Late last year, the Club distributed an anti-harassment policy after it was unanimously approved by the Board of Governors. It is an unequivocal statement that harassment will not be tolerated in the Club. It also puts us at the forefront in terms of addressing this issue among private clubs in Hong Kong.
Below please find further information about this initiative.
1. Addressing harassment has been a longtime priority for the Board.
In recent years, the Board has handled a number of disciplinary cases involving allegations of harassment, a problem that is not unique to private clubs or to any specific place in the world. After dealing with three cases in 2017, the Board resolved to take proactive measures by putting a formal anti-harassment policy in writing. This was done in accordance with Club procedures.
2. This policy is about making sure all members feel comfortable in their Club.
Fostering an environment that is welcoming for all members does not preclude lively discussion and a good time, but rather promotes it.
3. This policy is consistent with principles of free speech.
The FCC has a proven record of standing for free speech in Hong Kong, Asia and around the world. But free speech in the context of a private club does not give members license to talk to or treat others in a demeaning way. This policy is common courtesy and common sense.
4. The FCC has been very open to criticism of the policy.
Members of the Board have repeatedly engaged critics of the policy, both via email and through discussions in person. The Board remains willing to consider changes that refine the policy, and welcomes all suggestions to improve it as long as they serve the goal of eliminating harassment in the Club.
5. The disciplinary process remains unchanged.
All formal complaints shall be investigated fairly in accordance with the Articles of Association and with respect for the confidentiality of those involved.
6. The FCC is taking other steps to address harassment.
Incidents of harassment at the Club almost always involve excessive alcohol consumption, but being intoxicated does not excuse one’s actions. The staff is being trained to better handle these situations.
7. Combating and preventing harassment is the responsibility of everyone.
All members are responsible and accountable for their own behaviour, and that means respecting other people’s boundaries. The FCC should be a harassment-free environment, and this policy provides a framework to achieve that. But as members we also all need to step up: by considering how our words and actions might affect others, and by looking out for one another generally. It is this kind of caring and collegiality, which our members already show in such abundance, that drew many of us to the Club to begin with.
We invite further feedback as part of an ongoing discussion that we think is to the benefit of the Club overall. Please share your thoughts and questions with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florence de Changy