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Code of Conduct Policy

Creating an inclusive culture, as the basis for innovation

We aspire to create a culture where people work joyfully, communicate openly about things that matter, and collaborate effectively in service to our clients. We would like our team and our communities to reflect the diversity of America. We want to foster diversity of all kinds — not just the classes protected in law. Diversity fosters innovation. Diverse teams are creative teams. We need a diversity of perspective to create meaningful solutions for our clients.

This is our code of conduct policy. We follow all Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws. We expect everyone who works at Skylight, attends Skylight events and meetings, or participates in online forums or other virtual collaboration to follow this code of conduct and the EEO laws. This applies to all of our methods of communication: office chatrooms, commit messages, email, and both formal and informal conversation.

Be empowering

Consider what you can do to encourage and support others. Make room for quieter voices to contribute. Offer support and enthusiasm for great ideas. Leverage the low cost of experimentation to support your colleagues' ideas, and take care to acknowledge the original source, not just the most recent or loudest contributor. When someone offers something unexpected, look for ways you can contribute and collaborate. Share your knowledge and skills. Prioritize access for and input from those who are traditionally excluded from the civic process.


Create boundaries to your own behavior and consider how you can create safe space that helps prevent unacceptable behavior by others. We don't seek to list all cases of unacceptable behavior, but provide examples to help guide our community in thinking through how to respond when we experience these types of behavior, whether directed at ourselves or others.

If you're unsure if something is appropriate behavior, it probably isn't. Each person you interact with can define where that line is for them. Impact matters more than intent. Ensuring that your behavior doesn't have a negative impact is your responsibility. Problems happen when we assume that our way of thinking or behaving is the norm or ok with everyone. This is particularly problematic when we're in a position of power or privilege.

Here are a few examples of unacceptable behavior:

  • Negative or offensive remarks regarding race, religion, color, sex (with or without sexual conduct and including pregnancy and sexual orientation involving transgender status/gender identity, and sex-stereotyping), national origin, age, disability (physical or mental), genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, marital status, and political affiliation as well as gender expression, mental illness, socioeconomic status or background, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, body size, or clothing. Consider that calling attention to differences can feel alienating.
  • Touching people without their affirmative consent.
  • Sustained disruption of meetings, talks, or discussions, including chatrooms.
  • Patronizing language or behavior.
  • Aggressive and micro-aggressive behavior, such as unconstructive criticism, providing corrections that don't improve the conversation (sometimes referred to as "well actually"s), repeatedly interrupting or talking over someone else, feigning surprise at someone's lack of knowledge or awareness about a topic, or subtle prejudice (for example, comments like "That's so easy my grandmother could do it.").
  • Referring to people in a way that misidentifies their gender and/or rejects the validity of their gender identity; for instance by using incorrect pronouns or forms of address (misgendering).
  • Retaliating against anyone who files a formal complaint that someone has violated these codes or EEO laws.


Skylight is greatly appreciative of 18F and the multiple sources that they drew on to build a template for this code of conduct policy.

Relevant legal considerations:

Future changes

If we decide to change this policy, we'll update the modification date below.

Updated: April 4, 2017