Statement of Policy
Athletes Unlimited (“AU” or the “Organization”) seeks to create an environment that is free from discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct. The Organization has issued this Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Prevention Policy and Reporting Procedure (“Policy”) to further its goal of preventing conduct that could be in violation of federal, state, and local laws or may otherwise be inappropriate or unwanted by AU. AU promotes tolerance and embraces diversity, including those from a variety of cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds, those of different sexes, gender identities/expressions, and sexual orientations, as well as the below protected characteristics.
Everyone who participates in any AU-sponsored games, practices, programs, events, and/or functions (collectively, “AU Activities” or “Activities”) is expected to commit to achieving these goals and fully comply with this Policy. Further, this Policy applies to all Players, Facilitators (Coaches), Directors of Sport, Vendors, Independent Contractors, and other Service Providers involved with the Organization (collectively, “Participants”).
AU aims for Participants to feel safe, comfortable, and respected. Participants should understand, appreciate, and respect that individuals have different boundaries. Being courteous and civil is expected. Discrimination and harassment is strictly prohibited based upon any of the following protected characteristics (regardless of whether the person actually has the characteristic or is merely perceived to have the characteristic): race (including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists); color; religion; religious creed; national origin; ancestry; citizenship; physical or mental disability; medical condition; marital status; domestic violence victim status; sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding); gender; gender identity; gender expression; age; sexual orientation; veteran and/or military status; reproductive health decision making, including but not limited to, the decision to use or access a particular drug, device or medical service; or any other trait, characteristic, or status protected by federal, state, or local laws, rules, or regulations (referred to as “Protected Characteristics”).
This Policy prohibits discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation against any Participant, whether conducted by other Participants or AU Employees. It also prohibits discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation by any Participant against any AU Employee.
This Policy applies when Participants are engaging in AU Activities or interacting with other Participants or AU Employees, whether or not Participants are on AU premises. Participants are expected to comply with this Policy both on and off the courts/fields and at all times during any interactions with other Participants or AU Employees (e.g., over social media, emails, texts).
This Policy is being provided to Participants to: (1) educate them about the type of conduct that is prohibited and may be considered discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory; (2) notify Participants that AU will not tolerate discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory conduct; (3) instruct Participants as to the reporting requirements and procedures regarding any discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct; and (4) ensure Participants understand the importance of boundaries and demonstrating respect and civility.
Prohibited Discriminatory, Harassing, and Retaliatory Conduct
Discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct based upon Protected Characteristics is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by AU. Any Participant found to have engaged in discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory behavior will be subject to consequential action as detailed in this Policy.
- Discriminatory & Harassing Conduct
Discriminatory conduct involves inappropriately making decisions based on Protected Characteristics, rather than based on skills, qualifications, or abilities. Participants cannot be treated adversely in the terms, conditions, privileges, or opportunities provided for in connection with the Organization’s Activities. Avoiding discrimination necessarily entails providing all Participants with fair and consistent treatment regardless of Protected Characteristics.
Harassing conduct can take a number of different forms and involves behavior that is unwelcome, denigrates, or shows hostility or aversion toward others based on Protected Characteristics. AU strictly prohibits conduct that: (1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment related to a person’s Protected Characteristics; (2) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a Participant’s performance/role in connection with AU Activities; (3) subjects a Participant to inferior terms, conditions, or privileges in connection with AU Activities because of Protected Characteristics; or (4) otherwise adversely affects a Participant’s opportunities in connection with the Organization’s Activities.
Harassing conduct under this Policy need not occur on a regular basis or involve physical touching. Harassing conduct can include verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct. It is conduct that consists of more than petty slights or trivial inconveniences. Harassing conduct is prohibited regardless of whether it occurs as part of a pattern of incidents or a severe, single incident of inappropriate behavior. Harassing conduct is prohibited even if someone does not intend to offend others and even if the person who is offended was not the direct target of the conduct.
Sexual harassing conduct is prohibited regardless of whether it involves individuals of the same or different genders or who identify as transgender. Sexual harassment can exist in the form of heterosexual and homosexual harassment. All types of sexual harassment are prohibited.
Sexually harassing conduct does not need to be sexual in nature. It can include conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion due to an individual’s particular gender/gender identity.
- Prohibited Relationships/Fraternization
Facilitators and Players may not fraternize or engage in romantic relationships. Romantic relationships are not permitted in any instance where there could be a conflict of interest or an actual or perceived imbalance of power.
- Prohibition on Retaliation
Retaliation is strictly prohibited. Participants cannot be treated adversely for exercising their legal rights to be free from harassment and discrimination as prohibited by federal, state, and local laws. Participants will also not be retaliated against for exercising their rights under this Policy.
Participants who make good faith complaints or reports of conduct that they reasonably believe violate the law or this Policy, or who assist in an investigation regarding such conduct, will not be subjected to reprisals or acts of intimidation.
Any person who retaliates against a Participant for reporting a perceived act of discriminatory or harassing conduct or for participating in AU’s investigation in response thereto will be subject to consequential action.
Reporting Discriminatory, Harassing, and/or Retaliatory Conduct
AU requires Participants who believe that they, or others, are being subjected to discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct to promptly notify any of the following individuals (“AU Contacts”) to report an incident of discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct:
- SVP Finance and Operations
- Manager of Talent & Development
- General Counsel
Sport Specific Contacts (Directors of Sport)
- Lacrosse Director of Sport
- Softball Director of Sport
- Basketball Director of Sport
- Volleyball Director of Sport
Participants may also submit an anonymous report.
There is no chain of command.
A complaint or report may be made to any of the above-listed individuals.
Complaints can be made verbally or in writing. Written complaints may be submitted by email (or other means) to any of the AU Contacts identified above. Also, a written complaint form is located in the Player Portal and may be used in making a complaint. Complaints can be made anonymously, if preferred. Individuals reporting discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct on behalf of others should reference the Participant’s name on whose behalf the report is being made. If the written complaint form in the Player Portal is utilized, it will be transmitted to Ana Drucker, SVP Finance and Operations, and Nikki Caldeira, General Counsel.
It is important for all Participants to serve as active bystanders and support one another, raise concerns, notify the AU Contacts, and/or take action if they observe, witness, or learn about discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct.
AU expects prompt reporting of prohibited conduct so that timely and appropriate action may be taken. If a Participant believes he/she/they have been subjected to prohibited discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct, witnessed such conduct, or otherwise becomes aware of such conduct or other inappropriate behavior, or has concerns regarding safety violations or any potential violation of laws, the Participant has an obligation to report the prohibited conduct to one of the AU Contacts.
Facilitators and members of the Player Executive Committee (PEC) are required to report to any of the AU Contacts all conduct they believe may violate this Policy, whether they directly observe the conduct, it is reported to them, or they learn indirectly of the conduct.
If any Director of Sport becomes aware of a complaint or of prohibited conduct under this Policy (whether the Director directly observes the conduct, it is reported to the Director, or the Director learns of the conduct indirectly), the Director must promptly report the complaint or conduct to one (or more) AU Contacts.
Directors of Sport, Facilitators and PEC members must escalate complaints or reports of discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct regardless of whether the complaint or report was made verbally or in writing.
Addressing Reports of Prohibited Conduct/Investigations
AU is committed to promptly addressing complaints and reports involving conduct prohibited under this Policy. AU’s responsive actions may include conducting investigations into the alleged discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct and/or conduct that otherwise violates this Policy.
Directors of Sport, Facilitators, PEC members, and other Participants should not try to conduct their own investigation into harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaints under this Policy. They must promptly report it to the designated AU Contact referenced above. AU has the sole discretion to determine how complaints are investigated and/or addressed.
AU will maintain confidentiality during an investigation to the fullest extent practicable in an effort to protect privacy and to ensure the integrity of the process. Participants involved in the investigation process are expected to cooperate fully, provide truthful/accurate information, and maintain confidentiality during any investigation.
Following any investigations, the Organization will engage in communications as deemed appropriate under the circumstances. A Participant who has made a harassment, discrimination or retaliation complaint under this Policy, will be advised once the investigation has been concluded. AU will share with the information with such Participant as may be appropriate under the circumstances.
Consequences for Violations
Consequential actions will be taken against violators of this Policy, including those who engage in prohibited discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory conduct and all who knowingly allow such conduct to continue by not promptly reporting it to a designated AU Contact or via other means provided under this Policy. Consequential actions may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
- The immediate removal from AU Activities;
- A prohibition from future participation in AU Activities;
- The cancellation/termination of the Participant’s contract;
- The suspension of the Participant from a game(s) or season(s);
- A fine;
- A warning; and/or
- Any other action that AU determines to be appropriate.
AU reserves its right to take appropriate action against Participants for engaging in conduct that violates this Policy regardless of whether such conduct violates any law. However, Participants who violate the law might also face legal consequences beyond the consequences for violations stated in this Policy.