[tor-project] questions about new community safety documents and practices...
stderr at riseup.net
stderr at riseup.net
Sat Jul 30 16:11:58 UTC 2016
I have a question about the Harassment Prevention Policy, available
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The policy seems to conflate harassment and discrimination, specifically
in this clause:
"Both the Company and U.S. law also prohibit unlawful workplace
harassment. Unlawful harassment is unwelcome conduct, based on a
Protected Characteristic, that is sufficiently severe and pervasive to
alter the terms and conditions of employment or create an
intimidating, offensive, or abusive working environment. Prohibited
harassment can take many forms, including, but not limited to the
following, when based on a Protected Characteristic:
•Making or using derogatory comments, emails, letters, epithets,
slurs, or explicit jokes.
•Derogatory gestures, posters, photographs, cartoons, drawings,
websites, emails, text messages, or other physical or electronic media.
•Touching, assaulting, impeding, or blocking normal movements."
Earlier in the document, a "protected characteristic" is defined as:
"It is against U.S. law and strictly against our policy for any
employee or non-employee to discriminate against or harass any
Company employee, contractor or volunteer on the basis of race, color,
religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition,
genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender
identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, military or
veteran status, or any other protected status (each a “Protected
Anti-discrimination statutes and policies are commonly defined around
"protected classes" or "protected characteristics," since discrimination
based upon other characteristics is both clearly allowed and beneficial
(performance, fitness for the advertised job opening, etc.), but
harassment statues and policies typically don't include references to
protected classes or characteristics, since harassment is always
negative and thus characteristic agnostic.
Simply put: the plain language of the Tor Project's new policy would
seem to allow harassment, provided that it is not *based upon* a
protected characteristic. This would also seem to allow the harassment
of anyone, including women, racial minorities, or other people whose
rights such a policy would presumably be designed to protect, as long as
that harassment is not "based upon" those characteristics.
I would strongly prefer if the Tor Project would separately define
harassment and discrimination. If someone is turned down for a job on
the basis of their race or veteran status, that is discrimination, but
not harassment. If someone receives extensive unwanted communications
from a co-worker, for example including persistent late night phone
calls that are unrelated to work, or extensive unwanted visits from the
co-worker at one's home, etc, then this would clearly constitute
harassment, provided that the complainant made it clear that these
communications/visits were unwanted. However, this behavior need not be
based on a "protected characteristic" and it may not necessarily take
the form of sexual harassment, either. This is why harassment is
typically defined as a persistent, unwanted, pattern of behavior that
would cause a reasonable person to experience fear or emotional
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