MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT + CODE OF CONTENT
All must review and agree to the following terms and conditions stated below to join as a member of Render Free.
1.1 Welcome to Render Free
Mission/Vision: Disrupting anti-Black racism that takes the form of racial trauma by promoting whole-body wellness for self-identified Black + Brown women. Render Free is a 100% Black woman-owned communal wellness space that disrupts trauma by promoting whole-body wellness for self-identified Black and Brown women. Members are given access to a community lounge, cafe, and co-working area created and maintained with them in mind. Moving in and out of predominantly white spaces, Black and Brown women are too often forced to justify their presence, standing at the dangerous intersection of sexism and racism. This continuous effort, coupled with everyday concerns, created deep psychological, emotional, and physical fatigue. We strive to alleviate women of these burdens.
1.2 Member Handbook
This Member Handbook (“Handbook”) is designed to summarize certain membership policies and benefits of Render Free of 685 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413, USA, and to acquaint members with many of the rules concerning employment with the company. This Handbook applies to all members. This Handbook supersedes all previous member policies, written and oral, expressed and implied. Render Free reserves the right to modify, resend, delete, or add to provisions of this Handbook from time to time in its sole and absolute discretion. Render Free reserves the right to interpret the policies index handbook, and to deviate from them when, and its discretion, determines it is appropriate.
This Membership Agreement and Code of Conduct is between you (“member”) and Render Free LLC (“Render Free”). Render Free provides a physical space to promote the prioritization of wellness for self-identified Black and Brown women in Minneapolis, MN.
1.3 Changes in Policy
Since our business is constantly changing, Render Free expressly reserves the right to revise, modify, delete, or add to any and all policies, procedures, rules, or benefits stated in this handbook, or in any other document. No oral statements or representations can in any way alter the provisions of this Handbook. Nothing in this member handbook or in any other document, including benefit descriptions, creates or is intended to create a promise or representation of continued membership for any member.
SECTION 2 - MEMBER POLICIES
2.1 Policies Introduction
Members are required to comply with all of Render Free’s policies and procedures. Render Free will communicate these from time to time, through various means. All such policies and procedures are incorporated into this handbook and agreement, by reference. Members should ask Render Free staff if they have any questions about the given policies and procedures.
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2.2 Becoming a Member
To become a member, an individual must:
- Pay a one-time transaction sign up fee of $40 (may be covered if recipient of sponsored membership).
- To follow, membership fees will be withdrawn from your account on the 15th consecutively, according to your selected membership and payment plan.
- Review Terms and Conditions Agreement (included herein) New Member Form with signature (renderfree.com/membership-form)
- Remain in compliance with these Terms and Conditions and all other agreements or policies of Render Free.
2.3 Member Designations
The following terms are used to describe Members and their Member status:
- Members: Designated for those who became members between 2022-2022
- Member (including Blooming, Rooted, Budding, Floret): designated for those who became members after January 2023
2.4 Member Information
The following information is required for Render Free’s members so that Render Free can stay in communication with members throughout their membership. As a member, you are responsible for informing Render Free staff of member information changes. Such information includes:
- Your name (first and last)
- Your phone number
- Email address
- Payment information
Monthly membership fees are due on the fifteenth day of each month. Yearly membership fees are due annually. These dues may be paid to Render Free by credit card or electronic funds transfer. Members must pay membership fees on time. If no on-time payment is received, a member will not be allowed to use the space. Fees are subject to change at Render Fee’s discretion upon 30-day written notice.
2.6 Use of Render Free Space
Members agree to use the space for only lawful purposes. Members will not use the space for any unlawful purpose, including anything that may damage or interfere with the space or the ability of other people’s use of the space. Members are responsible for safely using the space. Members agree to waive any claim they may have against Render Free for injuries sustained or caused or that are associated with member’s use of the space.
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Members may bring children 2 years of age or younger with them to the communal space. Children between 2-12 are not permitted in the space unless written permission is granted. Children older than 12 years of age will be considered guests of the member and will count towards monthly guest passes. Render Free honors the connection between women and children by creating a welcoming and accommodating environment for parents of young children. However, we ask that members recognize the collaborative nature of the communal space. If a member brings a child or children with them, they are responsible for ensuring that the child/children follow the rules associated with the space, as well as the Code of Conduct, and do not interfere with the ability of other members to work productively and enjoy the space.
2.8 Hosting Guests
Each member receives three (3) guest passes per month. Guests must sign in at Render Free and register with the intake receptionist before they use the space. Members are responsible for their guests while their guests are in the space. Members must ensure that their guests comply with this agreement and the Code of Conduct - this handbook applies to their use of the space while they are registered as the guest of a member.
Pets are not allowed in the building or in the communal space. If a member uses a registered service animal, they need to give written notice to Render Free prior to using the space.
Members should do their part to maintain the space in a clean and working condition. Members are responsible for throwing away their trash, cleaning up spills and messes, putting away borrowed equipment, etc. If there is a problem with the space that members did not cause, members should notify Render Free staff right away. Relatedly, members should also promptly report any and all unsafe conditions, accidents, and injuries, regardless of how minor, so that any potential hazards can be corrected.
2.11 Safety & Surveillance
For surveillance purposes, members should know that while they (and any guests they are hosting) are in the communal space, they may be monitored and recorded.
Additionally, it is the sole responsibility of a member to watch after themselves and their personal items while in the communal space. Render Free is not responsible for any theft, damage, or alteration of a person or personal property while in the communal space.
Render Free Member Handbook 6 permitted user. If members gain access to such information or systems, which should be reasonably known as private, members will immediately cease such access, and take reasonable measures to inform the owner of the information regarding the access. Similarly, Render Free will not share your member information (see previous) without requesting permission to do so.
2.13 Photo Release
Members agree that Render Free may take photographs and videos of the space and may stream or record the space through other means, at any time. Members agree that Render Free may use obtained image and likeness for any purpose and without restriction, in any form or media, and whether or not altered, without any further or additional consideration, payment, or consent by members. This includes images and videos taken within the Render Free communal space, and at Render Free sponsored events outside of the communal space.
2.14 Termination of Membership
Other than termination for non-payment or unacceptable behavior, as determined at the sole discretion of Render Free, Render Free will give a minimum of 30 days written notice before terminating a membership. Members must give 30 days written notice before terminating memberships as well. Both monthly and annual memberships are transferable upon individual termination. Annual memberships are non-refundable. Members are responsible for all fees due during the 30-day written termination period.
SECTION 3 - HOURS OF OPERATION AND OPTIONS FOR ENGAGEMENT
3.1 Hours of Operation
Render Free’s communal space currently operates on Monday through Fridays from 8:30am to 5:00pm CDT. These hours are subject to change seasonally. Render Free does observe organization-wide closure during first two weeks of July to observe a team sabbatical and for the last week of December. All in-person offerings during this time are unavailable.
3.2 Engagement Opportunities
There are a number of ways that you as a member can engage with Render Free.
- Journal Entry
- Solidarity Session
- Restorative Conversations
- Featured Practitioners and associate events
- Member Care
- Member Forums
- Greenwood Gifts
- After Hours Event
- Open Community Event
SECTION 4 - MEMBER CODE OF CONDUCT
Render Free expects members, guests, speakers, and event attendees to act respectfully towards others in the space, and to take good care of the space. This Code of Conduct outlines expectations, and not only applies to the space, but also to the online networks, all related events, and in one-on-one communications carried out in the context of community business. Note that there are consequences for code violations.
Render Free invites members and partners of Render Free to contribute to the co-creation of safe spaces and positive experiences for members and their guests. Communities mirror the societies in which they exist. Positive action, pushing back against discrimination, and reflecting on the harmful messages we have all internalized are essential to counteract the many forms of inequity and abuses of power that exist in society.
If someone complains about another’s behavior, or if Render Free believes that someone’s behavior is unacceptable for any reason, Render Free reserves the right to immediately terminate a membership upon written notice and without a refund.
4.2 Prohibited Conduct
Prohibited harassment includes (but is not limited to) unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and lewd, vulgar or obscene remarks, jokes, posters or cartoons, and any unwelcome touching, pinching or other physical contact. Other forms of unlawful harassment or discrimination may include racial epithets, slurs and derogatory remarks, stereotypes, jokes, posters or cartoons based on race, national origin, age, disability, marital status or other legally protected categories. Prohibited harassment might also be transmitted using Render Free’s website, social media pages, or through other on-line conduct.
4.3 Feedback, Complaints, and Grievances
Render Free welcomes feedback regarding this policy handbook, the communal space, our online presence, interactions with Render Free employees, and interactions with other Render Free members.
All Render Free members have a right to due process for resolution of complaints and grievances regarding Render Free, specifically, related to an interpretation of a specific policy or the application of a specific policy.
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- A compliant is often initially an oral claim by a member alleging improper, unfair, arbitrary or discriminatory treatment. Render Free may ask the member to submit the complaint and its details in writing for purposes of follow-up and required record keeping.
- A grievance is a written claim raised by a member, alleging improper, unfair, arbitrary, or discriminatory actions by Render Free (or an employee therein) involving the application of a specific policy, rule, or regulation such as:
a. The interpretation of the specific provision of a rule or regulation, OR b. The application of a rule or regulation in other than a uniform manner, OR c. The application of a rule or regulation other than in accordance with the provisions of the rule.
For the purposes of follow-up and record-keeping, Render Free requests that complaints and grievances be provided in writing, via email, and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org - and should include a minimum of the following:
- Your first and last name
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- A description of what took place:
- Who was involved?
- Where did it happen?
- What happened?
- Do you have any evidence regarding the incident? Please attach it to the email.
Members who feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against, or who witness any harassment or discrimination by an employee, contract worker, customer, vendor, anyone else who does business with the company, or another member, should immediately report such conduct to Render Free. Please see SECTION 7 - Discrimination Complaint Process, attached before the signature page of this handbook.
Please do not allow an inappropriate situation to continue by not reporting it, regardless of who is creating the situation. No employee, contract worker, customer, vendor, other person who does business with Render Free, or member, is exempt from the prohibitions of this policy. In response to every complaint, Render Free will conduct an investigation which may involve interviewing witnesses if warranted, and if improper conduct is found, take appropriate corrective action.
To the extent that an member is not satisfied with the Render Free’s handling of a harassment or discrimination complaint, they may also contact the appropriate state or federal enforcement agency for legal relief.
4.4 Political Neutrality
Maintenance of individual freedom and our political institutions necessitates broad scale participation by citizens concerning the selection, nomination, and election of our public office holders. Render Free will not discriminate against any member because of identification with and support of any lawful political activity.
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5.1 Changes in this Policy
Render Free may amend this Policy at any time without notice. Changes to this Policy may affect our use of personally identifiable information that you provided us prior to our notification to you of the changes. Please visit our Website to obtain current information about our Policy.
Render Free uses various technologies to protect the confidentiality, security, and integrity of information volunteered or collected from users of the Website. We do not require anyone to divulge any personally identifiable information to use the Website. Render Free on occasion requires a user to register, when for example applying for membership or purchasing products
or services. Render Free will not collect personal information about you unless the information is provided voluntarily by you.
5.2 Information Render Free Collects
The information we collect generally includes: (1) personal information you supply and (2) tracking information collected as you navigate through the Website. Render Free processes Personal Data collected through the Services on the lawful basis of legitimate interests to provide the Services to you. Such processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by Render Free or by our Service Providers related to the Services.
Information Collected from You
We may collect and store personally identifiable information that you provide to us. The personally identifiable information (collectively “Personal Data”) we request from you may include your:
(i) country of residence;
(ii) first, middle, and last name;
(iii) age and date of birth;
(iv) highest level of education attained;
(v) job title;
(vi) home or office phone and fax numbers;
(vii) employer's name and address;
(viii) home or office address;
(ix) home or office email address;
(x) Render Free member identification number, user ID, and password; and (xi) credit card information (only if purchases are made).
All information obtained in the course of the professional service is confidential unless there is a compelling professional reason for its disclosure. Employees will only disclose confidential information without a specific release if it is necessary to prevent foreseeable imminent harm to the client or another. In all circumstances, staff will be judicious in the amount of information that is disclosed.
Information Collected Through Technology
5.3 How Render Free Uses That Information
Render Free uses your personally identifiable information for the purposes for which it was submitted. For example, Render Free uses the information collected to enable a user to: (i) fulfill membership benefits
(ii) purchase Render Free educational materials, (iii) pay membership dues, (iv) make Political Action Committee and charitable contributions, (v) to purchase other Render Free products, (vi) to receive Render Free newsletters and product and/or service announcements, (vii) to participate in Render Free sponsored meetings, programs, and activities; and (viii) such other use related to Render Free’s mission. We do not undertake to maintain any information about you for a duration greater than necessary to provide services to you or as provided by law, rule or regulation. Render Free may use information about use of the Website and aggregated information about you and other visitors to our Website in order to improve our Website and develop content and services that may be of interest to you and for its other business purposes.
5.4 Security Measures Taken to Protect Personally Identifiable Information
Render Free employs reasonable security measures to protect your personal information including firewalls and security scans, however, please be aware that no method of electronic transmission is completely infallible, and we cannot guarantee its absolute safety.
5.5 Information Sharing with Third Parties
Limited personally identifiable information we request from you (namely, your name, photographs of your likeness at Render Free and home or office address) may occasionally be sold to or shared with third parties, generally for educational programs. For example, the list of registrants to an event may be sold to exhibitors to the event. Moreover, personally identifiable information is occasionally shared with third parties so that these parties can send you promotional material about goods and services offered by the Render Free or the third parties.
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We may also share your personal information with our authorized service providers that perform certain services on our behalf. These services may include providing customer service, performing business and sales analysis, and supporting our Website functionality, other features offered through our Website. These service providers may have access to personal information needed to perform their functions but are not authorized to share or use such information for any other purposes.
We may also provide your information to third parties to accomplish the purpose for which the information was submitted, such as providing your personally identifiable information to credit card processors to process a purchase. We may also transfer user or customer information, including personally identifiable information, in connection with a corporate transaction, such as a divestiture, merger, consolidation, or asset sale. We may disclose specific information in response to a valid court order, subpoena, government investigation, or as otherwise required by law, to enforce our Website policies, or to protect our or others' rights, property, or safety. We reserve the right to report to law enforcement illegal uses of the Website, or defend ourselves against third-party claims. We may also share information with companies assisting in fraud protection or investigation. We do not provide information to these agencies or companies for marketing or commercial purposes.
5.6 Rights in Relation to Your Personal Data
Render Free enables users of its Website and interactive educational products to update contact information and to opt out of the collection of personally identifiable information or particular communications or services by email, telephone, or regular mail. Please use the contact information listed below. Due to production, mailing, and system timelines, it may take some time to process your request. In addition, we may still use your information to communicate with you for other purposes, such as for customer service. Right of access: Upon request, the Render Free will confirm any processing of your Personal Data and, and provide you with a copy of that Personal Data in an acceptable machine-readable format. Right to rectification: You have the right to have Render Free correct any inaccurate Personal Data or to have Render Free complete any incomplete Personal Data; Right to restrict processing: You have the right to ask Render Free to suppress the processing of your Personal Data but Render Free may still store your Personal Data. Right to object to processing: You have the right to object to your Personal Data used in the following manners: (a) processing based on legitimate interests or the performance of a task in the public interest/exercise of official authority (including profiling); (b) direct marketing (including profiling); and (c) processing for purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics. Right to erasure: You may ask the Render Free to delete or remove your Personal Data and we will do so in some circumstances, such as where we no longer need it (we may not delete your data when other interests outweigh your right to deletion).
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Right to data portability: Effective May 25, 2018, you have the right to obtain your Personal Data from us that you consented to give us or that is necessary to perform fulfillment of member benefits with you. We will give you your Personal Data in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format. Right to withdraw consent: We rely on your consent to process your Personal Data, you have the right to withdraw that consent at any time. This will not affect the lawfulness of processing based on your prior consent.
Right to file a complaint with a supervisory authority: You have the right to file a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular in the European Member State of your habitual residence, place of work or place of the alleged infringement if you consider that the processing of Personal Data relating to you infringes upon your rights. You may exercise your rights by contacting us as indicated under the “Contact Us” section below.
5.7 Transfer And Storage Of Your Information
All direct payment gateways offered by Wix.com and used by our company adhere to the standards set by PCI-DSS as managed by the PCI Security Standards Council, which is a joint effort of brands like Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. PCI-DSS requirements help ensure the secure handling of credit card information by our store and its service providers. Render Free shares your data, including Personal Data, with our website hosting Service Provider for the purposes of processing your data pursuant to your use of the Services.
Data Hosting: Render Free works with Wix.com, Flodesk PayPal and Stripe as its data hosting services providers (“Service Providers”). Render Free’s data is stored by Wix.com, Flodesk PayPal and Stripe at their locations. Render Free shares your data, including
Personal Data, with our website hosting Service Providers for the purposes of processing your data pursuant to your use of the Services.
Third Party Links
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The Website may also contain links to other third party websites that are not under our control. These websites may have their own policies or no policies at all, regarding privacy. You should seek and review these policies before providing information to these websites. Render Free has no responsibility for linked websites and provides these links solely for the convenience and information of our visitors. Render Free also maintains a strict "no-spam" policy and fully complies with CAN-SPAM Act regulations.
Safely Using Render Free’s Services
Despite Render Free’s safety and privacy controls, we cannot guarantee the Services are entirely free of illegal, offensive, pornographic, or otherwise inappropriate material, or that you will not encounter inappropriate or illegal conduct from other Users when using the Services. You can help Render Free by notifying us of any unwelcome contact by contacting us using the information below.
SECTION 6 - CONDITIONS
THIS COMMUNAL WELLNESS/COWORKING SERVICE IS PROVIDED “AS IS.” YOUR USE OF THE SPACE IS A SERVICE ONLY. IT IS NOT A LEASE OF REAL PROPERTY. RENDER FREE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS, WHETHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED, OR STATUTORY. THESE INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO: MERCHANTABILITY AND
FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE. THE ENTIRE RISK OF USING THE SPACE AND/OR RENDER FREE’S OTHER SERVICES, IF ANY, REMAINS WITH YOU.
6.2 Limitation of Liability
IN NO EVENT SHALL RENDER FREE OR ITS AGENTS, OWNERS, MEMBERS, EMPLOYEES, CONTRACTORS, AFFILIATES, OR OTHER RELATED PARTIES (“RELATED PARTIES”) BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR OTHER DAMAGES OF ANY KIND ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY RELATED TO THE SERVICES RENDER FREE PROVIDES, YOUR USE OF THE SPACE AND/OR THIS AGREEMENT.
THE TOTAL LIABILITY OF RENDER FREE AND RELATED PARTIES, AND YOUR TOTAL AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR ANY DAMAGES YOU MIGHT INCUR FOR ANY REASON WILL BE LIMITED TO YOUR ACTUAL DAMAGES, NOT TO EXCEED $100. THE DISCLAIMER(S) AND LIMITATION(S) OF LIABILITY CONTAINED IN THIS AGREEMENT SHALL APPLY TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, EVEN IF ANY REMEDY FAILS ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE.
You agree to release, indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Render Free and Related Parties from and against all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, expenses, judgments, fines and penalties based on or arising out of your willful or negligent actions, errors and omissions, fraud, breach of this agreement, failure to comply with Render Free policies, or other consequences of your use of the space or association with Render Free.
If you are injured while in the space, please seek immediate assistance from a Render Free employee. Render Free is not responsible for, nor will we consider reimbursement of member medical costs, including, but not limited to charges a member may incur for emergency response services, ambulance, etc., in the case of a member medical event or emergency that occurs in the center or at our events.
You may not assign your rights or obligations under this agreement without Render Free’s prior written consent. We may assign rights and obligations under this agreement in its sole discretion.
6.6 Minnesota Law
This Agreement, and any dispute arising out of or related to it, or to your use of the space, will be governed by the laws of the State of Minnesota without regard to its conflicts of law’s provisions. Any such disputes will be exclusively venue in the district courts located in Hennepin County, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
6.7 Class Action Waiver
Any proceeding to resolve or litigate any dispute in any forum will be conducted solely on an individual basis. Neither you nor we will seek to have any dispute heard as a class action or in any proceeding in which either party acts or proposes to act in a representative capacity. No proceeding will be combined with another without the prior written consent of all parties to all affected proceedings. You and Render Free agree not to participate in claims brought by a private attorney general.
YOU ARE GIVING UP YOUR RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE AS A CLASS MEMBER ON ANY CLASS CLAIM YOU MAY HAVE AGAINST RENDER FREE INCLUDING ANY RIGHT TO CLASS ARBITRATION OF ANY CONSOLIDATION OF INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATIONS.
6.8 Continued Waiver
Any waiver of a breach of this agreement or a policy or procedure of Render Free will not be construed as a subsequent waiver of any future breach.
If any part of this agreement is determined to be unenforceable or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of them will continue in full force and effect. The
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unenforceable or invalid portion may be stricken and replaced with a clause that best effectuates the parties’ intentions.
6.10 Bandwidth Usage & Limitations
Render Free in its sole discretion has the right to throttle or otherwise impose limits on excessive bandwidth consumption, including but not limited to bandwidth use that places an unusually large burden on the network or goes above normal usage.
6.11 Render Free Wireless Network
By accessing the Render Free wireless network, you agree not to use the Render Free wireless network to transmit any material that violates any applicable laws, rules, or regulations or to defame, harm or threaten, or attempt to harm other persons, businesses, or other entities. You also agree not to use our wireless network to transmit any material that infringes any copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, or other proprietary rights of any third party. You agree not to violate the security or integrity of our wireless network or to use our network to violate the security or integrity of any other network. Any such acts may result in criminal and civil liabilities to you. Use of this wireless connection is entirely at your risk and Render Free disclaims all liability for loss of confidential information or damages resulting from that loss. We make no promises, representations or warranties of any kind concerning the suitability or security of this service and specifically disclaim all warranties of fitness for a particular purpose of security. The wireless service is provided “As Is.” You will remain connected to the Render Free wireless network until you disconnect and will automatically upon entry into the Render Free wireless network radius. By using the wireless service, you agree to indemnify us, our officers, and agents against all claims, demands, losses, damages, costs, and expenses made against or incurred, suffered, or sustained arising out of your use of the wireless service and agree that in no event will we be liable for any damages, including but not limited to any direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential damages arising out of or in connection with your use of or inability to use the wireless service. We may block access or terminate the wireless service at any time and for any reason, and assume no liability for doing so. We may record information about your usage of our network and may use or disclose such information when appropriate to comply with the law or to protect the rights, property, or safety of Render Free.
6.12 No Alterations and Good Care
No alterations to any part of Render Free are allowed without the consent of Render Free, which may be declined in its sole discretion. All parts of Render Free, including all equipment, fixtures and furnishings, must be used with care.
6.13 Technology Release
In order to utilize certain services and functionalities within Render Free it may be necessary to install certain software or programming into electronic devices. As per your request and subject to availability, Render Free, or an affiliate, may also provide technology support to help troubleshoot any problems accessing certain services or functionalities within Render Free. You agree that any technology support provided by Render Free or an affiliate is done at your request and neither Render Free, nor any affiliate is responsible for any damage to your electronic device nor does Render Free assume or provide any additional liability or warranty in the support provided.
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You agree that all electronic devices, including but not limited to computers, laptops, tablets and mobile devices will be kept up to date with the latest software updates provided by the software vendor and kept clean of any and all malware, viruses, spyware, worms, Trojans, or anything that is designed to perform malicious, hostile and/or intrusive operations. Render Free may remove a device from its network that it deems to pose a threat to the network, at Render Free’s sole discretion.
SECTION 7 - DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT PROCESS 7.1 Purpose, Applicability, and Scope
This procedure is designed to further implement Render Free's policies relating to nondiscrimination by providing a process through which individuals alleging violation of nondiscrimination policies may pursue a complaint. This includes allegations of retaliation, or discrimination or harassment based on sex, race, age, disability, color, creed, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, familial status, or status with regard to public assistance.
This procedure shall apply to all individuals affiliated with Render Free, including its members and employees, and is intended to protect the rights and privacy of both the complainant and respondent and other involved individuals, as well as to prevent retaliation/reprisal. Individuals who violate this procedure shall be subject to disciplinary or other corrective action.
A single act of discrimination or harassment may be based on more than one protected class status. For example, discrimination based on anti-Semitism may relate to religion, national origin, or both; discrimination against a pregnant woman might be based on sex, marital status, or both; discrimination against a transgender or transsexual individual might be based on sex or sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Not every act that may be offensive to an individual or group constitutes discrimination or harassment. Harassment includes action beyond the mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that another individual finds offensive. To constitute a violation, conduct must be considered sufficiently serious to deny or limit a member’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by Render Free.
This procedure is not applicable to allegations of sexual violence, which are addressed by law enforcement.
Designated Officer: Designated officer means an individual designated by Render Free to be primarily responsible for conducting an initial inquiry, determining whether to proceed with an investigation under this procedure, and investigating or coordinating the investigation of reports and complaints of discrimination/harassment in accordance with this procedure. Render Free’s designated officer is:
Decision Maker: Decision maker means the individual designated by Render Free to review investigative reports, to make findings whether the Code of Conduct has been violated based upon the investigation, and to determine the appropriate action for the institution to take based upon the findings. Retaliation Retaliation means any action against a complainant or other individual because the individual:
1. Participated in the investigation or resolution of a complaint under this procedure; 2. Opposed conduct the individual believes was in violation of the Code of Conduct; or 3. Associates with another individual who is protected from discrimination under the Code of Conduct
7.3 Reporting Incidents of Discrimination/Harassment
Reporting an Incident
Any individual who believes she or he has been or is being subjected to conduct prohibited by Render Free Code of Conduct, is encouraged to report the incident to Render Free and/or the designated officer. The report/complaint should be brought as soon as possible after an incident occurs.
Any member or employee who knows of, receives information about, or receives a complaint of discrimination/harassment is strongly encouraged to report the information or complaint to a supervisor and/or the designated officer.
Duty to Report
Supervisors shall refer allegations of conduct that they reasonably believe may constitute discrimination or harassment under the Render Free Code of Conduct to the designated officer, or in consultation with the designated officer may inquire into and resolve such matters.
Reports Against the Owner
A report/complaint against the Owner shall be given to the designated officer, who may contact a third party to investigate. However, complaints against the Owner shall be processed by Render Free if the Owner's role in the alleged incident was limited to a decision on a recommendation made by an employee, and the Owner had no other substantial involvement in the matter.
False Statements Prohibited
Any individual who is determined to have provided false information in filing a discrimination report/complaint or during the investigation of such a report/complaint may be subject to disciplinary or corrective action.
If a complainant no longer desires to pursue a complaint, the designated officer reserves the right to investigate and take appropriate action.
7.4 Right to Representation
Related parties are allowed to have representation during an investigatory meeting.
Nothing in this procedure is intended to expand, diminish or alter in any manner whatsoever any right or remedy available under a law. Any disciplinary/corrective action imposed as a result of an investigation conducted under this procedure will be processed in accordance with the policies within this handbook.
7.5 Investigation and Resolution
Render Free has an affirmative duty (once notified) to take timely and appropriate action to stop behavior prohibited by this handbook and the Code of Conduct, to conduct investigations, and to take appropriate action to prevent recurring misconduct.
This procedure neither prevents nor requires the use of informal resolution by an individual who believes they have been subjected to conduct in violation of Render Free’s Code of Conduct. In such a situation, the individual should clearly explain to the alleged offender as soon as possible after the incident that the behavior is objectionable and must stop. If the behavior does not stop
or if the individual believes retaliation may result from the discussion, the individual should report to the designated officer. Under no circumstance shall an individual be required to use personal resolution to address prohibited behaviors.
Processing the Complaint
The designated officer must be contacted in order to initiate a discrimination complaint under this procedure. The scope of the process used in each instance shall be determined by the designated officer based on the complexity of the allegations, the number and relationship of individuals involved, and other pertinent factors.
1. Jurisdiction. The designated officer shall determine whether the complaint is one which should be processed through Render Free’s feedback procedure available to the complainant; if appropriate, the designated officer shall direct the complainant to that procedure (Section 4.3, above) as soon as possible.
2. Conflicts. The designated officer should identify to the Owner any real or perceived conflict of interest in proceeding as the designated officer for a specific complaint. If the Owner determines that a conflict exists, another designated officer shall be assigned.
3. Information provided to the complainant. At the time the report/complaint is made, the designated officer shall:
a. Inform the complainant of the Member Handbook provisions, and this procedure; b. Provide a copy of or Web address for the Member Handbook and this procedure to the complainant, which should be attached to the member’s portal
c. Determine whether other individuals are permitted to accompany the complainant during investigatory interviews and the extent of their involvement; and
d. Inform the complainant of the provisions of this procedure, which also prohibits retaliation.
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4. Complaint documentation. The designated officer shall insure that the complaint is documented in writing. The designated officer may require the complainant to submit their complaint in writing. If the complainant is unable to do so (for accommodative reasons), the designated officer shall aid the complainant in documenting the complaint.
5. Information provided to the respondent. At the time initial contact is made with the respondent, the designated officer shall inform the respondent in writing of the existence and general nature of the complaint and the provisions of the Render Free Code of Conduct. At the initial meeting with the respondent, the designated officer shall:
a. Provide a copy of or Web address for Render Free’s Member Handbook and this procedure to the respondent;
b. Provide sufficient information to the respondent consistent with federal and state data privacy laws to allow the respondent to respond to the substance of the complaint;
c. Explain to the respondent that in addition to being interviewed by the designated officer, the respondent may provide a written response to the allegations; d. Determine whether other individuals are permitted to accompany the respondent during investigative interviews and the extent of their involvement; and e. Inform the respondent of the provisions of this procedure, which also prohibits retaliation.
6. Investigatory process. The designated officer shall:
a. Conduct a fact-finding inquiry or investigation into the complaint, including appropriate interviews and meetings;
b. Inform the witnesses and other involved individuals of the prohibition against retaliation;
c. Create, gather and maintain investigative documentation as appropriate; d. Disclose appropriate information to others only on a need to know basis consistent with state and federal law, and provide any appliable data privacy notice in accordance with state law; and
a. Employee reassignment or administrative leave. Under appropriate circumstances, the Owner may, in consultation with legal counsel and labor relations, reassign or place an employee on administrative leave at any point in time during the report/complaint process, if an employee is the respondent. In determining whether to place an employee on administrative leave or
reassignment, consideration shall be given to the nature of the alleged behavior, the relationships between the parties, the context in which the alleged incidents occurred and other relevant factors. Any action taken must be consistent with employee policies.
b. Member leave. Under appropriate circumstances, the Owner may, in consultation with legal counsel and member relations, place a member on leave from the communal space and/or online presence at any point in time during the report/complaint process, if a member is the respondent. In determining whether to place a member on such a leave, consideration shall be given to the nature of the alleged behavior, the relationships between the parties, the context in which the alleged incidents occurred and other relevant factors. Any action taken must be consistent with this Member Handbook and the policies therein.
After processing the complaint the designated officer may consider one or more of the following methods to resolve the complaint as appropriate:
1. Conduct or coordinate education/training;
2. Facilitate voluntary meetings between the parties;
3. Recommend separation of the parties, after consultation with appropriate Render Free stakeholders;
4. Render Free may use alternative dispute resolution or mediation services as a method of resolving discrimination or harassment complaints. Alternative dispute resolution and mediation options require the voluntary participation of all parties to the complaint;
5. Upon completion of the inquiry, the designated officer may dismiss or refer the complaint to others as appropriate.
If the above methods have not resolved the complaint within a reasonable period of time to the satisfaction of the designated officer, or the designated officer feels additional steps should be taken, the procedures in this subpart shall be followed.
1. Designated officer. The designated officer shall:
a. Prepare an investigation report and forward it to the decision maker for review and decision;
b. Take additional investigative measures as requested by the decision maker; and c. Be responsible for coordinating responses to requests for information contained in an investigation report. In determining the appropriate response, the
designated officer shall consult with legal counsel.
2. Decision maker. After receiving the investigation report prepared by the designated officer, the decision maker shall:
a. Determine whether additional steps should be taken prior to making the decision. Additional steps may include:
i. A request that the designated officer conduct further investigative
ii. A meeting with the complainant, respondent or other involved individuals. If a meeting involving a represented employee is convened, the
complainant or respondent may choose to be accompanied by
representation or a support person; and
iii. A request for additional information which may include a written response from the complainant or respondent relating to the allegations of the
b. Take other measures deemed necessary to determine whether a violation of the Render Free Code of Conduct has been established;
c. When making the decision, take into account the totality of the circumstances, including the nature and extent of the behaviors, the relationship(s) between the parties, the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred, and other relevant factors;
d. Determine the nature, scope and timing of disciplinary or corrective action and the process for implementation if a violation of the Code of Conduct occurs. This may include consultation with legal counsel, human resources (if an employee is the respondent), or supervisory employees (if a member is the respondent), to determine appropriate discipline;
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e. As appropriate, a report in writing to the complainant, respondent, and the designated officer the decision maker’s findings, and the basis for those findings, as to whether the Render Free Code of Conduct has been violated. The written response to the complainant shall be provided within 60 days after a complaint is made unless reasonable cause for delay exists.
f. Conduct that is determined not to have violated the Render Free Code of Conduct shall be referred to another procedure for further action, if appropriate.
7.6 Owner Action
The Owner shall take the appropriate corrective action based on results of the investigation, and the designated officer shall make appropriate inquiries to ascertain the effectiveness of any corrective or disciplinary action. Complainants are encouraged to report any subsequent conduct that violates the Render Free Code of Conduct, as well as allegations of retaliation.
Written notice to parties relating to discipline, resolutions, and/or final dispositions resulting from the report/complaint process is deemed to be official correspondence from Render Free.
Filing an Appeal
The complainant or the respondent may appeal the decision of the decision maker. An appeal must be filed in writing with the designee within ten (10) business days after notification of the decision. The appeal must state specific reasons why the complainant or respondent believes the decision was improper.
Effect of Review
For employees, an appeal under this procedure is separate and distinct from, and is not in any way related to, any contractual protections or procedures. During the pendency of the appeal disciplinary or corrective action taken as a result of the decision shall be enforced.
7.8 Education and Training
Render Free can - but is not required to - provide education and training programs to promote awareness and prevent discrimination/harassment, such as educational seminars, peer-to-peer counseling, operation of hotlines, self-defense courses, and informational resources.
Information regarding this handbook, Render Free’s Code of Conduct, and this procedure shall, at a minimum, be distributed to members at the time of registration and to employees at the beginning of employment. Distribution may be accomplished by posting on the Render Free website, provided all members and employees are directly notified of how to access the policy and procedure (via Member Portals), and that they may request a paper copy. Copies of the policy and procedure shall be available upon emailed request, and shall include the designated officers' names, locations and telephone numbers.
Designated officers also must be identified by name, location and phone number in other informational publications besides this handbook (such as an employee handbooks), bulletin boards, the Render Free website, and other appropriate Render Free announcements.
7.10 Maintenance of Discrimination Complaint Documentation
During and upon the completion of the complaint process, the complaint file shall be maintained in a secure location in the office of the designated officer for Render Free in accordance with a chosen records retention schedule. Access to the data shall be in accordance with any relevant and applicable law.