy details this commitment and explains what actions can be taken if its principles are not observed.
1.11 The Speakers Collective expects all members to adhere to its values (set out below) in all their interactions, whether acting on behalf of the Speakers Collective or not. Members are bound by this policy whether they are speaking/working as members of the Speakers Collective or not in the activities they are undertaking which may give rise to a complaint – their membership is at risk if they fall below the standards we expect:
• Integrity and honesty
• Compassion for ourselves and others
• Mutual respect and support
1.12 The Speakers Collective defines harassment as single or repeated incidents involving unwanted or unwarranted conduct towards another person which it is reasonable to think would have the effect of (i) violating that other’s dignity or (ii) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for that person. Harassment may be verbal, psychological, or physical, in person or via a virtual platform, or through other methods of contact. Examples of behaviour which may amount to harassment under this policy include (but are not limited to) the following:
• making sexually offensive comments about dress or appearance, the display or distribution of sexually explicit material, or demands for sexual favours;
• engaging in harassment on the grounds of a person’s sexuality (or assumptions about a person’s sexuality) including making derogatory homophobic, transphobic, or biphobic remarks or jokes aimed at a particular person, offensive comments relating to a person’s sexuality, refusal to acknowledge a person’s gender or identity, or threats to disclose a person’s sexuality to others;
• making offensive references to a person’s race, ethnicity, skin colour, religion or nationality, dress, culture, background or customs which have the effect of ridiculing or undermining an individual or fostering hatred and/or prejudice towards individuals or particular groups;
• ignoring, disparaging, or ridiculing a person because of assumptions about their capabilities, including their mental health, or making offensive reference to an individual’s appearance which may or may not be in the context of their disability;
• controlling or coercive behaviour, such as pressure to subscribe to a particular political or religious belief.
1.12 Online harassment may take the form of intimidating, offensive, or graphic posts or threats on social media sites or chat rooms, or communications by email, text, or instant messaging. They can also be interactions which lack compassion.
1.13 When a criminal offence may have been committed, the Dignity and Respect policy may not be appropriate. These cases include, but are not be limited to, serious assault or threat of serious assault. These matters will be referred to the appropriate authorities, such as the police.
1.14 At any stage, those involved in attempting a resolution or in considering or investigating a complaint against a member must act in accordance with certain principles:
Any person against whom a complaint has been made has the right to know the nature and sufficient details of the complaint in order to respond. It is important that no decision is taken until the complaint has been considered and/or investigated internally and the person against who the complaint has been made has had the opportunity to respond.
In order to safeguard individuals, confidentiality must be strictly respected and information limited to those who have a need to know (and only to the extent necessary) for the purposes of the operation of these procedures and for maintenance of good order in the Speakers Collective. The Speakers Collective reserves the right to seek advice from or involve appropriate external authorities if it believes that it is under an obligation to do so. Any breach of confidentiality may result in disciplinary action being instigated.
During and following the conclusion of a report and internal investigation it is important that support is given by the Speakers Collective to both parties and, if appropriate, other staff in the workplace to try and resume a working relationship and to encourage a dignity and respect at work ethos.
A complainant should make a complaint in a timely fashion (normally immediately after the incident or at the latest within three months of the most recent incident or occurrence of the behaviour). If there is good reason, this timeframe could be extended for example where a complainant does not feel able to make a complaint without initial support. Once a complaint is made it must be considered/investigated promptly. While it is important that an internal investigation is thorough, a long-drawn out investigation is not in the interest of either party. However, there may be cases in which the internal investigation of a complaint is unavoidably delayed. In these circumstances, every effort will be made to keep all parties informed of progress.
Malicious or vexatious complaints
A complaint may be considered to be malicious or vexatious if it is made in bad faith if deliberately false allegations are made as a form of bullying or harassment against a member or where there are a series of frivolous and clearly unfounded allegations.
1.15 Any complaint will be considered and investigated internally (as required) by the Speakers Collective’s membership panel. The panel will ask for input and representation from all parties involved and will make a determination in line with this policy and the values of the Speakers Collective.
1.17 The decision of the panel is final.
1.18 Every year, the Committee will report to all members on the numbers of complaints received and any action taken.