Official Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy
The Committee to Elect Jesse G. Reyes (“The Committee”) is committed to creating a respectful and safe working environment for every individual that works on this campaign, including campaign staff, independent contractors, volunteers, vendors, consultants, fundraisers, interns, and candidates (“Campaign Workers”). “The Committee” does not tolerate harassment, bullying, or discrimination of any kind, in the workplace or in work-related situations. To achieve an environment that is free of harassment, bullying, and discrimination, it is essential that Campaign Workers feel comfortable raising complaints about harassment or other misconduct when they see or experience it. Therefore, The Committee strictly prohibits any form of retaliation against a Campaign Worker who reports or assists in reporting a concern regarding a violation of this Policy.
I. Who is Covered
This Policy applies to all individuals that work on this campaign, including but not limited to candidates, campaign staff, independent contractors, volunteers, vendors, consultants, and fundraisers. Everyone who works on this campaign is responsible for following and upholding this Policy. “The Committee” is committed to protecting its Campaign Workers against all harassment, discrimination, and bullying, regardless of the source. Therefore, Campaign Workers should report all instances of harassment or bullying – even if committed by non-campaign staff.
For example, Melissa is a field coordinator in Champaign for a state-wide campaign. As part of her job, she frequently invites volunteers to meet one-on-one to discuss campaign matters. In response to her invitation for a working coffee meeting, a volunteer asked to move the mid-day coffee meeting to a dinnertime date followed by watching Netflix at his apartment. Melissa declined, explaining that she wanted to keep the meeting strictly professional. The volunteer jokingly responded that he was a committed volunteer and so Melissa should agree to the date for the good of the campaign. He has continued to text Melissa with invitations to go on dates under the pretenses of campaign work. Melissa should report this behavior to the designated reporting contact.
Managers, supervisors, and any other individuals with supervisory authority must report suspected violations of this Policy when they become aware of such a violation. Managers and supervisors may become aware of a violation when they are explicitly told about the violation, when they hear about a violation indirectly, or when they witness a violation. In each scenario, the manager or supervisor must bring the suspected violation to the designated reporting contact.
II. Application of the Policy
The Policy applies to any interactions involving Campaign Workers, regardless of whether the conduct occurs in the office, in the field, at work-related social events, fundraising events, or parties.
This Policy also applies to electronic transmissions, such as email and text messages, as well as postings on social media.
For example, after a day of get-out-the-vote efforts, two volunteers – Angela and Trevor – go out to a bar. After several drinks, Trevor rubs Angela’s thigh and tells her that he is attracted to women of color like her because they “know what they are working with.” The next morning, Angela tells Trevor she was uncomfortable with his comments, and he explains that he was “joking” and that he was too drunk. They go out for drinks again, and Trevor repeats the same behavior. Trevor is engaging in harassing behavior. It does not matter that they are volunteers, or that the behavior is happening outside of working hours; it is still covered by the Policy. The behavior is also not excused because Trevor is “joking” or is under the influence.
III. Prohibition Against Harassment
This Policy prohibits harassment. For the purposes of this Policy, harassment is conduct that creates a disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for a Campaign Worker based on that Campaign Worker’s protected status. “Protected status” includes the following: race, color, ethnic or national origin; age; religion or religious creed (or belief, where applicable); sex, including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions; sexual orientation; gender, gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, or sexual stereotypes; nationality, immigration status, citizenship, or ancestry; marital status; protected military or veteran status; physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information or characteristics (or those of a family member); political views or activity; or status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
For the purposes of this Policy, sexual harassment is any harassment specifically based on sex that a reasonable similarly-situated person would find offensive, demeaning, or would make them feel uncomfortable. To be clear, this Policy prohibits harassment based on sex, even if it does not rise to the level of illegality under state and federal law. Note that sexual harassment can happen regardless of gender, gender identity, or gender expression. This means that sexual harassment can occur between same-sex individuals as well as opposite-sex individuals, and does not require that the harassment be motivated by sexual desire.
While not an exhaustive list, harassment can include the following types of conduct:
- Derogatory or insensitive jokes, comments, or pranks;
- Sharing the derogatory or insensitive jokes, comments, or pranks from others;
- Use of slurs or epithets;
- Inappropriate familiarity, invasive questions about personal lives or relationships;
- Unwelcome sexual or romantic advances or invitations (including asking a Campaign Worker out more than once if the Campaign Worker declines the first invitation);
- Displaying or sharing images such as posters, videos, photos, cartoons, screensavers, emails, or drawings that are derogatory or sexual;
- Comments about appearance, or other personal or physical characteristics, such as sexually charged comments or comments on someone’s physical disability;
- Comments about the appearance, or other personal or physical characteristics, even if it is about other people; or
- Unwanted bodily contact such as groping or massaging, blocking normal movement, unnecessary touching, or physically interfering with the work of another individual.
For example, Jacinda started as an intern on a statewide campaign, and then became a paid organizer for the campaign. For months, Bill, a volunteer with the state party, who was also assigned to the campaign and supervised Jacinda made comments about Jacinda’s body, told people he was dating Jacinda, encouraged her to drink even though she was underage, and tried to create situations in which the two would be alone. Jacinda told her supervisor within the campaign, Amelia, about Bill’s behavior, and Amelia told Jacinda that Bill was just “joking” and that’s just “how he is.” Bill harassed Jacinda in violation of this Policy, and Amelia also violated the Policy by condoning his conduct and not reporting the misconduct for investigation.
IV.Prohibition Against Bullying
This Policy prohibits bullying. Bullying is repeated behavior that a reasonable Campaign Worker would find disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive, regardless of whether the conduct is based on a Campaign Worker’s protected status.
While this is not an exhaustive list, bullying behavior can appear as the following:
Excessive monitoring or micromanaging of a Campaign Worker;
- Deliberately excluding a Campaign Worker or isolating him or her from work-related activities that he or she would normally be included in;
- Singling out a Campaign Worker for unfavorable work assignments or demands;
- Regularly teasing or making a Campaign Worker the brunt of pranks or practical jokes;
- Publicly reprimanding, embarrassing, or shouting at a Campaign Worker;
For example, a campaign staffer named Penelope helped the candidate, Carla, prepare
for a television appearance. When the television appearance did not go well, the campaign manager, Kristen, blamed Penelope in front of the entire campaign staff and multiple volunteers, including yelling at Penelope on the day of the appearance and then repeatedly raising the incident and berating Penelope for the problems. Kristen then excluded Penelope and assigned her to menial and time-consuming tasks, instead of the strategic projects she had been working on. Kristen is bullying Penelope. While it is appropriate for supervisors to provide feedback and address performance issues, Kristen’s actions went beyond the pale and transcended her supervisory authority over Penelope.
V. Prohibition Against Discrimination
This Policy prohibits discrimination. For the purposes of this Policy, discrimination occurs when a Campaign Worker is treated differently than his or her peers based on his or her protected status as enumerated above in Section III.
Discriminatory behavior can appear as the following:
- Adopting policies that disproportionately affect individuals of a certain protected status;
- Assigning responsibilities based on an individual’s protected status;
- Sending or displaying hate symbols such as nooses and cross burning; or
- Excluding certain individuals from work-related events or opportunities based on
- their protected status.
For example, Sean is an African-American field organizer for a state senate race. When
deciding which volunteers should knock on doors for the candidate in a predominantly
African-American neighborhood, Sean says that only African-American volunteers should be sent to the neighborhood because they are the only ones who can really talk with the voters there. When a white volunteer says that he grew up in the neighborhood and volunteers to knock on doors there, Sean refuses to believe that the white volunteer will be able to “vibe” with the voters in that neighborhood. Sean’s behavior is discriminatory, and the volunteers should report his behavior.
VI. Role of Bystanders
Bystanders should speak up if they see or hear something that they believe violates the Policy, or something that they think is inappropriate, including suspected instances of retaliation. Bystanders are encouraged to intervene on the spot when they see inappropriate behavior unless doing so would risk the bystander’s physical safety. If bystanders do not believe that they can safely intervene – for example, if the offender is threatening violence – bystanders are expected to call law enforcement.
“The Committee” also encourages bystanders to engage with the victim to see if he or
she would like to report the violation or would like assistance in reporting. As mentioned before, managers, supervisors, and any other individuals with supervisory authority must report suspected violations of this Policy when they become aware of such a violation.
Examples of successful intervention by a bystander can include telling the perpetrator that his or her behavior is inappropriate, or approaching him or her later and asking a non-confrontational question about an inappropriate comment, such as “Were you aware of how you came off in that conversation?” If bystanders do not feel comfortable addressing the behavior directly with the perpetrator, then bystanders should feel empowered to report the misconduct or encourage the victim to report the misconduct.
For example, Samuel was the lead organizer for a college campus for a statewide
campaign. His primary contact on the campaign was a woman named Sasha, who was also a volunteer, and soon after they started collaborating, Sasha started making unwanted advances and asking overly personal questions about Samuel’s love life. Samuel told a fellow Campaign Worker named Ellen about the unwanted advances, and Ellen encouraged Samuel to report the misconduct to the campaign manager. Shortly after Samuel reported Sasha, Ellen observed Sasha going around Samuel to organize campus events and purposely excluding Samuel from the types of planning meetings and emails that he would normally be included on. Ellen forwarded the relevant emails to Samuel, and later told Sasha in a one-on-one meeting that she should be sure to keep Samuel in the loop on all campus-related tasks. Sasha was retaliating against Samuel for complaining about her, and Ellen effectively intervened as a bystander.
VII. Prohibition Against Retaliation
“The Committee” strictly prohibits any form of retaliation against a Campaign Worker,
who reports or assists in reporting a concern regarding a violation of this Policy. Retaliation against a Campaign Worker is a violation of this Policy and the retaliating individual will be subject to discipline under this Policy.
Retaliation occurs when a Campaign Worker experiences a negative change in his or her working conditions because he or she: reported what he or she believed in good faith to be harassment or a violation of this Policy; expressed an intent to report what he or she believed in good faith to be harassment or a violation of this Policy; assisted another individual in an effort to report harassment or a violation of the Policy; or participated in any investigation under this Policy.
This is not an exhaustive list, but retaliation can include the following types of conduct: termination or demotion; intimidation or excessive discipline; social exclusion or isolation; blacklisting; reduction in responsibilities or unfavorable work assignments; or denial of advancement.
“The Committee” may need to employ protective measures for the benefit of the complainant while the Independent Body of the State Party investigates the report. “The Committee” pledges that any protective measures that are undertaken will not penalize the complainant. “The Committee” and the Independent Body of the State Party will perform regular check-ins with the complainant while the investigation is ongoing to ensure no retaliation is happening.
VIII. Procedures for Reporting a Violation of the Policy
If you suspect harassment, bullying, discrimination, or retaliation has occurred, you are encouraged (and supervisors are required) to promptly provide a written or oral complaint internally to the Campaign Manager. In addition or alternatively, you may also report the conduct to the Independent Body of the State Party which has been formed to fairly and neutrally investigate these claims from campaigns that are affiliated with the Party.
The Independent Body of the State Party is committed to promptly and fairly investigating and responding to all reports regarding potential violations of this Policy. It will establish specific investigation procedures and deadlines that will guide its investigations, including but not limited to specific deadlines for providing notice to the complainant upon receiving the report, completion of the investigation, notice of the outcome of the investigation to the complainant and the accused, and check-ins following the outcome of the investigation.
IX. Possible Outcomes from Violations
The Independent Body of the State Party is committed to investigations that have just and fair outcomes. If an investigation reveals that a violation of this Policy occurred, the offender will be disciplined, but the punishment will be proportional to the violation, with repeat offenses receiving increasing discipline. The Independent Body of the State Party will prepare and publish a matrix of the possible outcomes that will be imposed based on a range of behaviors and repeat offenses.