Annual Meeting Harassment Prevention

Sexual harassment in any form will not be tolerated at the AAA Annual Meeting, section meetings, or any other activities, including publishing. Our culture is based on mutual respect and collaboration. AAA will do what it takes to enforce our sexual harassment policies and protect our members, staff, and other individuals from harassment, assault, and other misconduct while they are taking part in sponsored events and activities. These policies apply to every person regardless of gender, sexual orientation, level, function, seniority, status, or other protected characteristics.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment has many forms:

  • Insinuating, proposing, or demanding sexual favors of any kind;
  • Invading another person’s personal space (e.g., inappropriate touching);
  • Stalking, intimidating, coercing or threatening another person to get them to engage in sexual acts;
  • Sending or displaying sexually explicit objects or messages;
  • Commenting on someone’s looks, dress, sexuality or gender in a derogatory or objectifying manner or a manner that makes them uncomfortable;
  • Making obscene comments, jokes or gestures that humiliate or offend someone; and/or
  • Pursuing or flirting with another person persistently without the other person’s willing participation.

The most extreme form of sexual harassment is sexual assault. This is a serious crime and we will support those who want to file complaints against offenders with local authorities.

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Our rules on sexual harassment

  • No one has the right to sexually harass anyone else.
  • Sexual harassment is never too minor.
  • Sexual harassment is about how we make others feel.
  • We understand that people who harass do not necessarily realize their behavior is inappropriate and unwanted, but that doesn’t make the perpetrator any less responsible for their actions.
  • We assume every sexual harassment claim is legitimate unless proven otherwise.
  • We will not allow further victimization of harassed individuals.
  • Those who support or overlook sexual harassment are as much at fault as offenders.

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How to report sexual harassment

If you are being sexually harassed (or suspect another person is being harassed) at the AAA Annual Meeting, please report it to AAA staff (recognizable by orange buttons, pictured below) at registration or in the exhibit hall. In serious cases like sexual assault, please call the police and inform AAA that you plan to press charges. We will provide any possible support until the matter is resolved. In any case, we will ensure you are not victimized and that you have access to relevant evidence admissible in court, like security video footage or emails.

We acknowledge it is often hard to come forward about these issues, but we need your help to build a fair and safe environment for you and your colleagues. Explain the situation in as much detail as possible. If you have any hard evidence (e.g. emails), forward it or bring it with you.

To register complaints or concerns regarding non-Annual Meeting activities, register your complaint via the below form to the AAA Ombudspersons for Sexual Harassment and Assault. They are a confidential and informal resource.

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Disciplinary action and repeat offenders

After thorough investigation by the AAA Executive Office, meeting attendees found guilty of sexual assault will be banned from all Association activities. Meeting attendees found guilty of sexual harassment (but not assault) may have their right to be on the premises revoked. We may also ban harassers from all future Association activities or take other appropriate action to protect their victims. We will terminate the memberships and/or meeting registrations of repeat offenders after the second claim against them and subsequent investigation concludes they are indeed guilty.

We apply these disciplinary actions uniformly. Meeting attendees of any sexual orientation or other protected characteristics will be penalized the same way for the same offenses.

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AAA member responsibilities

First and foremost, everyone should try to prevent sexual harassment by building a culture of respect and trust. However, when sexual harassment occurs and there is a complaint, AAA will act immediately.

When AAA receives a complaint of alleged harassment, they will reach out to the AAA Ombudspersons for Sexual Harassment and Assault. One of the ombudspersons will do the following:

  • Ask for as many details and as much information as possible from the person or people making the complaint.
  • Take into account the wishes of the complainant. Some might want the matter to be resolved informally and discreetly, while others might expect more radical actions (eg, banning the perpetrator). The ombudsperson will consider the circumstances and recommend an appropriate action to the AAA.
  • Contact the alleged harasser and set up a meeting to explain the complaint and ask for further information from them. Then, if warranted, explicitly ask for this behavior to stop.

The AAA Executive Office will:

  • Keep copies of the report with dates, times and details of incidents and any possible evidence in a confidential file. AAA will update this file with all future actions and conversations regarding this complaint.
  • If warranted, launch an investigation.
  • Check if there have been similar reports on the same person.
  • Remove the perpetrator from future Association events and/or revoke their membership. In cases of sexual assault or coercing someone to sexual favors under threats at AAA-sponsored events, we will remove the perpetrator from the event immediately and revoke their Association membership.

All AAA members must not, under any circumstances, blame the victim, conceal a report, or discourage fellow members from reporting sexual harassment.

We welcome any feedback or complaints about our procedures and how the AAA Ombudspersons handled each inquiry. Please use the below form to share your comments with Executive Director Ed Liebow.

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