RFSL’s Code of Conduct

Adopted by RFSL's congress, October 2021.


RFSL has a common code of conduct for all trustees, co-workers, volunteers and others who represent the organisation. Together, we carry RFSL’s values and trust internally and externally. It’s how we behave towards each other and towards everybody we meet in our work that determines what kind of organisation RFSL is perceived to be.

When does the code of conduct apply?

The code of conduct applies during all working and duty hours. It also applies in other contexts and outside working hours if you are perceived as representing RFSL, but not privately with family and friends. The code of conduct also applies to social media. It’s up to each individual to always assume that we might be perceived as representatives of RFSL, even when we’re not representing the organisation formally.

You are expected to:

1. You are expected to act correctly and professionally with respect for everybody you meet

We respect everybody’s integrity, regardless of gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, religion or other faith, political opinion, health, HIV status, socioeconomic background, asylum status and disability. It’s never acceptable to voice, for example, racist opinions or “jokes” or something that indicates that you don’t respect others’ gender identity or sexual orientation. For example, we of course use the pronoun and name that people say they want to use. You care about listening to our target group’s needs, explaining how RFSL works and offering the opportunity to contact RFSL to express ideas.

2. You don’t benefit inappropriately from privileges and confidence that working for RFSL might entail 

We are especially careful when meeting target groups and people who are vulnerable and risk being in a position of dependency in relation to RFSL because they need RFSL. We don’t start sexual or romantic relationships with someone that we are in a position of responsibility towards, for example someone we are working to support. 

3. You take responsibility for having the ability to carry out your work in a satisfactory fashion

RFSL can expect that you take responsibility for your ability to carry out different tasks, that you acquire the knowledge necessary and are prepared to show sufficient qualifications to meet what our target groups can demand and expect of you as a trustee, co-worker, volunteer or as a representative of the organisation in another way. If you feel so unbalanced that it affects participants and operations it’s especially improper to represent RFSL. Then it’s important to take help from and refer to others within and outside RFSL. When you represent RFSL you should receive adequate support from the organisation, in the form of, for example, education, information and a well-functioning way of coming into contact with people in leadership positions.

4. You follow statutes, congress decisions, common rules and policies

As a trustee, co-worker, volunteer or otherwise representative of the organisation you are expected to act according to decisions made within the organisation, such as statutes, congress decisions, common rules and policies. By respecting and carrying out decisions, RFSL becomes a solid organisation that you can trust. If you have the opposite point of view from RFSL in a political matter it’s appropriate that you refrain from publicly debating this issue, and leave it to another representative from, for example, your branch. It’s of course okay not to share all RFSL’s opinions in political issues, but as a representative you cannot advocate an opposite opinion. 

5. If you want to advocate a different opinion (doesn’t apply to employees)

If you want to change the organisation’s position in an issue, you do it through advocacy work within the organisation. Of course, you have the opportunity to debate factual questions at your branch, conferences, with the board of trustees and through contact with the national office. The organisation’s political agenda is ultimately changed through congress decisions.

6. If someone doesn’t follow the code of conduct

If someone within RFSL acts inappropriately and breaks this code of conduct, it’s everybody’s responsibility to inform those responsible. Those responsible may be the president, a member of the board, manager, volunteer coordinator or others in a leadership position within RFSL. Everybody in a position of responsibility has a duty to act. If you don’t receive support in your branch, you turn to the national office. There’s also a whistle-blower policy to use. Inappropriate behaviour is, of course, all criminal acts like abuse and corruption, but can also be breaking the code of conduct by not acting professionally and ethically as can be expected by all who represent RFSL. If you’re unsure if someone is breaking the code of conduct you can tell someone in a position of responsibility who can guide you.   

Breaking the code of conduct can lead to you being excluded from your responsibilities or your employment by your employer. You can also be excluded as a member.