Sexual Harassment Policy
Centro Cultural de Mexico (CCM)
It is the policy of the CCM to ensure the full participation of all its employees, contractors, maestr@s, volunteers, and mesa members in the life of the cultural center; therefore, it is the responsibility of everyone participating in the space--the CCM mesa members, comite responsables, maestr@s, employees, contractors, and voluntarios--to provide a space free from sexual harassment. It is, accordingly, the goal of the CCM to create and maintain a safe, non-threatening environment that is free of sexual harassment. The Human Resources, with a Mesa representative has a particular responsibility in maintaining the needed knowledge and experience for ensuring that any concern regarding sexual harassment is explored as fully as the particular situation warrants.
Behaviors defined as sexual harassment can arise either from different understandings of appropriate behavior or from an abuse of one’s position which has as a component a disregard for the feelings or interests of another. In order to address directly the issue of sexual harassment, no matter what the cause, training will be carried out on a periodic basis to ensure that all persons associated with the CCM have available to them the necessary information for living and operating within the boundaries of this policy.
Sexual harassment is offensive and inappropriate, and is proscribed by anti-discriminatory statutes. Sexual harassment violates and is inconsistent with the CCM’s commitment to providing a cultural space free from all forms of discrimination ; it will not be tolerated.
CCM’s sexual harassment policy applies to all contractors of CCM, all volunteers, Board “Mesa” and committee members, responsables, and all outside consultants, vendors and contributors who have contact with the CCM and its members.
The working definition of terms and procedures regarding sexual harassment are articulated in specific terms to avoid misunderstandings. Sexual harassment issues are particularly complex since they encompass cultural, legal, social and moral dimensions. Therefore, those entrusted with carrying out this policy by determining whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment should look at the totality of circumstances. Determinations regarding the suitability of a particular action will be made from the facts. The CCM shall make every effort to assure and protect the rights of both the complainant and the alleged harasser.
Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action up to, and including, immediate dismissal; possible cancellation of contracts; and temporary or permanent banning of individuals from participation in CCM activities.
El Centro’s sexual harassment policy has three statements:
1. El Centro will not tolerate sexual harassment;
2. Persons complaining of sexual harassment will not suffer retaliation; and
3. Persons who commit sexual harassment of El Centro volunteers will receive disciplinary action and restorative justice interventions.
Sexual harassment related to one’s job is a violation of the sexual discrimination coverage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is also a violation of CCM policy.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. It is illegal when:
1) submission to such conduct is expected either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of an individual’s employment, or a condition of remaining involved as a volunteer, vendor etc. 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions, such as promotions, transfer or termination, when it is used as the basis for the placing of contracts or as the basis of decision for any aspect of a person’s involvement in CCM or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s performance of duties with the CCM or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
Physical sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, assault, rape, impeding or blocking movement, or any unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature.
Verbal sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, sexually suggestive jokes or comments, derogatory remarks of a sexual nature, propositions, and unwelcome persistent requests for dates.
Environmental sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, leering, sexual gestures, sexually explicit or sexually derogatory posters, cartoons or magazines, kept at el Centro or at a site or work setting away from the cultural center which is sponsored by CCM (i.e. an event)
•Such harassment as described above need not be directed at a particular individual to constitute sexual harassment.
•Behavior defined above as sexual harassment may occur between people of the different or the same gender.
•Behavior defined above as sexual harassment may occur between people who are co- workers or serving together on a committee.
•Sexual harassment is not limited to regular business hours or the job site. It can take place (and will not be tolerated) at CCM-related meetings, social events, ceremonies, and public functions. It is also understood to apply to non-work related contacts and/or through unsolicited communications.
Filing a formal complaint is understood to have occurred when a person provides the Centro’s HR representative (on the Mesa) with a written statement setting out particulars which allege sexual harassment. In confidence, as used in this policy is understood to mean that no aspect of a sexual harassment inquiry, complaint and/or investigation will be revealed to a third party without the permission of the initial individual or group, except in the situation in which the CCM is required by law to respond to a subpoena for information or in the situation in which the third party has a need to know.
Need to know, as used in this policy, recognizes that there are persons whose positions are better carried out, to the benefit of all, if they have information regarding concerns about sexual harassment. In every instance these include the Centro’s HR representative and the alleged perpetrator. The person carrying out the inquiry/investigation under the oversight of the Centro’s HR representative will determine “need to know” in the given instance according to the circumstances of the situation.
The following standards and procedures have been adopted and will be followed to assure that sexual harassment policy objectives are achieved.
Having a training two times a year for all of Centro.
Have responsables, mesa members, maestr@s, and stipended sign something and have mesa HR keep it in file cabinet, with a key. Have to sign something once a year.
B. Reporting Alleged Harassment
You do not have to be absolutely certain that the behavior you experienced or observed constitutes sexual harassment in order to make an inquiry or to file a complaint. The HR representative, your responsable, Mesa, or others experienced in the area of sexual harassment issues are available for informal consultation in order to help you think through what action might be appropriate. Whether this informal consultation results in the filing of a formal complaint or not, the Centro’s HR representative will use her/his discretion regarding needed educational efforts as follow-up to the conversation. Should a formal complaint be filed, the CCM will investigate the complaint to determine whether a reported incident violates this policy. All reports will be taken seriously.
It is our hope that instances that may give rise to a sexual harassment complaint can be resolved informally by the parties. However, that is not always possible. Therefore, in order to create and maintain a discrimination free CCM, it is important that unresolved, perceived instances of sexual harassment be reported to an appropriate person.
Awareness of, or strong feeling that sexual harassment has occurred may coincide with the incident or it may be recognized as such at a later time. Any employee or volunteer of the CCM who feels that s/he has experienced or witnessed a case of sexual harassment, by anyone affiliated with the CCM, has an obligation to report the matter as soon as that awareness is reached, and in confidence to one of the following.
All of the individuals indicated above will report the complaint in confidence to the Centro’s HR representative. The Centro’s HR representative, or her or his designee, will conduct an interview with the complainant to begin the investigation process, if appropriate. The complainant has the option to not do an official investigation if this is not what they wish.
Any person associated with the CCM in a staff, committee or vendor role has the right to report or file a complaint of sexual harassment without fear of retaliation for having done so. All reports and complaints will be held in confidence and shared only with those people involved with the investigation or who have a need to know by virtue of their supervisory or management role in the organization.
In the event that a complaint is filed against the HR representative, the Mesa responsable, or her or his designee, shall conduct the investigation. The investigation shall be conducted in accordance with this procedure.
Centro’s HR representative together with the Mesa is responsible for ensuring that a timely and confidential investigation is carried out in a manner consistent with the following three principles. These are 1) that the investigation will be carried out as close to the site of the alleged incident as possible, 2) that the investigation will be carried out by a person trained and experienced in such investigations, and 3) that special work arrangements may be necessary until and after alleged charges of harassment are resolved. Centro’s HR representative in collaboration with the Mesa, the parties involved and other appropriate persons, is responsible for establishing those arrangements.
1. Support Persons
Both the complainant and the alleged harasser will have the opportunity to choose a support person, if they wish. Since this is not a legal process, nor is it intended to be one, support persons may not be an attorney nor anyone associated with the legal profession.
The CCM will take responsibility for assuring that any person selected to assist parties involved in sexual harassment investigations is made aware of his/her role and responsibilities as a support person. Specific information regarding confidentiality and the investigative process will be provided to each individual who agrees to be a support person.
The role of the support person will be to assist the person s/he is supporting in moving through the investigative process, providing emotional and psychological support and serving as a witness to the process. All support persons shall be bound by the confidentiality requirements set forth below.
2. Investigation Process
a) After a complaint has been filed, Centro’s HR representative, or her or his designee, will conduct the investigation, interviewing all necessary witnesses and parties and gathering all necessary documents.
During the investigation CCM will generally:
interview the complainant and the alleged harasser
conduct further interviews as necessary
document CCM’s findings regarding the complaint
document recommended follow-up actions and remedies if warranted
inform the complainant of CCMs findings and, where appropriate, of the remedial action that will be taken
b) Any and all information submitted to the Centro’s HR representative during the course of and as a result of an on-going investigation is considered confidential and will not be released to either party to the dispute unless required to do so by law. Only requests to return documents to the person who supplied them will be honored. The CCM Centro’s HR representative will retain copies for its records.
c) Cooperation of witnesses is encouraged without fear of retaliation. Therefore, reprisal or retaliation against a complainant, witness or support person involved in an investigation, will be held as a separate actionable offense and will be subject to an investigative process. Any employee,volunteer, teacher, responsable, mesa member, contractor, vendor, who is found to have retaliated against an individual for having been involved in an investigation will be subject to the CCM disciplinary procedures up to, and including, immediate discharge. Any volunteer or vendor who is found to have retaliated against an individual for having been involved in an investigation will be subject to procedures appropriate to the circumstances of their relationship with CCM.
d) Each party to the dispute will be given ample opportunity to fully state and/or document their respective positions.
e) All communications regarding outcomes of any investigation are confidential. Reports and recommendations will be addressed only to appropriate management staff and the parties to the dispute.
f) Centro’s HR representative will determine when the investigation is complete.
g) All records of an investigation will be maintained by Centro’s HR representative, as required by law.
C. Review and Discussion of the Findings
Centro’s HR representative shall provide a final report of his/her findings. The person to whom the Centro’s HR representative or his/her designee reports depends upon the role played by the alleged perpetrator within the CCM.
1) for an employee the report shall be given to the Centro’s HR representative.
2) for a vendor or contractor the report shall be given to the person responsible for signing the contract with the vendor in addition to the Centro’s HR representative
3) for a volunteer the report shall be given to the responsable for that cuadro in addition to the Centro’s HR representative.
In cases where there is no finding to support the allegation of sexual harassment, the case will be dismissed.
D. Filing of Findings
1) When allegations of harassment are dismissed, the investigation and final report will be filed by the Centro’s HR with appropriate safeguards being taken to ensure confidentiality.
2) When allegations of harassment are found to be true, all final reports relating to employees will be filed in the confidential section of the employee’s personnel folder. The appropriate repository for final reports relating to positive findings for committee members and vendors will be determined by the person to whom the report is made and the Centro’s HR representative. The choice of where to file reports relating to committee members and vendors will be informed by the desire of CCM to have the information available for future reference to protect against further opportunities for misconduct.
E. Sanctions and Restorative Actions
The person who receives the report from the Centro’s HR , or his/her designee, as indicated in D. above, is responsible for reviewing the report in order to determine what, if any, action is appropriate. In any proven case of harassment, the harasser will be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including immediate discharge from employment, termination of committee appointment or termination of contractual relationship with the CCM.
If and when two or more grievances are filed against a person, the Centro’s HR committee with la Mesa can determine a temporary suspension from the space or leave of absence during the investigation and until the final action is determined in order to secure a safe space. If and when the accused harasser is an employee, vendor, or paid consultant, this person can continue to submit invoices for remote work during the period of investigation.
If CCM determines that harassment occurred, CCM HR committee together with the Mesa directiva and Comite Central will impose discipline upon the offender or offenders. The appropriate discipline may include written or oral warnings, probation, suspension, trainings, reassignment, demotion, or termination. If the harassing conduct is the act of a non- employee, CCM will attempt to ensure that such conduct is not repeated. If the harassment was alleged to have been committed by a Mesa member or responsable or maestr@, then it will be investigated by the members of HR representative who shall recommend appropriate disciplinary action to the rest of Mesa and Comite, and who shall dismiss the complaint if found to be without merit.
A summary of the investigation, including the findings and determination, will be given to the parties described in section C.
Within CCM, employees and vendors and volunteers may appeal the final determination to their responsable who will bring it to the HR and comite central.
Employees, volunteers, maestr@s, Mesa members, vendors, and consultants retain their right to a formal grievance process if their sense is that the outcome of an investigation has not been just or thorough.
G. What is Retaliation and Why It Matters?
A manager/volunteer/responsable may not fire, demote, harass or otherwise "retaliate" against an individual for filing a complaint of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposing discrimination. The same laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability and genetic information also prohibit retaliation against individuals who oppose unlawful harassment or participate in an employment harassment proceeding.
To establish a claim of retaliation, a volunteer must prove:
1. She/he was engaged in either a legal or formal complaint proceeding, or in opposition to the complained of actions;
2. The organization knew about the accused activity;
3. The organization or individual took action that was adverse to the complainant; and
4. There was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse action.
Any party involved in a sexual harassment investigation retains the option of turning to local or state authorities and/or private counsel for information and support at any point during the investigation. Information regarding appropriate local or state authorities is available from the CCM Human Resources, Comite Central and Mesa Directiva.
Approved by the Mesa, Comite Central and all responsables representing Centro Cuadros: Mesa, Maestros, Transnacional, Community Partners, Frente, and Voluntarios
CCM Human Resources Committee, 2017