Anti-Harassment Policy & Procedures Tips

Jul 07, 2023 | Legal Issues,

Anti-Harassment Policy & Procedures Tips

With allegations of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace still making headlines, your nonprofit arts organizations may want to take these action steps:

• Ask a qualified employment law attorney to draft a clearly written policy or to review and revise your existing policy and procedures. If you’re org is located in our service area, apply for assistance here.

• Be more deliberate about fostering a cultural of civility by emphasizing expectations of courtesy and respect. 

• Start at the very top. The actions of Board members should be covered by your anti-harassment policy (see sample below).   

• Don’t just disseminate your policy; discuss it and invite suggestions for improvement.

• Embrace zero tolerance while being mindful of due process and proportional consequences.

• Provide several avenues for reporting harassment, bullying, and discrimination.

• Comply with the state and/or municipal employee training mandate(s) but try to shift the focus away from legal definitions of sexual harassment and toward behaviors that contribute to a respectful workplace environment.

• Consider offering bystander intervention training.

• When an employee or volunteer doesn’t want to lodge a formal complaint, listen then explain that the privacy of all parties involved will be maintained to the highest degree possible but that your organization is committed to promptly investigating every claim and to taking appropriate corrective action.

• Consider mediation services provided by a professional mediator. Mediation, which is voluntary and confidential, often accomplishes the primary aim of stopping the inappropriate behavior. 

• Have a draft media statement ready in the event that a complaint goes public.

Board Code of Conduct Prohibition Against Sexual Harassment: [Name of Nonprofit] strives to maintain a workplace that is free from illegal discrimination and harassment. While all forms of harassment are prohibited, it is the organization’s policy to emphasize that sexual harassment is specifically prohibited. Any Board member who engages in discriminatory or harassing conduct towards is subject to removal from the Board. Complaints alleging misconduct on the part of Board members will be investigated promptly and as confidentially as possible by a task force of the Board appointed by the [Executive/Governance] Committee. (Source: National Council of Nonprofits)  

This tip sheet is distributed for educational purposes only. We urge you to seek professional services to address your specific concerns.