Black Oystercatchers / Eric Carr / Seattle Audubon – Seattle Times Photo Contest
Grievance Policy & Procedures
Approved by the Birds Connect Seattle Board of Directors, November 11, 2021
Purpose and Values Statement
Birds Connect Seattle will truly be for everyone when it is led, staffed, and supported by people of many different backgrounds and perspectives. We celebrate and value people of every age, race, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, class, ability or disability, sexual orientation, and political or religious belief. We also acknowledge that these categories, and especially their intersections, play a significant role in how power and resources have been inequitably distributed historically and today. We are committed to using our position and influence to challenge the systems of oppression that have created and uphold these inequities.
This policy aims to ensure that:
- All perceived violations and complaints of discrimination and harassment are considered seriously and dealt with in a manner that is fair, urgent, and consistent.
- People reporting grievances feel that their grievances are addressed and taken seriously.
- People reporting grievances do not experience any retaliation or victimization.
This policy applies to all people who are a part of the Birds Connect Seattle community, including but not limited to: staff, board, volunteers, donors, program participants, and nonprofit and corporate partners.
A grievance is the reporting of an incident of discrimination or harassment to Birds Connect Seattle.
Incidents of harassment and discrimination include but are not limited to inappropriate comments, microaggressions, slurs, jokes, pictures, objects, threats, physical assaults, intimidation, institutionally or culturally discriminatory policies, practices, and norms, inequitable application of policies, and inequitable or biased treatment, based on age, race, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, class, ability or disability, sexual orientation, and political or religious belief. This includes behaviors, actions, or systems that are not intended to be harmful, and intentional harassment or discrimination.
Examples of Harassment and Discrimination
- Microaggressions, defined as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults” (Source: The People’s Institute Northwest);
- Unwelcome comments and conduct with discriminatory connotation(s) or subject matter that are demeaning to anyone;
- Offensive and vulgar jokes, name-calling, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, stereotyping, physical gestures or enactments, or displaying inappropriate photographs or objects;
- Physical assaults or threats and intimidation;
- Denial or obstruction of access to programs or opportunities with Birds Connect Seattle;
- Policies, practices, and norms that perpetuate institutional or cultural inequities;
- Unequal application of policies;
- Any other misconduct that interferes with building a culture of belonging at Birds Connect Seattle, where people can show up as their true selves.
Reporting and Addressing Incidents of Discrimination or Harassment
Every Birds Connect Seattle staff member and board member may serve as a representative of Birds Connect Seattle if someone needs assistance in addressing a grievance.
- Designated Birds Connect Seattle representatives
- Claire Catania, Executive Director, email@example.com, 206-523-8243 ext. 105
- Equity & Justice Committee Chair and Board Member, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To address an incident and report a grievance, Birds Connect Seattle has the following procedure:
Option 1: Directly Address the Other Person
If you feel safe and able, directly address the person committing the act:
- Address the person committing the incident directly.
- You can choose to have another person with you when addressing the person directly.
Option 2: Speak to a Birds Connect Seattle representative
If you don’t feel safe or able, do not directly address the person committing the incident:
- Bring your concern to a Birds Connect Seattle representative as quickly as possible, using the contact information below or grievance reporting form.
- The Birds Connect Seattle representative will address the grievance according to our investigation and grievance procedure listed below.
- The Birds Connect Seattle representative is responsible for recording the incident through the grievance reporting form and recording any action taken by Birds Connect Seattle.
If you observe an incident of discrimination or harassment
- First, check in with the person experiencing the incident to see what support they need and what course of action would be most helpful to them.
- From there, determine next steps for addressing or reporting the grievance (see above for more details).
- If you see someone address an incident, offer them support and acknowledge their action to continue to build solidarity and community around building a culture of accountability and inclusion.
After a Grievance is Reported
- Once a Birds Connect Seattle representative is notified about a grievance and the person reporting requests follow up, they will first reach out to the person affected to hear their experience and decide on an appropriate course of action that best supports and protects the affected person.
- The first action must be taken by the Birds Connect Seattle representative within three business days.
- Next steps may include:
- A Birds Connect Seattle representative speaking one-on-one with the subject of the grievance to share the feedback, reinforce our values, and determine a corrective action plan.
- Holding a mediation session or other conflict resolution with the affected person and the subject of the grievance.
- Involving a third-party person trained in conflict resolution, specifically around the nature of the grievance.
- Conducting a prompt, thorough, and fair investigation towards a resolution.
- Dismissing subject of grievance from Birds Connect Seattle and/or Birds Connect Seattle programs and events.
- Training or education for the subject of the grievance or community at large.
- Updating Birds Connect Seattle policies, norms, and practices to dismantle institutionalized and/or cultural systems of oppression at Birds Connect Seattle.
- If needed, supporting the person impacted in communicating with law enforcement or taking legal action.
Tracking and Recording Information
Birds Connect Seattle will maintain a record of reported grievances and actions taken to hold ourselves accountable to addressing grievances and continuously learning and growing as an organization.
- All reported grievances must be recorded in the grievance reporting form. This includes reporting from:
- Person who experienced or witnessed an incident of discrimination or harassment,
- People who are contacted about reporting a grievance on behalf of someone else may contact any of the above contacts or complete our grievance reporting form, or
- Seattle Audubon representatives who are contacted about reporting a grievance.
Confidentiality, Access to Information, and Protection from Retaliation
- All grievance reports will be treated as confidential to the extent possible while addressing the grievance.
- Grievances reported via the grievance reporting form will be shared with the Equity & Justice Committee Chair, and other people as appropriate to address the grievance.
- Records of grievances about staff will be placed in their personnel file. A record of the grievances report will not be placed in the personnel file of a staff member reporting an incident.
- Threats, other forms of intimidation, and retaliation against a person reporting a grievance or any other party involved in implementing the grievance policy are violations of the policy and may be grounds for disciplinary action.
Acknowledgements and Sources
Our grievance policy and reporting form are based on the leadership and work of Seattle Works, who used materials from Dent Values, University of Cape Town Policy on Racism and Racial Harassment, Goshen College Policy and Procedures on Racial Misconduct, Racial Harassment & Discrimination, and The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond Northwest.
Jun 20, 2023
Birds Connect Seattle is proud to introduce a new visual identity for our organization, produced by nationally recognized designer and illustrator Gabriel López.
Jun 20, 2023
Birds Connect Seattle has partnered with Chevon Powell since she first launched Golden Bricks Events and the festival and, in recent years, expanded to related events, including Sundaes Outside and Refuge Day. She served on the Name Selection Committee, which vetted and proposed this organization’s new name.
Jun 20, 2023
No longer a barrier, our new name represents an open door for new communities to join us in our mission to advocate and organize for cities where people and birds thrive.