Policy Brief & Purpose
Our anti-discrimination policy explains how we prevent discrimination and protect our employees, interns, volunteers, hosts, students, engagement partners, contractors, visitors, customers, and stakeholders from offensive and harmful behaviors. This policy supports our overall commitment to create a safe and happy environment for everyone.
Watershape University complies with all anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA.) We explicitly prohibit offensive behavior (e.g., derogatory comments towards colleagues of a specific gender or ethnicity.)
This policy applies to all employees, interns, volunteers, hosts, students, engagement partners, contractors, visitors, customers and stakeholders.
Discrimination is any negative action or attitude directed toward someone because of protected characteristics, like race and gender. Other protected characteristics are:
- Medical History
- Civil Partnership
- Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
Discrimination and Harassment
Our anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies go hand-in-hand. Watershape University will not tolerate any kind of discrimination that creates a hostile and unpleasant environment for employees, interns, volunteers, hosts, students, engagement partners, contractors, visitors, customers, or stakeholders.
This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some instances that we consider discrimination:
- Hiring managers disproportionately disqualifying male or female job candidates on purpose.
- Managers bypassing team members with specific protected characteristics (e.g., race) for promotion without being able to formally prove (e.g., with documentation) the reasons other employees were selected instead.
- Employees making sexist comments.
- Employees sending emails disparaging someone’s ethnic origin.
Employees who harass their colleagues will go through our disciplinary process and we may reprimand, demote, or terminate them depending on the severity of their offense.
We recognize that sometimes discrimination is unintentional, as we may all have unconscious biases that could be difficult to identify and overcome. In case we conclude that an employee unconsciously discriminates, we will support them through training and counseling and implement processes that mitigate biases as we indicate in the next section. But, if this person shows unwillingness to change their behavior, we may demote or terminate them.
We will not be lenient in cases of assault, sexual harassment, or workplace violence, whether physical or psychological. We will immediately terminate employees who behave like this.
Actions to Prevent Discrimination
To ensure that our conduct and processes are fair and lawful, we:
- Use inclusive language in job ads and include Equal Employment Opportunity statements.
- Set formal job-related criteria to hire, promote, and reward team members.
- Offer compensation and benefits according to position, seniority, qualifications, and performance, not protected characteristics.
- Accommodate people with disabilities.
- Require managers to keep detailed records of their decisions concerning their team members and job candidates.
We will also consider additional measures to prevent discrimination, like:
- Using hiring processes that reduce bias like structured interviews and blind hiring programs.
- Organizing trainings on diversity, communication, and conflict management to improve collaboration among employees of different backgrounds.
What to do in Cases of Discrimination
If you are the victim of discriminatory behavior (or if you suspect that others are being discriminated against,) please talk to the CEO (or your manager) as soon as possible. The CEO is responsible for hearing your claim, investigating the issue, and determining punishment.
Punishment for discriminatory behavior depends on the severity of the offense. For example, inadvertently offending someone might warrant a reprimand. Conversely, willfully bypassing employees for promotion because of a protected characteristic will result in termination.
If you decide to make a claim to a regulatory body (e.g., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,) we are committed and bound by law not to retaliate against you.
How We Address Discrimination Complaints
Watershape University is proactive and responsive about determining whether discrimination occurs. For example, we:
- Look into similar claims about the same person or process to determine if discrimination is systemic.
- Track metrics and look into data that give us some insight on people’s behaviors (e.g., percentage of job applicants of a certain race a hiring manager disqualifies.)
- Evaluate testimonies on social media that visitors, job candidates, or former employees have made.
- Conduct discreet interviews and gather information.
We will investigate all claims discreetly. We will never disclose who made a complaint to anyone or give out information that may help others identify that person; however, the origin of some complaints may be unavoidable or easy to determine.
We should all strive to prevent and address discrimination. Be aware of your implicit biases and speak up whenever you or your colleagues are discriminated against. If you have any ideas on how we can ensure fairness and equality in our workplace, we are happy to hear them.