Author: Harriet McAtee, Director
1. Harassment Against Members of Protected Class
We do not permit managers, employees, teachers, independent contractors, students, or others in the workplace to harass any other person because of age, gender (including pregnancy), race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, genetic information, or any other basis proscribed by law.
Harassment is unwelcome verbal or non-verbal conduct, based upon a person’s protected characteristic, that (i) denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward the person because of the characteristic and which affects their employment opportunities or benefits; (ii) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with their work performance; (iii) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment; or (iv) has the purpose or effect of creating a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
Harassment includes epithets, slurs, name calling, negative stereotyping, insults, intimidation, ridicule, threatening, intimidating or hostile acts, denigrating jokes, and display in the workplace of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group based on their protected characteristic.
Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated minor incidents may not rise to the level of harassment.
2. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
We do not tolerate sexual harassment at Nourish Yoga Training. Sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome sexual attention, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment
Examples of sexual harassment include unwanted and unnecessary physical contact; offensive remarks (including unwelcome comments about appearance); obscene jokes or other inappropriate use of sexually offensive language; the display in the studio of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; and unwelcome sexual advances by teachers, students, customers, clients, or other visitors to a studio. Non-physical gesture, behavior, unnecessary physical contact, verbal suggestion, or innuendo may constitute sexual harassment.
3. Sexual Misconduct
We prohibit sexual misconduct at Nourish Yoga Training. Sexual misconduct is any unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advance including requests for sexual favors, sexual touching, and verbal, visual, orphysical conduct that creates a sexually hostile environment in a yoga class or studio.
Sexual misconduct also arises if a teacher engages in conduct that has the purpose or result of requiring a student to submit to such conduct to obtain any benefit or privilege relating to the study or teaching of yoga. While it is not possible to list all the circumstances that may constitute sexual misconduct, the following are examples of misconduct:
- Unwanted sexual teasing, stories, jokes, remarks, or questions
- Sexual comments, stories or innuendo
- Turning work discussions to sexual topics
- Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history
- Asking personal questions about social or sexual life
- Sexual comments about a person’s clothing, anatomy, or looks
- Telling lies or spreading rumors about a person’s personal sex life
- Referring to an individual as a doll, babe, sweetheart, honey, or similar term
- Repeatedly asking a person out on dates who is not interested
- Unwanted letters, telephone calls, or sending materials of a sexual nature
- Stalking on social media
- Unwanted pressure for sexual favors
- Blocking a person’s path or following a person
- Giving unwelcome personal gifts
- Displaying sexually suggestive materials
- Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements
- Unwanted sexual looks or gestures
- Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking
- Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person
- Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching
- Giving an unwanted massage
- Sexually oriented asana adjustments or touch
- Promising enlightenment or special teachings or status in exchange for sexual favors
- Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault
Teachers must maintain professional relationships with their students. This includes appropriate social and sexual boundaries. Teachers must create and maintain a safe environment that engenders trust and mutual respect with the students.
4. Romantic Relationships
Teachers shall avoid getting into personal or sexual relationships with students that may result in the impairment of their professional judgment or that may compromise the integrity of their teaching. If a relationship begins to develop, the teacher should bring it to Nourish Yoga Training’s management.
Yoga teachers are committed to maintaining impeccable standards of professional integrity and to promoting the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of their students. Teachers recognise the inherent imbalance of power in the teacher-student relationship and recognise that romantic relationships with students have the potential of exploiting the trust of students, creating dependent relationships, and compromising the integrity of the teacher.
Teachers should avoid acting on, responding to, or allowing sexual contact or romantic attraction with a student even if the student initiates the relationship. Teachers should ensure that their relationships with students are always professional, and not open to misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
However, if a romantic attraction does begin to develop with a student, teachers should seek guidance from Nourish Yoga Training’s management before acting on the attraction. Nourish Yoga Training will then decide how it wishes to handle the relationship. For example, it may bless the relationship, but establish boundaries to prevent conflicts of interest and other problems. It may also decide that either the teacher or student should leave the school.
If a teacher has a pre-existing relationship with a student that did not arise from the teacher-student relationship, it should be brought to the attention of Nourish Yoga Training’s management so that it can guide the couple in maintaining high ethical standards.