Policies and Resources
PUBLIC THEATER CODE OF CONDUCT.
The Public Theater is committed to providing a conscious, healthy, and respectful work environment for everyone involved in bringing its mission to life. We recognize that the effects of racism, sexism, and other systemic biases are deeply embedded in our national culture, including in the theater world. As an anti-oppressive organization, these behaviors are contrary to who we are and what we aspire to be. The purpose of this document is to help us all work together in new ways to create a workplace where we all feel safe and are given the respect we deserve — where our differences can be celebrated.
The work to provide a conscious, healthy, and respectful work environment can be challenging, but it is something that every employee of The Public Theater must take seriously. Because the spaces in which we work are broad — encompassing administration, auditions, rehearsals, technical work, late nights, parties, public-facing frontline work, and more — we must acknowledge, and not exploit, the blurred boundaries between work and social spaces.
This Code of Conduct should be read in conjunction with The Public Theater’s Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment. All employees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is free of bias, prejudice, discrimination, and harassment at all times. Failure to abide by the expectations set forth in this Code of Conduct and in all Public Theater policies may result in appropriate discipline, up to and including termination of employment.
The Code of Conduct is about helping us all to be a responsible member of The Public Theater community and committing to treating each other well. We all make this commitment together and we will all get there together by supporting this commitment with our actions.
In order to ensure sustainable change, all of us must:
- Understand that in this country, many of our current practices are built on the foundation of institutionalized oppressive systems. At The Public, we are constantly working on dismantling these systems and the behavior that perpetuates them. As a member of The Public, we ask that you:
- Know bullying and address bullying when you see it.
- Know sexual harassment and address sexual harassment when you see it.
- Know racism and address racism when we you it.
- Know homophobia and address homophobia when you see it.
- Know transphobia and address transphobia when you see it.
- Know ableism and address ableism when you see it.
- Know ageism and address ageism when you see it.
- Know xenophobia and address xenophobia when you see it.
- Know all forms of discrimination and harassment and address it when you see it.
- Be aware that many assumptions are grounded in cultural or other stereotypes. Changing our behavior requires that we stay open to seeing the world in new ways.
- Examine our current practices (meeting formats, communication standards, etc.) where oppressive behavior or bias is slipping in, and suggest methods of improvement.
- Create a liberated and supportive environment, a “brave space,” where people can feel safe to share their concerns and experiences.
- Make sure that everyone at The Public Theater knows whom they can talk to if they encounter an instance of discrimination, harassment, or other oppressive behavior.
- Understand and uphold reporting standards and guidelines for employees, contractors, and guests.
WHAT DOES OPPRESSIVE BEHAVIOR LOOK LIKE?
Oppressive behavior is any behavior that marginalizes or diminishes your colleagues. The list of potentially inappropriate behaviors below is not all-inclusive, but it is meant to provide you with examples.
INAPPROPRIATE PHYSICAL CONTACT
- If in doubt, don’t do it. If someone pulls away or asks you to stop it, STOP IT. Hugging and touching can imply a sense of intimacy that is not shared.
- Ex. Touching a coworker's hair without verbal consent
- Ex. Placing a hand on a coworker’s shoulder without verbal consent
- Using slurs or derogatory slang of any kind.
- This includes slurs or derogatory slang that is used within the context of a play we are working on. If you are not an actor who has been assigned to say those words, don’t say it.
- Colleagues and co-workers are not girls, boys, gals, babes, sweeties, or honeys. Address people by their chosen names and pronouns.
- Colleagues should not be subject to a judgmental gaze or commentary on clothing, bodies, sexiness, racial attributes, weight, prettiness, or personality characteristics.
- Co-workers are here to do a job, not to brighten your day. As such they do not need to hear “smile more,” “lighten up,” or “calm down.”
- Co-workers are here to work, not to discuss your or their personal lives or to engage in flirtatious behavior. You can be friendly and caring, but discussion about intimate lives should be saved for a different place and time.
DISMISSIVE AND DISRESPECTFUL BEHAVIORS
- Purposefully using the wrong pronouns for someone, especially after they stated their pronouns.
- Interrupting or talking over people in discussions can be a form of bullying. This behavior dismisses people’s opinions as not worthy to be heard or explored.
- Taking unearned credit for work done by someone else diminishes a colleague’s stature in front of others. Giving public credit for work well done is a respectful way to acknowledge contribution.
- Shaming or public outbursts can be threatening and have no place at The Public Theater.
The Public Theater’s Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment also provides examples of conduct that may constitute discrimination or harassment and that is strictly prohibited.
When someone tells you that you are engaging in oppressive behaviors, take their concerns seriously and correct your actions as appropriate.
If necessary, both parties may need to immediately stop action and step away to allow for an appropriate reset. In addition, individuals are encouraged to bring concerns to the attention of the Public as discussed in the “So What’s Next?” section of this document.
HOW TO HANDLE INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR:
There are several ways to respond when you experience discriminatory, harassment, or other inappropriate behavior, including “calling someone in” and “calling someone out.”
- Call in: If a colleague does something that you find inappropriate, pull them to the side and take the time to foster an open and honest conversation about what transpired.
- Call out: If a colleague does something that you find inappropriate, address the issue outwardly, including bringing it to the attention of people listed in the “So What’s Next?” section of this document. If you feel comfortable, you can respectfully address inappropriate conduct in front of others, especially if you believe it will protect yourself and/or your colleagues from further harm.
In many cases, you may find that “calling someone in” can be what is needed to solve a conflict. However, there may be times when you may need to “call someone out” and reach out to the people listed in the “So What’s Next?” section of this document. Feel free to choose the method that works best for you. Know that you may always report a concern or complaint regardless of whether you have first advised someone privately that their behavior is inappropriate.
WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT
Oppression of any kind is about the ABUSE OF POWER.
Every one of us has a critical responsibility to hear and recognize the impact of our own actions. When we receive feedback that we have (even unintentionally) made someone uncomfortable, we commit to looking inward, becoming even more self-aware, and appropriately adjusting any problematic behavior immediately.
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
The Public Theater is committed to responding to your concerns in a timely, thorough, and impartial manner. Employees wishing to report a concern or complaint regarding discrimination, harassment, or retaliation as described in the Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment should utilize the procedures set forth in the Reporting Procedure section of that policy, namely to reach out to Human Resources.
If you experience any of the behavior addressed in this Code of Conduct or in The Public Theater’s Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment, you are strongly encouraged to reach out to anyone on the list below with whom you feel comfortable and they will talk with you and put together a plan of action to address it.
Direct supervisor or Show Team (line producer, production manager, or company manager).
Stage Manager or AEA Deputy.
- Jeremy Adams, Managing Director: firstname.lastname@example.org, 212.539.8702
- Human Resources Department: email@example.com
- Yuvika Tolani, Associate Producer: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Public Theater is committed to treating all complaints seriously. Therefore, all issues raised will be treated sensitively and with appropriate discretion by the representative you approach. Confidentiality will be respected to the greatest extent practicable consistent with The Public’s obligation to properly investigate and resolve concerns.
Because of the sensitive and personal nature of these incidents, we ask that any individuals who are not directly involved in the investigation and/or resolution respectfully limit discussion and that all individuals refrain from engaging in rumors, gossip, and/or speculation.
This Code of Conduct is a living document and will be periodically updated.
ADDENDUM REGARDING EXTERNAL EVENTS.
The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to help us all work together in new ways to create a workplace where we all feel safe and are given the respect we deserve – where our differences can be celebrated. This addendum is to address how employees can expect to be treated at Public Theater events.
The Public Theater is committed to providing a healthy and respectful work environment for everyone involved in bringing its mission to life. And we extend that commitment to any on-site or off-site work-related events you attend, including but not limited to:
- Fundraising events such as the Gala, donor dinners, corporate events at the Delacorte
- Opening/closing night parties, beer and pizza at first preview
- Staff and crew holidays parties, other after-hours social events with co-workers
Attendees at these events may not be aware of our code of conduct and the standards we’ve created around how we treat one another.
To that end, we have created the following addendum to the Code of Conduct to provide you with guidelines on appropriate behaviors and processes.
WHAT DOES DISRESPECTFUL CONDUCT LOOK LIKE?
The list of potentially inappropriate behaviors below is not all-inclusive, but it is meant to provide you with examples.
- INAPPROPRIATE PHYSICAL CONTACT
- Unwelcome touch of any kind, including hugs, arm/shoulder/leg /hair.
- INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE
- People should expect to be addressed by their chosen name and pronouns.
- Racist language or questions (“Where are you from? No really? Where are your parents from?”)
- Intrusive questions about your gender identity (“Why did you choose that pronoun?”)
SO WHAT’S NEXT? – If you experience or observe harassing or bullying behavior, you can feel empowered to address it directly in the moment if you choose. Some possible ways to address behavior that makes you uncomfortable:
- Simply excuse yourself, “Oh, I see my boss is calling/gesturing to me. Have a good evening.”
- Walk away without further conversation.
- “I like a lot of personal space; I don’t like being touched.”
- “Let’s change the subject.”
- “That question is too personal.”
- “That made me uncomfortable.”
As a bystander, you can interrupt and:
- Change the subject.
- Pull the person who looks uncomfortable away for a quick “meeting.”
- Call on a third person to interrupt.
But what if?
What if the person says: “Don’t you know who I am? I am a big donor to the Public!”
All of the above responses are still appropriate. You have every right to feel respected at work events, regardless of the status of the person with whom you are interacting. Retaliation against employees who stop harassment, or who make complaints in good faith, will not be tolerated.
If you don’t want to address the issue yourself, please reach out to anyone on the below list with whom you feel comfortable. If appropriate, you can also request that the guest be monitored during the event.
If you feel physically threatened, please call on CSS, our security firm. You can also call 911 if you are alone or don’t see security.
- For other situations, you can reach out to your supervisor if present.
- If your supervisor is not present, you can reach out to someone in a leadership role for the event: Theater Manager or Show Team (line producer, production manager, or company manager).
- If the incident occurs at a fundraising event, you can contact: Kristina Hoge, Brooke Amico, Kristen Gongora or Becca Niemeyer.
After the fact, all incidents should be reported to Kieran McGrath, Senior Director of HR, at email@example.com or 212.539.8545.
All issues raised will be treated sensitively and with discretion by the representative you approach. The Public Theater is committed to treating all complaints seriously. Confidentiality will be respected when at all possible.
This Addendum to the Code of Conduct is a living document and will be periodically updated.
(Updated June 2019)
POLICY AGAINST HARASSMENT.
The Public is proud of its professional and congenial work environment, and seeks to ensure that the work environment remains pleasant for all who work here. Accordingly, The Public strongly disapproves of and will not tolerate sexual harassment or harassment based on race, color, national origin, citizenship status, creed, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions), marital status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status and any other status protected by federal, state or local law.
Each employee must exercise their own good judgment to avoid engaging in conduct that may be perceived by others as harassment. Forms of harassment may include, but are not limited to:
- Verbal: repeated sexual innuendoes, racial or sexual epithets, derogatory slurs, off-color jokes, propositions, threats or suggestive or insulting sounds, offensive voice mail messages, questions about another’s sex life or experiences or repeated unwelcome requests for dates;
- Visual/Non-verbal: derogatory posters, cartoons or drawings; suggestive objects or pictures; graphic commentaries or e-mail; leering, staring or stalking; or obscene gestures;
- Physical: unwanted physical contact including touching, grabbing, groping or fondling; interference with an individual’s normal work movement; or assault; and
- Other: making or threatening reprisals as a result of a negative response to harassment.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or any other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (i) submission to the conduct is made either an explicit or implicit condition of employment; (ii) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision; or (iii) conduct occurs that is unwelcome and is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to interfere with an employee’s work performance or create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
Employees must conduct themselves in a manner that ensures others are able to work in an atmosphere free from harassment. Employees who feel that they have experienced or witnessed conduct that could be in violation of this policy are encouraged to promptly notify the offender that their behavior is unwelcome. Additionally, employees must immediately report the incident to their immediate supervisor, their department director and/or the Human Resources Director. Employees must not allow an inappropriate situation to continue by not reporting it, or by complaining only to the alleged harasser. All incidents of objectionable conduct must be reported, including those occurring outside the facility or during off hours. Supervisors or managers who receive a complaint, or otherwise become aware of conduct that could be in violation of this policy, must notify their department director and/or the Human Resources Director.
Investigation of Complaints
The Public will investigate all complaints of harassment, discrimination or other objectionable conduct thoroughly and promptly, as appropriate to the nature and particulars of the complaint. The Public will keep complaints and the terms of their resolution confidential to the fullest extent practicable.
If an investigation leads to a determination that an individual engaged in conduct in violation of the Company’s policies, The Public will take appropriate, corrective action against the offending party, up to and including immediate termination of employment.
Protection against Retaliation
Retaliation of any kind or discriminating against an employee who in good faith reports a suspected violation of this policy or who cooperates in an investigation is prohibited. An employee who violates this policy in any way will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including immediate termination.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT RESOURCES.
Following (Mis)Conduct, a community town hall convening held on Monday, December 4, 2017, at The Public, we have collected resources for those interested in knowing more about ways to combat sexual misconduct and assault in our community.
National Sexual Assault Hotline - 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Safe Horizon 24-Hr Helpline - 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)
Creating technology to combat sexual assault, empower survivors, and advance justice – an online sexual assault reporting system.
Not in Our House
A Chicago-based movement founded to fight against sexual discrimination and harassment as well as gender-based violence in the theater community.
The Royal Court’s “Code of Behaviour”
A comprehensive code of behavior created by the Royal Court Theatre, offering concrete steps and actions to prevent sexual harassment and abuses of power in the theater community.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. Operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
CVTC (Crime Victims Treatment Center) is dedicated to helping survivors of interpersonal violence heal. They offer crisis intervention, individual and group trauma-focused therapy, legal advocacy, complementary therapy and psychiatric consultation. All services are confidential and completely free of charge.
The Sexual Harrassment Handbook by Linda Gordon Howard
A guide by attorney Linda Gordon Howard on how to recognize and effectively deal with sexual harrassment in the workplace.
The Actors Fund
Offers emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care and insurance counseling, senior care, secondary career development, and more for theater professionals
Human Resources for the Arts
A coalition of New York-based artists and lawyers dedicated to educating and supporting arts workers around sexual harrassment issues.
The Empowering Internet Safety Guide for Women
A guide on internet safety written by women for women.
The Recovery Village: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Educational materials on how to identify the signs, types, and treatments for PTSD.