Everyone at Axelerant is responsible for ensuring a safe space to engage with each other. Working remotely means most interactions are via video calls and written communication, such as email or shared documents. Yet, we also have gatherings for teams and local meetups. No matter the communication method, everyone is expected to contribute to an inclusive, collaborative working environment while respecting each other.
Axelerant wants team members to feel confident, comfortable, and safe communicating their concerns. Axelerant respects, appreciates, and supports every aspect of diversity as we continuously foster a globally aware team.
To whom does this apply?
This policy applies to all team members employed by any entity of Axelerant, whether contractor or employee, in all locations. Local labor laws in every country and some states must be followed when handling, reporting, and investigating incidents of harassment. The People Operations team and relevant legal counsel will ensure compliance with appropriate local legal processes and procedures when required. All Axelerant team members will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination, for any harassment they commit.
What are Safe Space violations?
Axelerant feels that a safe space should be in person and online, regardless of location–work, home, or elsewhere. Therefore, anti-safe space communications between team members are not private.
Bullying & Workplace Violence
Axelerant does not tolerate violent acts or threats of violence. We will not accept fighting, bullying, coercion, or abusive or threatening words directed to, about, or against a co-worker, lead, manager, executive, candidate, client/customer, or vendor. No Axelerant team member should commit or threaten to commit any violent act or discuss committing such offenses, even jokingly.
Cyberbullying is any form of harassment or bullying that occurs online or through electronic devices. It can happen in many states (including through social media platforms, texts, apps, and emails) and includes posting inappropriate pictures, sending offensive messages or threats, or threatening to reveal personal information online.
Any form of behavior leading to cyberbullying is strictly prohibited. A few of such behaviors are:
Creating derogatory websites that mock, torment, and harass the intended victim.
Cyber bashing or flaming: Attacking an individual with belligerent or denigrating language.
E.g., Insults, bigotry, or other hostile expressions.
Cyber smearing: Creating, posting, or distributing sensitive, private, or embarrassing information or images, including doctored photos.
Cyberstalking: Online harassment that includes intimidation or threats of harm.
Derogatory rating aspects of an individual via a site rating.
E.g., appearance, character.
Exclusion: Deliberately leaving specific individuals out of online social exchanges.
E.g., Instant messaging or email conversations.
Impersonating someone or creating a false identity to deceive another individual.
Online harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive messages to an individual.
Teasing, belittling, or name-calling.
Any form of discrimination towards any individual is strictly prohibited. Types of discrimination may include:
Race, including color, nationality, ethnic or national origin
Religious belief or lack thereof
Only the upper arm area away from the body, from the shoulder top to the elbow tip, of a person is considered safe to touch a person without permission using fingertips or an open palm.
Any other place or using a grabbing motion is considered unsafe.
Additionally, obtain verbal or non-verbal acceptance, like a head nod, before hugging someone.
Axelerant will not tolerate retaliation of any sort for filing a claim of harassment.
When people believe they have been the target or witness safe space concerns, they're encouraged to immediately and directly address the harasser, letting them know that their behavior is unwelcome or offensive and must stop immediately. Speaking up allows all parties to learn from and promote understanding. Further, the harming source can de-escalate the situation by apologizing and resolving the problem without escalation.
While speaking up may not remove all consequences, it significantly reduces the chance of escalation and potentially returns team members to a comfortable and inclusive environment.
When speaking up isn't feasible in a harassment situation, please fill out the Safe Space Concern form within ninety days (90) of the incident to begin an investigation.
We will only share information with the Safe Space Committee.
Safe Space Committee
The Safe Space Committee comprises the following members:
All complaints or concerns about safe space concerns or discrimination will be taken seriously and handled confidentially. The Safe Space Committee will investigate the written complaint received to validate the concerns before involving consequences for the reported people.
After receiving the complaint, the People Operations Representative will contact the complainant for the first call to assess the situation and provide interim options to help the complainant feel safe and heard.
Interim measures could include any or all of the following:
Immediate paid leave of 2-5 days, considering the severity of the situation
The committee should assess separating the involved parties from current work efforts.
When the respondent is their direct manager, a skip-level manager will conduct any appraisals/performance reviews to ensure an unbiased review.
Review any proof shared by the complainant. E.g., photos, video media, screenshots, etc.
Reach out to witnesses mentioned by the complainant via email or other archivable means.
Setting up calls with the parties involved within ten days of receiving such a complaint.
When there is a failure to attend a hearing before the Safe Space Committee by the complainant or the respondent on 3 (three) consecutive known dates, the committee may terminate the investigation or provide an ex-parte decision with 15 (fifteen) days' notice.
The Safe Space Committee shall complete the inquiry process within 90 (ninety) days of receiving the complaint.
After an unbiased investigation, the executive team will decide, based on the Safe Space Committee's suggestion for the People Operations representative, to inform the respondent.
Protection for Complainant and Alleged party
By keeping such information private, Axelerant will protect the safe space complainant, alleged identities, and situational details.
Axelerant is committed to ensuring that no team member bringing forward a safe space concern is subject to reprisal. Any reprisal will be subject to disciplinary action.
Whoever abuses the safe space concern procedure (e.g., maliciously making an allegation, knowing it to be untrue, or producing any forged or misleading document) will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including termination.
The Role of the Safe Space Committee
Ensuring that all complaints about safe space concerns are filed by the complaint via the Safe Space Concern form within ninety days (90) of the incident to begin an investigation.
Explaining Axelerant's Safe Space guidance and investigation procedures to all complaint stakeholders.
Arrange for an immediate investigation of misconduct.
Make recommendations for remediation to executive decision-makers.
The Safe Space Committee will prepare a written report summarizing the investigation results.
Notifying appropriate authorities (police, country-specific bureaus) when criminal activities are reported.
What can I do as a leader to provide a safe space for my team?
When leaders become aware of a safe space concern, they are expected to:
Take all complaints or concerns about safe spaces seriously.
When the complainant chooses not to report the concern, as a leader, submit the safe space concern on behalf of the complainant with their consent.
Take appropriate action based on committee recommendations to prevent retaliation or misconduct from recurring.
Leaders who knowingly allow or tolerate any form of safe space concern or retaliation, including failing to ensure the report of such misconduct to People Operations, violate this policy and are subject to disciplinary action, including termination.
As a team member, what can I do to provide a safe space for my team?
All employees have a responsibility to create and maintain a safe space work environment by:
Being aware of how their behavior may affect others and changing it if necessary.
Treating their colleagues with dTake and respect.
Taking a stand if they think inappropriate jokes or comments are made to others.
Making it straightforward to others where they find their behavior unacceptable.
When possible, intervene to stop safe space concerns or bullying.
Reporting promptly to their manager or the Safe Space Committee any witnessed bullying or safe space concerns.
The Role of Executive Decision Makers
The CEO/CXO will decide based on the Safe Space Committee's suggestion. Based on the decision, necessary disciplinary actions will be initiated against the alleged party.
All team members will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination, for any act of safe space concerns they are confirmed to have committed. Although disciplinary action will be specific to each case, it can generally be classified into four levels mentioned below. Actual disciplinary actions are suggested by the Safe Space Committee and finalized by the executive team in line with Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Policy | 4.0 Procedures & Guidelines.
E.g., First-time low-impact occurrences of inappropriate behavior or an act out of character moment. After a formal investigation, team members feel comfortable working with the instigator.
1-week unpaid suspension
Formal apology towards inflicted parties
E.g., First-time high-impact or recurring, within one year, socially inappropriate behavior.
2- to 4-weeks unpaid suspension
Relevant Training & Guidance, paid for by Axelerant.