Code of Conduct Policy
At Essence of Living, we are committed to holding high ethical standards for our yoga teachers. We believe that it is the responsibility of a teacher to ensure a safe environment in which our students can grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. Students are looking for guidance from teachers with authenticity, experience, and wisdom. Our Code of Conduct was developed to protect our students in this potentially vulnerable relationship with their teachers and to uphold the highest professional standards.
Teachers will manage their business affairs according to recognized standard business and accounting practices. We discourage teachers from any kind of financial involvement with students. This includes loans, gifts and business relationships. If teachers have any questions about conducting their business affairs or potential financial involvement with students, they should contact the Essence of Living director Michelle Cassidy for clarification.
Professional Growth/ Continuing Education
EOL teachers maintain the integrity, competency, and high standards of their yoga profession by continuously striving to improve their skills through keeping current in new developments in yoga practice and by participating in continuing educational programs. There are numerous EOL continuing education courses to complete.
Teacher Student Relationships
EOL teachers maintain professional relationships with their students always and avoid any relationship with a student that exploits the student in any way or that may be used for the teacher’s personal benefit. EOL Teachers shall not engage in harassment, abusive words or actions, or exploit students.
A relationship between the yoga teacher and a student is based on trust. To establish and maintain that trust, teachers are polite, considerate, and honest in their interactions with their students.
EOL teachers practice good communication with their students. Teachers should listen attentively to their students, respect their point of view, beliefs and culture, and should not allow their beliefs and values to adversely influence their relationship with their students. Teachers shall avoid imposing their personal beliefs on their students.
EOL teachers are committed to maintaining impeccable standards of professional competence and integrity. They are committed to promoting the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of their students. EOL Teachers are committed to practicing yoga as a way of life, which includes adopting the fundamental moral principles of yoga and making their lifestyle environmentally sustainable.
Scope of Practice
EOL teachers represent their qualifications honestly and provide only the services they are qualified and certified to perform. EOL Teachers will not give medical advice, recommend treatment, diagnose a condition, or suggest that a student disregard medical advice. EOL Teachers shall refer their students to medical doctors or complimentary licensed professionals when appropriate.
EOL teachers will keep all personal information disclosed by their students or clients strictly confidential. A teacher who receives personal information from a student or client will not disclose such information unless they obtain written consent of the student or client. All discussions among teachers concerning students or clients shall be conducted in secure, non-public environments.
EOL teachers are part of a network of health care and well-being professionals and shall seek to develop interdisciplinary relationships. EOL Teachers conduct themselves in an honourable manner in their relations with their colleagues and other wellness practitioners and shall not openly criticize practices followed by other yoga schools or teachers.
Advertising and Public Communications
EOL teachers shall accurately represent his or her professional qualifications and certifications along with his or her affiliations with any organization(s). Announcements and brochures promoting classes or workshops shall describe them with accuracy and grace. These principles are designed to uphold the quality of our teachings and shall be in compliance with legal guidelines for appropriate representation of our services.
EOL teachers welcome all students regardless of age, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity and perceived gender expression), sexual orientation, colour, race, national origin, marital status, parental status, veteran’s status, religion, or physical or mental disability, provided that the teacher has appropriate expertise.
We do not permit managers, employees, teachers, independent contractors, students, or others in the workplace to harass any other person because of age, gender (including pregnancy), race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, genetic information, or any other basis proscribed by law.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
We do not tolerate sexual harassment in our Academy/Studio. Sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome sexual attention, sexual advances, requests for sexual favours and other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature when the conduct harms the person’s employment or working environment.
We prohibit sexual misconduct in our Academy/Studio. Sexual misconduct is any unwelcome sexual advance including requests for sexual favours, sexual touching, and verbal, visual, or physical conduct that creates a sexually hostile environment in a yoga class or studio.
Sexual misconduct exists if a teacher engages in conduct that has the result of requiring a student to submit to such conduct to obtain any benefit or privilege relating to the study, teaching or practicing of Yoga, Pilates, Barre and Yin.
While it is not possible to list all the circumstances that may constitute sexual misconduct, the following are examples of misconduct:
- Unwanted sexual teasing, stories, jokes, remarks, or questions
- Sexual comments, stories or innuendo
- Turning work discussions to sexual topics
- Asking about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history
- Asking personal questions about social or sexual life
- Sexual comments about a person’s clothing, anatomy, or looks
- Telling lies or spreading rumours about a person’s personal sex life.
- Referring to an individual as a doll, babe, sweetheart, honey, or similar term
- Repeatedly asking a person out on dates who is not interested
- Unwanted letters, telephone calls, or sending materials of a sexual nature
- Stalking on social media
- Unwanted pressure for sexual favours
- Blocking a person’s path or following them
- Giving unwelcome personal gifts
- Displaying sexually suggestive materials
- Making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements
- Unwanted sexual looks or gestures
- Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking
- Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person
- Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching
- Giving an un-wanted massage
- Sexually oriented asana adjustments or touch
- Promising enlightenment or special teachings or status in exchange for sexual favours
- Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault
Romantic Relationships between Teachers and Students
Teachers shall avoid getting into personal or sexual relationships with students that may result in the impairment of their professional judgment or that may compromise the integrity of their teaching. If a relationship begins to develop, the teacher should bring it to the attention of the Essence of Living director.
Reporting of Policy Violations
We encourage anyone (Teachers/Students) who has been the subject of sexual misconduct or of any other action that violates our policies or Code of Conduct to report the incident to the Essence of Living director Michelle Cassidy.
The report should contain the following information:
- Your full name;
- Your email and phone number;
- The name of the person the grievance is against;
- A description of the policy violation;
- The date and location of the policy violation;
- Names and contact information of any witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the situation; and
- Any other credible evidence that is available to support the grievance.
In the interest of fairness, all reports must be made by the person who has personally experienced the misconduct. We will not investigate a matter based upon a third-party report of misconduct.
All reports must be made in good faith based on information the person reporting the incident reasonably believes to be accurate.
We may request additional information from the person reporting the incident throughout the course of review of the report.
We will take appropriate action to ensure compliance with our policies. Essence of Living will impose any sanctions that it feels are fair, just, and reasonable under all circumstances.
We will not allow anyone to retaliate against any person for making a report in good faith or providing information in connection with an investigation into an alleged violation.
Any information provided during a grievance review will be treated on a confidential basis. Similarly, any actions taken in response to the report will also be confidential.
Due Process and Procedure
EOL recognize that our Academy/Studio has an obligation to give a person accused of misconduct a reasonable level of due process. Because the person may lose his or her job/ course placement and their reputation may be tarnished, the decision-making process must be fair and objective. Due process will entail gathering all the relevant facts surrounding the matter and making a fair and objective decision based on the facts. The reviewing body may need to interview the person who reported the situation, the person who perpetrated the misconduct, and any other people who have direct knowledge about the situation. We will examine all other credible and objective evidence about the situation.
After the reviewing body gathers the facts, we will determine if the allegations are credible. If it is determined that is the case, the reviewing body will decide on the sanctions to impose and then communicate its decision to those involved.
In many cases, it may be hard to uncover all the facts, facts may be conflicting, or there may be conflicts of interest.
The reviewing body will use sound and careful judgment in deciding what type of sanctions to impose.
EOL will not retaliate against any person for having reported or threatened to report harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or violations of our Code of Conduct or policies, or for participating in an investigation. Anyone who retaliates against a person will be subjected to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
We encourage any person — including employees, non-employees, and students — who believe they have been subject to retaliation to inform the EOL director or manager.
We have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. We encourage anyone who has been subject to this behaviour to report it to the EOL director or manager. We will do everything possible to ensure that you are not retaliated against by anyone because you have reported misconduct.
These can be found here.