Los Angeles County Young Democrats
AMENDED AS OF: 12/30/2020
The Los Angeles County Young Democrats (LACYD) is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in the organization’s programs and activities may work together in an environment free of harassment, intimidation, denigration, coercion, exploitation, or violence. Every member of the LACYD community should be aware that the organization strictly, absolutely, and wholly prohibits harassment.
LACYD will respond promptly and effectively to reports of harassment and will take appropriate action to prevent, correct and, when necessary, discipline and/or cooperate with law enforcement authorities regarding any behavior that violates this policy.
This policy governs the conduct of all members of LACYD. This policy extends to conduct occurring at official LACYD sanctioned events or events in which LACYD is a participating party or member. Non-members may report harassment that is perpetrated by LACYD members at any LACYD events.
LACYD recognizes that the manner in which members conduct themselves outside of LACYD is generally their own private concern. However, LACYD’s reputation depends to a large degree upon the behavior of its members. When LACYD members fail to exercise good judgment and engage in unethical or immoral conduct, it may reflect negatively on the organization even if that conduct occurs outside of LACYD-sponsored events or activities. LACYD reserves the right in its sole discretion to revoke the membership or suspend the privileges of members, who engage in any conduct occurring outside of LACYD that violates the guidelines of this policy.
Prohibited harassment or discrimination refers to harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, ancestry, citizenship, national origin, religion, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy, marital status, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, being transgender or a gender non-conforming individual or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws. Prohibited harassment and discrimination also includes conduct based on the perception that anyone has any of the aforementioned characteristics, or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics. “Military and veteran status” is defined broadly as “a member or veteran of the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserve, the United States National Guard, and the California National Guard.” All such harassment, whether or not unlawful, is prohibited; and the LACYD has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to prohibited harassment.
The LACYD’s prohibition of unlawful discrimination and harassment specifically includes, is but not limited to, the following behavior to the extent it is violative of applicable law or constitutes an unlawful hostile or discriminatory workplace or condition of employment:
Depending on the circumstances, examples of these behaviors include but are not limited to:
Harassment based on any other protected characteristic is likewise strictly prohibited. This policy prohibits unacceptable conduct in all interactions arising in connection with the operation of the LACYD.
Cyberbullying and Virtual Harassment
The obligation to treat others with dignity and respect extends to cyberspace. “Cyberbullying” is the willful and repeated use of cell phones, computers, and other electronic communication devices to harass and threaten others. Instant messaging, chat rooms and other social media, e-mails, and messages posted on websites are common means of engaging in this type of misconduct. It is not limited to words, but includes images, sounds, data or intelligence. Cyberbullying can include, but is not limited to, defamatory, inaccurate, disparaging, violent, abusive, profane, or sexually oriented material (including so-called “sexting”), and sometimes includes efforts to embarrass or bombard another.
Cyberbullying incidents frequently runs afoul of the other prohibitions in this policy with no less serious disciplinary consequences, but even when it does not, it is severe misconduct for which there is a zero tolerance.
Retaliation against any person for resisting, complaining about, or cooperating in an investigation of any complaint regarding harassment based on a protected class, sexual harassment, sexual violence or domestic violence is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated by LACYD.
Retaliation may take many forms, including threats, intimidation, reprisals, and/or adverse organizational actions against another individual.
Reporting Harassment to LACYD
If you believe that you have been harassed or witnessed harassment by a member of LACYD, you may submit a written complaint to the Executive Board of LACYD by using the form at www.LACYD.org/Reporting. You are not required to file a complaint with the harasser(s). Your complaint should include details of the incident or incidents, names of the individuals involved, and names of any witnesses. Complaints may be submitted anonymously; however, anonymous complaints that are unsubstantiated will be handled as Tier 2 complaints (see below).
The Executive Board will be responsible for reviewing the complaint and conducting follow up as necessary. The Executive Board will determine disciplinary action needed as soon as possible after the incident.
The Executive Board shall determine whether the complaint requires conducting a formal disciplinary investigation (Tier 1 complaint) or if the accused shall undergo counseling without an investigation (Tier 2 complaint).
Tier 1 Complaints
Complaints alleging sexual harassment that is pervasive or severe such that it creates a hostile, uncomfortable, or offensive environment, or otherwise results in a loss or harm to the victim of harassment (such as forcing the victim to leave a conference or gathering prematurely, or canceling their membership with the organization), will also be treated as Tier 1 complaints and are subject to a disciplinary investigation. Complaints alleging retaliation for resisting or complaining about cooperating in an investigation of a complaint regarding harassment will be handled as Tier 1 complaints and are subject to a disciplinary investigation. Individuals accused of conduct underlying a Tier 1 complaint will be temporarily suspended from all LACYD activities while the Executive Board conducts its investigation.
Tier 2 Complaints
Complaints that the Executive Board determines do not require an investigation, but nevertheless involve inappropriate behavior, shall be handled as Tier 2 complaints. The accused in Tier 2 complaints will be counseled and educated by the Executive Board on the organization’s policy and expectations. However, if an individual has been counseled previously because of a Tier 2 complaint, any subsequent complaint of inappropriate behavior that violates this policy will be elevated to a Tier 1 complaint and subject to a disciplinary investigation.
All complaints that are submitted anonymously and are unsubstantiated will be handled as Tier 2 complaints. Any Tier 1 complaints in which the complainant decides not to participate in an investigation will be treated as Tier 2 complaints (i.e., not subject to disciplinary proceedings). The accused in either case will receive counseling and education by the Executive Board.
Complaints Involving Boardmembers
Any Boardmember accused of harassment or inappropriate conduct will be subject to the same disciplinary consequences or proceedings as any other LACYD member. If a complaint is brought against a sitting Executive Board or other Boardmember, that member will be relieved of their capacity on the Board for the duration of the evaluation and/or investigation. If it’s an Executive Board member, that member will be replaced by the Regional Boardmember for their region on the Executive Board to review the complaint and determine the disciplinary action needed. Pending the resolution of the review of the complaint, Boardmembers may be disciplined, removed or reinstated to their positions as appropriate.
When the Executive Board determines that a complaint is a Tier 1 complaint and requires a formal disciplinary investigation, the Executive Board shall formally interview both the complainant and the accused separately, as well as any witnesses that either party identifies in the investigation. The Executive Board shall also examine any evidence relevant to the complaint. The Executive Board shall assume that the facts and events alleged in any complaint filed with LACYD under this Policy are true until proven otherwise. At the end of its investigation, the Executive Board shall summarize its findings and make a recommendation to the LACYD Board. Recommendations may include the suspension or removal of the accused from LACYD. The LACYD Board is responsible for making all final disciplinary decisions for Tier 1 complaints.
If an LACYD member refuses to cooperate in an investigation of a complaint filed against them, the Executive Board may recommend the suspension or removal of said member from LACYD.
If a party wishes to contest the Executive Board’s recommendation, the party may appeal the decision and request a second investigation to be conducted by the Board. Appeals will be granted by a two-thirds vote of the Board. The investigation and decision by the Board shall be final.
If the Executive Board determines that a complaint is a Tier 2 complaint, the Executive Board will inform the individual accused of inappropriate conduct of the nature of the complaint and the facts alleged in the complaint. The identity of the complainant will be kept confidential. A member of the Executive Board will meet with the accused to discuss the complaint and provide counseling on the inappropriateness of the alleged conduct, offer advice to correct any conduct deemed or perceived to be inappropriate, warn of the consequences of engaging in any such conduct in the future, and educate the individual on LACYD’s policy.
Timeline for Investigation
The Executive Board will confirm receipt of a complaint within 2 weeks and initiate a review of the complaint. A recommendation from the Executive Board on action to be taken based on the complaint will be finalized within 60 days from the initiation of the review of the complaint.
Members of the Executive Board or Board shall not share the contents of any complaint with any individual other than the parties involved, and any witnesses named by either party as integral to the investigation proceedings. Any LACYD member determined to have violated the terms of confidentiality of any complaint may be subject to removal from LACYD. The Board shall keep confidential records of all reports related to complaints.
Ensuring Awareness of Policy
To help ensure LACYD remains a safe and welcoming environment for all members, this policy is posted online to be accessible to all. Additionally, harassment materials and training will be provided to the LACYD Officers as needed.
All invitations for LACYD events must include a disclaimer that states: “All attendees at LACYD events are required to comply with the organization’s Anti-Harassment Policy. Those who violate said policy are subject to removal.” A member of the LACYD Board will be designated at all events where alcohol is served to ensure all attendees comply with this policy.
Policy Effective Date
Originally adopted in 2019, this policy has been revised and updated. This version is effective as of December 30, 2020 and applies to all LACYD Officers and members. Any complaints received by LACYD that concern inappropriate conduct by any LACYD member occurring prior to the implementation of this policy will be handled on a case-by-case basis. LACYD may, in its sole discretion, determine that the conduct underlying any corroborated complaint warrants the suspension of privileges or revocation of LACYD membership.