Code of conduct
FORE Business is committed to encouraging equality and diversity among our Members and creating an environment for our Members that is free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences are recognised and valued.
FORE Business take very seriously inappropriate conduct by Members through any FORE Business medium and any complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisations, defamation, unlawful discrimination, and any behaviour which is found to be in breach of our Code of Conduct, will be dealt with as misconduct in accordance with our Disputes Resolution and Disciplinary Policies set out below.
- Members are expected to take personal responsibility for adhering to all aspects of the FORE Business Code of Conduct and for drawing any breaches to the attention of their Group Ambassador and/or Regional Ambassador.
- Members must always act in the interest of the wider community and in business dealings with members, or referrals provided by fellow members, act fairly and with integrity, honesty and in accordance with the ethical standards of their profession or trade.
- Members must uphold the integrity of the brand, including but not limited to their behaviour at Group and National events and in their use of both Public and Private “FORE” Business social media channels and forums, including LinkedIn.
- Members must uphold the reputation of the community and not take any action which could bring the community or “the Business” into disrepute.
- Members should respect and value alternative viewpoints and, seek, accept, and offer honest criticisms of work contracted for through introductions from other “FORE” Business members, but at all times must avoid injuring others or their reputation or employment by false or malicious or negligent action or inaction or abuse of any kind.
Bullying & Harassment
We define Harassment as any situation where a Member is subject to uninvited conduct connected to what is deemed to be a “protected characteristic’ that has the purpose or effect of violating the Member’s dignity and/or which creates a hostile, humiliating, degrading or similarly offensive environment.
- The uninvited conduct can be physical, verbal or non verbal. ‘Protected Characteristics’ are defined as: age; race (which includes colour and ethnic/national origin); disability; religion or belief; sex; gender reassignment; pregnancy or maternity; sexual orientation; and marital or civil partnership status. Examples include: threats or abuse, unwelcome sexual advances, offensive emails, tweets, or comments on social media, offensive images, physical behaviour like gestures or facial expressions, making lewd comments and/or insensitive jokes and excluding or victimising colleagues.
- We define bullying as any behaviour that leaves the victim feeling threatened, intimidated, humiliated, vulnerable or otherwise upset. There is no need to demonstrate a connection with a protected characteristic to establish a bullying allegation. The uninvited conduct can be physical, verbal or non-verbal.
- Taking part in any of the following behaviour will lead to a referral to the Membership Committee and disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or termination of your Membership:
- harassing or bullying anyone else (as defined above);
- threatening anyone who raises a harassment or bullying complaint;
- retaliating against anyone who raises a harassment or bullying complaint;
- making allegations maliciously or in bad faith; and/or
- giving false or intentionally misleading information during any investigation.
Be respectful to others when making any statement on social media and be aware that you are personally responsible for all communications which will be published on the internet for anyone to see.
- If you disclose directly or inferred your affiliation with FORE Business on your personal profile or in any social media postings, you must state that your views do not represent those of FORE Business (unless you are authorised to speak on our behalf). You should also ensure that your profile and any content you post are consistent with the professional image you present to clients and colleagues and to other FORE Business members.
- If you are uncertain or concerned about the appropriateness of any statement or posting, refrain from posting it.
- New Members of FORE Business are often inundated with new ‘Friend Requests’ via the various social media platforms where FORE Business Members are active. To avoid inadvertently accepting Friend Requests from non-FORE Business Members, we recommend that you:
- Verify a friend request is someone you know.
- Verify a friend request is indeed a FORE member.
- If in doubt, ask for a 1-2-1 via Zoom to get to know a person before interacting with them or accepting a friend request.
- Ask to be introduced to a member before sending a friend request.
- Clean up your list and verify those who are already on your friend list
- If you see social media content that disparages or reflects poorly on FORE Business, you should contact your Group Ambassador or Regional Ambassador or UK & International Growth Director or FORE HQ.
- Group Ambassadors are required to remove as soon as possible, any person who is no longer a member of FORE Business, from the FORE Business App, from all FORE Business social media platforms, and from any other medium through which FORE Business conducts member to member interactions.
Reported breaches of our Code of Conduct and disputes between members within a single Group should initially be dealt with informally by the Group Ambassador Team.
- Formal escalation of the dispute, if required, should be made through the Group Ambassador to the Regional Ambassador Team (or in the absence of a Regional Ambassador for your area, to the UK & International Growth Director) in accordance with the following steps:
- The member raising the dispute (the Complainant) should set the nature of the dispute in writing to the Group Ambassador or, if the dispute is with the Group Ambassador, directly to their Regional Ambassador Team, within three (3) working days of the matter occurring. In doing so, the Complainant should include the name of the member with whom they have a dispute (the Respondent) any relevant facts, dates, times and names of other relevant individuals, and should attach to the complaint any supporting evidence.
- A copy of the written complaint will be forwarded to the Respondent and they will be asked to reply in writing within five (5) working days to set out their position and provide any evidence in support.
- In some circumstances it may be necessary to suspend members pending the outcome of the deliberations of the Membership Committee. Any decision to suspend a member will be made by the Membership Committee on receipt of written submissions from both the Complainant and Respondent and notified to the members by email. Suspension of this kind is not a sanction and does not imply that any decision has been made about the allegations or imply guilt and would only be considered in circumstances where there have been allegations of serious misconduct or where there is a threat to the interests, brand or integrity of “the Business” and/or its members. Reported breaches of our Code of Conduct and disputes between members within a single Group should initially be dealt with informally by the Group Ambassador Team.
- On receipt of the written submissions from both the Complainant and Respondent, or in the absence of a reply from the Respondent, the Regional Ambassador Team will refer the matter to the UK & International Director of FORE Business, who will then refer the matter to the Membership Committee for their deliberation and decision, which will be notified to both parties within three (3) working days.
- Disputes between any member (including Ambassador Team members) and “the Business”, should be dealt with privately between the parties wherever possible. In the absence of a resolution, issues should be referred to the Membership Committee for arbitration and recommendation.
- The Membership committee comprises a cross-section of Regional Ambassadors in good standing, invited by the UK & International Director of FORE Business, from time to time and on an ad-hoc basis, to consider disputes that may arise by or among other members, as laid out in this Code of Conduct. Strict anonymity will be maintained of membership of this committee to ensure free and unbiased consideration of the facts of any dispute under consideration.
Where any reported misconduct by a Member or any dispute/complaint raised by a Member has been upheld by the Membership Committee, it shall determine the appropriate sanction to impose based on the specific facts
The level of sanction imposed will depend on a combination of the seriousness of the issue and whether the Respondent Member has been subject to any sanctions previously.
The range of sanctions include:
- A verbal warning: for minor misconduct issues;
- A written warning: for more serious misconduct issues or where a verbal warning has been given previously;
- 30-day Suspension: where a written warning has been given previously or where the offence is considered serious enough to warrant this immediate action;
- Immediate Termination: further misconduct where suspension has been previously imposed or any serious misconduct regardless of whether previous sanctions have been given.
Final decisions remain the prerogative of the Co-Founders and Owners of “the Business”.