As of February 19, 2024

In compliance with numerous federal and state 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, Elmwood Playhouse is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all its participants, including all virtual or online events. All participants, including but not limited to, Playhouse members, staff, service providers, volunteers, and attendees (henceforth, “community members”) are expected to treat other with respect.

Our playhouse is one free from discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment. Elmwood operates a zero-tolerance policy for any form of harassment, treats all incidents seriously, and promptly investigates all allegations. Any person found to have harassed another will face disciplinary action, up to and including, expulsion from membership and participation. All complaints of harassment will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be victimized for making such a complaint.

Community members shall:

  • Be considerate and respectful to all other community members.
  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior, materials, and speech.
  • Speak up if they observe anything that potentially violates this policy, or any other policy that is in place at the Playhouse or is potentially in violation of any state or federal law.
  • It is the responsibility of each community member, including the director(s), producer(s), production staff, cast, and crew to read, understand, and abide by this policy.

Inappropriate behavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Discriminatory actions or offensive comments related to race, color, religion, creed, partnership status, credit history, status as a victim of sexual assault, unemployment status, sex, sexual and other reproductive health decisions, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, age, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws.
  • Intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory, or demeaning speech, materials, or conduct by community members.
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including, but not limited to those related to health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
  • Deliberate misgendering or use of rejected names, including proper nouns and pronouns.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Gratuitous, off-topic sexual images or behavior.
  • Threats of any sort of violence.
  • Publication of any private communication, without the prior consent of all parties involved.
  • Failing to stop unacceptable behavior when requested.

Discrimination/Harassment is not:

  • Feeling persecuted because of social privilege.
  • Reverse’ -isms, e.g., reverse racism, reverse sexism, cisphobia.
  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, e.g., “leave me alone.”
  • Communication in a tone you do not find congenial.
  • Discussion of sensitive topics.
  • Criticizing racist, sexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions.

Definition of Harassment and Sexual Harassment

Harassment is any behavior which causes distress, feelings of a lack of safety, or physical harm to another person based on their actual or perceived race/ethnicity, religion, age, gender, gender expression or identity, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, citizenship status, geography, place of origin, marital status, or familial status. Harassment does not need to have malicious intent and the impacts on the person allegedly receiving the harassment must be addressed regardless of the intent.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which results in a person feeling offended, humiliated, or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person’s participation, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating, or humiliating for the recipient.

Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal, and non-verbal. Examples of conduct or behavior which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

Physical conduct

  • Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling, or other inappropriate touching
  • Physical violence, including sexual assault
  • The use of threats or rewards to solicit sexual favors

Verbal conduct

  • Comments on a participant’s appearance, age, private life, etc.
  • Sexual comments, stories, and jokes
  • Sexual advances
  • Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
  • Insults based on the gender, sexual identity, or sexual orientation of another person
  • Condescending or paternalistic remarks
  • Sending sexually explicit messages, including, but not limited to, voice or text messages, social media posts, or in print

Non-verbal conduct

  • Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material
  • Sexually suggestive gestures
  • Whistling, leering, and other non-verbal comments and actions

Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of their sex or the sex of the harasser. Elmwood Playhouse recognizes that sexual harassment may also occur between people of the same sex. What matters is that the sexual conduct is unwanted and unwelcomed by the person against whom the conduct is directed.

Elmwood Playhouse recognizes that sexual harassment can be a manifestation of power relationships and often occurs within unequal relationships, for example, between director and actor, or board member and employee. Any community member, including employees, service providers, board members, members, volunteers, vendors, visitors, or patrons who sexually harasses another person will be subject to sanction in accordance with this internal policy.

Elmwood also recognizes that sometimes the dramatic material presented by Elmwood requires the participants to be involved in suggestive or explicit language or activity necessary to the plot. In such situations, all participants must be fully informed about what is required and expected in advance, and the production staff will take every step necessary to ensure that participants feel comfortable and safe in rehearsals and performances.

All sexual harassment is prohibited whether it takes place on Elmwood premises or outside, including at rehearsals, work sessions, meetings or social events sponsored by Elmwood Playhouse.

Complaint Procedures

Anyone subjected to harassment should, if possible, inform the alleged harasser that the conduct is unwelcome. However, Elmwood recognizes that the victim may not feel comfortable in doing so. If a victim cannot personally resolve the issue, he/she can approach a show’s Board Liaison or any member of the Board of Directors to serve as advisor. If another member of the Elmwood community becomes aware of any alleged harassment, that person should immediately report the harassment to a Board Member. The advisor who initially receives the complaint will instigate an investigation. The advisor shall form a committee of three individuals, including the President of the Board of Directors (unless there is n investigative appropriate reason for exclusion, in which case they should be replaced by the Vice President). At all times, if the victim feels that the advisor is not handling the complaint appropriately, he or she may contact any other board member and request that a new advisor be assigned.

When an advisor receives a complaint of harassment, sexual or otherwise, he/she shall:

  • immediately record the dates, times, and facts of the incident(s);
  • ascertain what outcome the victim wants;
  • form the investigative committee as described abovc;
  • ensure that the victim understands the procedures for dealing with the complaint;
  • discuss and agree to the next steps, understanding that choosing to resolve the matter informally does not eliminate a future formal complaint;
  • keep a confidential record of all discussions;
  • respect the choice of the victim;
  • ensure that the victim knows that, if appropriate, they can lodge the complaint outside of the playhouse through the relevant legal framework.

The committee carrying out the investigation will:

  • interview the victim and the alleged harasser separately;
  • give an opportunity to the alleged harasser to respond to the complaint;
  • ensure that the alleged harasser understands the complaints mechanism;
  • interview other relevant third parties separately;
  • produce a report detailing the investigations, findings, and any recommendations;
  • decide the appropriate remedy, in consultation with the victim (i.e., an apology, a change to working arrangements, training for the harasser, discipline, suspension, dismissal);
  • follow up to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, that the behavior has stopped, and that the victim is satisfied with the outcome;
  • keep a record of all actions taken;
  • ensure that all records concerning the matter are kept confidential;
  • ensure that the process is done as quickly as possible.

If the victim wishes, as an initial step, the advisor may:

  • facilitate discussion between both parties to achieve an informal resolution, or refer the matter to a designated mediator to resolve the matter;
  • ensure that a confidential record is kept of the discussion;
  • follow up to ensure that the behavior has stopped.

If the discussion does not resolve the matter, or if the victim declines this option, the investigative committee will present its findings, including a summary report, and recommend appropriate actions to the full Board of Directors.

Sanctions and Disciplinary Measures

Anyone who has been found to have harassed another person under the terms of this policy is liable to any of the following sanctions to be determined by the Board of Directors:

  • verbal or written warning;
  • adverse performance evaluation;
  • completion of educational or other remediative training;
  • suspension for a period of time;
  • dismissal from current position;
  • expulsion from participation and/or membership.

The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity, frequency, and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied to ensure that incidents of harassment are not treated as trivial. Certain serious cases, including physical violence, will result in the immediate expulsion of the harasser.

Implementation of this Policy

Elmwood Playhouse will ensure that this policy is disseminated to all relevant persons. It will be included in the production handbook and all members in positions of authority will be made aware of the content of this policy.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Elmwood Playhouse recognizes the importance of monitoring this harassment policy and will ensure that it anonymously collects statistics and data as to how it is used and whether or not it is effective. The Board of Directors will review this policy on a yearly basis and make any changes needed.