Sexual Harassment Policy (2018)

Approved by AHA Council, August 8, 2018; Updated November 15, 2018.

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The AHA is committed to creating and maintaining a harassment-free environment for all participants in the Association's activities.  All members and participants, including employees, contractors, vendors, volunteers and guests, are expected to engage in consensual and respectful behavior and to preserve AHA's standard of professionalism at all times.  The following policy pertains to all venues where officially sanctioned AHA conferences, meetings, and other activities occur, whether in person, by telephone, or through electronic communication.

The AHA has no tolerance for sexual harassment in any setting. Sexual harassment is behavior (speech or actions) in formal or informal settings that demeans, humiliates, or threatens an individual on the basis of their sex, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation.  Sexual harassment can also take nonsexual forms and includes discriminatory remarks or actions based on an individual's sex, gender, gender expression or sexual orientation.  Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal comment or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including situations in which the request or conduct involves any implied or expressed promise of professional reward for complying; or the request or conduct involves any implied or expressed threat of reprisal or denial of opportunity for refusing to comply; or the request or conduct results in what reasonably may be perceived as a hostile or intimidating environment. Such examples are illustrative, not exhaustive.  Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature or consensual personal and social relationships without discriminatory effect. It refers to behavior that reasonably situated persons would regard as not welcome and as personally intimidating, hostile, or offensive.

Retaliation against a complainant is also a violation of this policy.

According to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, the victim of harassment can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct, not just the individual at whom the conduct is directed.

This policy and the structure for addressing violations will be clearly and prominently displayed on the AHA website.  All participants in the annual meeting and other officially sanctioned AHA activities will be required to acknowledge this policy and their willingness to abide by it as part of the registration process.

The executive director will provide an annual report of aggregated data, which will be circulated to the full Council and made available to the membership upon request.

Any person who has experienced a serious verbal threat or any physical assault should contact law enforcement officials immediately.

The AHA will maintain a team to receive complaints from and provide resources for any participant in the annual meeting or other AHA sanctioned activity who has experienced or witnessed violations of this policy. The contact information for team members will be made available on the AHA website and in registration materials.  Team members will be on-site at the annual meeting and available for other AHA sanctioned activities.  A member of this team can describe the reporting procedure and can outline available resources. Neither the team nor any other AHA official can provide legal advice to individuals who make reports under this policy.

Reporting an incident of sexual harassment does not obligate the reporter to pursue any further action.  Depending upon the severity and nature of the report, and in compliance with local, state and federal law, the AHA may be compelled to contact law enforcement and/or address the report with AHA officials or the AHA Council.  

Some text in this policy is taken from documents produced by the Shakespeare Association of America and the Society of Biblical Literature with their permission.