As part of the Wasatch Improv Festival’s commitment to creating a safe space for our performers, we have drafted an extensive harassment policy. The opportunities for collaboration with new people, in new spaces creates unique and exciting opportunities for learning, growth, and positive interactions. With those opportunities, comes the inherent risk of combining many unknown elements. This policy is in place to help cultivate a safe and supportive place for everyone involved.
All Festival participants, attendees, and volunteers/staff are expected to adhere to these policies.
Summarization of Harassment Policy:
Reporting an incident: An individual who feels harassed, discriminated or retaliated against may initiate the complaint process by filing a complaint in writing and sending it to our Wasatch Improv Festival (WIF) board at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the spirit of due process, no formal action will be taken against any person under this policy unless WIF has received a written complaint containing sufficient details to determine if the policy may have been violated.
WIF strives to create and maintain an environment in which people are treated with dignity, decency and respect. Everyone should be able to work and learn in a safe, yet stimulating atmosphere fostering a sense of community. The accomplishment of this goal is essential to the mission of WIF. For that reason, we will not tolerate harassment of any kind. Through enforcement of this policy and by education, WIF hopes to prevent and correct behavior that violates this policy.
All participants, crew, board members, and guests are covered by and are expected to comply with this policy and to take appropriate measures to ensure that prohibited conduct does not occur. Appropriate action will be taken against anyone who violates this policy. Based on the seriousness of the offense, this may include a ban from events, current and future.
Prohibited Conduct Under This Policy
In compliance with all applicable federal, state and local anti-discrimination and harassment laws and regulations, WIF enforces this policy in accordance with the following definitions and guidelines:
It is a violation of WIF policy to discriminate in the provision of employment opportunities, benefits or privileges; to create discriminatory conditions; or to use discriminatory evaluative standards in employment or player selection if the basis of that discriminatory treatment is, in whole or in part, the person’s race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information or marital status.
Discrimination of this kind may also be strictly prohibited by a variety of federal, state and local laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This policy is intended to comply with the prohibitions stated in these anti-discrimination laws.
Discrimination in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including a ban from all future events.
WIF prohibits harassment, including sexual harassment, of any kind, and will take appropriate and immediate action in response to complaints or knowledge of violations of this policy. For purposes of this policy, harassment is any verbal or physical conduct designed to threaten, intimidate or coerce any audience member, player, teacher, volunteer, or any person working for or on behalf of WIF. Verbal taunting (including racial and ethnic slurs) that, in the victims opinion, impairs his or her ability to perform or learn is included in this definition of harassment.
The following examples of harassment are intended to be guidelines and are not exclusive when determining whether there has been a violation of this policy:
Verbal harassment includes comments that are offensive or unwelcome regarding a person’s nationality, origin, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, body, disability or appearance, including epithets, slurs and negative stereotyping.
Nonverbal harassment includes distribution, display or discussion of any written or graphic material that ridicules, denigrates, insults, belittles or shows hostility, aversion or disrespect toward an individual or group because of national origin, race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, appearance, disability, sexual identity, marital or other protected status.
Sexual harassment In a non-performance setting, the above are clearly inappropriate. The challenge occurs when trying to apply these ideas to a performance setting. WIF does not want this policy to inhibit performer/ teacher creativity and freedom in performing or learning in any way. Many skilled, thoughtful performers have taken a line too far during a scene, and this is not what this policy is attempting to prohibit. Harassment and inappropriate conduct, on or off stage, is something very different from what happens during a performance or class. While harassment is possible in those settings, we have to be mindful that policies do not stifle creativity. Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is prohibited under Wif’s anti-harassment policy. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature . . . when . . . submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions . . . or such conduct has the purpose or effect of . . . creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.”
There are two types of sexual harassment:
“Quid pro quo” harassment, where submission to harassment is used as the basis for employment (or membership in a team, or class placement) decisions. Employee benefits such as raises, promotions and better working hours are directly linked to compliance with sexual advances. Therefore, only someone in a supervisory capacity (with the authority to grant such benefits) can engage in quid pro quo harassment.
Examples: A supervisor promising an employee a raise if she goes on a date with him; a manager telling an employee she will fire him if he does not have sex with her.
“Hostile work environment,” where the harassment creates an offensive and unpleasant working environment. A hostile work environment can be created by anyone in the work environment, whether it be supervisors, other employees or customers. Hostile environment harassment consists of verbiage of a sexual nature, unwelcome sexual materials or even unwelcome physical contact as a regular part of the work environment. Texts, e-mails, cartoons or posters of a sexual nature; vulgar or lewd comments or jokes; or unwanted touching or fondling all fall into this category.
Sexual harassment occurs when unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature:
Is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment.
Is used as a basis for an employment decision.
Unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or otherwise offensive environment.
Sexual harassment may take different forms. The following examples of sexual harassment are intended to be guidelines and are not exclusive when determining whether there has been a violation of this policy:
Verbal sexual harassment includes innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, lewd remarks and threats; requests for any type of sexual favor (this includes repeated, unwelcome requests for dates); and verbal abuse or “kidding” that is oriented toward a prohibitive form of harassment, including that which is sexual in nature and unwelcome.
Nonverbal sexual harassment includes the distribution, display or discussion of any written or graphic material, including calendars, posters and cartoons that are sexually suggestive or show hostility toward an individual or group because of sex; suggestive or insulting sounds; leering; staring; whistling; obscene gestures; content in letters and notes, facsimiles, e-mail, photos, text messages, tweets and Internet postings; or other form of communication that is sexual in nature and offensive.
Physical sexual harassment includes unwelcome, unwanted physical contact, including touching, tickling, pinching, patting, brushing up against, hugging, cornering, kissing and fondling and forced sexual intercourse or assault.
Courteous, mutually respectful, pleasant, noncoercive interactions between employees, including men and women, that are appropriate in the workplace and acceptable to and welcomed by both parties are not considered to be harassment, including sexual harassment.
No hardship, loss, benefit or penalty may be imposed on anyone in response to:
Filing or responding to a bona fide complaint of discrimination or harassment.
Appearing as a witness in the investigation of a complaint.
Serving as an investigator of a complaint.
Retaliation or attempted retaliation in response to lodging a complaint or invoking the complaint process is a violation of this policy. Any person who is found to have violated this aspect of the policy will be subject to sanctions up to and including termination of employment.
WIF will courteously treat any person who invokes this complaint procedure, and will handle all complaints swiftly and confidentially to the extent possible in light of the need to take appropriate corrective action. Lodging a complaint will in no way be used against you. Because of the damaging nature of harassment to the victims and to the entire community, aggrieved performers are strongly urged to use this procedure. However, filing groundless or malicious complaints is an abuse of this policy and will be treated as a violation.
WIF has established the following procedure for lodging a complaint of harassment, discrimination or retaliation. The organization will treat all aspects of the procedure confidentially to the extent reasonably possible.
An individual who feels harassed, discriminated or retaliated against may initiate the complaint process by filing a complaint in writing to the WIF board at email@example.com. No formal action will be taken against any person under this policy unless the board has received a written and signed complaint containing sufficient details to determine if the policy may have been violated.
Upon receiving a complaint or being advised that violation of this policy may be occurring, the board will be notified and review the complaint. Within five working days of receiving the complaint, the board will notify the person(s) charged [hereafter referred to as “respondent(s)”] of a complaint and initiate the investigation to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that the alleged violation of this policy occurred.
During the investigation, selected members of the board will interview the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses to determine whether the alleged conduct occurred.
Within 15 business days of the complaint being filed (or the matter being referred to a member of the board), the person(s) conducting the investigation will conclude the investigation and submit a written report of his or her findings to the board.
If it is determined that harassment or discrimination in violation of this policy has occurred, the board will recommend appropriate disciplinary action. The appropriate action will depend on the following factors: a) the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the conduct; b) prior complaints made by the complainant; c) prior complaints made against the respondent; and d) the quality of the evidence (e.g., first-hand knowledge, credible corroboration).
If the investigation is inconclusive or if it is determined that there has been no violation of policy but potentially problematic conduct may have occurred, the board may recommend appropriate preventive action.
Within five days after the investigation is concluded, the board will meet with the complainant and the respondent separately, notify them of the findings of the investigation, and inform them of the action being recommended.
The complainant and the respondent may submit statements to the board challenging the factual basis of the findings. Any such statement must be submitted no later than five working days after the meeting with the director in which the findings of the investigation are discussed.
Within 10 days from the date the director meets with the complainant and respondent, WIF will review the investigative report and any statements submitted by the complainant or respondent, discuss results of the investigation, and decide what action, if any, will be taken. The board will report the decision to the complainant, and the respondent. The board’s decision will be in writing and will include findings of fact and a statement for or against action. If action is to be taken, the respondent will be informed of the nature of the discipline and how it will be executed.
Alternative legal remedies
Nothing in this policy may prevent the complainant or the respondent from pursuing formal legal remedies or resolution through local, state or federal agencies or the courts.
Reciprocity with Improv Theaters, Teams, Festivals
Individual teams / local theaters are in the best position to investigate any claims or reports of harassment or inappropriate conduct. As such, The WIF board reserves the right to take action and notify any theatre, team, camp, or festival of the violation to prevent that situation to happen in a different location.