Statement of Purpose
Forward Partners strives to maintain a safe environment of mutual respect and to eliminate sexual harassment and discrimination in startup funding. We also believe that because of the often imbalanced dynamics in investor-entrepreneur relationships, standard sexual harassment policies and laws do not provide adequately cover. We have therefore drafted our own Code of Ethics to address the nuances of this relationship.
Our Investor - Founder Code of Ethics
We take a zero tolerance approach to any instances of sexual assault, harassment, or discrimination against founders and their teams. We take this issue very seriously and, as a consequence, we have designed policies and procedures to provide clarity on our position and to ensure that everyone we deal with is aware of how to report any incident of concern.
Includes all Forward Partners employees, and any advisors, board members or other individuals who could influence funding decisions.
Whilst we recognise that it is not possible to list all scenarios or behaviour which would constitute sexual harassment, we have provided some indicative examples complete with levelled guidelines for what constitute reportable transgressions of our policy below.
These levels are used with the intention of making it clearer what types of behaviour are inappropriate and to make it easier for victims to report.
Level A: Verbal Or Gender Harassment
Inappropriate comments about physical appearance or romantic life. Degrading sexual or sexist remarks, innuendos, and jokes.
Level B: Direct Sexual Propositions
Sexual advances including repeated requests for dates, drinks, or personal contact. Inappropriate sexually-themed communication in person or online. Sexual invitations including requests for sexual activity or romantic meetings at one’s home or hotel room
Level C: Sexual Coercion Or Bribery
Quid Pro Quo harassment including implicit or explicit requests for sexual activity or silence about harassment in exchange for reward including funding, referrals, future employment, promotion, or invitations to exclusive events. Sexual coercion under threat of punishment including defamation, firing, negative reviews, or blocking funding
Level D: Sexual Assault
Any physical contact of a sexual nature, including touching or kissing undertaken without proper consent
Levels C and D are likely to result in immediate termination of employment for gross misconduct whilst levels A and B are likely to result in a written warning and termination for gross misconduct will follow for repeat offenders.
If anyone, through contact with Forward Partners experiences or witnesses harassment by any other employee, portfolio company or vendor, they are strongly urged to report the incident as soon as possible to either the Managing Partner, their immediate manager, the People Department or by completing the following form. All reports will be discreetly and confidentially investigated to determine the appropriate course of action.
All managers are responsible for ensuring that policies designed to prohibit harassment in the workplace are applied at all times and that all procedures and practices are free from discrimination. All people are also obliged to follow legal guidelines and company principles. In cases when rules are judged to have been violated, employees can address the offender directly. If the issue is not resolved the complainant can report it to the People department or their immediate manager. The report will be investigated in a timely fashion and all parties listened to. The employee that suffered the offense will be protected against any further form of harassment or victimisation.