Volunteer Policies and Agreements

All individual volunteers must be 18 years and older.

Individuals who are seeking court-ordered community service hours must notify us in writing at volunteer@downtownwomenscenter.org and be approved before volunteering with us.

All new individual volunteers are required to attend a volunteer training: these trainings are currently held virtually, and signup information is available in the "Opportunities" tab of your volunteer profile.

Please review and accept DWC's Volunteer Agreement, Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination Policy, and COVID-19 Policy before signing up to volunteer. The text of all three policies is included below; each policy can also be accessed in the following links.

DWC Volunteer Agreement

DWC Volunteer Anti-Discrimination Policy

DWC Volunteer COVID-19 Policy


Downtown Women's Center Volunteer Agreement

 

Volunteers built and ran the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) for the first 14 years of DWC’s existence; our volunteer community is still just as critical to achieving our mission of ending homelessness for women and gender diverse individuals in Greater Los Angeles.

DWC is committed to building a safe, inclusive volunteer community. Diversity makes us stronger, and we are committed to creating a space that welcomes the leadership and active participation of volunteers of diverse backgrounds and identities, including but not limited to race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, age, and disability. We encourage individuals with lived experience of homelessness to join us as volunteers and welcome the input of volunteers and community partners as we grow as a social justice organization.

We ask all individual and group volunteers to adhere to the Downtown Women’s Center Volunteer Agreement. Please carefully review the following policies and indicate your agreement before submitting your volunteer signup form.

  1. Before volunteering with DWC, all volunteers must:
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Fully read and agree to this volunteer agreement, the volunteer anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy, and the COVID-19 policy.
  • Attend a full volunteer orientation and training if volunteering as an individual.

 

  1. All volunteers agree to:
  • Conduct themselves appropriately on-site, follow the instructions of their volunteer supervisor and other DWC staff, and act in line with DWC’s values of community, respect, safety, social justice, and stewardship.
  • Maintain professional and respectful relationships with staff, participants, and other volunteers. Harassment, discrimination, threats, intimidation, or coercion of any kind is strictly prohibited. Any inappropriate behavior must be reported to their volunteer supervisor or the Community Engagement Manager immediately. 
  • Immediately inform staff of any observations or information that may compromise the safety of staff, volunteers, or participants.
  • Not share personal information with participants. Volunteers agree not to provide contact information – their own or that of other staff or volunteers – to any DWC participants. Volunteers are asked not to add any current or former DWC participants or residents on social media, nor to use social media to harm DWC’s goodwill and reputation.
  • Wear appropriate attire for the volunteer opportunity in question. Specific guidance will be provided in your confirmation email depending on your volunteer position.
  • If injured while on DWC premises, to report the incident immediately to the volunteer supervisor (or another relevant staff member). Volunteers understand that DWC will not provide workers’ compensation benefits to volunteers.
  • If bringing in general donations during a volunteer shift, to give them to their volunteer supervisor to be distributed appropriately. Volunteers agree not to give items directly to DWC participants.
  • Volunteers acknowledge that they have no expectation of compensation and are providing their volunteer service for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons.

 

  1. DWC Confidentiality Requirements
  • Volunteers agree not to film, record, interview, or photograph any staff, clients, participants, or DWC activities unless given express prior permission.
  • Volunteers acknowledge that all information contained in DWC databases, systems, and files are protected and considered confidential information.
  • Volunteers agree not to distribute, share, or otherwise use any information associated with DWC participants, staff, or donors for personal or professional purposes outside the scope of the DWC volunteer opportunity. Any volunteer with potential conflicts of interest should raise these with DWC’s Community Engagement Manager or Coordinator before participating in any volunteer opportunity.
  • Volunteers agree not to disclose any confidential information, including any DWC participant’s, staff’s, or donor’s personal identifying information.
  • Volunteers acknowledge that additional confidentiality considerations may be necessary based on the specific volunteer position.

 

  1. No-Show Policy
  • Volunteers play an essential role in DWC’s mission of ending homelessness for women in Los Angeles. With the understanding that everyone experiences emergencies that may prevent them from volunteering, DWC asks that volunteers do their best to participate in any volunteer opportunity they commit to, and to notify their volunteer supervisor as quickly as possible if they must miss a volunteer commitment.
  • DWC asks that volunteers be punctual, arriving for their volunteer shifts and trainings by the scheduled time and submitting any remote assignments by the specified deadline. If this becomes impossible for any reason, volunteers agree to notify their volunteer supervisor as soon as possible.
  • Please keep in mind: a carefully thought-out “no” is always preferable to a hasty “yes.” Volunteers are encouraged to consider other commitments and scheduling conflicts before committing to a volunteer opportunity. This allows DWC to continue providing uninterrupted, consistent services.
  • DWC reserves the right to terminate an individual’s volunteer position following more than one failure to notify their volunteer supervisor of inability to participate in a scheduled volunteer opportunity.

 

  1. Retraining Inactive Volunteers
  • To ensure that all DWC volunteers are prepared for volunteer engagements, an individual who has not actively volunteered in the preceding three years may be asked to attend another training session.
  • Volunteers who first engage with DWC through a group volunteer activity and then wish to volunteer individually are required to attend the individual volunteer training and orientation before participating in an individual volunteer commitment.
  • Any volunteer may be asked to review training materials with their volunteer supervisor based on staff or participant feedback.
  • DWC reserves the right to terminate an individual’s volunteer position if the volunteer declines requests to review training materials or does not address retraining concerns raised by DWC staff.

 

  1. Acknowledgement of Risks & Responsibilities
  • DWC takes many precautions to maintain the health and safety of staff, volunteers, and participants. These precautions notwithstanding, there are risks inherent to visiting a center that provides housing, health services, and daily drop-in services, including outbreaks of communicable diseases. For this reason, DWC asks all volunteers to review and agree to the Volunteer Health and Safety Policy before volunteering on-site.
  • Individual volunteers agree to review their position-specific volunteer guidelines before engaging in their volunteer commitment, and to communicate with their volunteer supervisor regarding any questions or concerns that may arise during volunteering.
  • DWC asks that volunteers notify their volunteer supervisor and/or the Community Engagement Manager or Coordinator if they experience or witness any behavior that would put staff, participants, or fellow volunteers at risk.
  • Volunteers understand that DWC is not responsible for personal items while on DWC premises. Volunteers are advised to speak with their volunteer supervisor upon arrival to identify the best place to store personal belongings.
  • Volunteers acknowledge that DWC’s private parking lot is limited to staff and residents on weekdays.
  • Group volunteers understand that group volunteer opportunities are considered closed events with limited capacity. Group volunteers will refrain from recruiting additional volunteers through external channels, such as Facebook groups, Eventbrite, etc.
  • Volunteers understand that any violation of this agreement will jeopardize the safety of the DWC community and could result in the end of their volunteerism.

 

Volunteer Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

 

Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment

DWC is an equal opportunity employer. DWC is committed to providing an environment free of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and disrespectful or other unprofessional conduct based on sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions), sex stereotype, race, religion (including religious dress and grooming practices), color, gender (including gender identity, gender expression and transgender (including whether or not the employee is transitioning or has transitioned), sexual orientation, national origin (including language use restrictions and possession of a driver's license issued under Vehicle Code section 12801.9), ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information/characteristics, marital status, registered domestic partner status, age, military and veteran status, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law or ordinance or regulation. It also prohibits discrimination, harassment, disrespectful or unprofessional conduct based on the perception that anyone has any of those characteristics or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics.

In addition, DWC prohibits retaliation against individuals who raise complaints of discrimination or harassment or who participate in workplace investigations. All such conduct violates DWC policy.

Harassment Prevention

DWC's policy prohibiting harassment applies to all persons involved in the operation of DWC (employees, volunteers, and visitors by managers, supervisors, or co-workers, etc.). DWC prohibits harassment, disrespectful or unprofessional conduct by its employees, volunteers, or non-employees with whom DWC has a business, service, or professional relationship. DWC’s anti-harassment policy also applies to vendors, customers, independent contractors, unpaid interns, volunteers, persons providing services pursuant to a contract and other persons with whom you come into contact while volunteering.

Prohibited harassment, disrespectful or unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to, the following behaviors:

· Verbal conduct such as epithets, derogatory jokes or comments, slurs or unwanted sexual advances, invitations, comments, posts, or messages;

· Visual displays such as derogatory and/or sexually oriented posters, photography, cartoons, drawings, or gestures;

· Physical conduct including assault, unwanted touching, intentionally blocking normal movement, or interfering with work because of sex, race, or any other protected basis;

· Threats and demands to submit to sexual requests or sexual advances as a condition of continued employment, or to avoid some other loss, and offers of employment benefits in return for sexual favors;

· Retaliation for reporting or threatening to report harassment; and

· Communication via electronic media of any type that includes any conduct that is prohibited by state and/or federal law, or by DWC policy.

 

Sexual harassment does not need to be motivated by sexual desire to be unlawful or to violate this policy. For example, hostile acts toward an employee because of their gender can amount to sexual harassment, regardless of whether the treatment is motivated by any sexual desire.

Prohibited harassment is not just sexual harassment, but harassment based on any protected category.

Non-Discrimination

DWC is committed to compliance with all applicable laws providing equal employment opportunities. This commitment applies to all persons involved in DWC operations. DWC prohibits unlawful discrimination against any job applicant, volunteer, employee, or unpaid intern by any employee of DWC, including supervisors and co-workers.

Anti-Retaliation

DWC will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint or participating in any workplace investigation or complaint process, and will not tolerate or permit retaliation by management, employees, or fellow volunteers.

Reasonable Accommodation

Any volunteer who requires an accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of a volunteer opportunity should contact the DWC Community Engagement manager and discuss the need for an accommodation. DWC will engage in an interactive process with the volunteer to identify possible accommodations, if any, that will help the volunteer participate in the opportunity. A volunteer who requires an accommodation of a religious belief or practice (including religious dress and grooming practices, such as religious clothing or hairstyles) should also contact the DWC Community Engagement Manager and discuss the need for an accommodation. If the accommodation is reasonable and will not impose an undue hardship, DWC will make the accommodation.

DWC will not retaliate against you for requesting a reasonable accommodation and will not knowingly tolerate or permit retaliation by management, employees, or fellow volunteers.

Complaint Process

If you believe that you have been the subject of harassment, discrimination, retaliation or other prohibited conduct, bring your complaint to your volunteer supervisor or the Community Engagement Manager as soon as possible after the incident. You can bring your complaint to any of these individuals.

If you do not feel comfortable bringing your complaint to your volunteer supervisor or the Community Engagement Manager, you can also report your complaint to Human Resources. Please provide all

known details of the incident or incidents, names of individuals involved and names of any witnesses. It would be best to communicate your complaint in writing, but this is not mandatory.

DWC encourages all individuals to report any incidents of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or other prohibited conduct forbidden by this policy immediately so that complaints can be quickly and fairly resolved.

When DWC receives allegations of misconduct, it will immediately undertake a fair, timely, thorough, and objective investigation of the allegations in accordance with all legal requirements. DWC will reach reasonable conclusions based on the evidence collected.

DWC will maintain confidentiality to the extent possible. However, DWC cannot promise complete confidentiality. DWC’s duty to investigate and take corrective action may require the disclosure of information to individuals with a need to know.

Complaints will be:

· Responded to in a timely manner

· Kept confidential to the extent possible

· Investigated impartially by qualified personnel in a timely manner

· Documented and tracked for reasonable progress

· Given appropriate options for remedial action and resolution

· Closed in a timely manner

 

If DWC determines that harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or other prohibited conduct has occurred; appropriate and effective corrective and remedial action will be taken in accordance with the circumstances involved. DWC will also take appropriate action to deter future misconduct.

Any volunteer determined by DWC to be responsible for harassment, discrimination, retaliation, or other prohibited conduct will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Volunteers should also know that if they engage in unlawful harassment, they could be held personally liable for the misconduct.

 

Volunteer COVID-19 Policy

 

The Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) wants to ensure a safe workplace environment for all volunteers, interns, staff, and participants. As such, we request that if 

an on-site volunteer tests positive for COVID-19 or has close contact with someone with COVID-19, DWC asks that they immediately contact the Community Engagement Manager so that DWC’s pandemic coordinator can conduct contact tracing and provide additional guidance to the volunteer. A volunteer may be asked to receive a negative COVID-19 test or refrain from in-person volunteering until a negative COVID-19 test is obtained. 

If a DWC staff member, resident, participant, or fellow volunteer tests positive for COVID-19, DWC’s pandemic coordinator will conduct a contact tracing analysis and notify any volunteers who may have had close contact with the person who tested positive. Volunteers will only be notified of a positive COVID-19 test on-site if they are identified as having had close contact during the contact tracing process.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is optional for all employees, volunteers, and interns coming onsite and will be provided upon request.

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