Harassment & Discrimination Policy
The Rocky Mountain Swordplay Guild (RMSG) strives to create and maintain an environment in which people are treated with dignity, decency, and respect. The environment of this 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization should be characterized by mutual trust and the absence of intimidation, oppression, and exploitation. The RMSG will not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment of any kind. Through enforcement of this policy and by education of every individual member and volunteers, the RMSG will seek to prevent, correct, and discipline behavior that violates this policy.
All members, students, participants, and volunteers, regardless of their positions, are covered by and are expected to comply with this policy and to take appropriate measures to ensure that prohibited conduct does not occur. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any member or volunteer who violates this policy. Based on the seriousness of the offense, disciplinary action may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension, exclusion from the guild, and/or referral to law enforcement.
Board Members, instructors, or supervising volunteers who knowingly allow or tolerate discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, including the failure to immediately report such misconduct to the RMSG Board of Directors (Board) or acting instructor, are in violation of this policy and may be subject to discipline.
Prohibited Conduct Under This Policy
The RMSG, in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local anti-discrimination and harassment laws and regulations, enforces this policy in accordance with the following definitions and guidelines:
Discrimination – inside or outside the Guild
It is a violation of the RMSG’s policy to discriminate in the provision of guild opportunities, benefits or privileges; to create discriminatory conditions; or to use discriminatory evaluative standards in guild membership if the basis of that discriminatory treatment is, in whole or in part, the person’s race (including hairstyle/texture), color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, or any other legally protected status. The guild and its representatives shall not discriminate on the basis of any criteria not specifically and substantially related to its educational mission.
Discrimination of this kind may also be strictly prohibited by a variety of federal, state, and local laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This policy is intended to comply with the prohibitions stated in these anti-discrimination laws.
This policy will be applied to behavior outside of the normal scope of guild activities, where such behavior may reflect upon the guild, may directly impact participants in guild activities, or where the person engaging in such conduct has identified their affiliation with the guild.
The RMSG prohibits harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment. For purposes of this policy, harassment is any verbal or physical conduct designed to threaten, intimidate, harm, exploit, or unduly coerce another. This behavior may be directed against a guild member, student, guest, any person working for or on behalf of the RMSG, or any person who members or students may come into contact with as a result of their participation in guild activities.
Harassment and sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following behaviors:
- Harmful or offensive physical contact.
- Inappropriately intimidating, violent, or aggressive behavior.
- Repeatedly initiating unwanted communication with or following others after being warned to stop.
- Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature (to include when such behavior is made explicitly or implicitly a condition of participation in guild activities or the basis for a guild decision).
- Any behavior which unreasonably interferes with a guild member’s or student’s participation in guild activities, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or otherwise offensive environment..
Courteous, mutually respectful, pleasant, noncoercive interactions between guild members that are appropriate to an informal social or training environment, and which are welcomed by both parties are not considered to be harassment, including sexual harassment.
The guild strictly prohibits any retaliation against a complainant, witness, investigator, or other party involved in an investigation pursuant to this policy. The presumptive penalty for any such conduct is immediate dismissal from the guild.
Lodging a bona fide complaint will in no way be used against a member, volunteer, instructor, or Board Member or have an adverse impact on the individual’s guild status. However, intentionally filing groundless or malicious complaints is an abuse of this policy and will be treated as a violation.
Other Inappropriate Behavior
Any behavior that is outside of the guild’s spirit of comradery, honor, and safe exploration of historical martial arts may be cause for investigation by the Board and/or potential disciplinary action. Behavior which is criminal in nature may be cause for internal investigation by the board (separate from any formal legal action) and/or disciplinary action.
All complaints and investigations are treated as confidential, although information will be disclosed on a need-to-know basis. The identity of the complainant may be revealed to the parties involved during the investigation. All information pertaining to a complaint or investigation under this policy will be maintained in files which may be accessed by RMSG Board Members, and by specific RMSG Officers or other designees of the board.
The board requests that complaints be submitted as soon as practical following an incident. However, complaints will be investigated and evaluated according to the following procedures even in cases where the complaint has been delayed.
The RMSG has established the following procedure for lodging a complaint of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or other inappropriate behavior:
- A complaint may be initiated by verbal or written communication to any board member, any instructor, or a designated officer. “Designated officer” means the Dean, Secretary, or Safety Officer. Any member receiving a complaint on behalf of the guild shall immediately notify a member of the Board of Directors.
- Upon receiving a complaint or being advised by an instructor or other guild member that violation of this policy may be occurring, the Board Member will initiate a preliminary investigation into the complaint. This investigation may be conducted by any board member, a designated guild officer, or a panel of guild members (provided that at least one of the members of the panel is a board member or designated officer).
- The investigator(s) shall conduct interviews and review evidence as necessary and appropriate to sufficiently establish the facts of the incident. The investigator(s) shall have discretion to separate the complainant and the respondent as necessary, up to and including temporary restriction of guild access.
- The investigator(s) will promptly file a written report of their findings with the Board of Directors. Within two weeks of receipt of the report, the Board will convene to determine whether or not there is a reasonable basis for believing that the alleged violation of this policy occurred, whether or not additional information is needed, and to determine the most appropriate course of action. Should the alleged offender be a member of the board, said director shall absent themselves from these proceedings. These proceedings may be conducted electronically or in person.
- If it is determined that a violation of this policy has occurred, the Board will take appropriate disciplinary action. The appropriate action may include verbal or written censure, suspension of guild privileges, separation from the guild, or referral to law enforcement.
- If the investigation is inconclusive or if it is determined that there has been no violation of policy but potentially problematic conduct has occurred, the Board may order appropriate preventive action. Such actions may include specific restrictions or direction to involved members, policy changes, or mediation.
- Once a final decision is made, two or more representatives of the RMSG will meet with the complainant and the respondent separately and notify them of the findings of the investigation. For the purposes of this subsection, “representatives of the RMSG” shall be designated by the board, but may consist of board members, the investigator(s), or other designees of the board. If disciplinary action is to be taken, the respondent will be informed of the nature of the discipline and how it will be executed.
Alternative legal remedies
Nothing in this policy may prevent any guild member or the board of directors from pursuing formal legal remedies or resolution through local, state or federal agencies or courts.