Anti-Harassment Policy

Animals & Society Institute


(Last updated and approved by the ASI Board of Directors on May 22, 2018)

Animals and Society Institute (ASI) is committed to maintaining a work environment that is free from discrimination where employees at all levels of the organization are able to devote their full attention and best efforts to the job. Discriminatory harassment, either intentional or unintentional, has no place in the work environment. Accordingly, ASI does not tolerate any form of harassment or discriminatory practices within the organization by a director, officer, employee, volunteer, contractor, or donor based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, height, weight, pregnancy status, familial status, marital status or any other factors protected by law. The term “harassment” for all purposes includes, but is not limited to, offensive language, jokes, or other verbal, graphic, or physical conduct relating to an employee’s race, sex, religion, color, national origin, age, disability, or other factor protected by law that would make a person experiencing such harassment believe that the conditions of employment have been altered, that the work environment has become hostile or abusive, or that interfere with the person’s job performance.

ASI believes that all employees and all other representatives of ASI have the right to work in an environment free from sexual harassment. Accordingly, we strive to ensure a workplace characterized by mutual respect. Sexual harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the courts define sexual harassment as any unwelcome or unwanted sexual attention, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or other offensive behavior directed toward an employee because of or on account of gender, whether by a person of another or the same gender, when

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or is used explicitly or implicitly as a factor in decisions affecting hiring, evaluation, promotion, discharge, or other tangible employment action (sometimes referred to as “quid pro quo” harassment); or
  • Such conduct is severe or pervasive enough to interfere with an individual’s work performance or otherwise renders the workplace as intimidating, coercive, hostile, or offensive.

Examples of the types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, propositions, flirtations, or innuendoes
  • Demands for sexual favors
  • Unwanted and unnecessary physical contact (such as grabbing, rubbing, patting, pinching, inappropriate touching, or hugging)
  • Demands for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment or continued employment
  • Display of pornographic material (or sharing via email or other forms of digital communication)
  • Offensive remarks, including unwelcome graphic or suggestive comments about an individual’s body, appearance, dress, sexual prowess, or deficiencies
  • Obscene jokes
  • The display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures (or sharing via email or other forms of digital communication)
  • Any other unwelcome and unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, such as leering, whistling, staring, name calling, and sexual innuendo

Other discriminatory harassment consists of unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, visual, or physical, that tends to poke fun at or stereotype an individual because their protected status. Examples of this type of conduct include, but are not limited to

  • Making inappropriate or disrespectful comments about a person’s gender
  • Using sexist slurs or epithets
  • Negative stereotyping
  • Excluding individuals from the use of or making them feel uncomfortable in their use of ASI facilities because of their gender

Both the victim and the perpetrator of sexual harassment may be any gender. ASI regards all such conduct as creating a hostile and offensive work environment in violation of this policy, regardless of whether submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment.


Complaint Procedure
An employee, volunteer, or third party who alleges that they are the victim of sexual harassment, or who has knowledge of, or who has witnessed any form of sexual harassment should bring the subject to the attention of their supervisor or the Executive Director, by whatever form of communication the victim chooses, immediately. If there is a legitimate reason that the victim is uncomfortable reporting the matter to the Executive Director, the employee may also submit their concerns in writing directly to any member of ASI’s Executive Committee. After making the complaint known to the proper person at ASI, an employee also has the legal right to file a complaint with the EEOC or another outside agency.

After a complaint has been received, an investigation will be conducted. Both the complainant and the alleged harasser will be interviewed, as well as any witnesses. All parties must cooperate with the investigation. Depending on the complexities of the investigation, all parties involved should be informed of the status of the complaint as promptly as possible, consistent with conducting a thorough investigation.

ASI will maintain the confidentiality of the complainant, the accused, and the witnesses to the extent possible under the circumstances. ASI cannot promise absolute confidentiality, but pledges to conduct the investigation on a need-to-know basis. Only those who must know about the complaint and the identity of the complainant will be made aware of and have access to that information.

Disciplinary Action
If management finds that the alleged harasser violated organizational policy, it will take the proper disciplinary action. Such actions include but are not limited to verbal/written reprimand, suspension, and dismissal. The seriousness of the violation, the existence and nature of prior sexual harassment complaints and/or policy breaches, and the wishes of the accuser, as well as other considerations, will be taken into account when determining disciplinary action. ASI’s policy is that retaliation against any party involved — the accused, accuser, witnesses, and/or investigators — will not be tolerated. Any party who violates ASI’s no-retaliation policy will be disciplined or terminated.

If the complaint is found to be intentionally false, disciplinary actions will be taken against the accuser. If the complaint is unresolved, no disciplinary actions will be taken against either the accuser or the accused. No retaliation against either party or any witness will be tolerated. Parties who do not cooperate in investigations, such as witnesses who refuse to provide information, will be subject to disciplinary action.

Harassment by Nonemployees
ASI strives to prevent sexual harassment of employees by nonemployees (members, vendors, etc.) in the work environment and employees should promptly report any such harassment to the appropriate individual(s) listed above. An investigation will be conducted and remedial measures taken if found to be warranted.

Employer Responsibilities
Any ASI Executive Committee Member may be contacted directly. As of May 18, 2018 the ASI Executive Committee Members are:
Anne Elizabeth Hirky, Board Chair
Gail Luciani, Board Vice Chair
Ken Shapiro, Board President, Treasurer
Kimberly Spanjol, Board Secretary

This policy is posted and distributed as appropriate, and made available upon request.


Unless otherwise noted, all content on this website is copyright © 2024 The Animals and Society Institute. Please visit to find out more about our reprint and use policies.

Share Us Online