Policy on the prevention and protection from sexual harassment

Impact Hub Kigali (“IHK”) is committed to providing a safe environment for all its employees free from discrimination on any ground and from harassment at work including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is sanctioned by local and international labor laws and is against IHK’s values.

IHK will operate a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment in the workplace, treat all incidents seriously and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment. Any person found to have sexually harassed another will face disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment.

All complaints of sexual harassment will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be victimized for making such a complaint.

I. Definition of sexual harassment

IHK subscribes to the definition provided by the International Labour Organization as follows:

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that makes a person feel offended, humiliated, and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person’s employment, as well as situations that create an environment that is hostile, intimidating, or humiliating for the recipient.

Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal or non-verbal. Examples of conduct or behavior which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

 

Physical conduct

  • Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling, or inappropriate touching
  • Physical violence, including sexual assault
  • Physical contact, e.g., touching, pinching
  • The use of job-related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favors

Verbal conduct

  • Comments on a worker’s appearance, age, private life, etc.
  • Sexual comments, stories, and jokes
  • Sexual advances
  • Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
  • Insults based on the sex of the worker
  • Condescending or paternalistic remarks
  • Sending sexually explicit messages (by phone or by email)

 

Non-verbal conduct

  • Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material
  • Sexually suggestive gestures
  • Whistling
  • Leering

Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of their sex and of the sex of the harasser. IHK recognizes that sexual harassment may also occur between people of the same sex. What matters is that the sexual conduct is unwanted and unwelcome by the person against whom the conduct is directed.

IHK recognizes that sexual harassment is a manifestation of power relationships and often occurs within unequal relationships in the workplace, for example between manager or supervisor and employee.

II. Scope

Anyone, including employees of IHK, clients, customers, casual workers, contractors, consultants, participants in projects or initiatives, participants in boot camps or training courses, or visitors who sexually harass another will be reprimanded by this internal policy.

Staff members who are alleged to have committed sexual harassment will be subject to possible disciplinary or other administrative action by this policy. 

Non-staff personnel who are alleged to have committed sexual harassment will be subject to action by the terms and conditions of their contract or project. If terms and conditions are silent on the matter or refer to IHK’s policies, and a participant or group engages in harassing behavior, IHK retains the right to take any actions to maintain a positive event environment for all participants and staff. This includes warning the offender or expulsion from the event. Event participants who are asked to cease harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

All sexual harassment is prohibited whether it takes place within IHK premises or outside, including at social events, business trips, training sessions or conferences in which IHK acts as partner or sponsor. 

III. Complaints procedures

Anyone subject to sexual harassment should, if possible, inform the alleged harasser that the conduct is unwanted and unwelcome. IHK recognizes that sexual harassment may occur in unequal relationships (i.e. between a supervisor and his/her employee) and that it may not be possible for the victim to inform the alleged harasser.

If a victim cannot directly approach an alleged harasser, he/she can approach any or multiple of the designated staff members responsible for receiving complaints of sexual harassment as follows in no particular order:

  • Board members
  • Directors
  • Senior Program Managers & Program Managers

When a designated person receives a complaint of sexual harassment, he/she will:

  • immediately record in writing the dates, times, and facts of the incident(s)
  • ascertain the views of the victim as to what outcome he/she wants
  • ensure that the victim understands the company’s procedures for dealing with the complaint
  • discuss and agree on the next steps: either informal or formal complaint, on the understanding that choosing to resolve the matter informally does not preclude the victim from pursuing a formal complaint if he/she is not satisfied with the outcome
  • keep a confidential written record of all discussions
  • respect the choice of the victim
  • ensure that the victim knows that they can complain outside of the company through the relevant country/legal framework

Throughout the complaints procedure, a victim is entitled to be helped by a counselor within the company. IHK will nominate several counselors and provide them with special training to enable them to assist victims of sexual harassment. IHK recognizes that because sexual harassment often occurs in unequal relationships within the workplace, victims often feel that they cannot come forward. IHK understands the need to support victims in making complaints.

Complaints may be filed in oral or in writing form, but all recordings must be undertaken in written form. The process shall provide a fair method for both sides to be heard and to receive information. Complaints are not subject to any deadlines. 

1.1 Informal complaints mechanism

If the victim wishes to deal with the matter informally, the designated person will:

  • allow the alleged harasser to respond to the complaint 
  • ensure that the alleged harasser understands the complaints mechanism
  • facilitate discussion between both parties to achieve an informal resolution that is acceptable to the complainant, or refer the matter to a designated mediator within the company to resolve the matter
  • ensure that a confidential record is kept of what happens
  • follow up after the outcome of the complaints mechanism to ensure that the behavior has stopped
  •  ensure that the above is done speedily and within 7 days of the complaint being made. 
1.2 Formal complaints mechanism

If the victim wants to make a formal complaint or if the informal complaint mechanism has not led to a satisfactory outcome for the victim, the formal complaint mechanism should be used to resolve the matter.

Formal reports may be made anonymously and may be filed to the following [email/link/google form/physical box].

The designated person who initially received the complaint may deal with the matter him/herself, refer the matter to another designated staff member listed in Section III or refer it to a committee of three other IHK staff members appointed by their peers. The committee may invite an independent expert if it deems it necessary. 

 

The person carrying out the investigation will:

  • interview the victim and the alleged harasser separately
  • interview other relevant third parties separately
  • decide whether or not the incident(s) of sexual harassment took place
  • produce a report detailing the investigations, findings, and any recommendations
  • if the harassment took place, decide what the appropriate remedy for the victim is, in
  • consultation with the victim (i.e.- an apology, a change to working arrangements, a promotion if the victim was demoted as a result of the harassment, training for the harasser, discipline, suspension, dismissal)
  • follow up to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, that the behaviour has stopped and that the victim is satisfied with the outcome
  • if it cannot be determined that the harassment took place, he/she may still make recommendations to ensure the proper functioning of the workplace
  • keep a record of all actions taken
  • ensure that all records concerning the matter are kept confidential
  • ensure that the process is done as quickly as possible and in any event within 15 days of the complaint being made.
1.3 Outside complaints mechanisms

A person who has been subject to sexual harassment can also make a complaint outside of the company. They can do so through: 

  • The Police Anti Gender Based Violence helpline 3512. 
  • The Isange One-Stop Centers for gender-based violence was established under Prime Minister’s Order N°001/03 of 11/01/2012 determining modalities in which Government Institutions Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence: 3029 or +250 788 311 252. These centers provide 25/7 multidisciplinary free services. 
  • HAGURUKA – RWANDA, Kimironko, KG 11 AV 95, Remera, KG 182 St 19, Telephone No: +250788300834. Hotline: 4311 and Rwanda’s Women’s Network KG 504, Kagugu, Kigali, Rwanda, Tel: +250 788 334 257 | Toll Free: 3435. 

IHK will provide support to the victim in reporting to authorities and supporting organizations. 

1.4 Sanctions and disciplinary measures

Anyone who has been found to have sexually harassed another person under the terms of this policy is liable to any of the following sanctions:

  • verbal or written warning
  • adverse performance evaluation
  • suspension
  • dismissal

The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied to ensure that incidents of sexual harassment are not treated as trivial. Certain serious cases, including physical violence, will result in the immediate dismissal of the harasser.

IV. Prevention

Impact Hub Kigali is committed to promoting a working environment free of sexual harassment in which all people are treated with respect. For that purpose, it will:  

  • Request contractors, suppliers, and partners adhere to zero-tolerance for sexual harassment and commit to taking adequate action if faced with sexual harassment allegations, in the absence of which, contractual arrangements can be terminated;
  • Offer targeted training for managers and personnel designated to provide support on sexual harassment under this policy on the prevention of sexual harassment, building the skills necessary to effectively communicate with targets/victims/affected individuals of sexual harassment and to respond appropriately;
  • Ensure information and mechanisms are accessible to all staff, as well as, to the extent possible and taking into account the terms and conditions of the contracts with non-staff personnel and other applicable policies, consultants, other personnel, interns, and beneficiaries of Impact Hub Kigali’s activities in all locations.
V. Implementation of this policy

Impact Hub Kigali will ensure that this policy is widely disseminated to all relevant persons. It will be included in the IHK Code of Conduct. All new employees must be trained on the content of this policy as part of their induction into the company.

Periodically, Impact Hub Kigali will require all employees to attend a refresher training course on the content of this policy.

It is the responsibility of every manager to ensure that all his/her employees are aware of the policy.

VI. Monitoring and evaluation

Impact Hub Kigali recognizes the importance of monitoring this sexual harassment policy and will ensure that it anonymously collects statistics and data as to how it is used and whether or not it is effective.

Supervisors, managers, and those responsible for dealing with sexual harassment cases will report on compliance with this policy, including the number of incidents, how they were dealt with, and any recommendations made. This will be done every year. As a result of this report, the company will evaluate the effectiveness of this policy and make any changes needed.