The Alumnae Theatre Company's
Safe and Respectful Environment Policy

The Alumnae Theatre Company is committed to providing an environment free from personal and sexual harassment or violence, where each individual is treated with respect and dignity. Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person has the right to be free from harassment and discrimination, including personal and sexual harassment and violence. Harassment or discrimination will not be tolerated, condoned or ignored at the Alumnae Theatre Company.

COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY

The Alumnae Theatre Company is undertaking a comprehensive strategy to address harassment and discrimination, including:

  • wide distribution and discussion of this Policy throughout the organization;
  • educating Alumnae members on harassment, and promoting appropriate standards of conduct at all times;
  • discussion of this Policy on the first day of rehearsal for every Alumnae production;
  • providing an effective, timely and fair complaints procedure under this Policy.

DEFINITIONS AND CONCEPTS

The following definitions and concepts are those commonly used in creating standards. They may, however, be added to or altered by legislated or negotiated standards. Please understand these definitions to be a guideline; they may not be comprehensive.

PERSONAL HARASSMENT

Harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. For the purpose of this policy, harassment includes comment or conduct initiated by one person towards another, which causes humiliation, offence or embarrassment, or which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the person’s work and/or creating an intimidating, humiliating, hostile or offensive environment. Ordinarily, repeated comment or conduct is required to demonstrate harassment, however single acts of sufficient severity may also constitute harassment.

Harassment may include, but is not limited to:

  • physically or verbally intimidating behaviour and/or threats;
  • ridiculing, taunting, belittling or humiliating another person;
  • derogatory name-calling;
  • inappropriate or insulting remarks, gestures, jokes, innuendo or taunting;
  • unwanted questions or comments about a person’s private life;
  • posting or display of materials, articles or graffiti etc. (including social media/online), which may cause humiliation, offence or embarrassment.

Bullying is a form of personal harassment and may include:

  • loud, abusive behaviour;
  • unjustified criticism;
  • shunning behaviours (including withholding information, ganging up, deliberate isolation from colleagues or exclusion from joint activities);
  • repeated delegation of demeaning tasks.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement and that person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.

Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to:

  • reprisal or threat of reprisal for the rejection of a sexual solicitation or advance, where the reprisal is made by a person in a position to grant, confer, or deny a benefit or advancement;
  • unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendo or taunting about a person’s body, attire, gender or sexual orientation;
  • unwanted touching or any unwanted or inappropriate physical contact; such as touching, kissing, patting, hugging or pinching;
  • unwelcome enquiries or comments about a person’s sex life or sexual preference;
  • leering, whistling or other suggestive or insulting sounds;
  • making sexual or romantic solicitations or advances to a co-worker after it has been made clear by the co-worker that such solicitations and advances are unwelcome;
  • inappropriate comments about clothing, physical characteristics or activities;
  • posting or display of materials, articles or graffiti etc.(including social media/online) that is sexually oriented;
  • requests or demands for sexual favours, which include or strongly imply promises of rewards for complying and/or threats of punishment for refusal.

DISCRIMINATION

Harassment may also relate to a form of discrimination as set out in provincial human rights legislation, which prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of certain protected grounds.

SYSTEMIC HARASSMENT/DISCRIMINATION

Systemic harassment or discrimination includes policies, practices, procedures, actions or inactions that may appear neutral, but which effectively create conditions of discrimination or harassment. These practices are often embedded in an institution or sector, and may be invisible to the people who do not experience it, and even to the people who may be affected by it.

To combat systemic harassment/discrimination, it is essential for an organization or sector to create a climate in which the diverse needs of people are considered in all aspects of operations, and negative practices and attitudes can be challenged and discouraged.

POISONOUS or TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT

Any or all of the above conditions can have the effect of poisoning the work environment for everyone. A person does not have to be a direct target of harassing or discriminatory behaviour to be adversely affected by a negative environment.

REPRISAL

Reprisal involves any adverse action taken against an individual because he or she reported unwelcome behaviour, complained about unwelcome behaviour in the workspace, or participated in an investigation or legal proceeding relating to a complaint, including as a witness. Reprisal also includes adverse action taken against someone who is associated with the individual opposing the unwelcome behaviour, such as a family member.

Examples of reprisal include:

  • termination from the production;
  • denial of future work opportunities;
  • any other adverse action that would discourage a reasonable person from opposing the unwelcome behaviour.

PROTECTED GROUNDS

The Ontario Human Rights Code protects people in Ontario from discrimination based on the following grounds, and any combination of these grounds:

  • Race
  • Colour
  • Ancestry
  • Creed (religion)
  • Place of Origin
  • Ethnic Origin
  • Citizenship
  • Sex (including pregnancy, gender identity)
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age
  • Marital Status
  • Family Status
  • Disability
  • Receipt of Public Assistance

APPLICATION

The primary purpose of this Policy is to prevent personal and sexual harassment or violence from occurring in the first place. Where issues do arise, this policy provides a resolution-oriented process for receiving and investigating allegations of prohibited behaviour.

The Alumnae Theatre prohibits reprisal, or threat of reprisal, against any person who makes use of this Policy or who participates in an investigation, on penalty of sanctions imposed by the Board.

Who is Covered by this Policy?

This Policy extends to all Alumnae Theatre volunteers, performers, contracted individuals, co-op students, interns, instructors, audience members, rental companies, service providers and visitors. 

Where does this Policy Apply?

This Policy applies to all events occurring on Alumnae Theatre premises. It also applies to spaces used for other Theatre-related events including auditions and rehearsals. In some circumstances this Policy may apply to other locations where interactions or their repercussions have a strong potential Alumnae’s environment, e.g. social events for cast members.

When Does This Policy Not Apply?

The policy does not apply to the following situations:

  1. expressing differences of opinion;
  2. offering constructive feedback, guidance, or advice about work- related behavior and performance;
  3. making legitimate complaints about someone’s conduct through established procedure; 
  4. providing reasonable direction to an individual in order to have the person improve his or her performance.

THE ALUMNAE THEATRE COMPANY’S
SAFE AND RESPECTFUL ENVIRONMENT POLICY
RESOLUTION PROCESS

Everyone who participates in or attends the activities of the Alumnae Theatre Company has the right to feel safe and to be treated with dignity. This includes the right to report any alleged incident(s) and to have the report taken seriously and dealt with in a timely way. 

All complaints will be taken seriously and dealt with confidentially. The rights of all concerned will be respected. People are encouraged to use these steps to address incidents of alleged harassment or discrimination internally.

Process for the Complainant

1. A person who believes they have been subjected to harassment or discrimination (the Complainant) is encouraged to first informally respond by clearly and firmly making known to the individual(s) alleged to be responsible (the Respondent) that the harassment or discrimination is objectionable and must stop.

2. Where step 1. cannot be done safely or does not result in a satisfactory outcome, the Complainant is encouraged to draw on the resources of the supervising person(s) in relation to which the act occurred. This may include persons such as a producer, director, stage manager, front-of-house manager, workshop leader, committee chair.

3. Where steps 1. and 2. do not result in a satisfactory outcome, the Complainant is asked to put in writing:  (a) the names/descriptions of people involved, (b) time and date of incident(s), (c) location of incident(s), (d) the details of the incident, (e) any other witnesses to the incident, and (f) steps already taken to try to resolve this complaint.

4. This written report should be sent to the President at or VP Membership, or any member of the Board of Directors, delivered in person, to the theatre’s box office, by email, or by mail.

5. The recipient of the Complainant’s report shall appoint a two-person Panel drawn from the Board of Directors, to investigate the complaint.

6. Complaints will be investigated on a case-by-case basis, starting with a meeting with the Complainant. The Respondent will be notified, and the Panel may meet with the Respondent. The Panel will carry out a confidential investigation and attempt to address or resolve the complaint. Where appropriate, the directors may draw on the resources of the board, or on external resources, as necessary to assist in the confidential investigation and resolution of the complaint. 

7. Following the conclusion of the investigation and any attempts to address or resolve the complaint, the Panel will inform the Complainant and the Respondent of the results of the investigation of the resolution of the complaint, if any.

8. If an incident is not resolved satisfactorily, the Panel, with approval of the Board, has the right to impose sanctions, including expulsion from the ATC for members, and/or exclusion from participating in ATC productions or events.

9. While preserving the confidential nature of the complaints process, the Panel will also provide the board with a general, written summary of the investigation and the resolution of the complaint, if any, to be kept as a confidential record of the incident(s).

Confidentiality

No member of the Alumnae Theatre Company will disclose the identity of the person(s) involved or the circumstances of the complaint, except where disclosure is necessary for the purposes of the investigation of the complaint, or where such disclosure is required by law.  Disclosure for any other purpose is subject to any sanction available in the bylaws.

Right to Go ElsewhERE

Nothing in this Policy is intended to prevent or discourage a Complainant from choosing an alternative resolution process or legal action, at any time during an investigation.