Commission Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation
The Uniform Law Commission (“Commission”) seeks to provide an environment free from harassment, discrimination and retaliation. The Commission prohibits harassment and discrimination of its participants in any form, including harassment and discrimination by commissioners, reporters, observers, and other parties. The goal of the Commission is to create and maintain an environment that promotes respect and dignity for all persons and is free of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other offensive behavior. Such behavior conflicts with a harmonious and productive environment and is not tolerated.
Protected Status. The Commission prohibits harassment or discrimination in any form on the basis of a person’s race, color, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions), lactation/breastfeeding, age, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, handicap or disability, association with a person with a disability, the use of a guide or support animal, genetic information, protected veteran/military status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law (“Protected Status”).
Non-Discrimination. The Commission does not discriminate against any person on the basis of any Protected Status.
Harassment. Harassment is conduct that is directed to, related to, or focused on a person’s Protected Status and can reasonably be characterized as offensive, hostile or abusive. The conduct can occur through verbal action, non-verbal/visual action, physical action, emails, text messages, social media, or in any other manner. While it is not easy to define precisely what harassment is, it includes slurs, epithets, bullying, threats, derogatory comments, unwelcome jokes, teasing and other similar verbal, visual or physical conduct. Sexual harassment, in particular, includes unwelcome explicit or insinuated sexual advances, flirtations, requests or propositions for sexual favors, leering or sexual gestures, unsolicited and non-accidental touches, references to sexual preference or stereotype, display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, impeding or blocking movement, or other sexual, verbal, visual or physical conduct of a harassing nature.
The Commission prohibits harassment on any basis. Bullying and hostile or abusive conduct that denigrates, shows aversion, or is offensive to another person violates this policy even if it is not technically illegal. All commissioners and other participants in Commission proceedings are expected and required to behave in a professional, appropriate, and respectful manner.
Retaliation Protection. The Commission prohibits retaliation against a commissioner or participant in Commission proceedings because the person opposes any form of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation or participates in a proceeding regarding harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, including participation by filing, reporting, complaining, testifying, or assisting in any other manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing. Forms of retaliation include removal from a leadership position, denial of speaking privileges at Commission proceedings, and declining to appoint to a committee or other position. Proper measures to address other forms of misconduct or poor performance are not considered retaliation.
False Allegation. A false allegation refers to an instance in which a person deliberately makes a false statement or fraudulently submits false evidence concerning discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Any commissioner or other participant in Commission proceedings who makes a false allegation may be subject to the sanctions and penalties in this policy. An allegation made in good faith, but which cannot be proven, is not a false allegation subject to the sanctions or penalties in this policy.
Reporting and Investigation Procedure. A commissioner or other participant in a Commission proceeding who has reason to believe that any kind of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation has occurred is strongly encouraged to report the conduct to the Commission’s Executive Director. If the Executive Director is unavailable or the person is uncomfortable reporting to the Executive Director, the person should report the conduct to the Commission’s President or Chair of the Executive Committee.
The Commission (or its designee) will promptly and responsibly investigate the facts and circumstances of a report or complaint under this policy. Each report, complaint, and investigation will be handled confidentially to the extent practical and appropriate under the circumstances. When a complaint is substantiated, a person adversely affected by the conduct will be informed of the finding and of remedial measures taken.
Sanctions and Penalties. Any commissioner or other participant in a Commission proceeding who is found to have violated this policy may be sanctioned or penalized. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, sanctions and penalties may include suspension of the right to participate in Commission proceedings, removal from a Commission committee or leadership position, censure or reprimand by the Commission, and a report of the offending conduct to the person’s delegation, appointing authority, bar association, or disciplinary authority. A person suspected of a serious violation of this policy may be suspended from participation in Commission proceedings pending the outcome of the investigation.
Legal Intent. This policy is intended to provide a framework supportive of and consistent with applicable federal, state, and local law. It does not confer any special right or contractual right beyond those established by federal, state, or local law.