The Standards

The Standards are a template to be customized by each group that adopts them. Organizations and projects that adopt The Standards should take it upon themselves to enforce them. Best practices include designating two compliance officers who will promptly respond to and investigate reported violations. Please download or copy the text below and customize for your production. If you use and enforce these standards we ask that you include a copy of the Chicago Media Standards logo in your end credits to symbolize your commitment as an ally in our community. Logo can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

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Chicago Media Standards

Code of Conduct Policy Template for Media and Film Industry

(enter production name here) values the passion and personal vulnerability in every creative project, so we are committed to providing a safe, inclusive and respectful environment free of discrimination and harassment.

This policy protects the rights of all members of our company, including cast, crew, employees, contract workers, vendors and other persons who do business with (enter production name here).

It covers conduct and behavior, both online and offline, by or against the aforementioned parties, in all (enter production name here) workspaces and related settings, including but not limited to:

  • Meetings and correspondences
  • Film set and shoot days
  • Events and related social settings
  • On social media

(enter production name here) has zero-tolerance for any form of unlawful harassment or discrimination.

Discrimination is illegal, illogical and immoral, and it is strictly prohibited to treat anyone differently or unfairly because of their sex, pregnancy, gender identity, race, religion, national origin, age, disability or any other characteristic or consideration protected by federal, state or local laws.  

Harassment is a form of illegal discrimination. It includes conduct or behavior that has the effect of creating a hostile or offensive work environment, such as unwelcome touching, racial slurs or stereotypes, demeaning or derogatory remarks or name-calling, off-color jokes, lewd images or videos, prolonged staring or persistent romantic advances.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has defined sexual harassment in its guidelines as follows:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is explicitly or implicitly a condition of employment or pay.
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Unwelcome is the critical word. Unwelcome does not mean “involuntary.” A victim may submit to certain conduct and actively participate in it even though it is offensive and objectionable. Therefore, conduct is unwelcome whenever the person subjected to it considers it unwelcome.

Examples of sexual harassment may include but are not limited to:

  • Actual or attempted sexual assault
  • Unwelcome touching of another’s body
  • Touching or exposing one’s own genitals
  • Lewd, obscene or suggestive remarks, questions or jokes
  • Possession of or use of sexually suggestive objects in the workplace/set
  • Pressuring for dates or sex
  • Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person’s personal sex life
  • Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences or history
  • Unwanted telephone calls, notes, or materials of a sexual nature

Although the above defines “unlawful” harassment, it is also a violation of these standards to commit or engage in any unprofessional or inappropriate conduct based on any protected characteristic, whether or not such conduct rises to the level of “unlawful” harassment.

Speaking Up:

It is our collective responsibility to own and protect a safe and respectful work environment. If you are comfortable doing so, clearly and directly communicate to the offending individual that his/her conduct is unwelcome, and request that the offensive behavior stop. If you are not comfortable in clearly and directly communicating to the offending individual, please follow the steps in the next paragraph.

Whistleblower Reporting Procedures:

If you witness or experience suspected harassment or discrimination, report it as soon as it happens by contacting a compliance officer in person, by phone, text, or by emailing (enter contact information for designated responders). In your report document or otherwise record each incident of alleged harassment, including the date, time, place, what was said or done, and the surrounding circumstances, whenever possible.

Procedures in Cases of Harassment:

Every report of harassment will be investigated promptly and impartially by (enter production name here). Reports will be kept confidential to the fullest extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

Investigations will document details from the initial report(s) and all other possible witnesses, as well as written or electronic evidence. Once an investigation is complete, parties involved will be notified about the results and any corrective and preventive actions taken.

Consequences:

We are committed to enforcing this policy at all levels of the organization. If a violation occurs, (enter production name here) will take prompt and appropriate remedial action designed to stop the harassment or discrimination, correct its effects, and ensure that it does not recur.

(Enter production company name here) will flexibly apply response mechanisms for those who violate this policy, up to and including immediate discharge, removal from leadership and expulsion from related settings.  None are exempt, regardless of role or position of power. In the case of discharge, the offender relinquishes his/her right to further compensation, credit, etc.

Prohibition on Retaliation:

It is strictly prohibited to retaliate in any way against anyone who makes a good faith complaint of harassment or discrimination, regardless of whether the complaint is well founded or ultimately determined to be unfounded.

Laws prohibit punishing anyone for asserting their rights to be free from employment discrimination including harassment.  Asserting these Equal Employment Opportunity rights is called “protected activity,” and it can take many forms. For example, it is unlawful to retaliate against someone for:

  • Filing a report or being a witness in an investigation or lawsuit
  • Communicating with a supervisor or manager about employment discrimination, including harassment
  • Refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination
  • Resisting sexual advances, or intervening to protect others
  • Requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice
  • Asking managers or co-workers about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages

Commitment to Prevention:

We are equally committed to empowering every (enter production name here) employee, contract worker and community member with the skills and knowledge to effectively assist in protecting a safe and respectful environment. To this end, (enter production name here) has provided training for all members and staff to support our anti-harassment policy and efforts.