ABRCMS Code of Conduct

The American Society for Microbiology (“ASM”) is the main forum for microbial sciences that considers and debates scientific issues in an orderly, respectful, and fair manner. The ASM is committed to providing an environment that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas and promotes equal opportunities and respectful treatment for all participants. Differing perspectives are valued and ASM welcomes the diversity of individuals and their identities. All participants are expected to treat others with respect and consideration.

ASM prohibits and will not tolerate any form of harassment or bullying at its events, whether the event is in-person or virtual. This applies to all ASM related events.

Harassment is defined as unwanted and unwelcome attention or other conduct that creates an environment where a reasonable person would feel unwelcome, intimidated, excluded, or abused. Harassment based on gender, race, religion, national origin, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, and any other personal characteristic is strictly prohibited. Additionally, inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces, presentations, or within online forums is considered a violation of the ASM Events Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated.

ASM will investigate all complaints of harassment, and investigations will be conducted in an unbiased manner. Complaints need to be filed within 1 year of the incident. Violation of this code of conduct may result in the participant being asked to leave the event at which the incident occurred, without warning or refund; being barred from attending ASM events (both virtually and in-person) in the future; and, if relevant, being barred from or revocation of membership in the ASM.

At in-person meetings, event security and local police may be contacted in the event violators pose an imminent threat to others or are disrupting the event. If an ASM Staff member is found to be in violation, the ASM Headquarters Employment Policy (Prohibition against Sexual and Other Harassment and Discrimination) will be followed. Action regarding an ASM staff member may result in termination of employment.

This policy applies to all attendees, speakers, exhibitors, contractors, volunteers, and guests at ASM events. If a participant experiences or witnesses harassment, the participant should contact ASM event staff (ASM event staff are identifiable by their ASM Staff name badge and can be located in the registration area) as soon as possible or contact security if they feel unsafe.

For in-person or virtual ASM events, individuals may also report complaints via telephone at 866-209-5916 or using the online portal. All complaints will be responded to promptly and treated seriously and, to the extent possible, confidentially. Complaints that require broader investigation will be handled by ASM’s Ethics Committee. ASM expressly forbids any retaliation against individuals for reporting harassment.

In the event that an individual knowingly provides false information regarding a harassment situation, ASM may take similar disciplinary action.


For in-person events, if a participant experiences or witnesses harassment as described in ASM’s Events Code of Conduct, they should contact ASM event staff (identifiable by ASM staff badge and/or may also be located in the registration area) to report the incident. If at any time a participant feels unsafe, they should contact meeting venue security immediately. If the participant is unsure that the incident was in violation of the ASM’s Events Code of Conduct, they may inquire first from an ASM staff member before filing a formal complaint.

For virtual events, participants should report complaints using the online portal.

The following information should be provided when reporting a harassment incident:
• Name and contact information of the participant
• Name and contact information of any witnesses
• Identifying information (e.g. name, badge number, physical appearance, online profile name) of the individual(s) who are accused of the harassment
• The specific action or behavior that was in violation of the ASM Events Code of Conduct
• The date and approximate time of the incident
• The location and circumstances surrounding the incident

ASM will accept and investigate all complaints of harassment and investigations will be conducted in an unbiased manner.

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