Liability - Sexual Assault - Relationship Policy - Grievance Policy
LIABILITY & ASSUMPTION OF RISK POLICY
In consideration of the services of Veterans Expeditions, their agents, owners, officers, volunteers, participants, employees, and all other persons or entities acting in any capacity on their behalf, I hereby agree to release, indemnify and discharge Veterans Expeditions on behalf of myself, my spouse, my children, my parents, my heirs, assigns, personal representative and estate as follows:
• I acknowledge that my participation in hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, snowshoeing, ski mountaineering, cross country skiing, caving, canoeing, kayaking, or rock/ice climbing trip entails known and unanticipated risks that could result in physical or emotional injury, paralysis, death, or damage to myself, to property, or to third parties. I understand that such risks simply cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of the activity.
The risks include, but are not limited to: the hazards of walking on uneven terrain and slips and falls; being struck by rockfall, icefall or other objects dislodged or thrown from above; the use of climbing ropes and equipment; the forces of nature, including lightning, weather changes and avalanche; the risk of falling off the rock, mountain or into a crevasses; the risks of exposure to insect bites; the risk of altitude and cold including hypothermia, frostbite, acute mountain sickness, cerebral and pulmonary edema; my own physical condition, and the physical exertion associated with this activity.
Furthermore, Veterans Expeditions employees/leaders have difficult jobs to perform. They seek safety, but they are not infallible. They might be unaware of a participant’s fitness abilities. They might misjudge weather, or other environmental conditions. They may give incomplete warnings or instructions, and the equipment being used might malfunction.
• Participants may be driven to activity sites by staff members or other participants. The activities of the program and related transportation are dangerous and expose participants to the risk of serious injury, including but not limited to illness, permanent paralysis and death.
• I expressly agree and promise to accept and assume all of the risks existing in this activity. My participation in this activity is purely voluntary, and I elect to participate in spite of the risks.
• I hereby voluntarily release, forever discharge, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Veterans Expeditions from any and all claims, demands, or causes of action, which are in any way connected with my participation in this activity or my use of Veterans Expeditions equipment or facilities, including any such claims which allege negligent acts or omissions of Veterans Expeditions.
• Should Veterans Expeditions or anyone acting on their behalf, be required to incur attorney’s fees and costs to enforce this agreement, I agree to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs.
• I certify that I have adequate insurance to cover any injury or damage that I may cause or suffer while participating, or else I agree to bear the costs of such injury or damage myself. I further certify that I am willing to assume the risk of any medical or physical condition I may have.
• The activities are in remote places and I understand that help and/or rescue would likely be delayed in the event of an injury and this delay in rescue and/or medical care could exacerbate an injury. These risks and possible losses are inherent in the activities of the program – that is, they cannot be eliminated without significantly altering the nature of the activities. I understand that participants must follow instructions, including those provided in orientations and safety briefings, and not unreasonably expose themselves or others to danger. If a participant observes an unusual hazard or danger he or she must immediately withdraw from the hazard and further participation and bring the condition to the attention of Veterans Expeditions staff.
• Veterans Expeditions is authorized to provide or obtain care for me or for the minor child in the event of a medical emergency, and to exchange medical information with a third party medical care provider.
• I consent to Veterans Expeditions retaining the right to use for publicity and advertising purposes photographs, videos, and all media taken of me while participating in their activities/services without any expectation of compensation for the use thereof.
I HAVE FULLY READ AND UNDERSTAND LIABILITY & ASSUMPTION OF RISK POLICY AND ITS TERMS, AND UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE MAY BE FOUND BY A COURT OF LAW TO HAVE WAIVED MY RIGHTS TO MAINTAIN A LAWSUIT AGAINST VETERANS EXPEDITIONS. I HAVE HAD SUFFICIENT TIME TO READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT AND SIGN IT VOLUNTARILY.
All Unlawful Harassment Prohibited
Veterans Expeditions is committed to creating a respectful, courteous environment free of unlawful discrimination and harassment of any kind. We are committed to taking all reasonable steps to prevent it and address it. We will not tolerate harassment or discrimination relating to any characteristic protected under applicable law by or toward any employee, contractor, participant, visitor or volunteer. Protected characteristics include age, race, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth or medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, military status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.
Because sexual harassment raises issues that are to some extent unique in comparison to other forms of harassment, we believe it warrants separate emphasis. Sexual harassment means any harassment based on someone’s sex or gender. It includes harassment that is not sexual in nature (for example, offensive remarks about an individual’s sex or gender), as well as any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any other conduct of a sexual nature, when any of the following is true:
• Submission to the advance, request, or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or participation.• Submission to or rejection of the advance, request, or conduct is used as a basis for employment or participation decisions.• Such advances, requests, or conduct have the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with a participant’s, volunteer’s, or employee’s experience by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Sexual harassment also means any harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or another person’s perception of them. This includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
• Asking unwelcome personal questions about an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression;• Intentionally causing distress to an individual by disclosing to others the individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression;• Using offensive names or terminology regarding an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression; or• Deliberately misusing an individual’s preferred name, form of address, or gender-related pronoun.
Veterans Expeditions will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment, regardless of whether it is:
• Verbal (for example, epithets, derogatory statements, slurs, sexually-related comments or jokes, unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors).• Physical (for example, assault or inappropriate physical contact).• Visual (for example, displaying sexually suggestive posters cartoons or drawings, sending inappropriate adult-themed gifts, leering, or making sexual gestures).• Online (for example, derogatory statements or sexually suggestive postings in any social media platform including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.).
This list is illustrative only, and not exhaustive. No form of sexual harassment will be tolerated.
Other Types of Harassment
Veterans Expeditions’ anti-harassment policy applies equally to any of the following actions based on age, race, color, national origin, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth or medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, military status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.
• Verbal (for example, epithets, derogatory statements, slurs, derogatory comments, or jokes).• Physical (for example, assault or inappropriate physical contact).• Visual (for example, displaying derogatory posters, cartoons, drawings, or making derogatory gestures).• Online (for example, derogatory statements or sexually suggestive postings in any social media platform including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.).This list is illustrative only, and not exhaustive. No form of harassment will be tolerated.
If you believe anyone is harassing you or another individual, we encourage you, if comfortable doing so, to tell the harasser in clear language that the behaviors or advances are unwelcome or unwanted and must stop. The individual may not realize the behavior is offensive and a simple communication may effectively end the behavior. However, if you are not comfortable engaging in such communication or the behavior does not stop following such a communication, you should immediately report your concern to the Veteran Expeditions Head Trip Leader or Nick Watson. It is not required to directly confront the person who is the source of the report, question or complaint before notifying Veteran Expeditions.
Investigation and Follow-Up
Veterans Expeditions will take all allegations of violations of this policy seriously and will promptly, thoroughly and equitably investigate the allegation. The organization WILL use an outside third-party to conduct an investigation of the allegation. Veterans Expeditions will cooperate fully with any investigation conducted by law enforcement or other regulatory/protective services agencies. Veterans Expeditions will make every reasonable effort to keep the matters involved in the allegation as confidential as possible while still allowing for a prompt and thorough investigation.
No one will be subject to, and Veterans Expeditions prohibits, any form of discipline, reprisal, intimidation, or retaliation for good faith reporting of incidents of harassment of any kind, pursuing any harassment claim or cooperating in related investigations.
Veterans Expeditions is committed to enforcing this policy against all forms of harassment. However, the effectiveness of our efforts depends largely on participants, volunteers, and employees telling us about inappropriate conduct. If any person feels that they or someone else may have been subjected to conduct that violates this policy, they should report it immediately. If no person reports harassing conduct, Veterans Expeditions may not become aware of a possible violation of this policy and may not be able to take appropriate corrective action.
Violations of This Policy
Any participant, volunteer, or employee, regardless of position or title, whom Veterans Expeditions determines has subjected an individual to harassment or retaliation in violation of this policy, will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment, or dismissal from the activity or trip immediately.
Conduct Not Prohibited by this Policy
This Policy is not intended to restrict communications or actions protected or required by state or federal law.
Reporting to Law Enforcement or Appropriate Child or Adult Protective Services
Veterans Expeditions is committed to following the state and federal legal requirements for reporting allegations or incidents of sexual abuse or misconduct to appropriate law enforcement and child or adult protective services organizations. It is the policy of Veterans Expeditions not to attempt to investigate or assess the validity or credibility of an allegation of sexual or physical abuse as a condition before reporting the allegation to proper law enforcement authorities or protective services organizations.
Participant and Worker Screening and Selection
As part of its sexual abuse and misconduct prevention program, Veterans Expeditions is committed to maintaining a diligent screening program for prospective and existing participants, volunteers and others that may have interaction with those employed by, associating with or serviced by Veterans Expeditions. The organization may utilize a variety of methods of screening and selection, including but not limited to applications, personal interviews, criminal background checks and personal and professional references.
I acknowledge that I received and read the Anti-Harassment Policy and/or had it explained to me. I understand that it is my responsibility to abide by all rules contained in the Policy. I also understand how to report incidents of misconduct or harassment as outlined in the Policy, including retaliation against any participant or volunteer exercising his or her rights under the Policy.
I acknowledge that I will be alerted when changes and updates are made to the Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Policy and will be responsible for reading and complying with these updates.
I HAVE FULLY READ AND UNDERSTAND THE ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICY AND ITS TERMS, AND UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE MAY BE FOUND BY A COURT OF LAW TO HAVE WAIVED MY RIGHTS TO MAINTAIN A LAWSUIT AGAINST VETERANS EXPEDITIONS. I HAVE HAD SUFFICIENT TIME TO READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT AND SIGN IT VOLUNTARILY
RELATIONSHIPS DURING ACTIVITIES POLICY
This policy addresses only romantic or sexual relationships that are consented to by participants during a Veterans Expeditions trip. If consent is absent, any romantic or sexual interaction between participants may constitute sexual harassment prohibited by federal and state law.
General Caution Against Consensual Relationships during Trips
Romantic or sexual relationships between Veterans Expeditions participants are deemed to be unwise and inappropriate, regardless of whether the relationship is understood by both parties as consensual during a Veterans Expeditions trip.
Such relationships can have a negative impact on the environment Veterans Expeditions is trying to create between and among participants. For this reason, Veterans Expeditions reserves the right to take actions that are in the best interest of the entire group of participants, including requesting individuals who are found to be engaged in consensual, sexual activity, to terminate their participation in the trip.
I HAVE FULLY READ AND UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIPS DURING ACTIVITIES POLICY AND ITS TERMS, AND UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE MAY BE FOUND BY A COURT OF LAW TO HAVE WAIVED MY RIGHTS TO MAINTAIN A LAWSUIT AGAINST VETERANS EXPEDITIONS. I HAVE HAD SUFFICIENT TIME TO READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT AND SIGN IT VOLUNTARILY.
Purpose of the Procedure
Veteran’s Expeditions aim is to ensure that participants and leaders with a grievance relating to their experience can use a procedure which can help to resolve grievances as quickly and as fairly as possible.
If a participant has a grievance with another participant, they should discuss it informally with a trip leader. We hope that the majority of concerns will be resolved this way.
Stage 1 – Statement of Grievance
If the participant feels that the matter has not been resolved through informal discussions, they should put your grievance in writing to the head trip leader or the Executive Director.
Stage 2 – The Grievance Meeting
Within 14 working days, the trip leader will respond, in writing, to the statement, inviting the participant to conduct a meeting where the alleged grievance can be discussed. This meeting should be scheduled to take place as soon as possible and normally five working days’ notice of this meeting will be provided to the participant, and they will be informed of their right to be accompanied. This meeting can be conducted telephonically.
After the meeting with the trip leader and hearing the grievance, the leader must write to the participant informing them of any decision or action and offering them the right of appeal. If the grievance is not satisfied the ultimate decision for action will rest with the Executive Director, Nick Watson.
I HAVE FULLY READ AND UNDERSTAND THE GRIEVANCE POLICY AND ITS TERMS, AND UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE MAY BE FOUND BY A COURT OF LAW TO HAVE WAIVED MY RIGHTS TO MAINTAIN A LAWSUIT AGAINST VETERANS EXPEDITIONS. I HAVE HAD SUFFICIENT TIME TO READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT AND SIGN IT VOLUNTARILY.
I HAVE FULLY READ AND UNDERSTAND THIS AGREEMENT AND ITS TERMS, AND UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE MAY BE FOUND BY A COURT OF LAW TO HAVE WAIVED MY RIGHTS TO MAINTAIN A LAWSUIT AGAINST VETERANS EXPEDITIONS. I HAVE HAD SUFFICIENT TIME TO READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT AND SIGN IT VOLUNTARILY.
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Signed by Nicholas Watson Watson, Executive Director
Signed On: April 18, 2018
If you have questions about the contents of this document, you can email the document owner.
Document Name: Liability - Sexual Assault - Relationship Policy - Grievance Policy
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