We are living in times of extreme uncertainty and it is increasingly clear that our elected governments do not necessarily act in the best interests of their own citizens or of humanity more broadly. As issues such as climate change, the ecological crisis and rising inequality are increasingly urgent, individual non-violent protest, campaigning and direct action (NVDA) is increasingly important.

In line with our vision of a better, fairer, sustainable world for all, we are taking appropriate steps to support employee activism and NVDA. As a business, we want to lead, inspire and educate for positive change and want to be clear that we support individual rights to stand up for what they believe in.  

Therefore, if any of our people want to participate in any reasonable NVDA (non-violent civil disobedience/activism, protests, marches or campaigns) then we will provide some support. 

We fully realise that campaigning and protesting is not for everyone, but for the people who are motivated to take such action, we want to be able to support them.

This policy outlines the support that we can provide to you as an employee as well as what is expected from you in return. 

Support to employees

We will provide the following support to employees who comply with the terms of this policy:

  1. Paid leave for NVDA – Time off during working days to participate in peaceful protest and NVDA will not count against your annual holiday allowance (up to 3 days total per year – consecutive or non-consecutive). More time may be agreed as unpaid leave upon request.
  2. Security of employment – If you are arrested during a peaceful, non-violent protest, this will not impact your employment status at Wholegrain Digital prior to any trial. If you are later convicted then your employment status at the company will be at the sole discretion of the company directors.
  3. Bail – We will provide up to £5000 towards bail.
  4. Paid leave for unexpected absence – If you are unable to attend work due to being incarcerated prior to being found guilty of a crime, you will be paid for the first 5 working days and any further pay will be at the discretion of the company directors. If you need to attend court to face charges then the time off to attend court hearings will be paid for an additional 5 working days and any further pay will be at the discretion of the company directors. Time off due to injury would be covered by our sick leave policy.
  5. Training – To help ensure your safety and to help make sure that you are aware of the possible consequences of being involved in NVDA, we will cover any pre-agreed costs of appropriate training prior to your involvement. This time will need to be taken as your annual leave or unpaid leave.

Employee obligations

By requesting any company support in line with this policy, you agree to all of the following terms:

  1. Your protests will always be non-violent (including non-destructive of property). We trust you to decide what is ‘reasonable’ protest but we also ask that you respect feedback from other team members if they feel uncomfortable with your proposed actions.
  2. If a non-violent event that you are participating in becomes violent, you will leave immediately.
  3. You will take full responsibility for minimising disruption to your teammates, customers and suppliers who depend on you in your daily role.
  4. You will use the usual Leave Request process to ask your colleagues to support your absence and be prepared to be flexible with your own working hours if needed to avoid negatively impacting your colleagues  and work commitments. This includes giving as much information as possible as to the type and length of protest you would like to attend. You may omit any information that must remain confidential. In this process, you will request specific NVDA leave through Bamboo HR. Please note that we cannot guarantee approval of this leave.
  5. You will highlight to a company director if you believe that your actions carry any risk of bringing the company or any of its clients or partners into disrepute. If they request you not to participate on this basis, you will comply with their decision.
  6. You will not identify yourself as an employee of the company during NVDA (for example on clothing, banners or to the media) unless this has been pre-agreed in writing by a company director.
  7. Your participation in any action is under your own personal free will and is not conducted as part of your employment. 
  8. You will pay your own transportation and other expenses relevant to the logistics of attending any action. 
  9. Your participation will not be covered under the company’s insurance.
  10. You will share your experiences with your colleagues after the event, to help others learn about the issue that you are campaigning for, why it means so much to you and what the experience of protest is like. Bring photos, anecdotes and real stories to help get others inspired.
  11. You understand that there may be risks associated with your own actions that could include, but are not limited to, personal injury, individual reputation, monetary loss and even criminal action against you. Your participation in any actions is a personal decision taken at your own risk, and the company does not accept any liability for any loss, personal injury or criminal action that may be taken as a result of your participation.

Support for contractors

For team members who are not UK employees of the company and who have a different contractual relationship, this policy does not apply by default . If you would like to apply for this support as a contractor, please make a written request and an adapted agreement may be offered at the discretion of a company director.

Please note that this policy exists at the absolute discretion of the company directors, may be changed at any time and does not represent company endorsement of any actions that you may personally take.