HOBT Harassment Policy
HOBT strives to maintain an environment where all individuals are treated with respect. HOBT prohibits all forms of unlawful discrimination and harassment and expects the cooperation of all employees, contractors, interns, and volunteers in making this policy work.
It is HOBT's policy to provide Equal Opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment in accordance with all applicable laws, directives and regulations of federal, state, and local governing bodies or agencies thereof, specifically including any applicable Minneapolis ordinance, the Fair Labor Standard Act, and related rules and regulations (as applicable).
All qualified applicants and employees will be considered for employment and volunteer opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, genetic information, creed, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, familial status, membership or activity in a local commission, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by applicable law.
HOBT will take affirmative action to ensure that all employment practices and volunteer relationships are established in a manner free of such discrimination. These practices include, but are not limited to hiring, promotion, demotion, transfer, recruitment, recruitment advertising, selection, layoff, disciplinary action, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation, participation in benefits programs, and selection for training (including apprenticeship), volunteer positions and internship opportunities.
Anyone engaged with HOBT in the manner described above should raise any concerns they might have regarding possible discrimination in accordance with the complaint procedure described below. No retaliation against anyone who in good faith brings forth a complaint or possible discrimination will be permitted or tolerated.
Disability and Pregnancy Accommodation
HOBT complies with applicable laws prohibiting discrimination in employment against qualified individuals with disabilities or addressing accommodations to eligible employees with health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. To the extent required by applicable law, HOBT will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities, and health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. If anyone needs a reasonable accommodation, contact the Executive Director. The Executive Director will work with the appropriate staff to review the request and evaluate possible accommodations. HOBT will not retaliate against anyone for requesting or obtaining any reasonable accommodation in accordance with applicable law.
HOBT also recognizes that individuals with life-threatening illnesses including but not limited to cancer, heart disease, and AIDS, may wish to continue to engage in as many of their normal pursuits as their condition allows, including work. HOBT complies with applicable laws regarding reasonable accommodations for employees with life-threatening illnesses and will make reasonable accommodations, to the extent required by applicable law, for qualified employees who request such accommodations.
It is the policy of HOBT to maintain a working, performing and learning environment free from harassment based on sex, race, age, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. Such harassment in any manner or form is expressly prohibited, including voice-mail and electronic communications. It is also the policy of HOBT that no individual be subjected to any unwelcome conduct that is or should be known to be offensive because of their gender, race, age, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, or other protected category.
HOBT recognizes that, as a theater, the environment is not typical of all work places. The atmosphere of HOBT community is social as well as professional. It is not the intention of HOBT to mimic an office environment. While this may require a more nuanced reading of social cues than the more clearly defined office environment, it is the hope of HOBT that with a combination of communication, common sense, respect, and empathy, the community can create an environment that prioritizes safety.
All reported or reasonably suspected occurrences of forbidden harassment will be investigated (in accordance with the procedures outlined below) in a confidential manner and as promptly and thoroughly as is practicable and necessary. Where forbidden harassment has occurred, HOBT will take appropriate disciplinary, educational, or other corrective action, up to and including termination from a staff/contractor/volunteer position, the loss of ability to perform or to be in the audience at HOBT.
There will be no retaliation against an individual who has complained about or reported alleged forbidden harassment or who has cooperated with an investigation of alleged forbidden harassment, regardless of the outcome of the investigation.
I. CONDUCT PROHIBITED BY THE POLICY
For purposes of this Policy, forbidden harassment includes the following:
Hostile Environment Harassment. Hostile environment sexual harassment may occur when there are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Also, non-sexual conduct that is unwelcome and offensive and which is directed at an individual because of the individual’s gender may create a hostile environment. Racial, age-based, religious, ethnic, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, and other forbidden forms of harassment may occur when there is conduct which is motivated by or relates to an individual’s race, age, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, or other characteristics protected by law or policy. Hostile environment harassment occurs when such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to and does: (i) unreasonably interfere with an individual’s work, performance or ability to learn, or (ii) create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work, performance or learning environment.
“Quid Pro Quo” Sexual Harassment. “Quid Pro Quo” sexual harassment may occur when there are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (i) submission to such conduct is an explicit or implicit condition of employment or project participation, or (ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment or project participation.
Special Note On Civility and Professionalism
HOBT believes the best way to avoid situations that may be construed as harassment is for all staff, contractors, interns and volunteers to treat each other in a respectful and professional manner.
HOBT may, in the future, offer insights or guidelines on creating an environment of civility, but ultimately, respect is at the core of this philosophy.
Special Note On Harassment Via Performance and/or the Creative Process
Nothing about this policy is intended to stifle the creative abilities of artists at HOBT; our work may involve sensitive, or potentially offensive subject matter. However, if it is determined that the offensive content of a performance, rehearsal, or workshop was performed or generated in an effort to harass another particular individual, or to express the performer’s hatred and/or intolerance to a protected individual or group, then appropriate disciplinary action may and will occur.
If it is determined that behavior that was done without intent to harass but has nevertheless caused discomfort, fear, or other feelings of harassment in members of the community or audience, this behavior (at the time it is identified to leadership of HOBT) will be pointed out to the artists responsible. If the identified behavior is not remedied, corrective action may and will occur.
HOBT’s Policy prohibits harassment by staff, contractors, interns and volunteers against any person, as well as harassment directed towards theater patrons, consultants, suppliers, vendors, visitors, and other non-employees or non-theater-affiliated individuals, when such conduct occurs at HOBT’s premises, performances, rehearsals, classes or theater-affiliated events at remote locations in connection with theater activities or the performance of HOBT’s work.
HOBT will make reasonable efforts to see that the actions of its agents, supervisory employees, artists, interns and volunteers are free from forbidden harassment, and will take appropriate corrective action when it learns of such forbidden harassment. HOBT will also take appropriate corrective action in those instances where it, its agents, supervisory employees, artists, interns and volunteers learn of forbidden harassment of any theater staff, volunteer, performer or student.
All levels of theater management, supervisory employees, performers, interns and volunteers will:
- Reject any offer or promise of sexual or other favors made by any employee, contractor, or volunteer in anticipation of or in exchange for some employment, performance, or educational decision and at the same time advise such employee, contractor, or volunteer that such an exchange violates theater policy and will not be tolerated.
- Avoid forbidden harassment, including the appearance of such harassment, by refraining from actions, language, and jokes, and by disposing of materials such as posters or magazines which could reasonably be anticipated to offend an employee, volunteer, performer or student.
- Report to theater management, in accordance with the procedures set forth below, any forbidden harassment that they observe, that is made known to them by others, or that they reasonably suspect has occurred.
- Assure theater staff, contractors, and volunteers as necessary that all forms of harassment are expressly prohibited, that HOBT will investigate reported and suspected occurrences of forbidden harassment, and that HOBT will take appropriate corrective action when forbidden harassment is found to have occurred.
Any theater staff, contractor, or volunteer who feels that they been subjected to forbidden harassment or who knows of or suspects the occurrence of forbidden harassment should promptly and in confidence inform their direct supervisor. If for any reason a person does not feel comfortable informing a direct supervisor, or is not able to do so, that person should report the matter, in escalating order, to the HOBT Associate Director, to the HOBT Executive Director, to the HOBT Board Chair, or to any other HOBT board member. Contact information for board members can be found in the Databank.
If for any reason a person does not feel comfortable informing any of the listed individuals, they may chose to fill out HOBT’s anonymous feedback form. A link to the anonymous feedback form can be found on the Board & Staff page of the website. The report will be delivered to the Associate Director and Executive Director.
Note: HOBT may be limited in its ability to take action based solely on anonymous reports.
In addition, and while not mandatory, HOBT encourages theater staff, contractors, and volunteers to advise the person engaging in the offensive conduct that the conduct is offensive and should be stopped.
In addition, all HOBT staff have an affirmative duty to report promptly to one of the Board Members designated above any forbidden harassment that they observe, that is made known to them by others, or that they reasonably suspect has occurred.
They must also provide a written report to the board member they contact, or fill out HOBT’s anonymous feedback form with as much information as is available. Any staff member who fails to report allegations of discrimination, harassment, or other prohibited conduct or who otherwise fails to deal properly with such allegations may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.
A member of the HOBT theater community may feel that the best course of action is to address offending behavior directly to the person responsible without immediately including theater leadership (though they may be subsequently included at any time). HOBT supports this at the discretion of the community member and only when the community member does not feel that their safety or professional standing is in jeopardy. HOBT emphasizes that it is imperative that the individual receiving this feedback maintain a respectful discourse. Retaliation or otherwise lashing out in any way is not acceptable behavior. The person receiving feedback may request the inclusion of HOBT theater leadership if they disagree with the feedback or believe it is unfair. HOBT encourages all community members to be open to receiving challenging feedback.
All reported occurrences of forbidden harassment will be investigated as promptly and thoroughly as is practicable and as is required under the circumstances.
The individual who makes the report or is the target of the alleged harassment will be assured that all forms of forbidden harassment are expressly prohibited, that HOBT will conduct a confidential investigation, and that HOBT will take appropriate corrective action if forbidden harassment is found to have occurred.
HOBT will designate the individual who will be responsible for conducting the investigation of the reported incidents of harassment. The timing, scope, and extent of the investigation will be determined by HOBT on a case-by-case basis, considering the circumstances of the alleged harassment. All investigations will be conducted to protect, as much as practicable, the privacy of all persons concerned. HOBT expects theater board members, staff, contractors, and volunteers who are contacted in connection with an investigation to cooperate fully.
- Regarding the tone of conversations with a complainant:
Initial meetings should be informal, gentle, and treated with sensitivity and respect
- Meetings should be held in a safe, confidential environment to discuss the events and how the complainant feels the complainant should feel allowed to bring a colleague or friend to this meeting
Regarding the tone of conversations with parties against who a report has been made:
- Meetings should be held in a safe, confidential environment and an appropriate amount of time must be given to this meeting.
Pending the outcome of an investigation, reasonably necessary and prudent interim measures, such as the separation of the complainant and the alleged offender, suspension from theater activities for the alleged offender, or temporary leave for the complainant, will be taken at HOBT’s discretion, taking into consideration the complainant’s wishes, the seriousness of the accusations, the background of the situation, and any other relevant information.
Special Note On Reported Criminal Activity
If any theater-affiliated person is accused by anyone of criminal activity that, in the eyes of HOBT arises to a level beyond mere harassment as described above, and, in the judgment of HOBT, places in doubt the safety of HOBT’s students, performers, faculty, staff, or patrons, then the accused will be immediately and without investigation removed from all theater-related activities until such time as HOBT is satisfied that the accusations are and were unfounded.
Should the accused appear at any theater-related activities or venues following this removal, they will be considered to be a trespasser on theater property and HOBT will not hesitate to call authorities to remove the accused from theater property. This revocation of theater privileges will not be influenced by the failure of authorities to investigate or charge the accused with a crime. The reinstatement of the accused to any theater-related activity or venue will be at the sole discretion of HOBT.
RESOLUTION AND OUTCOME OF INVESTIGATION
Following an investigation, HOBT will take such action that it deems necessary or appropriate under the circumstances –
No Violation. In the event that the investigation discloses insufficient grounds or basis to substantiate a violation of this Policy, all necessary parties will be so advised.
Violation. In the event that the investigation discloses a violation of this Policy, HOBT will communicate its findings to both the complainant and the alleged offender. Based upon the totality of the circumstances, appropriate disciplinary, educational, and/or other corrective action, up to and including termination, removal of an individual from an volunteership, removal of an individual from a supervisory, management or directorial position at HOBT, removal of an individual from a cast, removal of an individual from a teaching position, revocation of a performer’s ability to perform at or attend performances at HOBT or at a theater-related event, will then be taken. The action taken will be reasonably calculated to prevent any further unacceptable conduct. It is within HOBT’s discretion to determine the appropriate corrective action.
If the complainant or the alleged offender is not satisfied with the resolution, they are encouraged to contact any board member of HOBT. In the event an investigation of a reported or suspected occurrence of forbidden harassment reveals that the person has lodged a knowingly false or frivolous complaint, fabricated facts, or failed to tell the truth, HOBT may take appropriate disciplinary and/or other corrective action.
IV. NO RETALIATION
No individual who reports or complains about forbidden harassment, or who assists HOBT in its investigation, will be subjected to retaliation. Anyone who feels that they have been the victim of, or threatened with retaliation should immediately inform one of the individuals identified above for the purposes of receiving reports of complaints.
Anyone who retaliates against another person or witness because of a complaint of discrimination or harassment, or because of participation in any investigation, will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment, or the volunteer/internship relationship.
V. COMMITMENT TO PROMOTION OF A HEALTHY WORK ENVIRONMENT
As part of the onboarding process with new staff, artists (including May Day artists) and other contractors, board members and other volunteers (including interns and apprentices)— anyone new to the organization is required to read the harassment policy.
Employees and board members must read and sign the Employee Code of Conduct manual – which contains the harassment policy - and sign a page of the manual committing themselves to the standards set within it. It is the responsibility of the Executive Director to ensure this.
The harassment policy is attached to the first contract each individual contractor signs in a calendar year. Contracts are written by the Contract Coordinator and Education Manager who will ensure everyone hired by HOBT has had the opportunity to read the harassment policy, and agreed behave in accordance with it by providing their signature.
Furthermore, anyone hired by HOBT must be walked through the harassment policy in-person, typically by the person who hired them, or in the case of May Day or a show, the director or project lead. (The can take the form of one-on-one conversation, or presentation to a larger group on the first day of a project.)
To ensure this happens, whoever conducts the verbal presentation of the harassment policy is responsible for checking off a document monitored by the Contract Coordinator and Education Manager. These two positions will provide status updates to the Executive Director in their monthly reports as to whether or not this is happening.
An internal page of the website holds the harassment policy. It is the responsibility of the Volunteer Coordinator to send a link to this page to all volunteers and interns and ask them read it before beginning their work. In the case of more involved relationships, such as internships, the staff member primarily responsible for working with an intern is responsible for verbally going over the harassment policy, as with contractors and employees. The Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for ensuring this happens, and noting it on the profile for every volunteer and intern.
HOBT is committed to nurturing a healthy work environment through policy, and other, less-tangible but equally powerful measures that influence the culture of our workplace. Examples of these measures may include: equity conversations as part of staff meetings, gender neutral bathroom signage, inclusion of pronouns in standardized email signature format for staff, etc.
- Certain behaviors that promote a harassment-free work environment include:
- Asking clarifying questions in moments of uncertainty
- Gently correcting people when they misgender someone
- Proactively asking people their pronouns (as opposed to assuming)
- Asking before making physical contact (hug, pat on the shoulder, etc,)
- Proactively sharing clear boundaries about preferred behavior
- Prioritizing “active consent” over “passive consent” (E.g., “Yes! You may hug me.” vs. Shrugging, silence.)
Note: The majority of HOBT’s non-harassment policy was adapted from HUGE Improv Theater’s adaption of Arcade Theater’s policy. Some text was adapted from the Royal Court’s harassment policy.