Cycle Stratford Harassment Policy
Why does Cycle Stratford need a harassment policy?
Harassment is a subtle concept and it comes in many forms. In the case of clubs, the results could include discomfort or distrust between members; reduced club utilization; increased member attrition; and negative effects on the club's reputation.
Harassment is defined by the Ontario Human Rights Commission as "engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” It is itself a form of discrimination and may be based on age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity/place of origin, disability, or religion.
The best way to prevent harassment it is to have policies and procedures that address the subject directly.
Harassment Prevention Policy and Procedures
Cycle Stratford is committed to fostering a fun and recreational environment that is free of harassment and one in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Every member of Cycle Stratford has a right to equal treatment with respect to their participation in club activities. No member shall face harassment or discrimination based on any of the following prohibited grounds: age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity/place of origin, disability, or religion. or any other kind of visible or invisible criterion.
Every member of Cycle Stratford is responsible for creating an environment which is free of harassment. Those found to have engaged in such conduct on the basis of a prohibited action will be subject to consequence. Those found to have been harassed or discriminated against on the basis of a prohibited action will be entitled to a resolution and remedy.
Harassment is considered to be a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications in any form based on a prohibited ground of discrimination where the person responsible for the remarks, behaviours or communications knows or ought reasonably to know that these are unwelcome. Examples of harassment are “jokes”, comments, or e-mail messages which demean and belittle an individual(s) and which are based on race, ethnic origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc.
Sexual harassment is a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications of a sexually oriented nature and/or unwanted remarks, behaviours or communications based on gender - where the person responsible for the remarks, behaviours or communications knows or ought reasonably to know that these are unwelcome. Sexual harassment may consist of unwanted attention of a sexually oriented nature such as personal questions about one's sex life, persistent requests for a “date”, or unwelcome remarks about someone's hair, body shape, etc. Sexual harassment may also consist of unwelcome remarks based on gender which are not of a sexual nature but which are demeaning or degrading, for example, derogatory jokes.
Responsibility of the Cycle Stratford Board of Directors
It is the responsibility of the Cycle Stratford Board of Directors to take measures to prevent incidents of harassment, to penalize the repetition of harassment, and to respond promptly to known or apparent incidents of harassment, whether or not a complaint has been filed.
If an incident of harassment becomes known, the Cycle Stratford Board will assign the most appropriate Board Member to handle the situation as a “lead person”. This person will ideally be someone who is familiar with the people in the club and knowledgeable about its history, in a position to be as unbiased as possible, and someone with strong interpersonal skills who will understand the potential for emotional distress for all parties in the situation.
Members of the Board shall hold any information regarding the resolution of such cases in strict confidence. This shall include refraining from discussions or releasing information in any form, beyond that required to fulfill the aims of this policy and to manage the risk of harm to others.
Procedure for Handling Possible Instances of Harassment
Anyone who is subject to harassment should, if possible, inform the alleged harasser that their conduct is unwelcome. If the person experiencing harassment is unable to do so, they may ask a Board Member to do it on their behalf. This action would preempt the progressive resolution steps.
The lead will ask the person experiencing harassment to tell them what happened. They will listen carefully and document important facts such as dates, times, situations witnesses and other relevant information.
This information will help the Board determine whether the accused person’s behaviour fits the definition of harassment. If it does not, the Board may take other steps to resolve the situation. If the Board and the person experiencing harassment are in agreement, the lead may proceed with the investigation.
The lead will speak to the person being accused of harassment with the same careful and respectful approach while documenting any important facts. The lead will interview any witnesses, seeking facts using open ended questions while taking appropriate steps to protect the privacy of those involved.
When the information gathering process is complete, the lead will consult with other members of the Board to make an informed decision.
The lead will inform the person experiencing harassment and the person being accused of harassment of the Boards decision and how it was reached.
If a decision was made to proceed with the progressive resolution process, the Board will designate an appropriate person to begin the process.
The purpose of promptly resolving issues of harassment is to: remedy the situation; prevent any further occurrences; and restore a safe and enjoyable environment for all Cycle Stratford members. All resolutions will take the best interests of the club into consideration.
Resolutions are progressive and occur as follows:
A representative of the Board of Directors (i.e. the Chair, Secretary and/or Treasurer of the Board) will clearly communicate the policy violation, the process that was used to investigate the claim, and the main points of the Board’s discussion to the member who has engaged in such conduct on the basis of a prohibited ground and inform them of the [next] resolutions.
The member who continues to engage in such conduct on the basis of a prohibited ground will be prohibited from attending Cycle Stratford activities for three months (as an initial form of censure). A refund will not be given for the missed time.
The member who continues to engage in such conduct on the basis of a prohibited ground will have their membership permanently revoked with no refund.