Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Bahey el-din Hassan
Ziad Adel Tawab
CIHRS workplace policies
(last updated May 2019)
The bellow are parts of the policies in CIHRS staff handbook distributed on all staff of CIHRS. The current policies will be under review by an external Gender consultant, that would look into the effectiveness of these policies to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. The findings of the new policies would be updated on the website once adopted.
Table of Contents:
CIHRS is a committed human rights organization. It strives to advance human rights in the MENA region and worldwide. CIHRS is deeply committed to the principles of fairness and equality. CIHRS is an equal opportunity employer.
CIHRS does not expect that the conduct of its employees on the issues of discrimination and sexual harassment would differ outside working hours from their conduct during working hours. Any person, either an employee, intern, fellow, volunteer, partner, trainee, subcontractor or vendor found to have sexually harassed or discriminated against another will face disciplinary action, up to and including immediate dismissal from employment or end of contractual relations.
Disclaimer on Discrimination
CIHRS does not discriminate, resists discrimination, and takes affirmative action and measures to ensure non-discrimination in employment, recruitment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, political opinion, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We are committed to providing an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment and ensuring a safe space for work and debate for all members of our staff; including employees, interns, fellows, volunteers, partners, trainees, subcontractors, and vendors.
Disclaimer on Harassment
Neither violence nor physical, moral, sexual or other forms of harassment in duty stations or during any other activities related to the interests of CIHRS are accepted or tolerated. Employees are obliged to abstain from any act of violence or harassment at work. CIHRS operates a zero-tolerance policy for any form of sexual harassment in the workplace or during official duties and beyond.
Workplace ethics and appropriate conduct
- Employees will be attentive to the demands of shared living. They will keep their workspaces and common facilities - such as the bathrooms, kitchens, and halls - clean and tidy at all times. Supplies will be returned to their place immediately after use so others can find them when needed, especially kitchen supplies and electronic equipment such as cameras and Data Show. Employees will observe quiet and calm, especially in crowded offices.
- Employees should not meet guests in the offices. Meetings are held in the library or the conference rooms. Employees should reserve a time, noting the number of guests, on the news board, to avoid overlapping meetings in the same room. Employees cannot meet guests for personal reasons in the offices.
- Every employee is responsible for preserving CIHRS documents and assets in his/her possession. If they are lost or damaged, the employee will assume the cost or the cost of repair unless s/he proves that the incident was beyond his/her control, such as theft or a car accident. Proof will consist solely of official reports.
- Employees will respect all staff without discrimination on any basis; they will respect the religion, beliefs, and opinions of others, and cultural, national, and gender diversity. Everyone at the CIHRS is equal and will be treated with respect. Any distinction or discrimination based on occupational position is unacceptable; we are all partners in one job, in one place. This does not mean there are no differences, even stark differences, in the tasks, work, and responsibilities each of us bear. Some of us draft plans and strategies; some of us attempt to secure financial resources for CIHRS; some of us oversee activities—but CIHRS needs the efforts and roles of all of its employees, without exception, to ensure its continuation and success, which is a reflection on all employees.
- Any action or conduct constituting sexual harassment is unacceptable, whether it is a word, deed, look, gesture, or facial expression. If any such action occurs, a written or oral complaint shall be immediately submitted to the Administrative Director or any member of the Management Committee as per the procedures laid down below.
- Employees should observe the spirit and principles of human rights in all personal and work-related interactions.
- Access to CIHRS’ telephone system is given principally for work-related activities or approved activities. Incidental and occasional personal use is permitted. This privilege should not be abused and must not affect the employee’s performance of employment-related activities. Telephone usage should be based upon cost-effective practices that support CIHRS’ mission and should comply with applicable rules and regulations.
You should use common sense and your best judgment when making or receiving personal cellular phone calls at work. To the greatest extent possible, employees should make personal cell phone calls during their breaks or lunch times.
Workplace violence includes any physical assault or act of aggressive behavior occurring where an employee performs any work-related duty in the course of his or her employment. This includes but is not limited to an attempt or threat, whether verbal or physical, to inflict physical injury upon an employee; any intentional display of force which would give an employee reason to fear or expect bodily harm; intentional and wrongful physical contact with a person without his or her consent that entails some injury; or stalking an employee with the intent of causing fear of material harm to the physical safety and health of such employee, when such stalking has arisen through and in the course of employment.
Acts of violence by or against any of our employees where any work-related duty is performed will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action will be taken, including involving law enforcement authorities when warranted. All employees are responsible for helping to create an environment of mutual respect for each other as well as partners and visitors, following all policies, procedures and practices, and for assisting in maintaining a safe and secure work environment.
CIHRS SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY
(1) Definition Sexual harassment is any unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person’s employment, as well as situations that create an environment hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient regardless of the age, sex, gender, grade of the complainant or the aggressor.
(2) Scope of application This policy applies to all acts of harassment performed by anyone including CIHRS employees, management, trainees, conference participants, partners, casual workers, volunteers, contractors or visitors who sexually harass another regardless of whether the act of harassment takes place at one of CIHRS’ premises or outside, including at social events, business trips, training sessions or conferences sponsored by CIHRS.
CIHRS education officers and/or conference organizers have the duty to explain these procedures to participants in CIHRS trainings and have the duty to inform CIHRS administration at the moment when they become aware of sexual misconduct and/or harassment during one of CIHRS’ trainings or conferences.
(3) Complaint procedures Anyone who is subjected to sexual harassment should directly approach the Administrative Director of CIHRS. If s/he is not present or s/he is involved in the act of sexual harassment, the concerned employee should feel free to address any of the members of CIHRS’ Management Committee. CIHRS recognizes that sexual harassment can take place in unequal relationships (i.e. between a supervisor and his/ her employee); as such CIHRS encourages the survivors to immediately inform any member of the Management Committee of his/her choice. In the absence of any of those, the victim can address directly the office director of the duty station where s/he is located.
The designated staff member who receives the complaint would ensure the following:
(1) The dates, times and facts of the incident(s) are recorded
(2) That the complainant understands the CIHRS procedures laid out in this policy manual
(3) The next steps are discussed or agreed upon; either an informal complaint or formal one, with the understanding that choosing an informal complaint doesn’t preclude the complainant from pursuing a formal complaint f s/he is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal one.
(4) The survivor is offered CIHRS’ ability to directly and immediately pay for all types of psychological assistance
(5) Report the incident immediately to the members of the CIHRS Management Committee. If one of the members of the Management Committee is involved in the complaint, then the designated person should inform the rest of the Management Committee excluding this person.
(4) Informal complaint mechanism If the complainant wishes to deal with the matter informally, CIHRS will put a process in place through which:
• An opportunity is given to the alleged harasser to respond to the complaint
• The alleged harasser understands the complaint mechanism
• A discussion is facilitated between both parties to achieve an informal resolution that is acceptable to the complainant, or refer the matter to a designated mediator within CIHRS to resolve the matter
• A confidential record is kept of the proceedings and outcome
• Follow up after the outcome of the complaint mechanism ensures that the behavior has
• The above steps are completed speedily and within days of the complaint being made.
(5) Formal complaint mechanism
If the complainant wants to make a formal complaint or if the informal complaint mechanism has not led to a satisfactory outcome for the victim, the formal complaint mechanism should be used to resolve the matter.
The designated person who initially received the complaint will refer the matter to a senior administrative director and/or the Management Committee to instigate a formal investigation. The Administrative Director and/or the Management Committee may deal with the matter him/her/itself, refer the matter to an internal, external or a mixed committee of three others in accordance with this policy.
The committee carrying out the investigation will:
• Provide the complainant with an incident form to fill in
• Interview the complainant and the alleged harasser separately
• Interview other relevant third parties separately
• Decide whether or not the incident(s) of sexual harassment took place
• Produce a report detailing the investigations, findings and any recommendations
• If the harassment took place, decide upon the appropriate remedy for the survivor, in
• consultation with the survivor, and based on the gravity of the perpetrated act (i.e.- an apology, a change in working arrangements, a promotion if the victim was demoted as a result of the harassment, training for the harasser or discipline, suspension, dismissal)
• Follow up to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, that the behavior has stopped, and that the victim is satisfied with the outcome
• If it cannot be determined that the harassment took place, recommendations may still be made to ensure proper functioning of the workplace
• Keep a record of all actions taken
• Ensure that the all records concerning the matter are kept confidential
• Ensure that the process is completed as quickly as possible and in any event within days of the complaint being made.
(6) Sanctions and disciplinary measures Anyone who has been found to have sexually harassed another person under the terms of this policy is liable to any of the following sanctions:
(a) Verbal or written warning
(b) Adverse performance evaluation
The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied to ensure that incidents of sexual harassment are not treated as trivial. Certain serious cases, including physical violence, will result in the immediate dismissal of the harasser.
CIHRS ANTI- CORRUPTION POLICY
Not only has the Arab region suffered from repression, it has been victimized by endemic bad governance. Autocratic regimes have perpetrated social injustice and spread multifaceted corruption. In other words, repression was only a means for governors to fill their pockets, making no differentiation between public and private interests.
That’s why it is the role of independent civil society organizations such as CIHRS to propose legislations to secure transparency, accountability and integrity. However, that should not only apply to the fight against corrupt regimes, but it should apply to ourselves as well: we should set the example in our work and relations. If we fail to be a role model of integrity and transparency, it would be useless for us to stand against corrupt regimes.
What is corruption? Corruption is defined as the misuse of entrusted power for private gain. Corruption is best known as bribery, fraud, embezzlement and extortion.
Corruption has been seen in many forms. It may be in the form of money or in providing services in order to gain advantages such as favorable treatment, special protection, extra service, or reduced delays. It is important to realize that corruption is not exclusively a matter of money. Corruption usually starts with misbalanced decision- making process to provide a person with a job, service or any other favor, which can also be construed as corruption in certain circumstances.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies employees are responsible for following and abiding by the rules and regulations of national and international law.
1. ANTI-CORRUPTION PRINCIPLES
(1) Conflict of interest Avoiding conflicts of interest is the overall principle of fighting corruption. Conflict of interest arises from situations in which an individual and CIHRS employees have a private interest that could influence professional performance.
Conflict of interest can happen quite frequently and is not necessarily corrupt. How a conflict of interest is identified and managed is vital, because if conflict of interest situations are not properly identified and managed, it can endanger the organization and result in corruption. CIHRS employees are expected to show good judgment and contact their superiors when in doubt. Common sense and personal judgment are very important in making the right decision. All CIHRS employees are always encouraged to contact the Management Committee if they are in doubt or need advice or they can contact any member of the Management Committee individually.
(2) Abuse of power and extortion CIHRS employees will not seek to influence any person or institution for private purposes by using his/her official position or offering them personal advantages. Employees will not use CIHRS facilities, services and financial resources for private purposes except when permission is given. Employees will not use any forms of extortion as a method to gain advantage.
This principle simply confirms that we as CIHRS will not use our professional status for private gain. Misuse could be a way to gain advantage that would not be gained otherwise. Relations to suppliers must not be used to gain price on any commodity and/ or service for personal reason. Employees are also prohibited from abusing their powers as managers to gain personal favors or services done by other employees, partners, donors.
(3) Fraud and embezzlement Fraud and embezzlement are illegal and must not be used as methods to gain personal or professional advantages related to CIHRS or its partners or donors.
Fraud is defined as an economic crime involving deceit, trickery or false pretenses, by which someone gains advantages of funds unlawfully.
Embezzlement is defined as the misappropriation of property or funds legally entrusted to someone in their formal position as an agent or guardian.
Examples of fraud and embezzlement are false documentation, lying about qualifications and abusing power/ knowledge to steal cash and equipment from the office, and misusing funds entrusted to CIHRS.
Rules of accounting and documentation shall therefore be applied at all times; e.g. approval of payments must follow CIHRS finance and control policies and procedures.
(4) Bribery Bribery is defined as the act of offering someone money, services, or other valuables in order to persuade him/ her to do something in return.
Bribery is illegal in all countries and harms the opportunities for fair trial and fair competition; it creates non-transparent business that can be impossible to access.
(5) Nepotism and favoritism Nepotism is favoritism toward relatives and friends, based upon that relationship, rather than on an evaluation of ability or sustainability. Examples of nepotism include offering employment to a relative or friend, despite the fact that there are others better qualified and willing to perform the job, or giving higher earnings and other benefits to employees who are relatives of management.
The purpose of procurement is to avoid nepotism and favoritism; entitled employees are obliged to follow CIHRS’ procurement policy. In recruitment, CIHRS follows equal opportunity concept when hiring employees and follows the salary scale system to value their employees’ salaries in a balanced manner.
It is important to mention that if conflicts of interests are handled, it can be acceptable to hire/work with family or friends.
(6) Gifts Gifts are defined as but not limited to: services, travel, entertainment, material things or favors. CIHRS employees are not allowed to send or receive gifts to partners or donors.
All employees are expected to show good judgment and when in doubt, contact their superior. A general rule that is to be followed: a gift should never influence your independent judgment and you could only accept simple or small gifts from colleagues.
2. ANTI-CORRUPTION COMPLAINT MECHANISM
All CIHRS employees are obliged to follow this anti-corruption policy and report any breach of the policy.
Any incident related to CIHRS must be reported to the management committee; if you believe that one of the members of the Management Committee is involved in an act of corruption or nepotism, please address the Deputy Director or Director of the organization.
If you have any doubt, heard rumors about corruption in the organization or its activities, you need to fill in a complaint and send it to the Management Committee, which includes all CIHRS Management Committee members. Corruption complains are treated in a very confidential way and on the basis of complaint, it will be considered if an investigation committee will be set up and an investigation will take place.
The complaint will be handled confidentially and with respect for the complainant and the persons/organizations towards which the complaint is directed. No anonymous complaints will be accepted.