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Anti-Discrimination / Harassment Policy | NINC


Novelists, Inc (hereafter NINC) strives to create and maintain an environment in which people are treated with dignity, decency and respect. The environment of the organization should be characterized by mutual trust and the absence of intimidation, oppression and exploitation. NINC will not tolerate unlawful discrimination or harassment of any kind. Through enforcement of this policy and by education of members, NINC will seek to prevent, correct and discipline behavior that violates this policy. All members, regardless of their positions, are covered by and are expected to comply with this policy and to take appropriate measures to ensure that prohibited conduct does not occur. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any member who violates this policy.

Based on the seriousness of the offense, disciplinary action may include verbal or written reprimand, suspension, or termination of membership.

Leadership and members who knowingly allow discrimination, harassment or retaliation, including the failure to immediately report such misconduct to the Board, are in violation of this policy and may be subject to discipline.

Prohibited conduct under this policy

NINC, in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local anti-discrimination and harassment laws and regulations, enforces this policy in accordance with the following definitions and guidelines:


It is a violation of NINC’s policy to discriminate in the provision of employment opportunities, benefits, or privileges; to create discriminatory membership conditions; or to use discriminatory evaluative standards in membership if the basis of that discriminatory treatment is, in whole or in part, the person’s race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information or marital status.

Discrimination of this kind may also be strictly prohibited by a variety of federal, state and local laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This policy is intended to comply with the prohibitions stated in these anti-discrimination laws.

Discrimination in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including termination of membership.


NINC prohibits harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment, and will take appropriate and immediate action in response to complaints or knowledge of violations of this policy. For purposes of this policy, harassment is any written, verbal, or physical conduct designed to threaten, intimidate, or coerce a member belonging to or any person working for or on behalf of NINC.

The following examples of harassment are intended to be guidelines and are not exclusive when determining whether there has been a violation of this policy:

  • Verbal or written harassment includes comments that are offensive or unwelcome regarding a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, appearance, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status or other protected status, including epithets, slurs and negative stereotyping.
  • Nonverbal harassment includes distribution, display or discussion of any written or graphic material that ridicules, denigrates, insults, belittles or shows hostility, aversion or disrespect toward an individual or group because of national origin, race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, appearance, disability, sexual identity, marital status or other protected status.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is prohibited under NINC’s anti-harassment policy. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature … when … submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions … or such conduct has the purpose or effect of … creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.”

Sexual harassment occurs when unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature:

  • Is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of membership.
  • Is used as a basis for a membership decision.
  • Unreasonably interferes with a member’s participation or creates an intimidating, hostile or otherwise offensive environment.

Sexual harassment may take different forms. The following examples of sexual harassment are intended to be guidelines and are not exclusive when determining whether there has been a violation of this policy:

  • Verbal sexual harassment includes innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, lewd remarks and threats; requests for any type of sexual favor (this includes repeated, unwelcome requests for dates); and verbal abuse or “kidding” that is oriented toward a prohibitive form of harassment, including that which is sexual in nature and unwelcome.
  • Nonverbal sexual harassment includes the distribution, display or discussion of any written or graphic material, including calendars, posters and cartoons that are sexually suggestive or show hostility toward an individual or group because of sex; suggestive or insulting sounds; leering; staring; whistling; obscene gestures; content in letters, notes, facsimiles, e-mails, photos, text messages, tweets and Internet postings; or other forms of communication that are sexual in nature and offensive.
  • Physical sexual harassment includes unwelcome, unwanted physical contact, including touching, tickling, pinching, patting, brushing up against, hugging, cornering, kissing, fondling, and forced sexual intercourse or assault.

Courteous, mutually respectful, pleasant, noncoercive interactions between members that are appropriate in the workplace and acceptable to and welcomed by both parties are not considered to be harassment, including sexual harassment.


No hardship, loss, benefit or penalty may be imposed on a member in response to:

  • Filing or responding to a bona fide complaint of discrimination or harassment.
  • Appearing as a witness in the investigation of a complaint.
  • Serving as an investigator of a complaint.

Lodging a bona fide complaint will in no way be used against the member or have an adverse impact on the individual’s membership status. However, filing groundless or malicious complaints is an abuse of this policy and will be treated as a violation.

Any person who is found to have violated this aspect of the policy will be subject to discipline up to and including termination of membership.


All complaints and investigations are treated confidentially to the extent possible, and information is disclosed strictly on a need-to-know basis. The identity of the complainant is usually revealed to the parties involved during the investigation, and the Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Committee (hereafter DEI) will take adequate steps to ensure that the complainant is protected from retaliation during and after the investigation. All information pertaining to a complaint or investigation under this policy will be maintained in secure files within the DEI.

Complaint procedure

NINC has established the following procedure for lodging a complaint of harassment, discrimination or retaliation. The organization will treat all aspects of the procedure confidentially to the extent reasonably possible.

  • Complaints should be submitted to the DEI Chairperson or the NINC president (hereinafter referred to as the NINC representative) as soon as possible after an incident has occurred, preferably in writing. The NINC representative may assist the complainant in completing a written statement or, in the event a member refuses to provide information in writing, the NINC representative will make a record of the verbal complaint.
  • Upon receiving a complaint or being advised that violation of this policy may be occurring, the representative will notify senior leadership and review the complaint with the organization’s Board of Directors.
  • NINC will initiate an investigation to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that the alleged violation of this policy occurred.
  • During the investigation, the NINC representative, together with the Board of Directors or other leadership members, will interview the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses to determine whether the alleged conduct occurred.
  • Upon conclusion of an investigation, the person(s) conducting the investigation will submit a written report of their findings to the organization. If it is determined that a violation of this policy has occurred, the representative will recommend appropriate disciplinary action. The appropriate action will depend on the following factors:
    • the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the conduct;
    • prior complaints made by the complainant;
    • prior complaints made against the respondent; and
    • the quality of the evidence (e.g., firsthand knowledge, credible corroboration).
    If the investigation is inconclusive or if it is determined that there has been no violation of policy but potentially problematic conduct may have occurred, the representative may recommend appropriate preventive action.
  • Senior leadership will review the investigative report and any statements submitted by the complainant or respondent, discuss results of the investigation with the representative and other senior leadership as appropriate, and decide what action, if any, will be taken.
  • Once a final decision is made by senior leadership, the NINC representative will meet with the complainant and the respondent separately and notify them of the findings of the investigation. If disciplinary action is to be taken, the respondent will be informed of the nature of the discipline and how it will be executed.
  • This link will take you to the online form for filing a complaint. There is also a Word .doc format of this form available if the complainant would prefer to use that. It can be requested from the Central Coordinator, the NINC President, or the DEI Chairperson.

Alternative legal remedies

Nothing in this policy may prevent the complainant or the respondent from pursuing formal legal remedies or resolution through local, state or federal agencies or the courts.