Harassment and inappropriate conduct policy

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The organisers and staff of Concrete Cow are dedicated to providing a positive convention experience for everyone. Underpinning this experience is the creation of an environment that is free from harassment and inappropriate conduct.

What is harassment and inappropriate conduct?

Harassment is defined in law as "unwanted conduct on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origins, disability, gender reassignment, or religion which has the purpose or effect of either violating the claimant's dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them."

Inappropriate conduct is "conduct towards an individual that is unwanted and causes discomfort, intimidation, offence, or humiliation, or creates an intimidating environment."

Note the words "unwanted," "purpose or effect," "causes discomfort." Providing a positive environment does not mean censorship.

What are some examples of harassment or inappropriate conduct?

Some examples are (but not limited to):

  • offensive comments or humour about gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc.
  • unwanted sexual innuendo, suggestions of a sexual nature or sexual contact
  • unwanted physical contact or a non-sexual nature
  • intimidation or threatening behaviour
  • stalking or following
  • actions designed to deliberately disrupt the activities of others without good reason

What can we do to avoid problems?

Almost all problems can be avoided by the application of good manners: treat other convention attendees with respect and politeness. Activities that involve content likely to offend or harass others should be carried out in a private location, or where persons wishing to avoid the activity can do so without having to avoid other convention activities.

If you're planning an activity that is likely to contain material others may find offensive, check with them first. Putting a "mature content" warning on sign-up sheets is a good step.

Most importantly of all, apply common sense to your actions.

What should we do in the event of harassment or inappropriate conduct?

If you are being harassed or treated inappropriately, or see others being treated this way, you should if possible direct the offending party to stop their conduct; this will resolve many cases of such behaviour. If you cannot, or do not wish to, bring it directly to the attention of the offending party, or if the behaviour continues afterwards, you should inform a member of convention staff. Serious actions should be reported to the appropriate authorities, such as the Police, immediately.

Harassment incidents will be handled by a small team that are listed in an easy to find way. One of them will likely be the event Organiser.

What will happen next?

The convention staff member will inform the Convention Organiser, who will direct the Complaint Manager to discuss the matter with you and the offending party, and any witnesses. We'll treat all parties with discretion and sympathy. We'll treat information as confidential and only reveal what's necessary to other parties so that we can ask the right questions. Once the Complaint Manager has obtained all the facts of the event the Convention Organiser will decide on the outcome of the complaint. (Details are in the Harassment and inappropriate conduct complaint procedures.)

If a complaint is deemed to be valid and upheld the Convention Organiser will determine any appropriate sanctions, including but not limited to, the requesting of an apology, the removal from a specific event, or removal from the convention. Any removal will be without refund.

If the complaint is deemed to have no basis but made in good faith no action will be taken.

If the complaint is deemed to have no basis and to have been made maliciously (i.e. to cause stress or discomfort for the target) the Convention Organiser may choose to apply sanctions to the maliciously complaining party.

What should I do if I have any questions?

Please do not hesitate to contact the Convention Organiser or Complaint Manager.

The Convention Organiser is: Neil Smith

The Complaint Manager is: Neil Smith