International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center’s code is based on the CSA Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information (CAN/CSA-Q830-96). This code describes International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center’s commitment and methods of subscribing to the principles of the CSA Model Code.
Purpose: International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center recognizes the right of an individual to the protection of personal information and the need for information management practices that adhere to national standards. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will ensure that its policies and operational guidelines, directed by the principles of the CSA Code, govern the management of personal information of its members, donors, staff and volunteers.
Personal Information – Factual or subjective information, recorded or not. This can include, but is not limited to, age, name, addresses, e-mail addresses, giving history, financial information, identification numbers, income, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, opinions, evaluations, comments, disciplinary actions, employee files, loan records, medical files or documentation of a dispute.
Commercial Activity – Any particular transaction, act or conduct or any regular course of conduct that is of a commercial character, including the selling, bartering or leasing of donor, membership or other fundraising lists.
Consent – Voluntary agreement with what is being done or proposed. Consent can be either express or implied. Express consent is given explicitly, either orally or in writing. Express consent is unequivocal and does not require any inference on the part of the organization seeking consent. Implied consent arises where consent may reasonably be inferred from the action or inaction of the individual.
* Taken from Your Privacy Responsibilities, Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, December 2000.
Accountability – International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center recognizes that it is responsible for all personal information under its control. This includes, but is not limited to, information in any form be it verbal, print or electronic document, such as age, name, address, telephone numbers, e- mail addresses, identification numbers, income, ethnic origin, opinions, evaluations, social status, credit records, and recordings of disputes between the organization and a donor/member.
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will ensure that a privacy protection clause be included in contracts with individuals/organizations both inside and outside the scope of the organization. The organization will be guided by the principles outlined in its Privacy Code in the daily development, administration, management and evaluation of personal information under its care.
Identifying Purposes – International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center and those designated or contracted to act for or on its behalf, shall identify the purposes for which personal information is collected at or before the time the information is collected. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will attempt to document and clearly define the purpose or purposes intended for personal data before it is collected and will always ensure that it is present at the time of its collection. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will only collect information that it views as a necessity in order to fulfill the identified purpose. Any secondary or optional uses of information by the organization will be identified and individuals will be provided with an opportunity to reject or accept such uses.
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will make every attempt to ensure that the purposes and uses of information it collects will be presented in easy and straightforward language. It will clearly identify why this information is needed and how it will be used. All materials used by International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center or those designated to work for it on its behalf, to collect information will present the purpose, need and use in a manner that is understandable to whomever it is intended.
Methods and procedures to ensure that all relevant materials used to collect personal information adhere to the “Identifying Purposes Principle” will be outlined in Operational Guidelines. These guidelines will assist individuals within the organization in directing inquiries or complaints regarding purposes of collection to the appropriate individual or individuals. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center recognizes the diversity of its members and donors’ needs and will apply this to its operational guidelines.
Consent – International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center and those designated or contracted to act for it or on its behalf will ensure that the knowledge and consent of the individual are obtained for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center has a responsibility to provide explanation in clear, simple and understandable language of the intended uses and impacts and to obtain consent before the information is used. The organization will provide this explanation on all appropriate forms, contracts and publicly available forms. Specific adherences to this principle will be outlined in the Operational Guidelines.
Consent may be express or implied dependent upon the particular situation. However, International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will attempt to obtain express consent, where possible.
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center recognizes the right of individuals to prevent their personal information from being provided to other organizations on a reciprocal basis for the purpose of fundraising. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will present its members and donors an opportunity to opt-out of such exchanges annually through its direct mail program. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will not disclose any personal information without providing an opportunity for individuals to opt-out.
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center recognizes that individuals have the right to withdraw consent to personal information use at any time. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will provide its members/donors with an opportunity to opt-out of name exchanges annually and an opt-out option from receiving mail every three years. However this principle is subject to legal and contractual restrictions and reasonable notice.
In addition this principle is exempt in particular circumstances where criminal investigations, legal or security situations, medical emergencies or mental or physical incapacities arise. However, International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will approach these situations with great caution and care.
Limiting Collection – International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center shall ensure that the collection of personal information shall be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified by the organization. Information shall be collected by fair and lawful means. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will collect information in a straightforward and honest manner and with the individual’s consent. It will not collect information in an indiscriminate manner. Information will not be collected from other individuals associated with the person such as family members or friends without the consent and knowledge of the individual and only in situations that are deemed to be most compelling.
Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention – International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center shall ensure that personal information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law. Personal information shall be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfillment of those purposes. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will ensure that consent for personal information use is applied only to purposes agreed to initially by the individual. The use of the information will be presented clearly to the individual. In circumstances where potential purposes of use of information may appear as complex, all potential options of future use should be presented and an option to have one’s information either included or removed should be clearly presented. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will ensure that any inquiries regarding the organization’s purposes of use and practices of disclosure are responded to in an open and honest fashion.
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center’s practices and procedures regarding the retention of personal information will be clearly outlined in its Operational Guidelines, including minimum and maximum retention periods.
Accuracy – International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center shall ensure that personal information under its care be as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used. Opportunities for individuals to inquire about and review their personal information, which they have consented to provide to International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, will be made readily available following appropriate notice. Individuals will be provided an opportunity to update or correct personal information which is outdated or inaccurate.
Safeguards – International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center shall ensure that personal information shall be protected by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of information. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center shall take all reasonable means necessary to ensure that all personal information under its care is protected against loss or theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification. This includes but is not limited to physical, organizational and technological means. Specific measures and procedures will be outlined in the Operational Guidelines.
Individual Access – International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center agrees to ensure that upon request an individual shall be informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of their personal information and shall be given access to that information. An individual shall be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate. Requests by individuals regarding the type of information International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center maintains, its uses and to whom it has been disclosed, will be responded to in an honest and timely fashion.
If, in certain circumstances, International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center is not able to provide certain information, an explanation outlining the reasons must be provided to the individual in writing. Exceptions to providing this information should be limited and specific. These may include but are not limited to cost, references to other individuals or for reasons of legal, security or litigation privilege.
Provide Recourse – International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center agrees to ensure that an individual shall be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to the designated individual or individuals accountable for the organization’s compliance. International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will make every effort to respond openly to inquiries or complaints regarding its management, collection and disclosure of personal information.
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center will ensure that every complaint is investigated and that the appropriate actions required to rectify the situation will be taken.
What personal data we collect and why we collect it
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The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre (“ISYVC”) is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that fosters personal and spiritual growth. Accordingly, the ISYVC has adopted the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Misconduct Policy (“Policy”), which is designed to create a positive atmosphere for employees, volunteers, students and guests that reflects the spiritual values of the ISYVC. In furtherance of this Policy, no ISYVC employee, volunteer, student or guest may be subjected to misconduct on the basis of race, religious creed, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability or caste. This Policy will serve to: 1) prevent misconduct through education; 2) provide procedures for the prompt and thorough investigation of misconduct claims; and 3) ensure that a violation is remedied immediately, fully and fairly.
We take complaints of misconduct seriously. Violations of this Policy are unacceptable, as is retaliation against anyone because he or she has made a complaint regarding such conduct or because he or she co-operated with an investigation into allegations of misconduct. Our zero-tolerance policy for violators means that every instance of misconduct will be investigated promptly and thoroughly. Violation of this policy will involve appropriate action.
This Policy applies to all employees, independent contractors, volunteers, presenters, students and guests, and will be administered by ISYVC’s Executive Board (“EBM”) through its designated representatives. All employees, volunteers, students and guests are expected to help create and maintain an environment that is safe and sacred and free of any type of misconduct.
Appeal: Either Party has the right to appeal the findings of the Investigation with the ISYVC or its designee. Basis for appeal is limited to: (a) significant procedural lapses; or (b) the appearance of substantive new evidence not available at the time of the original decision.
Complainant: A person who reports a grievance regarding the Policy.
Grievance: Any allegation of a violation of the Policy.
Investigation: The fact-finding process conducted by the Investigator that determines whether there is sufficient, timely information to determine whether there has been a Policy violation. This includes but is not limited to:
- Explaining the Policy and investigation procedures of ISYVC to the Complainant and the Respondent;
- Ensuring that both the Complainant and the Respondent are aware of the seriousness of any violation of the Policy;
- Investigating the allegations and determining whether or not a violation of the Policy has occurred;
- If the allegations are substantiated, the Investigator shall inform the EBM or its designee and recommend the appropriate remedial action to be taken.
Investigator: The person designated by the ISYVC responsible for accepting, reviewing and investigating Grievances.
Misconduct: any form of discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, or caste including sexual misconduct as defined below.
Notification of Decision: The written communication from ISYVC that notifies the Parties of the findings of the Investigation. In the event of an adverse finding, the Notification will also inform the Respondent (but not the Complainant) of the disciplinary action(s) to be taken.
Notification of Investigation: The written Notification to the Parties informing them of the initiation of an Investigation.
Party: The Complainant or Respondent and collectively referred to as the “Parties.”
Preliminary Review: The Investigator’s initial review following receipt of a complaint to determine whether to initiate an Investigation.
Respondent: A person who is alleged to have violated the Policy.
Retaliation: An adverse action taken against a Complainant or Witness in response to their submission of a complaint and/or participation in an Investigation. Examples of adverse action include withholding a certificate of completion; firing or refusing to hire an individual; or expelling an employee/guest/student/volunteer from the ashram.
Sexual Misconduct: Sexual misconduct is a form of discrimination and is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, whether or not the person is a paid employee or a volunteer, or the terms and conditions of any part of a guest’s or student’s use of the ashram; or when rejection of such advances or conduct is used negatively as a basis for any decision;
- Sexually-oriented conduct, whether so intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or enjoyment of the ashram or participation in ashram programs by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive work environment.
- Non-consensual sexual touching: a broad term that refers to any deliberate non-consensual touching of a person’s body, which conduct can range from unwanted touching such as fondling, up to and including non-consensual sex; or
- Verbal: Use of sexually suggestive or explicit statements, whether through speech or written form, that create a hostile environment.
Sexual misconduct encompasses a wide range of conduct, some examples of specifically prohibited conduct include but are not limited to:
- Unwanted sexual advances whether or not they involve physical touching;
- Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life, comments on an individual’s body, or comments about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;
- Sexual or discriminatory displays or publications anywhere on ashram grounds by employees, guests or volunteers, such as sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or cartoons;
- Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, and suggestive or insulting comments;
- Unwelcome inquiries into one’s sexual experiences;
- Unwelcome discussion of one’s sexual activities;
- Stalking; and
- Comments or conjecture about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Witness: A person whom the Complainant or Respondent identifies as having first-hand or other relevant information about the alleged violation that would assist in determining whether the grievance may be substantiated.
II. Application of this Policy
The ISYVC has created an environment in which employees, volunteers, students and guests may feel safe and comfortable reporting a Grievance. All supervisors who become aware of any such misconduct within their departments whether or not there has been an oral, written or formal complaint, are required to report it to the Investigator immediately. Supervisors who knowingly allow or tolerate misconduct, sexual or otherwise are in violation of this Policy and are subject to discipline. Any individual within the scope of this Policy who violates this Policy is subject to appropriate action. Any question regarding the Policy or about a specific situation should be brought to the Investigator.
III. Reporting a Grievance
Any employee, volunteer, student, or guest who believes they have been subjected to misconduct, may file a Grievance with the Investigator as soon as possible after the incident of alleged misconduct occurred but not later than one month after the alleged violation has occurred unless ISYVC determines that an extension is warranted.
To report an allegation of a violation of the Policy, the Complainant must provide the following information to the Investigator:
- Your full name;
- Your email and phone number, including any international extensions;
- Full name of the person who you allege violated the Policy;
- A full and clear description of the conduct alleged to have violated the Policy;
- The date and location of the alleged misconduct;
- Names and contact information of Witnesses; and
- Any tangible evidence available to support the allegations
The Investigator may request additional information from you during the course of review or Investigation of any Grievance.
To ensure a fair process to all those involved, we will not investigate anonymous reports.
Publicizing information about an alleged violation of the Policy without following the reporting procedures, or filing a reckless or frivolous complaint will be considered misconduct and the person will be subject to disciplinary or corrective action.
IV. Preliminary Review
The Investigator will review the Grievances to determine whether or not: 1) the Policy applies to the subject of the complaint; 2) the Grievance is timely; and 3) the alleged conduct is covered by the Policy. If the complaint does not include all the information required by Section III, the Investigator shall inform the Complainant, who will then be given the opportunity to provide the required information. If no response to this request is received within ten (10) days, the matter will be closed.
V. Initiating an Investigation
After Preliminary Review of a Grievance, the Investigator shall determine whether or not there is sufficient information to proceed with an Investigation. The ISYVC may also initiate an Investigation on its own behalf if, for example, a supervisor informs the Investigator of a possible violation of the Policy or if an indictment has been issued or charges filed with the relevant law enforcement agency.
Once an Investigation is commenced, ISYVC will provide the Parties with written (email) Notification of Investigation. In the event that either Party does not have an email address on file with ISYVC, the Investigator will call or speak directly to that Party to notify him or her of the investigation.
VI. Appointment/Status Suspension
ISYVC reserves the right to suspend or remove any employee, volunteer, guest or student pending an investigation.
We appreciate that participating in an Investigation – whether as a Complainant, Respondent, or Witness – can be difficult. Although ISYVC strives to balance the desire for confidentiality with the need to conduct a thorough and fair Investigation, anonymity cannot be maintained; therefore, the Parties’ names will be disclosed to each other during the Investigation. We understand that a witness may be uncomfortable giving information and will also desire confidentiality. Accordingly, to the extent possible, we will attempt to maintain the content of a witness’s statement confidential.
VIII. The Investigation
Once the Complainant and Respondent are contacted by the Investigator each Party will have an equal opportunity to be heard, to submit information, and to identify Witnesses who may have relevant information. The Investigator will notify and seek to interview the Complainant, the Respondent, and identified Witnesses and will gather other evidence and information relevant to the determination as to whether a Policy violation has occurred. Witnesses must have information deemed relevant to the Investigation, as determined by the Investigator.
The Investigator will consider the totality of information gathered in the Investigation to determine, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) whether or not the Respondent violated the Policy. In reaching a Finding, the Investigator will consider things such as:
- Party participation;
- Details provided;
- Timeliness of the report;
- Corroborating or conflicting information;
- Plausibility of information provided;
- Relevancy of information; and
- Omission of information.
X. Notification of Decision
At the conclusion of the Investigation, the ISYVC or its designee will notify the Parties as to whether or not there is sufficient information to establish a violation of the Policy (“Notification of Findings”).
XI. Appropriate Remedial Action
If we determine that a Respondent has violated the Policy, we will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Such action may range from the mandatory minimum action of a written reprimand to, in the case of serious or repeat violations, termination of employment, or in the case of volunteers, students or guests, being asked to leave.
Both Parties have the right to request an Appeal of the results of the Investigation. The right to Appeal is limited to 1) significant procedural lapses; or 2) the appearance of substantive new evidence not available at the time of the original decision. Appeals shall not be based upon, or granted to, dissatisfaction with a Finding or discipline. Note: deliberate omission of information by the Appealing Party in the original Investigation is not grounds for Appeal.
Each Party has thirty (30) days following the receipt of the Notification of Finding to request an Appeal. Requests for Appeal, with reasons, should be emailed to the EBM’s Appeals designee. If this is not possible, the Party requesting an Appeal must speak directly with the Investigator who will forward the Appeal to the EBM’s Appeals designee.
The EBM Appeals designee will grant Appeals only in cases where the procedural problems or new evidence are considered substantive enough to potentially affect the outcome. If the Appeal is granted the Director of Standards will (i) affirm the findings, or (ii) alter the findings only where there is clear error based on the stated Appeal grounds. The determination of the ISYVC is final and will be issued within thirty (30) days to the Party requesting the Appeal. If the finding is altered, both parties will be notified of the final outcome.
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre reserves the right to amend the Misconduct Policy and Procedures at any time by posting the revised version on its website. The most current version of the policy will apply upon receipt of a Grievance.