This document is for the information of any visitor to a Siddha Yoga venue. It should be available to view in every Siddha Yoga Ashram, meditation centre, chanting and meditation group and retreat site in a place accessible to guests attending Siddha Yoga events.
Unlawful harassment and discrimination undermine the functioning of SYDUK, and are strictly prohibited. Therefore, SYDUK endeavours to provide an environment in which all staff members, sevites, visiting workers and employees of and visitors to Siddha Yoga Ashrams, meditation centres, chanting and meditation groups, and retreat sites treat each other respectfully and courteously, and are able to participate in activities, offer seva, work, and live (when that applies), in an atmosphere that is free of unlawful harassment and discrimination.
1. SYDUK expects that all participants, visitors, sevites, staff members, employees and visiting workers treat each other with dignity, respect, and courtesy.
2. SYDUK is committed to maintaining an atmosphere free of unlawful harassment and discrimination. SYDUK does not tolerate unlawful harassment or discrimination.
3. Unlawful harassment may include, but is not limited to, verbal conduct, physical conduct and electronic communications that cause anxiety, distress or humiliation by pestering, persecuting, excluding or molesting a person due to their age, ancestry, national origin, colour, race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Other unlawful harassment may include unwelcome epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, or denigrating jokes; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; and the display or circulation in the seva/workplace or accommodations or elsewhere on the premises, of written or graphic material that shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group based on the above-mentioned protected categories.
4. SYDUK does not tolerate sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual or sex-based behaviour, including but not limited to, verbal conduct, physical conduct and electronic communications of a sexual nature, that unreasonably interferes with seva, work, accommodations or participation in activities of the Ashram, meditation centre or chanting and meditation group, is made a condition of seva, work, accommodations, or participation in the activities of the Ashram, meditation centre, or chanting and meditation group; is the basis of decisions affecting an individual’s seva, work, accommodations or participation in the activities of the Ashram, meditation centre or chanting and meditation group; or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. Examples of sexual harassment include unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favours; unsolicited sexual or obscene comments (verbal, written, or communicated electronically), sounds or gestures; sexist remarks about a person’s body or sexual activities; sexual jokes and innuendo; display of sexually suggestive objects, cartoons, or pictures; repeated requests for sexual involvement despite rejection of the advances; pressure for sexual activity and physical assault. Behaviour may range from subtle to distinct and overt, and includes unwelcome sexual advances made by members of either the same or opposite gender.
5. This policy applies to any situation on Siddha Yoga premises, or in any Siddha Yoga events.
6. All sevites, staff members, residents, participants, employees and visitors are responsible for complying with the letter and spirit of this policy and must promptly report any conduct they have observed or experienced that may violate this policy. All alleged incidents of unlawful harassment and discrimination must be reported, using the reporting procedure described in Section C of this policy.
7. SYDUK takes allegations of unlawful harassment and discrimination seriously, and will take all reasonable measures to enforce this policy in any Siddha Yoga location or event.
8. Complaints will be promptly investigated in an impartial manner. All sevites, staff members, participants, employees and visitors are obliged to assist in any harassment investigation if they are asked to do so by the designated investigators.
9. Investigations into alleged incidents of unlawful harassment or discrimination will be kept as confidential as possible. Information will be shared on a need-to-know basis only.
10. Disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to, training in appropriate conduct, supervisory training and/or disciplinary action up to and including termination of seva privileges, staff status, accommodations and/or permission to visit Siddha Yoga premises.
11. Retaliation (defined as behavior that threatens or penalizes an individual) against those who have reported incidents of unlawful harassment and discrimination or who have assisted in the investigation of a possible violation, will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of seva privileges, staff status, accommodations, and/or permission to visit Siddha Yoga premises.
12. If SYDUK concludes that a sevite, staff member, resident, visitor, employee or visiting worker has filed a claim of unlawful harassment and discrimination under this policy without cause and in bad faith has provided false information regarding the claim or has repeatedly filed complaints that are found to be groundless, that person is subject to sanction.
Please note that SYDUK does not intend this policy to preclude close, appropriate, voluntary relationships or welcome expressions of compassion or friendship among staff members, visiting sevites, visitors, employees, or visiting workers that do not violate the law.
Any sevite, participant, staff member, resident, employee, or visitor who thinks he or she has been discriminated against or harassed, or who has observed unlawful harassment or discrimination, must promptly take the following steps:
1. If you are comfortable doing so, firmly, clearly and directly communicate to the offending individual that the conduct is unwelcome, and request that the offensive behaviour stop.
2. If the behaviour continues or if you do not feel comfortable confronting the alleged harasser, you must report the matter to any one of the following: your supervisor, a member of the Centre Steering Committee, or the host of a Siddha Yoga chanting and meditation group; or a member of the National Steering Committee or Trustee. It is not necessary to file a complaint with your immediate supervisor or leadership present at the time, if you prefer not to. You can go to any of the other designated persons.
3. It is important that details of the behaviour, dates, times, locations and witnesses, if any, to the harassment can be provided.
4. A prompt, thorough and objective investigation of the complaint will be carried out.
5. If the harassment is serious and threatening, and needs to be dealt with immediately, report the incident to any supervisor or manager.
If, after reporting your complaint, you believe that inadequate action is being taken, inform a member of the Centre Steering Committee or the host of a Siddha Yoga chanting and meditation group; or a member of the National Steering Committee or Trustee.