The fifth and final element of the Rotarian Code of Conduct is “As a Rotarian, I will help maintain a harassment-free environment in Rotary meetings, events, and activities; report any suspected harassment; and help ensure non-retaliation to those individuals that report harassment.”

 
 

Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. 

Rotary is a largely an internally driven, outwardly focused organization. That is, Clubs have maximum autonomy, within a broad set of accepted guidance, to work together to create lasting change at the individual, community and global level. 

Such action is not really possible in an environment of harassment or division in a Club. Clubs cannot rise to an optimal level of performance by tolerating harassment or retaliation. 

Harassment can be defined as “...a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behavior that demeans, humiliates or embarrasses a person, and it is characteristically identified by its unlikelihood in terms of social and moral reasonableness. In the legal sense, these are behaviors that appear to be disturbing, upsetting or threatening. They evolve from discriminatory grounds, and have an effect of nullifying or impairing a person from benefiting their rights. When these behaviors become repetitive, they are defined as bullying.”

It’s a tricky subject - what one person would accept as ordinary joking around, another might perceive as harassment.  Manners, as the old saying goes, do matter. 

Rotarians use the Four Way Test as a simple guide to their actions. It reads: “Of the things we think, say, or do, Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”  

Individual and group behavior is essential if we are to fulfill those tenets. It requires each Rotarian to look inward to ensure they are speaking the truth, making sure their actions, and those of their Club (note the use of “we”) is fair to all concerned, focused on building goodwill and better friendships, while being beneficial to all concerned. 

Harassment works directly against those tenets and thus cannot be tolerated. Harassment is not fair to all concerned, certainly not to its target, nor can it possibly build goodwill and better friendships - in fact, it destroys the trust needed for a member to serve to capacity in a Club. And, of course, it is not beneficial in any way, shape or form.    

In the spirit of Rotary - taking action to create lasting positive change - this fifth element of the code of conduct requires Rotarians to take action to resolve the adverse situation, reporting it within the Club and helping to ensure non-retaliation for taking action to resolve the situation.  

Each element of the Rotary Code of Conduct works together to help build both a better, more productive person as well as a more effective club and organization. 

Rotarians must take this essential guiding principle seriously and at all times, take action to ensure their actions, and those of their Club, meet the Four-Way Test within the Code of Conduct. 

The Rotary Code of Conduct: 

“As a Rotarian, I will:

1.  Act with integrity and high ethical standards in my personal and professional life;

2.  Deal fairly with others and treat them and their occupations with respect;

3.   Use my professional skills through Rotary to mentor young people, help those with  special needs, and improve people’s quality of life in my community and in the world;

4.  Avoid behavior that reflects adversely on Rotary or other Rotarians.

5.  Help maintain a harassment-free environment in Rotary meetings, events, and activities; report any suspected harassment; and help ensure non-retaliation to those individuals that report harassment.”

======================================================================================