Treating one’s colleagues with respect is a basic best practice in life and business. The themed entertainment industry is a unique business community: highly collaborative, highly creative and bringing together many different cultures and ways of doing business. It is also a field in which many people remain for the whole of their professional careers. To help ensure that TEA events are friendly, safe, and welcoming for all participants, at all times, these guidelines help identify unacceptable behavior and indicate steps that may be taken to help ensure a safe and positive experience for all. — TEA Events – Appropriate Conduct Guidelines
In a bold and timely act of international leadership, the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) has published a set of Appropriate Conduct Guidelines for all TEA Events, worldwide.
In this writer’s experience, we have not seen a policy as broad, specific, clear and articulate inserted into the actual ticket-purchasing process as caveat for participation in all events, meetings, conferences or special occasions.
It has been barely a year since our Summit Stage was host to a hard-hitting presentation and discussion on the #MeToo initiative and the insidious presence of subtextual and overt sexual harassment in our professional contexts…indeed, throughout our lives.
That presentation opened a frank discussion and awareness of the virtually invisible energy that can pervade various gatherings; unrecognized by those who aren’t the direct target of abuse or discomfort – while completely undermining the experience of those targeted.
The backstory of this newly created edict includes a committed, vocal group of members choosing to create their own protected “safe table” at our annual Thea Awards Event on April 14 of this year – a night to which many fondly, wryly refer as “The Theme Park Prom.” As this move to create a safe space within our space came to light; the concept and conversation were ultimately embraced by TEA Leadership and, in short order (especially for a non-profit bureaucracy!), this code was born.
The TEA has listened to and handily heard from myriad factions within their membership and moved with alacrity to create and establish these guidelines…guidelines-with-teeth, one might say.
Beyond identifying general guidelines, the document makes room for the singular incident that may cause discomfort. It provides for immediate courses of action and immediate, on-site consequences for violation of the precepts of this code.
Identifying unacceptable behaviors and harassment
What to do if unacceptable conduct takes place
Consequences of violating behavior guidelines
…and closes with this:
By their nature, TEA events often combine professional activities with social interaction. This is core to business networking and to fostering connections between participants, with the goal of fostering industry growth and improvement. TEA reserves the right to remove anyone whose social attentions become unwelcome to another, particularly if the behavior continues after their unwelcome nature has been communicated to the offending party. TEA also reserves the right to remove any participant who appears inebriated. TEA further reserves the right to remove any participant who engages in conduct that interferes with the ability of others to participate in and enjoy the event.
While this document and policy are likely organic, and may evolve with time and practice; as they stand they are comprehensive, inclusive and above all a powerful statement in support of all members and guests.
This is landmark. Worthy of accolade and acknowledgement.
Kudos to the groundbreakers, the conversation starters and TEA leadership for moving fast and cleanly.
Worth a read, worth emulating; the entire document (it’s only two pages) is available here.