Prevention of Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

It is the policy of EST to maintain a working environment that encourages mutual respect, promotes respectful and congenial relationships between employees and prohibits all forms of unlawful discrimination, including sexual harassment of any employee, contractor or applicant for employment, and harassment based on an individual’s membership in any other “Protected Class,” perceived membership in a Protected Class, or association with other individuals who are members of a Protected Class or perceived members of a Protected Class.

“Protected Classes” include race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, pregnancy, disability, age, uniform service member status, veteran status, marital status, membership in a domestic partnership, gender identity (including sex stereotyping), genetic information, medical condition (including but not limited to, cancer related or HIV/AIDS related), sexual orientation, and any other protected characteristic under applicable federal, state and local laws.

Discrimination and harassment based on membership in a Protected Class, including sexual harassment, are also unlawful.

This policy protects EST’s applicants, employees and contractors from discrimination and harassment by anyone, including supervisors, managers, co-workers, contractors, vendors, or other third parties.  Individuals may file a complaint under this policy regarding incidents experienced personally or incidents observed in the workplace.  

Conduct prohibited by this policy is unacceptable in the workplace and in any work-related matters that take place off-site, such as during business trips, business meetings and business-related social events.  Similarly unacceptable under this policy is participation in work-related activities whether in or outside the workplace which are inconsistent with a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment opportunity or that are exclusionary with respect to any individual’s membership in a Protected Class.  

Prohibited Harassment

Harassment in any manner or form is expressly prohibited and will not be tolerated by EST.  Accordingly, EST management is committed to vigorously enforcing this policy against harassment, including but not limited to sexual harassment, at all levels within EST.

For purposes of this policy, harassment is unwelcome verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows differential treatment or hostility or aversion towards an individual because of the individual’s membership or perceived membership in a Protected Class, or that of his/her relatives, friends or associates.  Harassment may take many forms, and may occur in person, through written letters, e-mail or other electronic communications, or by phone.  

Examples of harassment prohibited by this policy, include, but are not limited to:

  • epithets, slurs, quips, or negative stereotyping that relate to a Protected Class;

  • threatening, intimidating or hostile acts that relate to a Protected Class;

  • written or graphic material (including graffiti) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of a Protected Class and that is placed on walls, bulletin boards, or elsewhere on EST’s premises, or circulated or displayed in the workplace; or

  • jokes, pranks or other forms of humor that are demeaning or hostile with regard to a Protected Class.

Sexual harassment is a form of harassment prohibited by this policy.  For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual or sex-based nature when, for example: (i) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment by a supervisory employee or manager; (ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used by a supervisory employee or manager as the basis for decisions that affect an individual’s employment opportunities in a tangible way; or (iii) such conduct interferes with the employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment for a reasonable individual.

Sexual harassment may involve individuals of the same or different genders.  

Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:

  • coerced sexual acts;

  • express or implied demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable reviews, assignments, promotions, continued employment or promises of continued employment;

  • touching or assaulting an individual’s body, or staring in a sexual manner;

  • graphic, verbal commentary about an individual’s body or sexuality;

  • unwelcome or offensive sexual jokes, sexual language, sexual epithets, sexual gossip, sexual comments or sexual inquiries;  

  • unwelcome flirtations, advances or propositions;

  • continuing to ask an employee for a date after the employee has indicated that he/she is not interested;

  • sexually suggestive or obscene comments or gestures;

  • the display in the workplace of graphic and sexually suggestive objects, pictures, drawings, cartoons, or graffiti; or

  • verbal abuse of a sexual nature.

Complaint Procedure

EST strongly urges the reporting of all incidents of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, regardless of the offender’s identity or position, so that an effective and thorough investigation can be conducted, and effective remedial action can be taken when appropriate.  Complaints will be accepted in writing or orally.

Individuals who believe they have experienced, or managers or supervisors who have learned of, conduct that is contrary to this policy or who have concerns about such matters (regardless of whether such conduct is directly reported to them) must contact one of the individuals listed below:

Linsay Firman, Literary Manager – firman@ensemblestudiotheatre.org

Paul A. Slee, Executive Director – slee@ensemblestudiotheatre.org

William Carden, Artistic Director – carden@ensemblestudiotheatre.org

Bob Jaffe, Board Chair – bob@bobjaffe.com

You may also contact any of these individuals if you have questions regarding this policy.

Early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of discrimination and harassment.  Therefore, while no fixed reporting period has been established, employees are strongly urged to promptly report complaints or concerns so that rapid and constructive action can be taken.  An employee must not use peer pressure to discourage another employee from making a complaint under this policy.

The availability of this complaint procedure does not preclude individuals who believe they are being subjected to discriminatory or harassing conduct from promptly advising the offender that his/her behavior is unwelcome and requesting that it be discontinued.    

Confidentiality

When EST receives a complaint of discrimination or harassment, EST will endeavor to treat it as confidential, to the extent practical and appropriate under the circumstances.  EST, however, has a legal obligation to act on all information it receives if it believes an individual may be engaging in wrongful conduct or violating the law, and EST cannot therefore promise or assure absolute confidentiality.

Investigative Procedure

All reports of harassment will be treated seriously and promptly investigated.  The investigation may include interviews with all involved employees, including the alleged harasser or discriminator, and any employees who are aware of facts or incidents alleged to have occurred.

At the conclusion of the investigation, EST will advise any individual who has made a complaint under this policy that the investigation has concluded and share other information as may be appropriate under the circumstances.

If it is determined that harassment or discrimination has occurred, prompt, remedial action will be taken, as determined by EST.  This may include, among other things, the following actions:

  • Restore any lost terms, conditions or benefits of employment to the complaining employee.

  • Discipline the harasser.  This discipline can include written disciplinary warnings, transfer, demotion, suspension, and termination, in EST’s sole discretion.

  • If the harassment is from a vendor, client or other third party, EST will take appropriate action to stop the complained-of conduct.

EST also reserves the right to require counseling, training and/or monitoring as a condition of continued employment even where a violation is not found.  In addition, conduct that is unlawful may subject employees to civil and, in some cases, criminal liability.  This policy is not written nor intended to restrict management’s authority regarding disciplinary or employment decisions concerning employee behavior that is deemed unacceptable regardless of whether the behavior constitutes discrimination or harassment.

EST recognizes that false accusations of discrimination or harassment can cause serious harm to innocent persons.  If an investigation results in a finding that the complainant knowingly, falsely accused another person of discrimination or harassment, the complainant will be subject to disciplinary action, in EST’s sole discretion, up to and including termination of employment.

Retaliation is Prohibited

Retaliation against an individual because of a report of discrimination or harassment or participation in an investigation into a claim of discrimination or harassment is a serious violation of this policy.  Any person who engages in such retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, in EST’s sole discretion, up to and including termination of employment.  Adverse acts or omissions that would be sufficient to discourage a reasonable employee from making or supporting a complaint of discrimination or harassment will be considered retaliation under this policy.