Code of Conduct

The Washington State Redistricting Commission is committed to providing a safe and respectful environment free from discrimination and harassment, regardless of an individual’s race, ethnicity, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or expression, ancestry, pregnancy, or any other characteristic prohibited by law.

As such, the Commission will not tolerate discriminatory or harassing behavior in the workplace or at any of its activities, events, or meetings.

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Commissioners and employees of the Commission are expected to:

  • Conduct themselves with self-awareness, self-respect, and professionalism
  • Treat all others with respect, dignity, and civility, regardless of status or position; and
  • Refrain from engaging in hostile, intimidating, offensive, or unlawful activities or behaviors that may amount to discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or bullying.

This Code of Conduct applies to Commissioners and employees of the Commission, including employees of individual Commissioners, in their contacts and activities related to the work of the Commission since January 15, 2021, the deadline for certification of the four appointed Commissioners under RCW 44.05.030. The Commission will address complaints of violations of the Code of Conduct in accordance with its Respectful Workplace Policy.

Respectful Workplace Policy

The Washington State Redistricting Commission respects the dignity and value of each employee and Commissioner. The Commission is committed to creating and maintaining a diverse work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, and where all people are treated, and are expected to treat others, with dignity and respect. The Commission does not condone or tolerate discriminatory, harassing, retaliatory, intimidating, offensive, or disrespectful conduct prohibited by this policy.

The Commission seeks to foster a safe environment to report potential violations of this policy and considers such reporting to be a benefit to the organization. The Commission should handle complaints in a manner that is apolitical, impartial, prompt, thorough, and respectful. The Commission should provide training to Commissioners and employees on respectful workplace conduct.

A. Application of Policy

This policy provides guidance that clarifies the standards of professional conduct and appropriate behavior for all Commissioners and employees of the Redistricting Commission, including employees of individual Commissioners, in their contacts and activities related to the work of the Commission since January 15, 2021, the deadline for certification of the four appointed Commissioners under RCW 44.05.030. Behavior that does not rise to the level of unlawful conduct under federal or state law may still violate this policy. This policy does not create a contract and does not promise or guarantee any particular benefit or specific action on the part of the Commission. The Commission may amend or revise this policy at its discretion.

B. Prohibited Conduct

The Commission prohibits discrimination and harassment based on a person’s protected status, other offensive behavior as defined in this policy regardless of the basis for the conduct, and retaliation.

Violations of this policy should result in appropriate disciplinary action as specified in part F of this chapter.

1. Discrimination and Harassment

The Commission prohibits discrimination and harassment based on a person’s race, creed, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, family status, pregnancy, military or veteran status, age, genetic status, and/or physical, mental, or sensory disability, use of a service animal, and any other status protected by federal or state law.

Discrimination occurs when an adverse action or decision with respect to employment is made on the basis of protected status.

Harassment means verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a discriminatory nature, related to a protected status, when: (1) submission to the conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment; (2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision affecting an individual; or (3) the conduct unreasonably interferes with the individual’s job performance or creates a work environment that is hostile, intimidating, or offensive.

Sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination involving unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct that is based on sex.

2. Other offensive conduct

No Commissioner or employee should engage in any behavior that a reasonable person would find to be bullying, threatening, intimidating, coercive, demeaning, or derogatory toward another, or which could be reasonably anticipated to have the effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance.

3. Retaliation

Retaliation against any person who reports or participates in an investigation or proceeding relating to a potential violation of this policy is prohibited. Examples of retaliation include adverse employment actions or retaliatory harassment, such as ostracism or threat of an adverse employment action.

C. Reporting Prohibited Conduct

Early reporting and intervention is the most effective way to resolve incidents of prohibited conduct. Delays in reporting can affect the ability to take appropriate action. Accordingly, reports of prohibited conduct should be made promptly after experiencing, observing, or learning of the conduct, so that appropriate action can be taken.

Persons who have experienced or observed prohibited conduct may report it to any of the following:

  1. 1. The employee’s own supervisor
  2. The Redistricting Commission Executive Director
  3. The Redistricting Commission Chair

If a situation involves immediate threats to safety or violent behavior, the complainant is encouraged to contact law enforcement directly. Such contact does not preclude the Commission from taking action pursuant to this policy.

D. Commission Response to Complaints

When a supervisor receives a complaint or becomes aware of prohibited conduct, they should take appropriate action.

Supervisors should provide information about the Commission’s process of addressing violations of this policy and ask what the employee wants to happen next. If the nature of the concerns and the wishes of the affected employee warrant a simple intervention, a supervisor may handle a matter informally. The supervisor may explain the offensive conduct and its impact and require the conduct not reoccur.

If further investigation is warranted, the supervisor should consult with and refer the matter to the Executive Director or Commission Chair.

Upon receipt of a complaint, the Executive Director or Commission Chair should take action. Actions may include conducting an investigation or referring the complaint to a neutral third party external to the Commission to conduct the investigation.

  • An investigation by the Commission or external third party may include collection of evidence, including interviews and documents.
  • The respondent should receive notice of the nature of the complaint and alleged violations of the policy.
  • Findings, recommendations, and supporting documentation from an investigation should be forwarded to the respondent’s supervisor and the Executive Director for appropriate action. The complainant (or alleged victim) and respondent should be notified of the determinations in writing.
  • After completion of the investigation and any necessary personnel action, the respondent’s supervisor or the Executive Director may provide follow-up information to affected individuals, witnesses, and staff, considering the nature of the conduct and the circumstances of each case.

The Commission may provide the following resources through the Human Resources Services provided by Small Agencies Services:

  • Technical assistance and support for managers/supervisors who respond to complaints
  • Technical assistance and support for staff who file or respond to complaints;
  • Training on prevention of harassment, inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature for all staff, and
  • retaliation; and
  • Resources for education, consultation, and mediation.

E. Disciplinary Actions

Disciplinary actions taken should be proportionate to the seriousness of the offense and any prior violations of the policy and may vary depending on the role of the alleged policy violator. For employees this may include verbal or written reprimands, demotion, suspension, or termination.

Supervisors who fail to take appropriate action when they know of conduct that violates this policy may also be subject to disciplinary action.

The Executive Director has authority over access to commission resources and may place limits on access to commission staff. If warranted, the Commission may direct further disciplinary actions.

If there is reason to believe a violation of a criminal law may have occurred, the matter should be referred to the appropriate law enforcement authority. Such a referral does not preclude the Commission from taking action pursuant to this policy.

F. Appeals

If a complainant or respondent is not satisfied with the disposition of the complaint, the person may appeal to the full Commission within thirty calendar days of being advised of the final determinations.

The full Commission may form a sub-committee consisting of a bi-partisan dyad, excluding members of the initial investigation. The sub-committee should review the appeal by examination of the information submitted by the appellant, and the information gathered in the investigation. The sub-committee may seek additional information.

The sub-committee may either uphold the decision or send the decision back to the Commission Chair or Executive Director for modification. All decisions from the sub-committee are final.

G. Special Reporting Requirements

Commissioners, for purposes of this policy, are considered supervisors. Given the unique nature of their supervisory duties, they have distinct reporting duties from other supervisors on the Commission. If a Commissioner learns of, witnesses, or receives a complaint regarding a violation of this policy, the Commissioner should promptly consult with the Executive Director or Commission Chair.

Complaints by non-employees. If a supervisor receives a complaint about a potential violation of this policy from a member of the public engaging in business with the Commission, the supervisor should consult with the Executive Director or Commission Chair as to the appropriate action.

COMPLAINTS ABOUT CERTAIN COMMISSION EMPLOYEES.

  1. 1. If an employee’s supervisor is the alleged violator, a report or complaint should be made to another supervisor, the Executive Director, or the Commission Chair.
  2. If a Commissioner is the alleged violator, a report or complaint should be made to the Commission Chair.
  3. If the Executive Director is the alleged violator, a report or complaint should be made to the Commission Chair.
  4. If the Commission Chair is the alleged violator, a bi-partisan sub-committee should convene to receive and review such complaint.

H. Confidentiality

The Commission is bound by the requirements of the Public Records Act and other applicable laws, and will treat complainant and witness identifying information confidentially to the extent permitted by law.

I. Additional Resources

This policy will terminate when the 2021 Redistricting Commission concludes its business and ceases its operations under RCW 44.05.110. If a complaint is received directly prior to cessation of operations, the policy will continue to remain operative until the complaint is resolved.

J. Links

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