Captain Tanya here! Hopefully, nobody at Kitfox is ever involved in harassment (either giving or receiving), but if they ever are, I wanted to be prepared. When incidents happen, it can be panicky and emotions run hot, and although there’s so many variables, you can’t realistically anticipate every situation, a well-written policy can help to set everyone’s expectations.
This weekend, I offered to share our policy, and the response was stronger than I expected. I’ll carefully place it here for other studios’ potential use as a template or reference, with the warning that this has never been battle-tested. Although it’s based on the work of other, more experienced professionals, and I feel confident in its good intent, it is possible it has problems in execution — I wouldn’t know. Please do not hold me responsible if this policy fails to meet your expectations in some way, but please do tell me so I can learn and fix it. :)
The main problem with good, readable policy is that you can’t prevent evil people from mis-using it — for that, you need legalese and by-laws and specifics. I anticipate that the main critique would be that this is therefore porous, and probably less effective than unionizing would be, to protect workers properly from abusive practices. In this we are agreed, please do unionize, but for my 8-person company, I feel it suits our needs for now.
Without further ado, the Kitfox harassment policies, in full, are as follows.
Harassment (Internal): Respect is a core value of Kitfox. If anyone related to Kitfox has made you feel uncomfortable with unprofessional or disrespectful behaviour (whether towards you, another employee, a customer, or other person), either in or outside the workplace, it is essential that the situation is remedied so that it is not repeated. Every situation is different, and Kitfox reserves the right to enforce punitive action, from required training to termination, or anything in-between, according to the judgment of Kitfox management and the severity, frequency, and outcomes of an incident.
Here are the steps we encourage you to follow, if/when an incident occurs:
1. Consider talking it over with the person yourself. This is generally the best way to resolve budding interpersonal problems, but may not be appropriate for serious incidents.
2. If settling it with the individual(s) seems difficult or problematic, bring the issue up privately with Tanya (the studio head).
3. If the problem is with Tanya, bring the issue up privately with co-founders Xin or Jongwoo.
4. Kitfox will investigate and deal with all concerns or complaints fairly and thoughtfully, respecting the privacy of all parties as much as is reasonable.
Harassment (External): Respect is a core value of Kitfox. If you become the target of harassment while working with Kitfox, or especially as a result of working here, it is essential that the company assist you as best it can during this difficult time. For its part, Kitfox pledges to act in your best interests, prioritizing your safety and acting on your behalf only with your informed consent.
Here are the steps we encourage you to follow:
1. If you feel you are in immediate danger, please call 911. When you are somewhere safe, please ask someone to notify Tanya or your supervisor.
2. “Speak Up and Stay Safer”: Engage with social media with care. We urge you to prioritize safety, but Kitfox will not discourage your engagement with your community. Tools like blocking, filters, and/or allowing someone you trust to post/filter for you are all useful, if and when you deem it effective or appropriate.
3. Either alone or together with someone you trust at Kitfox, investigate the Crash Override Network resources (http://www.crashoverridenetwork.com/resources.html and http://www.crashoverridenetwork.com/coach.html) and decide together what the best course of action is.
4. Kitfox always supports self-care and professional guidance in taking next steps. If you feel it would help, consider asking your supervisor to approve time off. If this is not feasible, then consider working from home or using sick days to deal with this stress and trauma in a comfortable environment.
And that’s that! We have plenty of other policies but these seemed the most relevant and requested. I hope they help! Let us know what you think!