Creating a Compassionate Movement
A long overdue conversation about sexual harassment and discrimination is happening within the animal rights movement. MFA strongly believes this discussion is necessary for us to create a movement built on compassion for every being. In this spirit, we chose to publicly share our anti-harassment policy. Continual learning and constant improvement are core values at MFA. We are proud of our policy, and we will strengthen and enforce it as we grow as individuals and as an organization.
Anti-harassment and Discrimination Policy
MFA is committed to a work environment in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity. Each person has the right to work in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment opportunities and prohibits unlawful discriminatory practices, including harassment. Therefore, MFA expects all relationships among persons in the organization to be professional and free of bias, prejudice, and harassment. MFA also expects its employees to conduct themselves in a professional manner that is consistent with this anti-harassment policy in all their interactions while acting on behalf of MFA or while representing MFA in any capacity.
MFA expressly prohibits any discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran. MFA will not tolerate harassment of any of its employees by people either within the organization or outside MFA. These include people that an employee may interact with in connection with his or her responsibilities, including donors, volunteers, contractors, business partners, or third-party service providers. If an employee has concerns about interacting with a particular person, the employee should immediately report these concerns to a manager or member of the People Operations Department.
MFA encourages prompt and full reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination or harassment to any manager or member of the People Operations Department. This applies if you believe that you are the victim of harassment and if you witness harassment of another person. MFA’s policy is to promptly and thoroughly investigate such reports. Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent consistent with adequate investigation and appropriate corrective action. MFA expressly prohibits retaliation against anyone who reports discrimination or harassment or who participates in an investigation of such a report.
Anyone affiliated with the organization who is found to have engaged in any form of discrimination or harassment in violation of MFA’s policy shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Definitions of Harassment
Harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran is strictly prohibited. Under this policy, harassment is defined as verbal, written, or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility, aversion, or favoritism toward a person or his or her relatives, friends, or associates because of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran and (1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, (2) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person's work performance, or (3) otherwise adversely affects a person's employment opportunities.
Sexual harassment constitutes discrimination and is illegal under federal, state, and local laws. For the purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as it is in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Sexual harassment includes a range of subtle and not-so-subtle behaviors and may involve persons of the same or different gender. Depending on the circumstances, these behaviors may include unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; sexual jokes and innuendos; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; comments about a person's body, sexual prowess, or sexual deficiencies; leering, whistling, or touching; insulting or obscene comments or gestures; display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; and other physical, verbal, or visual conduct of a sexual nature. MFA considers sexual or romantic advances or innuendos by persons in a supervisory or authoritative role toward subordinates within the same department or chain of command, or by persons having authority over staffing or salary decisions, to be harassment for which disciplinary action will be taken.
People and Conduct Covered
Harassing conduct includes epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; denigrating, crude, or explicit jokes; and written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility, aversion, or disrespect toward a person or group and is placed on walls or elsewhere on the employer's premises, shared verbally, or circulated among co-workers or third parties affiliated with MFA via email, phone (including voice messages), text messages, blogs, social networking sites, Slack, or other means.
This policy applies to all harassing or discriminatory conduct involving MFA employees and any other people, including donors, volunteers, independent contractors, service providers, or members of the public.
MFA expects its employees to hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct and integrity at all times. Accordingly, any harassing or discriminatory conduct by an MFA employee toward another MFA employee, volunteer, intern, donor, or third-party service provider, whether or not it occurs in the workplace or at work-related events, can be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Complaint and Investigation Process
People who believe they or others have been the victims of conduct prohibited by this policy or who believe they have witnessed such conduct should promptly discuss their concerns with any manager or member of the People Operations Department.
MFA encourages people who believe they or others are being subjected to such conduct to promptly advise the offender that his or her behavior is unwelcome and request that it be discontinued. Often this action alone will resolve the problem. MFA recognizes, however, that a person may prefer to pursue the matter through complaint procedures.
MFA encourages the prompt reporting of complaints or concerns so that action can be taken before relationships become irreparably strained. Therefore, although no fixed reporting period has been established for perceived harassment, early reporting and intervention are strongly encouraged.
Any reported allegations of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation will be promptly investigated. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and, where necessary, with persons who may have observed the alleged conduct or may have other relevant knowledge.
Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigatory process to the extent consistent with adequate investigation and appropriate corrective action.
Retaliation against a person for reporting harassment or discrimination or for participating in an investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination is a serious violation of this policy and, like harassment or discrimination itself, will be subject to disciplinary action. Acts of retaliation should immediately be reported to any manager or member of the People Operations Department and will be promptly investigated and addressed. Misconduct constituting harassment, discrimination, or retaliation shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
If a party to a complaint does not agree with its resolution, such party may appeal to MFA’s president or general counsel.
Anyone who makes false or malicious complaints of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation shall also be subject to disciplinary action.
Training and Reporting Obligations
All managerial employees are required to participate in an annual anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training course, which will be provided by MFA. Any manager who receives a complaint of harassment or discrimination involving an MFA employee, contractor, or volunteer is required to report that complaint to the People Operations Department. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.