Readercon Policy on Addressing Reported Violations of the Code of Conduct

This policy is in effect as of 7/1/2014. Readercon's safety committee (safecom) and convention committee (concom) will annually review the policy and amend it as needed.

"We" and "Readercon" in this document refer to the members of Readercon's committees and corporation.

This document describes our policy on handling reports of unsafe behavior and other code of conduct violations. Readercon's primary concern is the safety of our attendees, and we appreciate the assistance of all of our attendees in creating and sustaining a culture of safety at Readercon.

Each report will be handled in accordance with the policy and procedures effective at the time the report is received, taking into account the Readercon code of conduct that was in effect at the time the incident took place.

Who can report a problem?

Anyone who was directly affected by or witnessed a code of conduct violation at Readercon can file a report, and is encouraged to do so.

What sort of problem can I report?

Any behavior or pattern of behavior that violates our code of conduct. If you feel someone's behavior is dangerous or harmful to you or others, if someone's behavior makes you feel afraid or very uncomfortable, or if someone is actively making it difficult for you or others to enjoy or fully participate in the convention, we would like to know about it.

Who can I make a report about?

Anyone whose behavior causes you concern. We will give all reports equal consideration. Our handling of reports will not be influenced by factors such as the social status or convention role of anyone involved in the situation.

When can I report a problem?

At any time; however, we request that reporting take place as soon as possible during or after an incident, especially if you believe that someone may be causing problems for multiple people at the convention. Reports will be taken seriously and handled appropriately regardless of when they are made.

How do I report a problem?

At the convention, approach any concom member (identified by a red badge stripe) or speak with a staffer at the information desk or consuite. You can also call (913)READER5 at any time during the convention, day or night, and your call will be taken by someone trained in handling reports of problematic behavior. The reports number is printed on the back of your badge. After the convention, email safety@readercon.org.

What will happen if I make a report?

The following is a brief summary. See the document titled Readercon Procedures for Handling Reported Violations of the Code of Conduct for detailed information.

If you make a report at the convention

Two responders will offer you the use of a private space, explain in detail what the possible outcomes are and what will be asked of you, listen to your report, and interview other people (witnesses, the person the report is about) as necessary. They will then bring all collected information to the safety committee chair, who will decide whether immediate action needs to be taken. After the convention, the report and any actions taken will be reviewed by a working group that will include the safety committee chair as well as both responders. This working group will determine whether multiple-year action also needs to be taken. You will be informed of any action that Readercon takes in connection with your report.

If you email a report in after the convention

The safety chair will receive your report and assign two responders to you. They will explain in detail what the possible outcomes are and what will be asked of you, read your report, and interview other people (witnesses, the person the report is about) as necessary. They will then bring all collected information to the safety committee chair, who will convene a working group that will include both responders. This working group will determine whether any action needs to be taken. You will be informed of any action that Readercon takes in connection with your report.

What will Readercon do in response to my report?

Readercon will always prioritize the safety of all our attendees over a single person's desire to attend or participate in Readercon. To this end, Readercon reserves the right to:

  • request that someone who is causing problems change their behavior.
  • revoke access to some or all convention spaces.
  • revoke convention membership.
  • involve hotel security.
  • via hotel security, involve local law enforcement.
  • deny membership for a period of one or more years, or permanently.
  • choose not to take action

If we believe someone needs to be immediately removed from the premises for the safety of our attendees, Readercon may enlist the assistance of hotel staff.

If we believe someone is in need of immediate medical attention, Readercon may call for an ambulance or seek assistance from a member of Operation Hammond (a convention-based medical first aid organization), or seek other medical services.

If a person under 18 makes or is the subject of a report, we will take any steps necessary to ensure the safety of that person and other attendees, but will not take other action until that person's parent or guardian (as listed on their Readercon membership materials) is present—unless the person under 18 is making a report against their parent or guardian, or their parent or guardian is alleged to have mistreated them, in which case we may notify the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and/or ask hotel security to involve law enforcement. While involvement in Readercon does not legally require anyone to report allegations of child abuse or harm, some Readercon staff and attendees are mandated reporters in their professional lives. We all take such allegations extremely seriously.

Readercon's representatives will follow this policy and internal procedures with the safety of all the convention's attendees in mind, which may require us to take certain actions without the consent of the person making the report. We will do our very best to balance the needs of all involved parties and the needs of the convention when they conflict.

What won't happen if I make a report?

We will not reveal your identity or the substance of your report unless it is absolutely necessary to obtain information about the incident or take action related to the incident. See our procedures for a detailed explanation of our confidentiality policy.

We will not take any sort of retaliatory action against you for reporting or not reporting a problem.

We will not provide mediation or intermediary communication services.

While we will always err on the side of safety and treating all reports as true, we will not assume that a report being made automatically means that action needs to be taken.

We will not respond to general requests for a list of all parties whose memberships have been revoked or denied. However, if anyone inquires as to whether a particular person's membership has been revoked or denied, Readercon will provide that information. We will not keep any kind of list or database of such requests, or consider a membership status request tantamount to a report.

What will happen if someone says I caused a problem?

If someone tells us that you have violated the code of conduct, two convention representatives will ask to speak with you about it in a private place.

If you decline to be interviewed, we may ask you to leave the convention. If, after speaking with you, we believe that you have violated the code of conduct, we may ask you to change your behavior or leave the convention, or take other actions. We will not take action until we’ve spoken with you and anyone else involved and done our best to get a clear picture of what happened. See the document titled Readercon Procedures for Handling Reported Violations of the Code of Conduct for detailed information.

If we believe that no violation occurred, you are welcome to go about the convention as usual. We will not attempt to mediate or carry messages between you and the person who made the report. If someone deliberately makes a false report about you, that is itself a code of conduct violation and we will take appropriate action in response.