BigMouth Inc. Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment

BigMouth, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to maintaining a work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. We believe that discrimination and harassment, either intentional or unintentional, have no place in the work environment.

Accordingly, the Company has been and shall be free from all forms of discriminatory practices and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy or child bearing capacity, sterilization, fertility or related medical conditions), age, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship status, veteran status, ancestry, marital status, gender identity or expression, past or present history of mental, intellectual, physical or learning disability or any other protected status under applicable local, state and federal law, whether the discrimination or harassment is caused by another employee, supervisor, manager or other person, including third parties such as customers, vendors, suppliers, independent contractors or others doing business with the Company.

What is Discrimination and What is Harassment

Discrimination and harassment are forms of misconduct that undermine the integrity of the employment relationship. Such conduct is not only offensive, but it may also harm morale and interfere with our effectiveness and our ability to fulfill our responsibilities to our customers.

All employees must be allowed to work in an environment free from unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtones and harassment in any form.

Discrimination is treating someone differently because of his or her protected status (see categories described above).

Harassment is verbal or other conduct that is directed at an individual because of an individual’s protected status or that relates to that status. Conduct that is prohibited by this policy includes, but is not limited to, slurs, epithets, threats, derogatory comments, and jokes that are offensive to the person and that would make a reasonable person uncomfortable in the work environment and/or that interferes with the person’s job performance.

Sexual harassment is one specific type of harassment and is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual's employment;

2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or

3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Examples of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment does not mean occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. However, sexual harassment does include, but is not limited to, actions such as:

1. Unwanted sexual advances, whether they involve physical touching or not;

2. Sexual comments, jokes, written or other references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life, comments about an individual’s body, comments about an individual’s sexual activity;

3. Possession, display, or distribution of pornography, photographs, drawings, objects, or other material of a sexual nature;

4. Physical conduct such as leering or offensive or unwanted touching of another's body;

5. Offensive sexual flirtations or propositions; and

6. Any other offensive, hostile, intimidating, or abusive conduct of a sexual nature.

Other Important Information

Harassment based on sex is prohibited both in opposite and same sex situations, regardless of the sexual preference of the individuals involved.

It is important to understand that the Company’s prohibition against such inappropriate behavior is not limited to behavior that is actually severe and/or pervasive enough to constitute illegal discrimination or harassment. Rather, the Company prohibits all behavior that is motivated by, pertains to, or is offensive on the basis of a protected status described above, regardless of whether the behavior satisfies the legal definition of unlawful discrimination or harassment.

This policy also prohibits inappropriate behavior regardless of whether the inappropriate behavior is unwelcome, regardless of whether anyone has complained about it, and regardless of whether the person engaging in such behavior intended for it to be offensive. This policy also prohibits inappropriate behavior that was intended only as a joke or behavior that was not intended to be seen or overheard by others. An innocent “intent” does not excuse the type of misconduct that is described in this policy.

Any conduct in violation of this policy is strictly prohibited, will not be tolerated, and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, or other appropriate remedial action as warranted by the circumstances.

How to report instances of discrimination or harassment:

The Company cannot resolve matters that are not brought to its attention. Therefore, everyone will be held accountable for accomplishing our goal of a discrimination and harassment-free workplace. Do not allow an inappropriate situation to continue by not reporting it, regardless of who is creating the situation. No employee, contract worker, customer, vendor or other person who does business with this organization is exempt from the prohibitions in this policy. Any employee who believes he or she is being subjected to conduct in violation of this policy by a coworker, supervisor, manager, or other individual (whether employed by the Company or not), or believes that his or her employment is being adversely affected by such conduct, should report such incidents and any other observations of conduct in violation of this policy to his or her supervisor immediately. If the complaint or observation involves someone in the employee’s direct line of command, or if the employee is uncomfortable discussing the matter with his or her direct supervisor, the employee should report the matter to Human Resources, or to any other senior member of management. Additionally, employees can make a report regarding discrimination or harassment to the Company’s Ethics and Fraud Hotline. Information about the Hotline and the number to call is posted in the facility.

Additionally, any employee, supervisor, or manager who becomes aware of any possible harassment or discrimination directed at or suffered by any employee should immediately advise his or her supervisor, Human Resources, or any senior member of management.

How the Company will investigate complaints and reports:

The Company will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of any complaint or report of conduct that could be or that is in violation of this policy. This will involve speaking with the victim and other individuals who may have relevant information. Employees are expected to promptly cooperate with any investigation.

Since allegations of harassment or discrimination are serious matters for all concerned, discretion will be utilized in the investigation and, where appropriate, remedying improper conduct. Information will be kept as confidential as reasonably possible and will be released only on a “need to know” basis.

After the investigation is completed, the Company will meet with the affected employee (and the reporting employee if not the same individual) to discuss the results of the investigation and where appropriate, review the proposed resolution of the matter.

Employee Responsibilities: Don't be a Bystander or an Enabler

We believe that every employee has a role to play in preventing behavior that violates this policy. This role goes beyond just ensuring that you personally adhere to this policy. We encourage you to be proactive in dealing with behavior that violates this policy.

For example, an employee who believes that he or she has been a victim of conduct that violates this policy is encouraged to inform the offending individual in a timely manner that the conduct is offensive and must stop. We understand that being this direct with a co-worker may be uncomfortable for some individuals and you are not required to do this. However, we encourage it because we know that this can be a fair and highly effective way to inform the individual that the conduct is unwelcome or inappropriate, and to prevent it from happening again. Some individuals who engage in inappropriate behavior may not fully realize the impact of their behavior and this approach can be helpful to them.

In addition, if you observe any conduct that you believe constitutes a violation of this policy, we encourage you to be neither a bystander nor an enabler of the offending individual.

Not being a bystander means that there may be an opportunity for you to intervene in a situation and to convey to the offending employee that his/her conduct or language was not appropriate. Hearing this message from a peer can be an effective means of preventing the conduct from occurring in the future, and it also assists in setting expectations for employee-toemployee interactions. In other cases, you may have an opportunity to deflect the harasser's behavior, de-escalate the situation, or to help the targeted employee remove him/herself from an uncomfortable situation. You should also consider whether you should report the situation to your supervisor, to Human Resources, or to another senior member of management. Employees should use common sense and good judgment in these situations. This includes (when practical) taking the offending employee aside privately to communicate that his/her conduct or language was inappropriate. While the conduct may have been wrong, it is preferable to avoid an embarrassing or humiliating interaction with the offending employee.

Not being an enabler means that you should not engage in conduct that encourages anyone to engage in behavior that violates this policy. For example, laughing at an individual's crude or otherwise inappropriate jokes simply encourages that type of behavior. The approach that we would hope you would take is to talk with your co-worker and let him/her know that such jokes are inappropriate. In addition, if a co-worker comes to you and expresses his/her discomfort with another individual's language or conduct, resist any temptation to make excuses for the offending employee. Instead, you should ask yourself whether there is anything that you can or should do to avoid such situations from occurring again in the future. It could be that you should have a private conversation with the offending individual, and you may also want to advise your supervisor, Human Resources, or another senior member of management. As stated above, you should always use common sense and exercise good judgment in these situations.

Our commitment to an effective response:

The Company will not tolerate any retaliation against an employee for making a good faith report under this policy or for participating in a harassment or discrimination investigation.

Employees will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, for violations of this policy, including, but not limited to, harassment or retaliation, failure or refusal to promptly cooperate in an investigation, or other actions that are contrary to this policy. Violations of this policy may expose the organization to civil liability for damages, penalties, and other non-economic harm. In addition, individuals who violate this policy may be subject to personal civil and criminal liability, depending on the circumstances.

If the individual who engaged in discrimination or harassment is not an employee of the Company, we will take such action as is reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances.

Finally, if an employee believes that his or her report or complaint of a possible violation of this policy has not been promptly or properly addressed, or if an employee believes that the Company has not fulfilled its commitments under this policy, the employee should immediately contact Human Resources, any senior member of management, or the Company’s Ethics and Fraud Hotline. An effective response depends on all of us, working together, to address this very important subject.