Anti-Discrimination & Anti Harassment Policy
- Objectives and Purpose
- Diversity and Inclusion
- b. Harassment
- Sexual Harassment
- Complaint Procedure
- Designated People
- Informal Resolution
- Designated person support and intervention
- Formal Investigation
- Helping Victims
- Statement on Safe Spaces
Objectives and Purpose
Plant Based Treaty (PBT) recognizes everyone’s inherent worth and aims to create an organizational culture in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The animal rights and environmental movement embodies justice and compassion for all. This policy is essential in order to secure our ability to carry out our mission and to help animals and the planet.
Our anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure aim to protect people from harassment of any kind, including discrimination, offensive behaviour and sexual harassment. They explain the type of behaviours that may breach the policy; how you can make a complaint and how complaints will be handled.
Plant Based Treaty requires that all events, actions, and virtual spaces, be safe from all types of discrimination and harassment at all times. We require all persons involved in Plant Based Treaty to be thoughtful, careful, respectful, and responsive in their interactions with all individuals (human and non-human). The goal is to create a culture of compassion and mutual respect. We are thus committed to preventing actions that constitute speciesism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, racism, colorism, anti-Semitism, ableism, ageism, lookism and any other action or conduct that contravenes anti-discrimination and human rights legislation around the world.
We aim to create a safe environment, free from any form of discrimination or harassment. A person against whom an allegation of harassment or discrimination has been made may face an investigation and where the allegation has been made out, the person may face disciplinary action up to and including a dismissal from their role and participation in our movement. Complaints will be taken seriously and handled promptly. Individuals who feel they have suffered discrimination or harassment are encouraged to file a complaint.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
We deeply value diversity, equity and inclusion and welcome individuals from all backgrounds to be part of our organization and to contribute to the Plant Based Treaty movement. Equality for all is our mission and, as such, aiming for diversity and inclusion is an ethical and moral imperative for our organization. As animal and climate justice advocates, we have a duty to be morally consistent and consider justice for all.
This policy is more than just a set of rules to be followed. It is an invitation to open our hearts and minds and welcome differences, to treat each other equally – not hierarchically, to form friendships beyond our closed circles, and to learn about, listen to and share other people’s experiences.
All individuals will be treated in a manner free of any discrimination and harassment. These guidelines apply to everyone equally, regardless of their position or role within Plant Based Treaty.
Those who are actively involved with the organization are covered by this policy. This policy specifically applies when:
- Someone who is or intends to be involved with Plant Based Treaty faces allegations of discrimination or harassment by someone else, who is or is not involved with Plant Based Treaty.
This policy does not apply when:
- Someone who is or intends to be involved with Plant Based Treaty has been subjected to discrimination or harassment by someone who is not involved with Plant Based Treaty. In those circumstances, individuals should consider making a complaint under applicable human rights legislation or pursuing redress through other legal avenues.
Plant Based Treaty also recognizes that harassment and discrimination are often manifestations of unequal power in relationships and takes those dynamics seriously. Regardless of the power they may or may not have in the movement, cases will be dealt with objectively.
Discrimination is the differential treatment of, or hostility towards, an individual on the basis of certain actual or perceived characteristics, such as race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or preferences, socio-economic status, pregnancy or parental status, marital status, national origin, citizenship, amnesty, work experience, age, ability, genetic information, body size, belief- or identity-based expression or any other factor that is legislatively protected in the country or by any international agreements or association with a person or a group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.
Harassment is about how we make others feel. Many do not consider behaviours like flirting or sexual comments to be sexual harassment, thinking they are too innocent to be labeled that way. But, if someone makes another person uncomfortable, or makes them feel unsafe, they must stop.
Harassment can manifest as a course of comments or actions that are known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning or unwelcome based on the types of discrimination identified by this policy. Examples of harassment include:
- Humiliating, degrading, derogatory, ridiculing, demeaning, offensive or insensitive remarks, jokes, pranks, comments, slurs or innuendos related to a person’s race, gender identity, gender expression, sex, disability, sexual orientation, creed, age, physical appearance or other grounds.
- Singling out a person for humiliating or degrading “teasing” or jokes because they are a member of a group.
- Non-verbal behaviour such as staring, leering, or inappropriate gestures.
- Unnecessary or unwanted bodily contact such as physically blocking normal movement.
- Posting or circulating of material showing hostility or aversion toward an individual or group such as offensive pictures, graffiti, posters, videos, photos, cartoons, memes, and drawings whether in print form or electronic means.
- Insults based on one’s sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, or gender expression.
- Gender policing.
- Repeatedly misgendering someone.
If a person does not explicitly object to discriminatory behaviour, or appears to be going along with it, this does not mean that the behaviour is acceptable. The behaviour could still be considered discrimination under this Policy. This list of examples is not exhaustive, and there may be other behaviours that constitute harassment under this policy.
Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct that is sexual in nature. Sexual harassment may include both overt actions or behavior or it may be behavior or conduct that is more subtle. It may involve individuals of the same or different genders, or those who don’t identify with a specific gender. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Unwelcome physical contact such as patting, pinching, stroking, groping, massaging, kissing or hugging.
- Invading another person’s personal space.
- Sexual comments, stories, gestures and jokes, including bragging about sexual prowess and comments about sexual deficiency.
- Repeated flirtations, social invitations for dates or physical intimacy without the other person’s willing participation.
- Insinuating, proposing or demanding sexual favors of any kind.
- Sending or displaying sexually explicit objects or messages.
- Commenting on private life, sexuality or gender in a derogatory or objectifying manner or a manner that makes them uncomfortable.
- Whistling, leering, sexually-suggestive gestures and engaging in similar non-verbal conduct.
- Sexual advances with someone at an inappropriate time (e.g. in a team meeting, vigil, or work environment) is considered sexual harassment, even when these advances would have been welcome in a different setting because such actions can harm a person’s professional reputation and expose them to further harassment.
- Using submission to or rejection of their sexual advances as the basis for how they treat others.
- Stalking, intimidating, coercing or threatening another person to get them to engage in sexual acts.
- Physical violence, including sexual assault.
Plant Based Treaty recognizes that sexual and gender-related harassment can be the manifestation of power relationships and while they often occur by an individual having power over another, they can occur between two or more people regardless of their sex, gender identity, or gender expression and whether or not they are in a position of power.
The most extreme form of sexual harassment is sexual assault. This is a serious crime and our organization will advise victims of assault to contact the police.
Why We Must Talk About Consent
Plant Based Treaty would also like its movement spaces such as protest events and actions, meetings, and conferences to be free of sexual activities because others are not consenting. Our professional work spaces, such as Slack, Zoom and official social accounts, should not be used for asking for dates or making advances.
Consent is an ongoing process and from our experience, a large majority of society is still in the process of learning what consent truly is, and how it should be practised. We believe there is a need for frequent and in-depth consent training. We ask that all organizers and activists watch the following video as part of the mandatory training for our movement:
Why we must talk about consent | Animal Save Movement Training
The Law of Consent in Sexual Assault | Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund
Consent is an agreement freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic and specific (FRIES), between participants to engage in sexual activity. We cannot assume to have permission to engage in a sexual act because we’ve done it in the past, especially when being introduced to a new context. Consenting to one action does not mean consenting to another. We cannot ignore or not pay attention to nonverbal cues that could show someone is not consenting. It is the responsibility of the person initiating the sexual activity to get this permission. Silence should not be considered consent. A person who does not respond to attempts to engage in sexual activity, even if they do not verbally say no or resist physically, is not clearly agreeing to sexual activity.
We must collectively ensure that everyone feels safe. This includes consent training for everyone as well as empowering each other to be able to say ‘no’, dealing better with cases of sexual misconduct, de-escalating conflict, and uniting the movement in an inclusive learning process for the betterment of all.
A Complainant is the person who alleges that they have experienced discrimination or harassment.
A Respondent is the person against whom the allegation/allegations of harassment or discrimination have been made.
Designated People are Human Resources representatives at Animal Save Movement’s global level, who ASM determines is qualified to receive and investigate discrimination and harassment complaints. A Designated Person is committed to being impartial and respectful and to act in a professional manner.
Whenever possible, Plant Based Treaty encourages individuals who have been subjected to or have witnessed discrimination and harassment to promptly and clearly advise the person that their behaviour is unwelcome and request that it stops. However, this is not required; anyone experiencing or witnessing this behavior should feel free to bring the matter to the attention of Human Resources or to pursue the matter through applicable human rights legislation or other legal means.
The Complainant should keep a written record of the date, time, details of the conduct, and witnesses, if any. Human Resources must keep a record of the details of the meetings. Records will also be kept for reference as needed in potential legal matters pursued by the individuals involved or the organization.
Those covered by this Policy may attempt to resolve their concerns by direct communication with the person(s) engaging in unwelcome conduct. If a Complainant feels comfortable doing so, they should communicate disapproval in clear terms. They may want to refer to this policy. If the other person recognizes that they have engaged in harmful behaviour and apologizes for it, then the issue may be resolved by the involved parties.
(1) By self-help we mean the use of one’s own efforts and resources to achieve things without relying on other Designated Persons.
Designated Person Support and Intervention
Complainants who are not comfortable with self-help are encouraged to seek advice from and report these matters to Human Resources (email [email protected]. They will assist the complainant in carrying out the following activities with the aim to de-escalate and resolve the conflict.
Consideration should be given to discussing possible options on how to informally resolve the matter, depending on the nature of the complaint.
Human Resources will keep a confidential file for the case and ensure that the case is resolved as promptly as possible.
Depending on the severity of the matter, the organization may undertake a formal investigation of complaints of discrimination, and harassment, including sexual harassment. Human Resources would conduct the investigation, which typically would include interviews of the Complainant, the Respondent and any witnesses named by either.
ASM acknowledges that it is often hard to come forward about these issues.
For reporting, the following is required of the complainant:
- They should make a copy of our Complaint Form, fill it out, send it by email to [email protected] and ask for a meeting. The complainant should attach any evidence that is relevant to the complaint.
- In their first meeting with Human Resources, the complainant should explain the situation in as much detail as possible. If they have any hard evidence (e.g. emails, screenshots, voice messages), they should have them at hand and present them during the meeting.
- If there are people who could provide relevant information (e.g. witnesses or victims of the same person), they should please provide us with their names, and if possible, with their contact details.
- If there are people who have enabled, overlooked or supported the offensive behaviour that the complainant is reporting, they should provide us with their names, and if possible, their contact details.
- Discrimination and harassment claims will be kept as confidential as reasonably possible. Some information may need to be shared by the person who has received the claim during the course of an inquiry or investigation. The Designated Person overseeing the matter will do their best to honor a request for anonymity, provided it does not compromise the safety of the individual or other individuals or the legal compliance or integrity of the organization.
The responsibility to prevent discrimination and harassment is one that is shared by everyone. Plant Based Treaty encourages those covered by this Policy to do their part to maintain a safe and respectful work environment by complying with this Policy and the laws pertaining to discrimination and harassment.
During the course of an investigation, Plant Based Treaty may implement interim measures including issuing temporary suspensions pending the outcome of the investigation.
The consequences for offensive behaviour depends on the intent and severity of the case. For example, inadvertently offending someone might warrant a warning and compulsory training. Conversely, willfully bypassing another person’s feelings and repeatedly making comments about their sexual orientation, religion or appearance, etc. might lead to a dismissal from Plant Based Treaty and Animal Save Movement. Sometimes, people who harass others do not realize that their behaviour is wrong. We understand that this is possible, but that doesn’t make the perpetrator any less responsible for their actions.
Individuals who are found to have violated this Policy will face repercussions including any of the following:
- a warning
- a temporary suspension
- mandatory training
- a request for a private or public apology
- joining a restorative justice circle
- the rescinding of a Fellowship (if applicable)
- being banned from all spaces and events related to Plant Based Treaty and Animal Save Movement for an indefinite period of time
- other solution(s) that Human Resources representatives find suitable.
Deliberately false accusations are equally serious and will also result in repercussions. However, an unproven allegation does not mean that the conduct did not occur or that there was a deliberately false allegation—it may simply mean that there was not enough evidence.
Apart from investigating claims and handling cases, we support the victims of discrimination and harassment. If you experience trauma, stress or other symptoms because of harassment, please consider:
- Taking some time off to restore your mental health.
- Asking for support from Animal Save Movement’s Human Resources. There are trainings on consent, victim blaming, trauma and activist support.
- Please see this list of helpful resources, including helplines, websites, books and trainings.
Statement on Safe Spaces
We request that organizers read Plant Based Treaty’s Statement on Safe Spaces out loud at the beginning of events to help create a culture of mutual respect and prevent instances of discrimination and harassment.
“The animal rights and environmental movement embodies justice and compassion for all. Our movement recognizes everyone’s inherent worth and aims to create an organizational culture in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Plant Based Treaty events are a safe space for all, free of fear, bullying, judgement and harassment of any kind. We do not tolerate oppressive and discriminatory behaviour based on species, sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, socio-economic status, or other arbitrary characteristics.”
We treat each other with kindness and mutual respect at all times. We aim to create a welcoming environment that is representative, diverse and inclusive. Let’s act together appreciating our differences and celebrating each other’s contributions. We commit to collectively ensuring our events and behaviours are compassionate and non-violent at all times. Together we can create a safe space. This is essential in order to carry out our mission to save animals and the planet.”
Last updated: Updated Jan 11, 2022