The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out the minimum standards that are necessary for individuals to live with dignity. The responsibility of business to uphold and support the rights of every individual, is set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In this document, we share our commitment to human rights and our approach to fulfilling our responsibility to contribute to their advancement.
2. Our approach
As a global company and technology platform, we are mindful of the cultures of the many countries in which we operate and of the extended social impact of our business decisions and activities.
In addition to our indirect impact across the communities in which we operate, our direct impact extends to:
- Our workforce – We unequivocally respect human rights and protect the fundamental dignity of our workforce. We are committed to providing a respectful, safe and secure environment that is free from any form of human rights abuse. We expect everyone to behave in a way that supports this commitment wherever they work, and in all situations directly related to work. This commitment extends to all people who work at Stack Exchange, Inc. (dba Stack Overflow) and its subsidiaries, including temporary and permanent employees, contractors, consultants, agents, trainees and/or job applicants. Where an individual is employed by an operating company, this group commitment supports any local policies that may be in place.
- Suppliers that support our operations and infrastructure – Mindful of the opportunity that we have to influence our supply chain partners through our supplier and purchase decisions, we expect a commitment to minimum human rights standards, that is compatible with our own commitments, by companies who seek to qualify as a supplier to Stack Overflow.
3. Our commitment
Our commitment to human rights is guided by key international standards: the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the UN Global Compact. Specifically, our Code of Business Ethics & Conduct clearly defines our policies and approach to Fair Employment, Health and Safety, Privacy and Employee Confidentiality.
We are committed to complying with applicable laws and to respecting internationally recognized human rights, wherever we operate. Guided by the UN Global Compact, in the rare situation that national law conflicts with international standards, we comply with national law and seek ways to respect the principles of internationally recognized human rights.
4. Our workforce
We have set out our approach to respecting and promoting principles that safeguard the rights of our workforce including the categories defined by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work:
4.1. Fair employment including non-discrimination
We know that our people, with their diverse talents and views, are crucial to our success in creating and implementing new business opportunities. We therefore strive to have a workplace where teamwork and mutual trust are promoted and where our people are treated with dignity and respect. To this end, we expect all our people (including directors and employees) to be fair and honest in their business dealings with colleagues and business partners, and to comply with the following principles which are set out in detail in the Code of Business Ethics and Conduct.
- To avoid relationships or interests, whether direct or indirect, that could adversely influence or impair their capacity to act with integrity and objectivity;
- To treat clients, customers, colleagues, competitors and third parties with dignity, integrity and respect;
- To observe a high standard of business ethics in all commercial operations;
- To comply with laws, regulations and the group’s rules relating to dishonesty, corruption and/or breach of the director’s or employee’s duty of good faith towards the group; and
- To respect the diversity of people and avoid victimization, harassment, bullying or abuse of fellow employees whether due to gender, gender identity, gender expression, transgender status, sexual stereotypes, sexual orientation, class, race, religion, creed, color, marital or family status, age, nationality, political association or disability.
4.2. Dignity at work
Our Anti-Harassment and Discrimination policy sets out our zero—tolerance approach to harassment and discrimination (including sexual harassment and bullying) and underscores our commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging, and ensuring dignity at work.
4.3. Privacy & employee confidentiality
We respect the confidentiality of employees’ personal data and acquire and keep only such employee personal information as is required either for the group’s effective operation or by the law in those places where the group conducts business.
4.4. Forced labor, including human trafficking
We recognize the fundamental human rights of freely chosen employment. We do not condone any form of forced labor (being work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered themselves voluntarily). All work directly or indirectly undertaken should be voluntary and employees should be free to end their employment at any time. All employees should be provided with a written agreement describing the employee's terms of employment in a language that the employee understands. No person commencing employment will be deprived of identity papers.
4.5. Child labor
We do not condone labor below the relevant legal minimum age requirements in the countries in which it is active and do not tolerate child labor (being work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to their physical or mental development including by interfering with their education).
4.6. Equal opportunity
We promote respect for diversity and promote diversity itself. To ensure that all people are treated equally in the professional environment, we support the elimination of bias and promote equal opportunity for recruitment, for skills development, for advancement and promotion, and for remuneration.
4.7. Health & safety
We aim to provide our people with a safe and healthy work environment. To this end, our people must maintain safe and healthy workplaces by following environmental, health and safety rules and practices, and promptly reporting accidents, injuries and unsafe equipment, practices or conditions.
Our people are expected to perform their company-related work in a safe manner, free of the influences of alcohol or controlled substances. The use of illegal drugs, violence or threatening behavior in the workplace will not be tolerated.
4.8. Fair remuneration
We want to attract and retain skilled and talented people. We have fair remuneration systems in place which are:
- Rational - easy to explain;
- Equitable - free from discrimination; and
- Relevant - linked to the country of operation, our competitive markets and personal and company performance.
We believe that fair remuneration should be provided to all permanent (and temporary) employees, contractors, consultants, trainees and/or job applicants.
5. Governance, monitoring, reporting and accountability
Stack Overflow is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MIH Edtech US Holdings, Inc.,a subsidiary of Prosus, N.V. (“Prosus”). Prosus oversees and is ultimately responsible for sustainability, including all topics that we have included in this Human Rights Statement.
Action will be taken to investigate any reported violations and based on the outcome of the investigation appropriate remediation measures will be taken within the governance framework described above. Human Rights will be reported on through the reporting framework set out in the Sustainability Policy.