The National Theatre of Greece (NT or NTG), following consultation with the representatives of the NTG Workers’ Union, the Hellenic Actors Union, Professors and Students of the NTG Drama School, completed the drafting of the Code of Conduct, which entered into effect on January 17, 2022.
The full text of the Code of Conduct is available in the following link: CODE OF CONDUCT OF THE NT Final as approved by the BoD
Comments by article can be found here: CoC of the NT Comments by article
NATIONAL THEATRE - CODE OF CONDUCT
Questions and Answers about the Code of Conduct
“What is the Code of Conduct?”
The Code of Conduct is a new addition to the set of rules governing the operation of the National Theatre. Under its provisions it intends to ensure an environment of work, education and activity free from any form of discrimination and unethical behavior, and especially free from violence and harassment.
“Am I covered by/subject to the Code?”
In principle yes, regardless of your specific relationship with the Theatre (work, independent, artistic, educational, etc.). Cover means that: You are protected by the provisions of the Code and, at the same time, you are subject to the Code, at all times.
For more details in the specific conditions regarding the scope of the Code, see articles 1, 2, 3, 20, 25.
“Can I be excluded from the provisions of the Code?”
No. The Code protects basic and universally accepted principles of human dignity and respect, and all those who come into contact with the Theater and its activities, in any capacity and in any contractual relationship (employee, external partner, supplier, etc.) are automatically subject to it. Anyone who does not wish to be subject to the Code of Conduct cannot have any relationship with the Theatre. If a contractual relationship already exists, it will be terminated. If you do not notify in writing of your objection to the Code within 10 days from the date you were informed about it, then it will be assumed that you have accepted it. If you send a written objection, the procedures to terminate your relationship with the Theatre will be then initiated. See specific Articles 22, 25.
“What behaviors are considered unethical under the Code?”
It is difficult to list the full set of behaviors. Article 4 contains a general definition of objectionable behaviors. Articles 5-10 specify some forms of behaviors. The purpose of the Code is to provide protection against any behavior harmful to a person in all its forms. It is therefore sufficient that a behavior has the attributes outlined in Article 4, even if it cannot be included in another article. Do not hesitate to investigate something you believe has been done against you, even if you are not initially sure that it falls under any provision.
"What happens when I'm in doubt about whether a behavior is unethical"?
It is true that there are cases where it is marginally doubtful whether there is harmful intent behind a certain behavior. It is also true that similar behaviors can be judged differently depending on the specific circumstances and on the specific capacities under which they occurred. And, it is also true that not every behavior you see as unpleasant is unethical.
Read Articles 11-12 carefully. There you can find a set of criteria that will help you clarify any doubt. These criteria are not definitive, but they provide some objective evidence that can help both the prevention and the interpretation of behaviors.
Do you think any of these strong presumptions are present or missing in the incident you have in mind? The answer to this question should weigh in your decision to report a behavior.
"How can I report an incident involving me? I am not sure if I should report this, maybe it would be better if ‘I let it go’?”
Definitely not. Don't let it go and don't hesitate to report something if you believe it is covered by the Code. This, of course, is completely different from reporting non-existent incidents, or doing it for vindictive or "for testing and experimentation” reasons. Make use of the provisions with the same caution as you would want a truly harmful behavior against you to be investigated.
Read the Code and all accompanying texts carefully and, if in doubt, discuss it with a lawyer or other advisor of your choice or the professional association/union you are registered with.
If you come to the conclusion that there is an incident you should report, you should carefully review the procedure in Articles 15-16 (especially 16). What to do in general:
- You must go to the Code of Conduct Special Protocol office and submit a closed envelope. To further enhance confidentiality, the report can only be in writing, not sent by email. This Protocol office is situated in the building of the Administration Department of the Theatre.
- The envelope may be delivered by any person, not necessarily by you.
- The envelope may simply be marked as "CODE OF CONDUCT SPECIAL PROTOCOL”. The envelope is not required to indicate the reporting person's name on the outside or anything else.
- The envelope must contain a written statement about the unethical incident, the reporting person's name with signature authenticated and the name (s) of those that the reporting person considers to be involved in the incident. Anonymous reports will not be examined and will be automatically archived. Signature authentication is required so that there is no case for someone to submit a report using someone else's name, which is legally and morally unacceptable.
- The envelope may contain any other documents supporting the report.
- Should you raise the issue of harm caused to your health, a medical opinion will be also required.
Until the envelope containing the incident report is unsealed by the Standing Committee (which is predicted to be done within a maximum of 10 days of report submission), no one will be aware that such report has been filed or what incident has been reported.
Any persons who will be reviewing or forwarding the file the obligation of confidentiality, and there are very serious penalties in place in case of violation.
Don't be afraid because you feel “embarrassed”.
On the contrary, if you use the procedures sparingly and prudently, you will contribute to controlling (even in terms of disciplinary control) a behavior that prevents the smooth operation of the Theatre. Not only will you have contributed to remedy the damage you have suffered but also a lasting anomaly within the Theatre itself. You will also have contributed to the general benefit, restoring order and preventing similar injustices in the future.
“What is the Standing Committee and what is the Inquiry Committee? Would they be biased against me?”
Whether you are the incident reporting person or in any manner involved in the incident, rest assured that care has been taken to ensure that reports are dealt with impartiality.
The Standing Committee (Article 14) shall ensure the proper implementation of the substance and procedures of the Code, but will not be reviewing itself any specific incidents. It is a seven-member committee established and existing independently and is not involved in the above-mentioned incident report not shall it decide upon it. It is composed of members from the NTG Workers’ Union, the Hellenic Actors Union, the Association of Professors and the Association of Students of the NTG Drama School. The Administrative-Financial Director of the Theatre is also a member of that Committee.
Each individual case is assigned by the Standing Committee to a three-member Inquiry Committee. The members of the Inquiry Committee (Article 17) are different by incident and shall be appointed each time by lot, from the members of the Standing Committee (except for the Administrative-Financial Director who does not participate in any Inquiry Committees), from the members of the Board of Directors of the NTG Workers’ Union, and from the Heads of Departments of the Theatre. Therefore, those who will investigate the incident will not have experienced any pressure or interference. Also, due care shall be taken to ensure that the members of the above committee are not specially connected to you by friendship nor are they hostile towards you.
Remember, they are not judges. They will not impose any penalty on you or grant you a right, but will only draft a report with their conclusions from the process of inquiry about the incidents and testimonies.
This report will be forwarded to competent bodies/persons in office of the Theatre. Even if any of them are involved in the incident, this will not affect the course of your incident report or the due procedures.
“What can I do after the inquiry process begins?”
If you do not wish to attend the works of the Inquiry Committee in person, or if you feel that it is necessary for someone with specialized knowledge to do so on your behalf, you have the right to appoint an observer (Article 18). Your professional association representing the respective interests can do the same.
You can accept mediation, i.e. an alternative process for resolution of disputes established by the State, for the purpose of exploring mutually acceptable solutions. In this context, various forms of resolution can be proposed before the issue of the final report is issued, such forms being of an amicable/agreeable nature, such as an apology declaration in writing, taking back any statements previously made, recognizing adequacy at work, etc.
You can feel vindicated even without the incident being eventually referred for disciplinary control process, as long as its nature is compatible with such an arrangement.
“Who can provide me guarantees that this will not backfire?”
The only thing you should refrain from is distort reality by reporting false incidents or distorting the truth. Any other incident report, even if it is ultimately determined not to constitute unethical behavior under the Code (i.e, it turns out that your judgment on actual behavior was incorrect), cannot create liability for you.
The Theatre shall ensure you are protected. The Standing Committee is not a body representing the management of the Theatre, and shall ensure that there is no retaliatory behavior or unjustified sanctions against you.
"I am a minor (younger than 18 years old) and I feel that I do not have sufficient support from my environment. How can I report an incident against me?”
You may report the incident in accordance with the procedures set out in Article 16 even without being assisted by a parent or guardian or without them knowing. If you feel that you do not find sufficient understanding in these persons or others close to you, the Theatre encourages you to note this in your report, and will ensure that it will be reviewed in a way that provides you adequate representation.
If you feel that you are unable to write a full report, please do go ahead with this and any blanks will be filled in when your representation is set up. Do not feel you are at a disadvantage just because of your age.
"I followed the provisions of the Code. I don't need to do anything else, do I?”
Not quite. The Code is an internal tool of the Theatre which does not negate the rights and obligations of the general legislation. You should consult your own advisors about whether any further action is required.
And yes, if it is indeed found that a serious ex officio prosecuted criminal offense has been reported, the Theatre will forward the file to the competent authorities. However, there may also be cases where there is a right that depends on time frames, statutory limitations or other formalities. You have to do some research about how this right will be exercised.
Moreover, keep in mind that the internal procedures do not predetermine the outcome in the Court. You may invoke either procedure in the other, but remember that generally the two processes are carried out in parallel and independently.
Note: Every effort has been made for this English translation to be fully faithful to the original Greek text. In cases of discrepancies between them, even if only as a doubt, the wording and the meaning of the Greek text prevail.
Latest updated: 08/12/2023