Organizational Policies

Anti-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy

General prohibition of harassment:

The Raven Corps (TRC) has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of any kind, including but not limited to: race, color, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, appearance, religion, creed, immigration status, pregnancy, marital or familial status, military or veteran status, apparel or food choices, and any other classification protected by law. Harassment includes but is not limited to: stalking, verbal or physical intimidation, offensive verbal comments, physical assault and/or battery, harassing or non-consensual photography or recording, disruption of talks or other events, shaming or ridicule, bathroom policing, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome physical attention.

We are committed to providing an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment. Every Raven Corps youth member and volunteer, as well as employees and those with whom TRC does business (vendors, donors, etc.) is expected to be sensitive to and respectful of all individuals. This includes any Raven Corps activity in any place where work or volunteer-related activities are conducted, including, but not limited to, the physical work premises, conferences or training sessions, travel, social functions, such as dinners with donors, and electronic communication, such as email, chat, text, phone calls, and virtual meetings that relate to the work or activity of TRC.

TRC recognizes that sometimes topics and issues that are addressed in our work may, by their nature, include exposure to controversial, provocative, and challenging ideas. Therefore, it is important to note that harassment does not include respectful disagreement or good faith criticism. However, to the extent discourse rises to the level of harassment as described in the paragraphs above, it will not be tolerated.

The work of TRC includes many youth participants. Non-youth participants should be particularly aware of the power dynamics that may exist between themselves and younger people and should take special care to ensure that younger people enjoy a harassment-free experience and are treated respectfully. If a youth participant approaches or agrees to socialize with a non-youth participant, those non-youth participants are encouraged to maintain their interactions in the spirit of mentorship, respect, and reciprocal learning.

Defining Harassment:                        

The term “harassment” means unwelcome, demeaning, or offensive conduct directed at another person, and can include such things as threats, demands, requests for sexual favors, teasing, abuse, taunts, insults, heckling, or other similar action. It includes conduct that may not be unlawful but has been determined to be inappropriate in the environment of TRC.

Harassment can appear in many ways. Generally speaking, it is the unwelcome, deliberate, or repeated unsolicited verbal comments, jokes, epithets, slurs, vulgarities, obscenities, or stories of a sexual nature or concerning a protected group. Sometimes it can be subtler, including non-verbal conduct such as eye-rolling, grunts, groans, silent treatments, or other similar offensive gestures or intolerant acts that could reasonably be perceived as threatening, insulting, intimidating, or discriminatory.

These are only some examples of inappropriate conduct. For such behavior to qualify as unlawful harassment, it must be sufficiently severe or pervasive as to unreasonably interfere with an employee’s terms, conditions, or privileges of employment and to create a hostile working environment or interfere with a person’s ability to volunteer or engage with TRC. Our policy covers more than is forbidden by law, so even though a behavior may not qualify as harassment under the law, we may still treat the conduct as inappropriate behavior and respond to the individual(s) involved. Each complaint of harassment will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If at any time you believe you are the subject of harassment or discrimination in violation of this policy, or if you believe or become aware of such conduct being directed to another person, we encourage you to notify the Director or otherwise follow the complaint procedure as soon as possible. If you feel uncomfortable discussing this matter with the Director, then the complaint procedures provide other avenues for complaint.

We strive for a respectful, pleasant, and productive environment at TRC, but we cannot meet this goal unless these issues are brought to our attention. Please come to us and let us help you.

Sexual harassment:​ Sexual harassment in the workplace and in educational settings is unacceptable conduct that should not be condoned by any supervisor, manager, employee, volunteer, client, or vendor. Likewise, it is unacceptable for those who work and volunteer with TRC.

Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome, deliberate, or repeated unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other behavior that has the purpose or effect of interfering with a person’s job placement, performance, or advancement, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment or that interferes with an educational setting. Even conduct that is intended to be “innocent” may still constitute sexual harassment under this policy if the recipient of that conduct reasonably perceives it to be otherwise.

Illustrative examples of sexual harassment:​ Examples of the types of conduct that violate this policy when unwelcome or uninvited include but are not limited to the following acts:                                                                                                                                                                               

  • Sexually suggestive touching, such as rubbing or massaging someone’s neck or shoulders, stroking someone’s hair, or brushing against another’s body;
  • Grabbing, groping, kissing, fondling, or any other unwanted sexual contact;
  • Questions about a person’s sex life or experiences;
  • Sexually oriented or explicit remarks, including written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding a person’s sex life, body, sexual activities, deficiencies, or prowess;
  • Threats affecting employment, educational, or volunteer status if sexual favors are not provided;
  • Offensive graphic communication such as sexually explicit internet sites, calendars, photographs, cartoons, posters, graffiti, documents (including letters, poems, etc.) or drawings that have the effect of creating a hostile and offensive workplace;
  • Sexually suggestive leering or staring;
  • Implicit or explicit unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or repeated unwelcome expressions of sexual interest; and
  • Sexually explicit or suggestive texts, emails, or voice mail messages                                                                                     

No supervisor, co-worker, volunteer, or other person acting on behalf of TRC may threaten or suggest that a person’s refusal to submit to sexual advances will adversely affect them.                                                                                                

The detailed information in this policy on one of the most commonly alleged types of harassment – sexual harassment – should not be interpreted as a lesser commitment to the prevention of other types of employee harassment. No type of harassment is acceptable.

Prevention: ​TRC will post this policy on its website and provide it to paid staff and independent contractors who perform work for TRC on an ongoing basis; it will also be included in the staff handbook. Paid staff will additionally sign the policy to indicate that they have read and understood it as a part of their introduction to employment at TRC. It is the responsibility of the Director to ensure that all employees are aware of this policy.

Monitoring:  TRC recognizes the importance of monitoring this policy and will anonymously (where possible) collect data to understand how it is used and if it is effective. The following will occur on an ongoing basis (as specified):

  • The Director will report the number of incidents, their resolutions, and any recommendations to the Leadership Team and the Board of Directors.
    • The Leadership Team will discuss these issues with any supervisors and the full Board of Directors at least annually.
    • The organization will evaluate the policy and make any necessary changes.
    • Every year, the Leadership Team will determine if there are any independent contractors who perform work for TRC on an ongoing basis who haven’t already received the policy. The Leadership Team will deliver this policy to any who are identified.
  • When TRC begins to have paid employees other than the Director, the Director and the Board of Directors will develop and implement additional relevant employee policies including the following:
    • The Director will reach out to all employees individually to discuss whether the employee has witnessed or experienced discrimination or harassment. The Director will determine how best to communicate with employees.
    • TRC will develop or make available training opportunities for employees.

Complaint procedure: ​ We are dedicated to ensuring that harassment and discrimination do not occur in our workplace and are committed to prompt and effective resolution of any complaint. No person will be penalized for registering a good-faith complaint, participating in the investigation of a complaint, or opposing harassing or discriminatory behavior prohibited by this policy. Individuals are encouraged to keep a written record of the date, time, details of the incident(s), and witnesses, if any. If you feel you have been subjected to wrongful harassment or discrimination, you are expected and required to follow the following procedure:

  • Informal resolution. ​ In many instances, problems may be caused by a lack of awareness. We therefore encourage you to initially raise the problem respectfully with the person who has offended you before you bring a formal complaint. If, however, you believe it would be inappropriate to discuss the matter with that person, the person does not respond as desired, or you are uncomfortable discussing the issue with that person, then you may always bypass the person and discuss it directly with the Director. If you are not comfortable talking with the Director, you may contact any Board Member.
  • Complaint. ​ If informal resolution does not occur or the problem persists, then you should immediately report the matter to the Director (or to a member of the Board if the complaint concerns the Director). In addition, we encourage any employee who observes inappropriate harassment or discrimination, even if it is not directed at them, to immediately report what they have observed. All reports or complaints will be investigated and kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with our need to investigate the complaint and address the situation. Different circumstances will produce different responses and levels of investigation. If it is determined that a violation of this policy has occurred, then the offending party will be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, termination of employment, volunteer, vendor, or donor status.                                                                                               

The person receiving a complaint will refer the matter to the Director if appropriate, and the Director or her designate will:                                                           

  • Record the dates, times, and facts of the incident(s).
  • Ensure that the complainant understands the procedure for resolving the complaint.
  • Identify the outcome wanted by the complainant.
  • Discuss and agree on next steps: either an ​informal or formal complaint​, with the understanding that resolving the matter informally will not prevent the complainant from pursuing a formal complaint if they are not satisfied with the outcome.
  • Inform the complainant that they have the right to contact legal counsel, such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or other, if they think it necessary.
  • Respect the choice of the complainant.
  • Keep a confidential record of all discussions.
  • Ensure that the above is completed within 3 days of initial discussion of the complaint                            

After the steps above are completed, the Director or her designate will:

  • Give the alleged harasser an opportunity to respond to the complaint.
  • Ensure the alleged harasser understands the procedure for resolving the complaint.
  • If the complainant is comfortable, facilitate discussion between both parties to achieve a resolution that is acceptable to the complainant.
  • If the complainant is not comfortable, achieve a resolution by speaking with the complainant and alleged harasser separately.
  • If the complainant and alleged harasser are unable to achieve a solution that is acceptable to the complainant, consult the Board of Directors, who may refer the matter to a mediator.
  • Keep a confidential record of all actions taken to resolve the complaint.
  • Inform the Board of Directors of the complaint, maintaining the anonymity of the parties to the fullest extent possible.
  • Ensure that the above is completed within 7 days of receiving the complaint. In the case where the party who has received the complaint has difficulty completing these items within 7 days, they may work with another person designated by the Director or the Board to complete their duties.
  • Follow up 2 weeks after the discussion to ensure that the behavior has stopped.                                              

Retaliation: ​ TRC prohibits any type of retaliatory action against employees who file a harassment or discrimination complaint or who assist in a complaint investigation. We expect individuals to immediately report any concerns about retaliation to us. Please note, however, that if it is determined after investigation that the complaint was made up of false charges or that a person has provided false information, disciplinary or other appropriate action will be taken against the person who filed the complaint or provided false information including terminating volunteer, vendor, donor, or other third-party relationships.

Complaints Against Third Parties: TRC recognizes that a person can be subject to harassment from a non-employee who supports or conducts business with TRC, such as a donor, overnight host, contractor, consultant, or volunteer (“third party”). A person affiliated with TRC who believes that they have been harassed by a third party is encouraged to file a complaint with the Director. The Director will document the complaint and take whatever action is appropriate in the circumstances.                                                                                        

Complaints by Third Parties: TRC recognizes that a non-employee can be subject to harassment from TRC employees or affiliated persons, such as a volunteer being harassed by an employee at a work-related conference. If a non-employee believes that they have been harassed by a person affiliated with TRC, they should follow the procedure for informal and formal complaints above.

Anonymous Complaints: An employee or third party may file an anonymous complaint by contacting a professional mediator who is not an employee of TRC. The identity of the complainant will be known to the mediator, but not to staff at TRC. The mediator will communicate the complaint to the TRC Director while keeping the identity of the complainant anonymous. TRC will not be able to conduct a thorough investigation without interviewing the alleged witness or victim. However, if the complainant identifies a harasser, the Director, or her designate, will interview the alleged harasser and keep a confidential record of both the complaint and the response from the alleged harasser.                                                   

Disclaimer of Ownership of Student Work

The work conducted by Raven Corps members do not necessarily express the views of TRC, its employees or its representatives.

Raven Corps members do not waive copyright in any work they post to the website or social media platforms managed by TRC.

TRC attempts to make the information on its website and in its social media postings as accurate and up to date as possible, we make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of those platforms, and expressly disclaim liability for errors and omissions. No warranty of any kind, implied, expressed, or statutory, including but not limited to the warranties of non-infringement of third party rights, title, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, is given with respect to the contents of website, written materials, or information disseminated on other platforms.

The Raven Corps gratefully acknowledges the work of other non-profit organizations from whom we learned and borrowed ideas for our policies.