Wine Industry Equity Pledge

The following pledge is to acknowledge that the history of working individuals in the wine industry has included discrimination and behaviors most all of us would condemn. In some cases, this has impacted careers and made the path to success more difficult for some than others. The pledge is for us to all agree on some basics. However, let’s keep in mind what we are trying to create.

We are trying to create an industry that serves as a gold standard of how people treat each other. We want to develop guidelines on how to be looked upon as a professional who adds value to the industry. We are trying to create a community where we all feel free to work hard and thrive and enjoy those we encounter. We want it to be okay to refuse business because it is reasonable to choose not to work with those who do not share our values of fairness and equity. Our society is evolving and progressing, and we want to grow the momentum of people treating each other with kindness and respect.

THIS CODE PROMOTES ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO UNEQUAL PAY, HIRING PRACTICES, SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND BULLYING. THE COMMITMENTS AND DEFINITIONS HEREIN PROMOTE THE CREATION AND STRENGTHENING OF SAFE(R) SPACES THAT UPHOLD THE EQUITABLE TREATMENT OF ALL PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF THEIR VARIOUS IDENTITIES AND POSITIONALITIES, INCLUDING, RACE, GENDER IDENTITY, AGE, ABILITY, ETHNICITY, CULTURE, IMMIGRATION STATUS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND IDENTITY, CLASS POSITION AND ECONOMIC BACKGROUND, AND RELIGIOUS BELIEF AND AFFILIATION IN ALL WINE BUSINESSES.

What is a Safe Space?

A Safe Space is a balanced, healthy space where all people feel valued and respected. The term “safe(r)” espouses an intersectional approach to the term “safe,” acknowledging that what is “safe” shifts depending on one’s various identities and positionalities.

Wine is different from other industries in that it revolves around an alcoholic beverage that can affect people’s behavior. As such, it is incumbent on all wine business owners, managers and supervisors to have policies in place safeguarding alcohol abuse that can lead to violence, sexual harassment, bullying and other forms of abusive behavior.

If any of the above behaviors take place, with or without the influence of alcohol, the owner, manager or supervisor will take action including but not limited to: protecting the victim, removing the offender from the workplace, and taking meaningful steps to ensure that such behavior does not happen again.

What is a Workplace?

A Workplace, whether physical or virtual, can include but is not limited to an office, restaurant, wine store, wine bar, wine tasting, vehicles used for work, social media and communication that involves professional matters.

How is sexual harassment defined by law?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is prohibited by law. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is when a term or condition of employment is contingent upon the acceptance of unwelcome sexual behavior. Sexual harassment is when unwelcome sexual behavior of any kind creates an abusive work environment.

What is consent?

Consent is a clear and unambiguous agreement to engage in a particular activity. It is expressed outwardly through mutually understandable words or actions. Consent is reciprocal and free of force. Minors, by virtue of being minors, cannot give consent. Someone incapacitated due to drug, alcohol, or other substance use cannot give consent.

What impacts consent?

Force, which can be physical, psychological, or emotional impacts consent. Examples include but are not limited to: grabbing, touching, manipulation, stalking, exposing oneself, holding someone down, using weapons, verbal threats, peer pressure, blackmail, guilt, or coercion.

Power Dynamics, which exist in relationships between employee/employer or manager, salesperson/wine purchaser, delivery person/customer.

Abuse of Power, which occurs when offenders use their position to control, manipulate, or take advantage of another. Prestige, elder status, institutional clout, or financial power does not grant anyone permission to be abusive.

How can we commit to creating safe(r) spaces in the wine industry?

SPEAK UP, SEEK SUPPORT, OR ASK FOR HELP when witnessing, experiencing, or suspecting any form of harassment. Your silence may enable an abusive situation.

CREATE MECHANISMS and/or designate persons in your workplace to provide support when needed, allowing people to raise their concerns without fear of retaliation. Listen and respond in a way that safeguards the position of those speaking up.

COMMUNICATE your institution’s anti-harassment policies and zero-tolerance protocol clearly and in writing to employees, partners, and colleagues at the outset of any work relationship. Establish and foster business partnerships and relationships with other businesses that adopt and enforce this equality code.v

WORK COLLECTIVELY to combat hate, discrimination, bias, and stereotypes. Take deliberate steps to root them out and minimize their impact.

FOSTER DIVERSITY in your role as owner, manager, or supervisor. All people benefit when wine industry spaces are diverse in gender, age, sexual orientation, race, culture, nationality, class position, financial status, religious affiliation, or disability.

FOSTER LEADERSHIP being held and grown in directly oppressed and impacted groups.

FOLLOW RESPONSIBLE AND RESPECTABLE SOCIAL MEDIA PRACTICES that refrain from name-calling, spreading gossip, falsehoods or rumors, discussing personal lives, airing grievances and other retaliatory behaviors against whistleblowers.

 
Alleah, Chief Wine Drinker at Bliss Wine Imports

Alleah, Chief Wine Drinker at Bliss Wine Imports Hi, I'm Alleah, and I'm probably one of the pickiest wine importers in the world.

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