We believe the basic contract between management and employees is simple: As employees, you have a responsibility to do the work we hired you to do, to the best of your abilities.

As management, we have a responsibility to create an environment in which that is possible.

As a company, we’ve made a commitment to openness, diversity, and inclusion, and we want to be a welcoming environment for all. Part of ensuring that environment exists is making sure that people feel safe and protected. To this end, East Coast Product has adopted a Code of Conduct that outlines the standards we hold for all members of the company. We want people to enjoy coming to work, but we absolutely prioritize people feeling safe, respected, and protected when interacting with colleagues above all else.

This is a living document that will continue to be refined as we grow as a company. Feel free to check back frequently, but rest assured that if there are major updates, we’ll make an announcement.

Defining Harassment

Since East Coast Product is a U.S.–based company, all employees regardless of location, are subject to U.S. equal-opportunity and anti-discrimination laws. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines harassment as follows:

“Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.

Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance…”

The Rules

1) Know your audience.

There are things you can say to people you are close to that you can’t say to others. This is ok, but you need to recognize and understand that. You need to hold back if you think something you’re saying will make a person uncomfortable. You need to watch for signs that you’ve gone too far and take steps to apologize and amend the behavior if you do go to far. This is emotional intelligence. This is part of being an adult. It is absolutely appropriate for us to expect this of you.

We have no desire to police personal lives or 1-on-1 discussions but on company time, using company equipment/software, whether in public or private channels, we expect decorum and professionalism. Since our clients and employees have different boundaries, the best policy is to exceed expectations.

2) Consent is given, not taken, and it can be revoked.

A joke, comment, or action that is ok today may not be ok tomorrow. That’s up for the person on the receiving end to decide. You need to pay attention to the behavior of others to understand the effect your words and actions have, and they need to communicate to you whether or not something is no longer ok. The only choice you have if someone tells you that you’ve overstepped is to respect their boundaries. They are in charge of how they feel. You are expected to respect that.

3) Outside of the company, we have a responsibility to project a professional attitude.

We can be friends and joke around, but everything you do as a representative of the company reflects on everyone else that works here. You need to make the extra effort to let people know that we are professionals and that doing a good job and being respectful is important to us.

Our Responsibility to You

The management team has a responsibility to look out for behavior that’s making people feel uncomfortable and unsafe and to step in to make it stop as well as to act on any reports of behavior that is in violation of this Code of Conduct.

Your Responsibility to Everyone

We expect all employees to act with professionalism, transparency and respect. Forming friendships with your colleagues is natural, expected, and one of the joys of coming to work. However, despite your personal relationships, remember that your colleagues are colleagues first and you will be held to these standards in and out of the office.

Management can’t be everywhere at once. It’s possible that things will happen that we won’t see or know about. We need you to feel comfortable coming to someone with that information, whether it's any one of the managers.

We promise you this: if something happens that you feel needs to be reported, we will act on that report to ensure you feel safe.

Reporting Code of Conduct Violations

We believe the steps above will help us to prevent the majority of problems, but we still need a clear avenue for reporting and dealing with harassment or inappropriate behavior. If you are uncomfortable reporting something to the management team directly then you should report incidents to your local Office Manager and they will help you decide on appropriate next steps. Unless a report involves a member of the management team it will be elevated to them to address the issue. If it does involve a member of management then your Office Manager will be responsible for dealing with the issue through the non-involved members of the management team. Management is not above this policy, in fact they must be held to a higher standard than everyone else for it to be effective.

In order for us to act, any report needs to include two things:

  • A specific, clear description of what happened.
  • A statement of what it is that the person reporting the harassment wants done to fix the issue.

Optionally, if there is evidence of the harassment, such as emails/screenshots of conversations/eye-witness accounts, that should be included as well.

These will make it easier for us to understand, and create a paper trail designed to hold us accountable to act and keep you safe.

Acting on Reports

Words are a great first step, but they require action to demonstrate sincerity. Along those lines, we promise that the following actions are all acceptable and possible as a result of a harassment report:

  • Management will speak with the offender and ask them to amend their behavior.
  • Management will ask the offender to apologize to the person who reported them, only if the reporter requests this. The reporter may request the presence of a member of management if they desire this action to be taken.
  • Management will document the behavior that has been reported, and the outcome of any action taken.
  • Management will warn the offender that further reports could result in sanctions, up to and including termination of their employment.
  • Serious offenses may result in termination of employment.

Resources