Revised June, 2020
I. GUIDING PRINCIPLES
This Code of Conduct is based upon and shall be interpreted and applied in good faith according to the following ten commitments:
- Critical Thinking – I will practice good judgment by asking questions and thinking for myself.
- Ethical Development – I will focus on becoming a better person.
- Peace and Social Justice – I will help people solve problems and handle disagreements in ways that are fair for everyone.
- Service and Participation – I will help my community in ways that let me get to know the people I’m helping.
- Altruism – I will help others in need without hoping for rewards.
- Humility – I will be aware of my strengths and weaknesses, and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of others.
- Environmentalism – I will take care of the Earth and the life on it.
- Global Awareness – I will be a good neighbor to the people who share the Earth with me and help make the world a better place for everyone.
- Responsibility – I will be a good person—even when no one is looking—and own the consequences of my actions.
- Empathy – I will consider other people’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
These commitments shall be understood in light of:
- Charitable Interpretation – I will not rush to judgment. I will do my best to interpret our opponents actions, words, and sentiments charitably. I will know what, when, and how I will speak against transgressions.
- Forgiveness and Grace – Nobody is infallible; I will act with forgiveness and grace toward those who fall short of HSGP values.
The Board of Directors of HSGP has the authority pursuant to the Bylaws to enact rules of acceptable conduct, including amendments, supplements, and binding interpretations of this Code of Conduct and to adjudicate or delegate the adjudication of disciplinary proceedings pursuant to said rules.
This authority shall extend to:
- All actions at HSGP events and facilities,
- All actions performed in the name of HSGP, through HSGP platforms (e.g. correspondence with an @hsgp.org email address), or under circumstances where a reasonable bystander would believe the actor to be representing HSGP,
- All use of public and private web and social media platforms including but not limited to WordPress, Civi, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Meetup, and Eventbrite, and
- Conduct by people associated with HSGP that is so egregious that it reflects upon HSGP by association regardless of the circumstances in which it occurs (e.g. a member of the Board making racist comments that do not directly come from an official HSGP platform).
The Board hereby delegates authority to approved event leaders to exercise said disciplinary authority confined to their events and HSGP facilities for which they are responsible during their events, provided they timely notify the Board of the incident and, if feasible given the nature of the conduct in question, wait a reasonable time for feedback before making a final decision. The Board members may give feedback and the Board may by majority vote overrule the decision of the event leader.
As the volume of proceedings under this Code of Conduct increases, the Board may create an Ethics Committee with the jurisdiction over the entirety of HSGP subject to appeal to the Board. Said committee, if created, may be composed of members of the Board, HSGP members who are not members of the Board, or both. Said committee, if created, shall operate with procedures compliant to this Code of Conduct, the Bylaws, Robert’s Rules Current Revised Edition, and other relevant parliamentary authority as though it were the Board and shall maintain written records of its proceedings.
Punishment for violations of this Code of Conduct shall include:
- Expulsion from leadership positions in HSGP,
- Expulsion from membership in HSGP,
- Temporary, conditional, or permanent disinvitation from any or all HSGP events and facilities,
- Temporary, conditional, or permanent removal from HSGP web and social media platforms and accounts,
- Reporting and pressing charges for unlawful conduct to the appropriate authorities, and
- Seeking civil damages.
Disciplinary action for alleged misconduct shall begin with either:
- A disciplinary authority observing the misconduct and taking action to address it, or
- Any person bringing a complaint to any disciplinary authority with jurisdiction.
Once disciplinary action has begun, the disciplinary authority shall immediately notify the Board of Directors, and shall gather all supporting documents available, and seek statements from all witnesses.
If appropriate, the disciplinary authority shall notify the accused and invite a response, but shall protect the anonymity, if desired, of the complainant. The disciplinary authority shall not notify the accused if doing so would risk violating the anonymity of the complainant.
The disciplinary authority shall then rule on any disputed facts and, if they determine that the alleged offender violated this Code of Conduct, shall determine the appropriate corrective action.
All laws shall take precedence over this Code of Conduct, and HSGP shall fully comply with all laws and cooperate with relevant investigations, prosecutions, and adjudications pertaining to all conduct of which HSGP shall have knowledge. HSGP shall timely comply with all mandatory reporting laws without exception.
IV. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
- Endangering, threatening, or causing physical harm to any member of the HSGP community or to oneself, causing reasonable apprehension of such harm or engaging in conduct or communications that a reasonable person would interpret as a serious expression of intent to harm.
- Violating the terms of any disciplinary sanction imposed for an earlier violation of the Code of Conduct or other HSGP rules.
- Violation of, or attempt to violate, other rules that may be adopted by the board or by HSGP.
- Impersonation of another, using another person’s identity, or furnishing materially false information, including manufacturing or possession of false identification.
- Initiating, causing, or contributing to any false report, warning, or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency.
- Failure to comply with the directions of HSGP officials or agents, including law enforcement or security officers, acting in the good faith performance of their duties, including obstruction of any lawful investigation, evidence tampering, or failing to make a mandatory report to law enforcement. This section is not intended to prohibit the lawful assertion of an individual’s Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.
- Forgery, falsification, fabrication, unauthorized alteration, or misuse of any documents, records, or identification, including, but not limited to, electronic software and records.
- Unauthorized presence in or unauthorized use of HSGP property, resources, or facilities.
- Unauthorized access to, disclosure of, or use of any HSGP document, record, or identification, including but not limited to, electronic software, data, and records.
- Interfering with or disrupting HSGP activities.
- Misrepresenting oneself or an organization as an agent of HSGP. This includes but is not limited to use of HSGP software or platforms (including use of @hsgp.org email addresses) for use inappropriate for actions taken on behalf of HSGP including but not limited to partisan political activity, and for-profit business.
- Possession of property the possessor knows or has reason to believe may be stolen or misappropriated.
- Misuse, theft, misappropriation, destruction, damage, or unauthorized use, access, or reproduction of property, data, records, equipment or services belonging to HSGP or belonging to another person or entity.
- Off-site conduct that a reasonable person would believe may present a risk or danger to the health, safety or security of the Board or HSGP community or to the safety or security of the Board or HSGP property.
- Gambling as prohibited by applicable law.
- Engaging in, supporting, promoting, or sponsoring hazing or bullying.
- Stalking or engaging in repeated or significant behavior toward another individual, whether in person, in writing, or through electronic means, after having been asked to stop, or doing so to such a degree that a reasonable person, subject to such contact, would regard the contact as unwanted. (see full policy on sexual harassment for additional details)
- Engaging in discriminatory activities, including harassment and retaliation, as prohibited by applicable law or HSGP policy. (see full policy on discrimination for additional details)
- Interfering with any HSGP review, investigative or disciplinary process, including but not limited to tampering with physical evidence or inducing a witness to provide false information or to withhold information.
- Sexual misconduct.
- Use, possession, display, or storage of any weapon, dangerous instrument, explosive material or device, torch, device with open flames, fireworks, bomb-making materials or dangerous chemical on HSGP property, at an HSGP sponsored activity or in violation of law.
- Photographing, videotaping, filming, digitally recording, or by any other means secretly viewing, with or without a device, another person without that person’s consent in any location where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, or in a manner that violates a reasonable expectation of privacy. This section does not apply to lawful security or surveillance filming or recording that is authorized by law enforcement or authorized HSGP officials.
- Commission of any offense prohibited by state or federal law or local ordinance.
- Smoking, the use of and the sale of tobacco products, and the use of and the sale of smokeless tobacco products, including all electronic smoking devices, inside the Humanist Community Center or within twenty feet of any door.
Any attempt to commit or conceal an act of misconduct prohibited by these rules is subject to sanctions to the same extent as completed acts.
V. SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION
At the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP), we believe it’s essential to provide all members and guests with a respectful and safe environment at our community center. As a result, we do not tolerate harassment or any mistreatment of any person at our community center or official events, including unlawful harassment based on the following protected categories:
- Race, color, ethnic or national origin;
- 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;
- Status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking; or
- Any other basis prohibited under federal, state, or local law.
Harassment under this Harassment Policy (Policy) is behavior that creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or maliciously offensive environment for any members or guests. Engaging in such conduct is a violation of this Policy.
If, by a vote of the Board of HSGP, it is determined that a member or guest’s conduct has violated this Policy, we will take steps to ensure the conduct is effectively addressed, and any member or guest found to have engaged in harassing conduct may be subject to a corrective action, up to and including cancellation of membership, a request that they not return to HSGP’s community center or events, and prosecution in extreme circumstances.
When determining whether conduct violates this Policy, we consider whether a reasonable person could conclude that the conduct created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or demeaning environment.
This Policy applies to everyone who visits the HSGP community center or attends any of its events. Everyone—including guests, members, speakers, contractors, and board members—is responsible for following and upholding this Policy.
All HSGP board members are required to attend a mandatory sexual harassment training, which includes a comprehensive review of our Policy.
EXAMPLES OF HARASSMENT
Harassment can range from extreme forms such as violence, threats, or physical touching to less obvious actions like ridiculing, teasing, or repeatedly bothering others.
For example, harassment may include the following types of conduct:
- derogatory or insensitive jokes, pranks, or comments;
- slurs or epithets;
- unwelcome sexual advances or invitations;
- non-verbal behavior such as staring, leering, or gestures;
- ridiculing or demeaning comments;
- innuendos or veiled threats;
- intentionally excluding someone from normal conversations and making them feel unwelcome;
- displaying or sharing offensive images such as posters, videos, photos, cartoons, screensavers, emails, or drawings that are derogatory or sexual outside of an appropriate context;
- offensive comments about appearance, or other personal or physical characteristics, such as sexually charged comments or comments on someone’s physical disability;
- unnecessary or unwanted bodily contact such as groping or massaging, blocking normal movement, or physically interfering with the activities of another individual;
- threats or demands that a person submit to sexual requests as a condition of continued membership or participation with the community or to avoid some other loss and offers of something of value in return for sexual favors.
This list of examples is not exhaustive, and there may be other behaviors that constitute unacceptable harassment under the Policy.
“I was joking” or “I didn’t mean it that way” are not defenses to allegations of harassment. Nor is being under the influence of alcohol or other substances. This Policy applies to conduct at our community center and HSGP-related social events.
Sexual harassment, which is harassment specifically based on sex, can take two forms:
Hostile Environment: Conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a member or guest’s ability to be engaged with the HSGP community, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or contextually inappropriate offensive environment; and
Quid Pro Quo Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a member or guest’s ability to be a part of the HSGP community, or when submission to or rejection of such conduct by an member or guest is used as the basis for decisions affecting that member or guest (e.g. Offering a position on a committee, a leadership role, or speaking opportunity in exchange for a date).
Sexual harassment can happen regardless of the individual’s gender, gender identity, or gender expression and can, for example, occur between same-sex individuals as well as between opposite-sex individuals, and does not require that the harassing conduct be motivated by sexual desire.
HSGP does not tolerate abusive conduct, bullying or other intimidating or aggressive behavior among member or guests or others covered by this Policy, whether or not it is based on a protected category. If a member or guest is found to be mistreating others, the Board of HSGP will take appropriate action to stop the behavior. If you would like to report behavior that you believe is bullying, you may use the same reporting procedures outlined below.
We want to do all we can to ensure that we have a safe and friendly community.
Members or guests at HSGP are asked to promptly report any violation or suspected violation of this Policy. Any member or guest who believes that they have been harassed, or have witnessed or heard about a potential violation of this Policy, should report the conduct so that the Board of HSGP can take steps to remedy any violations of the Policy.
If you suspect harassment, discrimination, or retaliation occurred, you are to promptly provide a written or oral complaint to an HSGP Board Member. When possible, a complaint should include details of the incident or incidents, names of individuals involved, and names of any witnesses. As soon as reasonably possible, HSGP will investigate any allegations and take appropriate remedial action.
We will keep all complaints confidential to the extent possible while still fulfilling our obligation to investigate and end any harassing conduct.
Upon learning of conduct requiring further review, the Board of Directors will conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. If the complaint is made against a Board Member, the conduct will be investigated outside of normal business without the knowledge of the accused board member.
All persons to whom a complaint is made or who learn of a complaint as part of an HSGP investigation must do everything reasonably possible to keep the complaint confidential in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation while it is ongoing, to ensure fairness to all involved, and to protect the privacy of member or guests who have brought complaints or are accused of misconduct.
Member or guests are asked to cooperate and provide truthful information in an investigation.
Nothing in this Policy is to be construed as a guarantee of absolute confidentiality or intended to curtail member or guest rights under the law to discuss harassment. Disclosure of information learned through the complaint process and the investigation will be limited to disclosures that are necessary for HSGP to take prompt action to end harassment or as required by law.
POLICY PROHIBITING RETALIATION
We recognize that members or guests may find it difficult to raise complaints about harassment, so we have a policy meant to encourage members or guests to come forward with their concerns without fear of retaliation. It is against HSGP policy for any members or guests to retaliate against another for their participation in the complaint process.
Retaliation is when someone penalizes another person for any of the following:
- Reporting what they believe in good faith to be harassment and/or a violation of this Policy;
- Expressing an intent to report what they believe in good faith to be harassment and/or a violation of this Policy;
- Assisting another member or guest in an effort to report harassment and/or a violation of this Policy; or
- Participating in any investigation under this Policy.
Retaliating against a member or guest who made a complaint or otherwise participates in the investigation process is grounds for cancellation of membership and a request that the perpetrator of the retaliatory behavior not return to our community center or events.
If you have questions about this Policy, please contact an HSGP board member.
VI. WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION
The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP): (1) encourages staff and volunteers to come forward with credible information on illegal practices or serious violations of adopted policies of HSGP; (2) specifies that HSGP will protect the person from retaliation; and (3) identifies where such information can be reported.
1. Encouragement of reporting. HSGP encourages complaints, reports or inquiries about illegal practices or serious violations of HSGP’s policies, including illegal or improper conduct by HSGP itself, by its leadership, or by others on its behalf. Appropriate subjects to raise under this policy would include financial improprieties, accounting or audit matters, ethical violations, or other similar illegal or improper practices or policies. Other subjects on which HSGP has existing complaint mechanisms should be addressed under those mechanisms, such as raising matters of alleged discrimination or harassment via HSGP’s human resources channels, unless those channels are themselves implicated in the wrongdoing. This policy is not intended to provide a means of appeal from outcomes in those other mechanisms.
2. Protection from Retaliation. HSGP prohibits retaliation by or on behalf of HSGP against staff or volunteers for making good faith complaints, reports or inquiries under this policy or for participating in a review or investigation under this policy. This protection extends to those whose allegations are made in good faith but prove to be mistaken. HSGP shall maintain the confidentiality and anonymity of the whistleblower whenever and to the extent possible. HSGP reserves the right to discipline persons who make bad faith, knowingly false, or vexatious complaints, reports or inquiries or who otherwise abuse this policy.
3. Where to report. Complaints, reports or inquiries may be made under this policy on a confidential or anonymous basis. They should describe in detail the specific facts demonstrating the basis of the complaints, reports or inquiries. They should be directed to HSGP’s chief employed Executive, Legal Counsel, or President of the Board of Directors; if both of those persons are implicated in the complaint, report or inquiry, it should be directed to the Vice President of the Board of Directors. HSGP shall conduct a prompt, discreet, and objective review or investigation. Staff or volunteers must recognize that the HSGP may be unable to fully evaluate a vague or general complaint, report, or inquiry that is made anonymously.
VII. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
- Duty to Disclose. In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the Board considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.
- Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists. After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested person, they shall leave the Board meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining Board members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.
- Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest.
- An interested person may make a presentation at the Board meeting, but after the presentation, they shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.
- The chairperson of the Board, if appropriate, may appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.
- After exercising due diligence, the Board shall determine whether the Organization can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.
- If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the governing board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors whether the transaction or arrangement is in the Organization’s best interest, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination it shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement.
- Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy.
- If the governing board or committee has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
- If, after hearing the member’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the governing board or committee determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.
VIII. TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA
The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix maintains official accounts on a variety of platforms, and the jurisdiction of this Code of Conduct extends to all actions, both public and private, on all platforms held by the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix and its representatives. The Communications Director and any members of the communications team to whom they shall delegate, shall have the following authority concurrently with the regular disciplinary process outlined above.
- Acting on Behalf of HSGP. All HSGP logos, domains, social media accounts, intellectual property, communications platforms, hardware, and any actions that a reasonable person would believe to be associated with HSGP shall be used in a manner appropriate for acting on behalf HSGP.
- Inappropriate Contents.
- Posting, sharing, liking, propagating, deploying, sending, or commenting in any way that a reasonable person would perceive to be agreement with any content that violates in letter or spirit any part of this Code of Conduct, including the policies prohibiting harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
- Partisan advocacy is strictly prohibited. This prohibition will not be construed to prohibit people involved in HSGP from being involved concurrently in partisan political causes so long as the content is not presented in a way that a reasonable person would perceive to be on behalf of HSGP (e.g. endorsing a candidate for public office is not appropriate on the HSGP public Facebook page, but it is appropriate for a person to post on their personal profile).
- For-profit advertisements are prohibited with exceptions made only with the express permission of the Board (e.g. the HSGP business directory).
- Unlawful use of copyrighted, trademarked, or patented materials is strictly prohibited (see Policy on Intellectual Property for additional detail).
- Process to Adjudicate. Whenever a potential violation or complaint arises, the Communications Director shall have the authority to make the initial determination subject to appeal to the Board of Directors or, if applicable, Ethics Committee. The Communications Director shall begin by recording and preserving all relevant evidence to the extent possible (e.g. taking screen shots of the content in question to ensure it is recorded in case of subsequent deletion), asking any relevant witnesses for statements, and, if appropriate, asking the accused for a statement as well. After preserving copies of the content in question, the Communications Director shall have the discretion to immediately hide or remove content so egregious that leaving it up until the process is completed would reflect poorly upon the reputation of HSGP.
The Communications Director shall then notify the Board of Directors of the situation, wait for feedback if feasible, and shall have the power to make such response as they deem appropriate, including but not limited to:
- Removal from admin status on HSGP social media and other digital platforms,
- Temporary, permanent, or contingent banning from HSGP discussion groups (e.g. HSGP Facebook group or Meetup page).
Discipline pursuant to this Social Media Policy will not preclude additional disciplinary action under the Code of Conduct (e.g. a person banned from the Facebook group by the Communications Director may also be banned from events in response to the same incident).