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CODE OF CONDUCT

This code of conduct outlines our expectations for participants within the ThriveUnion community, as well as steps to reporting unacceptable behavior. We are committed to providing a welcoming, inspiring & empowering community for all and expect our code of conduct to be honored. This code of conduct applies to any of our sponsored spaces and our code applies equally to employees, sponsors, vendors, members, and guests regardless of their knowledge of the code (Ignorantia juris non excusat). Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be ejected from events, counseled or banned from the community.

Our community strives to:

Be respectful: Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and poor manners. We might all experience some frustration now and then, but we cannot allow that frustration to turn into a personal attack. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive one.
Be careful in the words that we choose: we are a community of professionals, and we conduct ourselves professionally. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other participants. Harassment and other exclusionary behavior aren’t acceptable.

Try to understand why we disagree: Disagreements, both social and technical, happen all the time. It is important that we resolve disagreements and differing views constructively. Remember that we’re different. The strength of our community comes from its diversity, people from a wide range of backgrounds. Different people have different perspectives on issues. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. Don’t forget that it is human to err and blaming each other doesn’t get us anywhere. Instead, focus on helping to resolve issues and learning from mistakes.

 

DEFINITIONS

Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Threats of violence, both physical and psychological. If you believe anyone is in physical danger, please notify appropriate law enforcement first.
  • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neurotypical (conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, etc), physical appearance, body size, race, age, regional discrimination, political or religious affiliation.
  • Unwelcome comments regarding a person’s lifestyle choices and practices, including those related to food, health, parenting, drugs, and employment.
  • Deliberate misgendering. This includes deadnaming or persistently using a pronoun that does not correctly reflect a person’s gender identity. You must address people by the name they give you when not addressing them by their username or handle.
  • Physical contact and simulated physical contact (eg, textual descriptions like “hug” or “backrub”) without consent or after a request to stop.
  • Incitement of violence towards any individual, including encouraging a person to commit suicide or to engage in self-harm.
  • Deliberate intimidation.
  • Stalking or following.
  • Harassing photography or recording, including logging online activity for harassment purposes.
  • Sustained disruption of discussion.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention, including gratuitous or off-topic sexual images or behavior.
  • Pattern of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others.
  • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease.
  • Deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect others from intentional abuse.
  • Publication of non-harassing private communication.
  • Abusive or intimidating language, tone or volume.

 

Our community prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. We will not act on complaints regarding:

  • ‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’
  • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you”
  • Refusal to explain or debate social justice concepts
  • Communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial
  • Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions

 

Diversity Statement
We encourage everyone to participate and are committed to building a community for all. WE WILL FAIL AT TIMES, however, we seek to treat everyone both as fairly and equally as possible. Whenever a member of our community has made a mistake, we expect them to take responsibility for it. If someone has been harmed or offended, it is our responsibility to listen carefully and respectfully, and do our best to right the wrong.

Although this list cannot be exhaustive, we explicitly honor diversity in age, gender, gender identity or expression, culture, ethnicity, language, national origin, political beliefs, profession, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and technical ability. We will not tolerate discrimination based on any of the protected characteristics above, including participants with disabilities.

Confidentiality
We know that confidentiality is the key to building an environment where people feel safe to be vulnerable. Members shall not share intimate stories or details regarding other people without their explicit permission.

Appropriate & Inappropriate Gossip
Gossip is casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people. As we’re close-knit it’s natural to talk compassionately about other members. Use the following rule of thumb as your guide, if you would not share the information about someone if they were standing beside you, don’t share it.

Solicitation
ThriveUnion prohibits solicitation from participants, sponsors or vendors without prior approval from the Board of Directors or Peter Montoya.

Illegal Activity
ThriveUnion abides by all local, state, and federal laws and reserves the right to notify the appropriate law enforcement authorities of any potential violations of law.

Weapons Policy
No weapons will be allowed at ThriveUnion events, community spaces, or in other spaces covered by the scope of this Code of Conduct. Weapons include but are not limited to guns, explosives (including fireworks), and large knives such as those used for hunting or display, as well as any other item used for the purpose of causing injury or harm to others. Anyone seen in possession of one of these items will be asked to leave immediately, and will only be allowed to return without the weapon. Community members are further expected to comply with all state and local laws.

 

Reporting Issues

If you experience or witness unacceptable behavior—or have any other concerns—please report it by contacting us via Peter Montoya. All reports will be handled with discretion. Any incidents which may rise have broken local, state or federal laws will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agencies regardless of the role of the person in question. In your report please include:

Your contact info (so we can get in touch with you if we need to follow up).

  • Names (real, nicknames, or pseudonyms) of any individuals involved. If there were other witnesses besides you, please try to include them as well.
  • When and where the incident occurred. Please be as specific as possible.
  • Your account of what occurred. If there is a publicly available record please include a link.
  • Any extra context you believe existed for the incident.
  • If you believe this incident is ongoing.
  • Any other information you believe we should have.

After filing a report, a representative will contact you personally, review the incident, follow up with any additional questions, and make a decision as to how to respond. If the person who is harassing you is part of the response community, they will recuse themselves from handling your incident. If the complaint originates from a member of the response team, it will be handled by a different member of the response team. We will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse.

Responses may include:

  • Nothing (if we determine no violation occurred).
  • A private reprimand from the Ethics Committee to the individual(s) involved.
  • A public reprimand.
  • An imposed vacation (i.e. asking someone to “take a week off”).
  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or community spaces.
  • Counseling.
  • A request for a public or private apology.

We’ll respond within one week to the person who filed the report with either a resolution or an explanation of why the situation is not yet resolved. Once we’ve determined our final action, we’ll contact the original reporter to let them know what action (if any) we’ll be taking. We’ll take into account feedback from the reporter on the appropriateness of our response, but we don’t guarantee we’ll act on it.

Appeals
Only permanent resolutions (such as bans) may be appealed. To appeal a decision of the Ethics Committee, contact Admin@ThriveUnion.org with your appeal and we will review the case. Appeals must include new evidence or reconsideration of evidence and include a narrative justification for the appeal to be considered.

 

 

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Ethics Committee Investigation Process

The primary goal of the Ethics Committee is to provide safety for its Members and maintain the integrity of the organization by judiciously and expeditiously investigating allegations against Members or Leadership. The second goal of the Ethics Committee is to help all members thrive.

The chair of the Ethics Committee coordinates Thrive Union Inc.’s investigations of behavioral misconduct. The Chapter Leader of Thrive Union Inc. will appoint an Ethics Chair who will appoint 4 other members.

All Respondents are considered innocent unless proven of wrongdoing. The Ethic’s Committee standard is preponderance of evidence or 3 of the 5 of the Ethic’s Committee finding wrongdoing and agreeing to the recommendations. The Chapter Lead may limit or prohibit the Respondent from Thrive Union activities until the conclusion of the investigation. 

The Ethics Committee reports to the Chapter Leader and is responsible for investigating allegations that are deemed by the chair of the Ethics Committee to be substantial, cannot be resolved at the personal level and thereby require investigation for the Ethics Committee. This is not a standing committee. It will be convened only as needed and there may not be any more than 3 members from any gender and all members must be Sustaining Members in good standing.

Members will serve for the duration of the investigation. The Thrive Union Inc. Chapter Leader will work with the chair of the Ethics Committee to identify and finalize the membership of the Ethics Committee. In the event that a Committee member moves or is otherwise no longer able to carry out his/her duties, the Chapter Leader and Ethics Committee Chair will appoint a new member.

Suspension or termination of membership shall be carried out in compliance with the Society’s bylaws.

Thrive Union Inc. Process for Investigation of Misconduct Allegations

Complaints of misconduct that are not directly connected to Thrive Union Inc. events should be reported first to the Chapter Leader or Ethics Committee Chair. If it is believed that the Complaint is of a criminal nature or any human beings is at danger, the proper law enforcement should be contacted immediately.

Complaints must include the following information in a written submission:

  • the name and affiliation of the person(s) submitting the allegation and the name and identifying information of the person(s) alleged to have committed the misconduct;
  • a description of the allegation that includes the date and circumstances of the alleged misconduct;
  • any documents or other relevant items with annotation showing specifically how the item relates to the allegation including witnesses (where available) to interview;
  • a statement explaining any conflict(s) of interest that the person making the allegation has with the subject(s), entity(ies), or situation(s) named in the allegation. A conflict of interest does not preclude the filing of an allegation.

The Respondent may make a written statement.

Anonymous complaints will be recorded but cannot be as thoroughly investigated as complaints received by verifiable complainants. Verification of complainant identity to allow for the proper interview and follow-up of any allegation.

A third-party complaint must identify the target of the alleged misconduct, if applicable, and the matter will be discussed confidentially with the alleged target. To the extent reasonably possible, Thrive Union Inc. will protect the identity of the parties involved in an ethics complaint. However, certain disclosures may be necessary in order to conduct an adequate investigation.

The Process

The Thrive Union Inc. Chapter Leader initially reviews complaints to determine whether the alleged misconduct is covered by the Ethics Policy and whether the complaint contains all of the information that is required under the Ethics Policy. In the event the Chapter Leader is directly involved, complaints may be submitted to the Ethics Committee Chair.

The Ethics Committee Chair reviews completed complaints to determine whether an investigating ethics committee should be appointed to conduct a full ethics investigation.

The investigating Ethics Committee conducts an investigation which may include taking verbal or written testimonies from affected parties, witnesses, etc. The Committee Chair coordinates the investigation and may conduct interviews personally or ask Committee Members to do so. The Committee provides findings and recommendations (based on a preponderance of the evidence) to the Thrive Union Inc. Chapter Leader. Final recommendations from the committee are to be decided by a majority vote within the Ethics Committee. The Chapter Leader is bound by the recommendations of the Ethics Committee and must execute their recommendations. 

The Ethics Committee is composed of 5 individuals as follows:

  • An Ethics Committee Chair as appointed by the Chapter Lead and ratified by majority vote during a Thrivers Meeting.
  • The Ethics Committee Chair may appoint an adviser either as part of the committee or apart from it.
  • The Ethics Committee Chair and Chapter Lead ask Thrivers in good standing to be part of the Ethics Committee as needed.

The goal of the Ethics Committee is to ensure equal and fair application of Thrive Union Inc.’s bylaws/code of conduct, to give voice to offended/accused parties, to ensure psychological/physical safety to every member, and to help each member of ThriveUnion (including the offended/accused) to have every chance at thriving within the community.

The investigating Ethics Committee has up to 30 days to complete its investigation (and may request an extension of time, if needed), so a typical timeline for handling a complaint may take several months, including time for Thrive Union Inc. Chapter Leader involvement in the review and appeals process.

An opportunity to appeal the Ethics Committee’s decision is part of the process, but must be based on new evidence or reconsideration of evidence and include a narrative justification for the appeal.

Sanctions, when issued by the Chapter Leader, may or may not be made public but without public verbal shaming. The Complainant and the Respondent are notified of the Ethics Committee’s decision. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Nothing (if determine no violation occurred).
  • A private reprimand from the working group to the individual(s) involved.
  • A public reprimand.
  • An imposed vacation (i.e. asking someone to “take a week off”).
  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or community spaces.
  • Counseling.
  • A request for a public or private apology.
  • Revocation of Membership

The names of the Ethics Committee members are made known to the Complainant and the Respondent as part of the ethics process. The Committee Chair’s name will be available publicly but not the names of other Committee Members.

The Ethics Committee will consider a formal request to appeal a decision relating to the meetings Code of Conduct and/or a recommendation to revoke membership. The final decision to revoke membership is made only by the Ethics Committee.