Philadelphia Writer’s Conference (“PWC”) believes in respecting the dignity of every participant in the Conference. Accordingly, this policy forbids any unwelcome conduct that is based on an individual’s race, color, religion or creed, national origin or ancestry, sex, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy, use of guide or support animals because of the blindness, deafness or physical handicap of the user or because the user is a handler or trainer of support or guide animals, domestic or sexual violence victim status, marital status, familial status, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, ethnicity, or any other protected characteristic or trait of an individual or that individual’s family or relatives.

This policy applies to any PWC participant, workshop leader, Board Member, vendor, staff member, or anyone else affiliated with PWC in any way. This policy applies to conduct that occurs:

  • At any PWC workshop or official sponsored event;
  • PWC-related settings such as social events; or
  • Outside PWC if it has an effect on PWC in any way.

The conduct prohibited by this policy, whether verbal, physical, or visual, includes any discriminatory action or unwelcome conduct that affects someone because of that individual’s protected status. Among the types of unwelcome conduct prohibited by this policy are epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, intimidating acts, and the circulation or posting of written or graphic materials that show hostility toward individuals because of their protected status. PWC prohibits such conduct even if it is not sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute unlawful harassment.

Sexual Harassment

This policy forbids harassment based on gender regardless of whether the offensive conduct is sexual in nature. Any unwelcome conduct based on gender is also forbidden by this policy regardless of whether the individual engaged in harassment and the individual being harassed are of the same or of different genders.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, or visual conduct based on sex constitute unlawful sexual harassment when (1) submission to such conduct becomes an implicit or explicit term or condition of participation in PWC or advancement in a writing career, (2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for any decision affecting participation in PWC or advancement in a writing career, or (3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s participation in PWC, affecting an individual’s writing career, or otherwise creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

This policy forbids harassment based on gender regardless of whether it rises to the level of a legal violation. Examples of gender-based harassment forbidden by this policy include, but are not limited to:

  • Offensive sex-oriented verbal kidding, teasing, or jokes;
  • Repeated unwanted sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions;
  • Continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature;
  • Graphic or degrading comments about an individual’s appearance or sexual activity;
  • Offensive visual conduct, including leering, making sexual gestures, the display of offensive sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons or posters;
  • Unwelcome pressure for sexual activity;
  • Offensively suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations; or
  • Offensive physical contact such as patting, grabbing, pinching, or brushing against another’s body.

Sexual Favoritism

This policy also forbids sexual favoritism in the making of any decision. Sexual favoritism occurs when a Board member, staff member, or workshop leader makes a decision based upon a PWC participant’s receptiveness to sexual advances. PWC prohibits that conduct even if it is isolated in nature and not sufficiently widespread to create an issue of unlawful conduct.

Anti-Fraternization

This policy forbids workshop leaders and Board members from flirting with, asking for dates with, or dating any Conference participants for the duration of the conference. Violations of this policy will be subject to discipline up to and including a permanent ban from future Conferences.

Participant Responsibility

Everyone at PWC is responsible for ensuring that our conference is free from prohibited discrimination or harassment.

Avoiding Prohibited Conduct

Everyone is expected to avoid any behavior or conduct that could reasonably be interpreted as prohibited harassment; the PWC Board of Directors is not exempt from the requirements of this policy. Everyone has the right to inform any person associated with PWC that his or her conduct is unwelcome.

Workshop Leader and Board Member Responsibility

Any workshop leader or Board member who is aware of conduct inconsistent with this policy or who receives a report of conduct inconsistent with this policy is to report it immediately.

Reporting Prohibited Conduct

If you feel you have experienced or witnessed any conduct that is inconsistent with this policy, then you are to immediately notify the PWC Anti-Harassment Committee. These are the individuals who are authorized by this policy to receive and act upon complaints of harassment on behalf of PWC. The PWC Anti-Harassment Committee consists of the Current President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, and Immediate Past-President of the Executive Board.

There are three methods by which you may notify the Anti-Harassment Committee of any conduct inconsistent with this policy:

Please provide enough detail so that your concern can be properly investigated.

This policy does not require reporting harassment or discrimination to any individual, including a Board member, who is creating the discrimination or harassment. If the person creating the discrimination or harassment is on the Anti-Harassment Committee or you otherwise feel uncomfortable notifying the Anti-Harassment Committee, you may also notify Stephanie King a PWC Board Member who has been designated to receive complaints about harassment, at advocate.pwc@gmail.com.

PWC Response

All complaints describing conduct that is inconsistent with this policy will be promptly investigated. PWC will make reasonable efforts to separate the parties involved in the complaint while the investigation proceeds. PWC will take further appropriate action once the complaint has been thoroughly investigated. After investigating, PWC might conclude that a violation of this policy has occurred. PWC might also conclude, depending on the circumstances, that no violation of policy occurred or that PWC cannot conclude whether or not a violation occurred.

If an investigation reveals that a violation of this policy or other inappropriate conduct has occurred, the PWC will take corrective action, including discipline up to and including a permanent ban from future Conferences, as is appropriate under the circumstances. PWC may discipline any participant, workshop leader, or Board member for any inappropriate conduct discovered in investigating reports made under this policy, regardless of whether the conduct amounts to a violation of law or even a violation of this policy. If the person who engaged in inappropriate conduct is unaffiliated with PWC, then PWC will take whatever corrective action is reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances.

Confidentiality

In investigating and imposing any discipline, PWC will attempt to preserve confidentiality to the extent reasonably possible given the needs of the investigation.

No Retaliation

PWC prohibits retaliation through harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion, discrimination and/or denial of access to PWC benefits such as contact with agents or review of writing materials, for:

  • Making a good faith complaint with PWC or any third party;
  • Opposing in good faith any act, practice, or procedure that is unlawful or improper according to PWC policies and procedures;
  • Testifying, assisting, providing evidence or participating in an internal or external investigation or proceedings; or
  • Exercising any right under, or participating in any process established by federal, state, or local laws, or PWC policies and procedures.

Retaliation or attempted retaliation is a violation of this Policy and anyone who engages in retaliatory behavior will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including a permanent ban from future Conferences. Anyone who experiences or witnesses any conduct believed to be retaliatory should immediately follow the reporting procedures set forth above in the section entitled “Reporting Prohibited Conduct.”

Acceptance of Policy

All PWC participants, workshop leaders, Board members, staff members, and anyone else affiliated with PWC in any way have a personal responsibility to conduct themselves in compliance with this policy and to report any observations of conduct consistent with this policy. If you have any questions concerning this policy, please contact the Anti-Harassment Committee.