This page contains US Club Soccer’s Prohibited Conduct Policy as it appears in Appendix A of US Club Soccer’s Policy Manual. It was updated December 15, 2021 to be effective January 1, 2022, and is part of US Club Soccer’s Participant Safety/Risk Management Policies.
This policy set forth in this Appendix A (“Policy”) applies to all Participants (as that term is defined in Policy 13.01) as well as conduct by any subcontractor, supplier, customer or third party and their employees in their dealings with US Club Soccer and personnel of Member Organizations. This Policy has been adopted from and is consistent with U.S. Soccer’s Prohibited Conduct Policy and the U.S. Center for SafeSport Code.
US Club Soccer is committed to maintaining a work environment that is free from all forms of discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of any legally protected status. Accordingly, US Club Soccer does not permit any form of unlawful harassment, discrimination or intimidation against its employees by anyone, including managers, supervisors, coworkers, executives, directors, officers, other employees, vendors, clients, customers or third parties. Protected status includes race, color, age, religion, marital status, sex, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, veteran’s status, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, protected activity, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. The policy also prohibits harassment on the basis of the protected status of an individual’s relatives, friends or associates.
US Club Soccer is also committed to maintaining a work environment that is free from all forms of sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, emotional misconduct, physical misconduct, bullying and hazing.
Any violation of this Policy by a Participant subject the Participant to disciplinary action. Appropriate action also will be taken against any subcontractor, supplier, or customer found in violation of this Policy.
This Policy is in addition to all other provisions of the US Club Soccer Bylaws, Policies and Rules as well as all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations. It is the obligation of all Participants to know and comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations.
Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical or visual, that is based upon a person’s protected status. US Club Soccer will not tolerate harassing conduct that affects tangible job benefits, that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or safety, or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Among the types of conduct prohibited by this Policy are epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping or intimidating acts based on an individual’s protected status and the circulation or posting of written or graphic materials that show hostility toward an individual because of his or her protected status.
Prohibited conduct can also include jokes, kidding, or teasing about another person’s protected status. While harassing conduct is unlawful only if it affects tangible job benefits and/or interferes unreasonably with work performance and creates an abusive or hostile work environment, this Policy forbids harassing conduct even when it does not rise to the level of a violation of law.
Sexual harassment deserves special mention. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, written, or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
• submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual’s employment;
• submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for an employment decision affecting that individual; or
• such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance and creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Sexual harassment may involve individuals of the same or different gender. It may also occur between individuals of any employment status.
Examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment and are prohibited by this Policy include, but are not limited to:
• unnecessary touching, patting, hugging, pinching, or brushing against a person’s body;
• staring, ogling, leering, or whistling at a person;
• continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature;
• sexually explicit statements, sexual flirtations, advances, propositions, subtle pressure for sexual activity, comments, questions, jokes, or anecdotes;
• graphic or degrading comments about a person’s clothing, body or sexual activity;
• sexually suggestive objects, cartoons, posters, calendars, or pictures in the workplace;
• suggestive or obscene letters, notes or invitations;
• harassing use of electronic mail, electronic or instant messaging, or telephone communication systems; or
• other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
US Club Soccer prohibits managers and supervisors from threatening or insinuating, either explicitly or implicitly, that an employee’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances will in any way influence any personnel decision regarding that employee’s wages, assigned duties, advancement, evaluation, shifts, career development, or any other condition of employment.
RACIAL, RELIGIOUS, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN HARASSMENT:
Racial, religious, or national origin harassment deserves special mention as well, and is expressly prohibited by US Club Soccer. Racial, religious, or national origin harassment includes any verbal, written, or physical act in which race, religion, or national origin is used or implied in a manner which would make a reasonable person uncomfortable in the work environment or which would interfere with the person’s ability to perform the job. Examples of race, religious or national origin harassment may include, but are not limited to:
• jokes, which include reference to race, religion, or national origin;
• the display or use of objects or pictures which adversely reflect on a person’s race, religion, or national origin; or
• use of pejorative or demeaning language regarding a person’s race, religion, or national origin.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE:
Any sexual activity with a child is prohibited. This includes sexual contact with a child that is accomplished by deception, manipulation, force or threat of force, regardless of the age of the participants, and all sexual interactions between an adult and a child, regardless of whether there is deception, or the child understands the sexual nature of the activity.
Any sexual interaction between an athlete and an individual with evaluative, direct or indirect authority is prohibited. Such relationships involve an imbalance of power and are likely to impair judgment or be exploitative. This section does not apply to a pre-existing relationship between two spouses or life partners.
Emotional misconduct in all forms is prohibited. Emotional misconduct is a pattern of deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or psychological harm to another person. Non-contact behaviors include verbal acts, physical acts, or acts that deny attention or support; or any act or conduct described as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g., child abuse, child neglect). Emotional misconduct does not include professionally-accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline or improving athletic performance.
Physical misconduct in all forms is prohibited. Physical misconduct is defined as contact or non-contact conduct that results in, or reasonably threatens to, cause physical harm to another person; or any act or conduct described as physical abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g., child abuse, child neglect, assault). Physical misconduct does not include professionally-accepted coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline or improving athletic performance. For example, hitting and punching are well-regulated forms of contact in combat sports, but have no place in soccer.
Intentional, persistent and repeated pattern of committing or willfully tolerating physical and non-physical behaviors that are intended, or have the reasonable potential, to cause fear, humiliation or physical harm in an attempt to socially exclude, diminish or isolate the targeted athlete(s), as a condition of membership are prohibited. Bullying does not include group or team behaviors that (a) are meant to establish normative team behaviors, or (b) promote team cohesion.
Coercing, requiring, forcing or willfully tolerating any humiliating, unwelcome or dangerous activity that serves as a condition for (a) joining a group or (b) being socially accepted by a group’s members are prohibited. Hazing does not include group or team activities that (a) are meant to establish normative team behaviors or (b) promote team cohesion.
PROCEDURES FOR COMPLAINTS, INVESTIGATIONS AND CORRECTIVE ACTION:
All Participants are responsible to help ensure that we avoid misconduct. US Club Soccer cannot act to eliminate misconduct unless it has notice of the conduct. Participants are thus charged with reporting any concerns regarding compliance with its Participant Safety/Risk Management Policies. For the avoidance of doubt, in some instances, Participants will be required to report to law enforcement and/or the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
Furthermore, US Club Soccer employees are responsible to help assure that the work environment, on or off-premises, is free from harassment. Additionally, US Club Soccer expects all Member Organizations to have similar policies for their respective employees. All employees have an obligation to promptly report any allegedly harassing conduct they are the subject of, that they learn of, or that they witness. US Club Soccer’s policy provides for immediate notice of problems to the persons designated in this Policy so that we may address and resolve any problems as quickly as possible.
An employee must report the harassing conduct to either:
• The person to whom you report (supervisor or manager);
• Department Head;
• The Human Resources Department;
• The Legal Department;
• The Chief Executive Officer; or
• US Club Soccer’s Participant Safety/Risk Management Report a Concern Form, accessible via usclubsoccer.org
If the employee feels uncomfortable going to his or her supervisor with the complaint, he/she must report the matter to any other member of management as designated above.
This Policy does not require reporting the misconduct to any individual who is creating the harassment or discrimination.
All Participants have an obligation to cooperate in any investigation of a complaint of misconduct, including providing any and all information concerning the complaint. Failure to do so may be a violation of this Policy.
US Club Soccer’s Prohibited Conduct Policy offers its employees greater protection from harassment than does the law. Consequently, Participants who are found to have violated US Club Soccer’s Prohibited Conduct Policy shall be subject to corrective action, discipline or termination, even in cases where applicable laws may not have been violated and without regard to whether the conduct constitutes a violation of the law.
An employee wishing to file a complaint outside US Club Soccer may also contact either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the fair employment agency in his or her state.
TRAINING AND EDUCATION:
See Section 13.09 of the US Club Soccer Policy Manual.