FEMINIST PEN ANTI-SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY
THE POLICY STATEMENT
Feminist Pen is committed to providing a safe environment for all its employees free from discrimination on any ground and from harassment at work including sexual harassment. Feminist Pen will operate a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment in the workplace, treat all incidents seriously and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment. Any person found to have sexually harassed another will face disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment.
All complaints of sexual harassment will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be victimised for making such a complaint.
DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person’s employment, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient.
Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal and non-verbal. Examples of conduct or behaviour which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling, or inappropriate touching
- Physical violence, including sexual assault
- Physical contact, e.g. touching, pinching
- The use of job-related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favours
- Comments on a worker’s appearance, age, private life, etc.
- Sexual comments, stories and jokes
- Sexual advances
- Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
- Insults based on the sex of the worker
- Condescending or paternalistic remarks
- Sending sexually explicit messages (by phone or by email)
- Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material
- Sexually-suggestive gestures
Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of their sex and of the sex of the harasser. Feminist Pen recognises that sexual harassment may also occur between people of the same sex. What matters is that the sexual conduct is unwanted and unwelcome by the person against whom the conduct is directed.
Feminist Pen recognises that sexual harassment is a manifestation of power relationships and often occurs within unequal relationships in the workplace, for example between manager or supervisor and employee.
Anyone, including employees of Feminist Pen, clients, customers, casual workers, contractors or visitors who sexually harasses another will be reprimanded in accordance with this internal policy.
All sexual harassment is prohibited whether it takes place within Feminist Pen’s premises or outside, including at social events, business trips, training sessions or conferences sponsored by Feminist Pen. The sexual harassment prohibition extends to any work carried out for Feminist Pen remotely. This includes all forms of digital sexual harassment.
DIGITAL SEXUAL HARASSMENT
- inappropriate remarks to someone about their looks.
- the circulation of sexual or sexist jokes
- misuse of instant messenger (IM) apps whereby a colleague sends another unwanted sexual comment or makes sexual advances
- taking and sharing inappropriate screenshots
- unauthorised recording and sharing of video/audio clips
- cyber flashing – the intentional revealing of intimate body parts using a web or phone camera
Anyone who is subject to sexual harassment should, if possible, inform the alleged harasser that the conduct is unwanted and unwelcome. Feminist Pen recognises that sexual harassment may occur in unequal relationships (i.e. between a supervisor and his/her employee) and that it may not be possible for the victim to inform the alleged harasser.
If a victim cannot directly approach an alleged harasser, they can approach one of the designated Committee members responsible for receiving complaints of sexual harassment.
FEMINIST PEN ANTI-HARASSMENT COMMITTEE
The following persons are the members of the Feminist Pen Anti-Harassment Committee:
- Sanjana Bernadette Williams (She/Her) – ICC Head & Senior Director at Feminist Pen Foundation
- Lestine Grace Saquilabon (She/Her) – ICC Panelist & Director of Technology at Feminist Pen Foundation
- Vasanthan Ramakrishnan (He/Him) – ICC Panelist & Founder/Chair at Feminist Pen Foundation
- Abinesh Lingeswaran (He/Him) – ICC Panelist & Director of Administration at Feminist Pen Foundation
- Vidhi Singh (She/Her) – ICC External Member
When a designated person receives a complaint of sexual harassment, he/she will:
- immediately record the dates, times and facts of the incident(s)
- ascertain the views of the victim as to what outcome he/she wants
- ensure that the victim understands the company’s procedures for dealing with the complaint
- discuss and agree the next steps: either informal or formal complaint, on the understanding that choosing to resolve the matter informally does not preclude the victim from pursuing a formal complaint if he/she is not satisfied with the outcome
- keep a confidential record of all discussions
- respect the choice of the victim
- ensure that the victim knows that they can lodge the complaint outside of the company
through the relevant country/legal framework
INFORMAL COMPLAINTS MECHANISM
If the victim wishes to deal with the matter informally, the designated person will:
- give an opportunity to the alleged harasser to respond to the complaint
- ensure that the alleged harasser understands the complaints mechanism
- facilitate discussion between both parties to achieve an informal resolution which is acceptable to the complainant, or refer the matter to a designated mediator within the company to resolve the matter
- ensure that a confidential record is kept of what happens
- follow up after the outcome of the complaints mechanism to ensure that the behaviour has
FORMAL COMPLAINTS MECHANISM
If the victim wants to make a formal complaint or if the informal complaint mechanism has not led to a satisfactory outcome for the victim, the formal complaint mechanism should be used to resolve the matter.
The person carrying out the investigation will:
- interview the victim and the alleged harasser separately
- interview other relevant third parties separately
- decide whether or not the incident(s) of sexual harassment took place
- produce a report detailing the investigations, findings and any recommendations
- if the harassment took place, decide what the appropriate remedy for the victim is, in consultation with the victim (i.e.- an apology, a change to working arrangements, a promotion if the victim was demoted as a result of the harassment, training for the harasser, discipline, suspension, dismissal)
- follow up to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, that the behaviour has stopped and that the victim is satisfied with the outcome
- if it cannot determine that the harassment took place, he/she may still make recommendations to ensure proper functioning of the workplace
- keep a record of all actions taken
- ensure that the all records concerning the matter are kept confidential
SANCTIONS AND DISCIPLINARY MEASURES
Anyone who has been found to have sexually harassed another person under the terms of this policy is liable to any of the following sanctions:
- verbal or written warning
- adverse performance evaluation
- reduction in wages
The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied to ensure that incidents of sexual harassment are not treated as trivial. Certain serious cases, including physical violence, will result in the immediate dismissal of the harasser.
Feminist Pen will ensure that this policy is widely disseminated to all relevant persons. It will be included in the Feminist Pen’s website publicly available in plain view. All new employees must be trained on the content of this policy as part of their induction into the company.
Every year, Feminist Pen will require all employees to attend a refresher training course on the content of this policy.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Feminist Pen recognises the importance of monitoring this sexual harassment policy and will ensure that it anonymously collects statistics and data as to how it is used and whether or not it is effective.
Supervisors, managers and those responsible for dealing with sexual harassment cases will report on compliance with this policy, including the number of incidents, how they were dealt with, and any recommendations made. This will be done on a yearly basis. As a result of this report, the company will evaluate the effectiveness of this policy and make any changes needed.