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Respect in the Workplace Policy

Our Philosophy

The most productive and satisfying work environment is one in which work is accomplished in a spirit of mutual trust and respect. That trust and respect should show by the manner of interaction between our employees, contractors, participants (those participating in PALNI activities), and people with whom we collaborate. We value positive communication and conversations. We expect people to have different opinions – we all come from different backgrounds and have had different experiences. Those differences allow us to see things from different angles so that our organization can grow and thrive in a constantly changing culture. We also encourage and empower our employees, contractors, or participants to speak up if they have a concern about the manner in which they are being treated, both to the person whose treatment is a concern and to leadership. No one should be made to feel as if their position with the organization would be affected by raising concerns in a productive, professional manner.

Basic Guidelines

  • Every employee or participant is a vital part of PALNI, your conduct and actions toward other employees or participants should reflect this
  • Treat other employees or participants in the way you want other employees to treat you – with dignity and respect
  • We respect that the organizations we support each have their own workplace policies, philosophies and beliefs (whether it be religious beliefs or cultural beliefs). While this Policy does not govern the organizations we support, when you collaborate with individuals within PALNI spaces, you should treat each other with dignity and respect
  • Develop positive, professional relationships with your co-workers – have fun without allowing your conversations and actions to drift into unprofessional conduct or inappropriate conversations
  • Managers should direct the work of others professionally and productively
  • Recognize that there is no "right" or "wrong" perspective and handle different perspectives productively
  • Even when you are upset or frustrated, maintain a professional tone. (Take a few minutes to collect your thoughts, if needed.)
  • Re-read your written communications, particularly e-mails and texts, before sending them to ensure that they reflect our philosophies and promote a positive and productive environment
  • Speak up if you have concerns and, if someone expresses a concern to you, listen
  • Be open to receiving constructive criticism -- see it as an opportunity to improve
  • If you make a mistake or are told that your conduct offended someone, apologize and adjust your approach to show respect for others on the team
  • If we all follow these basic guidelines, we can avoid comments or conduct that offends another employee or participant, or that interferes with another person's employment, impairs morale and causes serious harm to the productivity, efficiency and stability of our organization.

Some specific issues

Our goal is to focus on a positive working environment, rather than on negative conduct that needs to be avoided. We recognize, however, that it may help to describe the type of conduct that is NOT consistent with a positive environment.


We promote equal opportunities within our organization. A positive, respectful workplace recognizes and embraces differences. We do not and will not treat someone differently on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of our activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, employment decisions related to staff, participants, selection of vendors and contractors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, participants, contractors, vendors, and individuals with whom we collaborate.


A positive and respectful working environment is free of sexual and other harassment and intimidation, including harassment based on race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, protected activity (i.e. opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in the reporting process) or any other protected categories. Harassment will not be tolerated. We are also committed to ensuring that its employees are not subjected to harassment by non-employees, such as our participants, contractors, vendors, participants in collaborations and others with whom we have a relationship.

What is Harassment?

Sexual and other harassment is a form of misconduct that undermines the integrity of the employment relationship. Harassment does not support a productive and respectful working environment. It is not only offensive, but it may also harm morale and interfere with our effectiveness and our ability to fulfill our responsibilities. All employees and PALNI participants must be allowed to work in an environment free from unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtones and harassment in any form. It is also important to recognize that the workplace travels with us wherever we go (including conferences, meetings, casual get-togethers after work). Accordingly, harassment is not tolerated on our property or any other location.

Sexual harassment, for purposes of this policy, is defined 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 the 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.

Examples of Conduct That Constitute Harassment

Sexual harassment does not mean occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. However, sexual harassment does include, but is not limited to, actions such as:

  • sex-oriented verbal "kidding" or abuse, crude or offensive language, jokes, or pranks;
  • possession, display, or distribution of photographs, drawings, objects, or graffiti of a sexual nature (employees should keep in mind that this type of material may not be placed on walls, bulletin boards, computer screen savers or wallpaper, or elsewhere on meeting locations or online forums, nor should it be circulated in the workplace);
  • subtle or other pressure for sexual activity;
  • epithets, slurs, put-downs, negative stereotyping, or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts;
  • physical conduct such as patting, pinching, or constant brushing against another's body;
  • explicit demands for sexual favors, whether or not accompanied by implied or overt promises of preferential treatment or threats concerning an individual's employment status;
  • offensive sexual flirtations, advances or propositions; and/or
  • any other offensive, hostile, intimidating, or abusive conduct of a sexual nature.

Keep in mind that this Policy applies not only to sexual harassment, but to harassment in general. Therefore, the above activities or conduct that relate to an individual’s race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, protected activity (i.e. opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in the reporting process) or any other protected categories may violate our Policy. For example, written or graphic material that defames or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group (including religious groups) violate this Policy.


Bullying has many of the same negative effects on a workplace as harassment and will not be tolerated. Bullying is intended to show another person that you have "power" over them, which is not consistent with our basic guidelines. Some examples of bullying include:

  • repeated verbal abuse;
  • pattern of conduct and/or behaviors (including nonverbal) that are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; and
  • sabotaging other employee's work.

Reporting Procedure

We have adopted a reporting procedure that assures a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation of all reports, followed by swift and appropriate corrective action where warranted. We encourage employees and participants to report discrimination, harassment and other inappropriate conduct before it becomes severe or it changes our working environment.

Any employee or participant who believes that he or she has been a victim of some form of discrimination, sexual or other harassment or other inappropriate conduct or behavior should report the incident immediately to the executive director, associate director or the chair of the executive committee. If the alleged violation relates to the executive director or associate director, the report should be made to the chair of the executive committee. No one will be treated negatively because they report inappropriate conduct that may violate our policies or provide information concerning such reports.

Responsibility of Supervisors, Managers and Others

All members of leadership are held accountable for maintaining a workplace that is consistent with our philosophies and for effectively administering this Policy. If a member of leadership is advised of any alleged violation of this Policy, or if he/she independently observes conduct that is inconsistent with this policy, he/she must immediately report the matter to the executive director or associate director so that an appropriate investigation can be initiated. If the alleged violation relates to the executive director or associate director, the report should be made to the chair of the executive committee.

In addition to the above, any employee, contractor, or PALNI participant who is aware of any conduct or other circumstances that may violate this Policy must report this to the executive director, associate director or the chair of the executive committee.


The report and information collected during such an investigation will be kept confidential to the extent possible and will not be disclosed unnecessarily or to persons not involved directly in conducting the investigation and determining what action, if any, to take in response to the report. Complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed because an effective investigation usually requires revealing certain information to the persons whose conduct was reported and to potential witnesses.

Investigation and Other Action to Be Taken by the Organization

Following the receipt of a report, an individual or team will be assigned to begin a prompt investigation. Typically, this investigation will involve an initial interview with the person reporting the conduct and interviews with any other individuals who are involved, including the accused employee. Under no circumstances will the individual who conducts the investigation or who has any direct or indirect control over the investigation be supervised by the person whose conduct is being reported. We want the investigation to be fair and impartial.

If, following a report, an investigation reveals that some act of discrimination, sexual or other harassment, or other inappropriate conduct or behavior, has occurred, prompt and appropriate corrective action will be taken. The appropriate decision maker will review the results of the investigation and take prompt and effective corrective and preventive action when necessary.

The individual who made the report will be advised about the status of their report, the results of the investigation and any corrective and preventive action taken. To balance the privacy of everyone involved, full details may not always be made available, but we will strive to provide sufficient information to show the reporting individual that we took appropriate action. Similarly, the individual about whom the report was made will be advised of the outcome.

If no determination can be made because the information gathered is inconclusive, the parties will be informed of this result and of any preventive measures that will be undertaken, which may include counseling, training, and/or monitoring.

The person who engaged in inappropriate conduct or behavior in violation of this Policy will be subject to sanctions or penalties, up to and including suspension and/or immediate termination of employment. If that individual is not our employee, we will take reasonable measures to the extent we can exercise any control over the problem.

We value a respectful workplace and need everyone's help to keep our positive, welcoming culture. If you have questions about this policy, please contact the executive director, associate director or chair of the executive committee.