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Code of Conduct Policy

Approved by MLA Board of Directors: March 2019
Last reviewed:  March 2019

MLA is committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming environment for all participants and MLA staff. Each participant, including attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, staff, service providers, is expected to understand and follow MLA policies and report any violations. These expectations apply to all MLA activities including those held in conjunction with MLA conferences, events and meetings, as well as online venues and social media.

Speakers are asked to frame discussions as openly and inclusively as possible and to be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others. Exhibitors in the exhibit hall, sponsor or vendor booths, or at accompanying activities are also subject to the policy.

Personal Safety and Security

MLA works with venue staff to make sure meeting participants are safe. We ask that all attendees report any concerns to any MLA or venue security staff for immediate action. No concern is too small – if you see something, say something.

In an emergency, you should ask any MLA staff member or the on-site security personnel to help you.

Responsible Drinking

At many MLA networking events, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are served. MLA expects participants at our events to drink responsibly. MLA and conference host event staff have the right to deny service to participants and may require a participant to leave an event for excessive drinking.

Unacceptable Conduct

Unacceptable conduct may relate, but is not limited, to the following: gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, and any other groups protected by state or federal law.

Unacceptable conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form.
  • Any abuse, including physical, verbal or non-verbal abuse, of any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, MLA staff member, service provider, or any other meeting guest.
  • Disruption of presentations at sessions, in the exhibit hall, or at any events organized by MLA at the meeting venue, hotels, or other MLA-contracted facilities.
  • Inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces or in presentations.
  • Threatening or stalking any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, MLA staff member, service provider, or other meeting guest.
  • Invasion of privacy, including taking photos of individuals without permission.
  • Unacceptable conduct is also prohibited on social media and other online platforms in relation to MLA events.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unacceptable conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel uncomfortable, offended, humiliated and/or intimidated.  Sexual harassment does not refer to behavior or occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature.  It refers to behavior that is not welcome, is personally offensive, fails to respect the rights of others, and interferes with events and activities.  

Examples of conduct or behavior which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

Physical conduct

  • Physical violence, including sexual assault
  • Unwelcome physical contact or inappropriate touching
  • The use of threats or rewards to solicit sexual favours

Verbal conduct

  • Comments or insults based on appearance, age, private life, etc.
  • Sexual comments, stories or jokes
  • Sexual advances
  • Whistling or “cat calling”
  • Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
  • Condescending or sexist remarks
  • Sending sexually explicit messages

Non-verbal conduct

  • Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material or images
  • Sexually-suggestive gestures

Notice

The MLA Code of Conduct will be posted on our website and referenced as part of the registration, meeting or other sign up processes and onboarding. An abbreviated version with emergency contact information will be posted at conference venues.

Reporting

If you or anyone else is in immediate danger at any time, please contact local law enforcement (by calling 911) and immediately notify facility security.

If you experience or observe harassment or hear of any incidents of Code of Conduct violation, MLA asks that you please inform any of the following so that we can take action:

Romy Fitschen, Associate Executive Director, Direct: (517)816-7013 or [email protected].

If possible, provide the following information, preferably in writing:

  • Identifying information (name/badge number, appearance) of the participant
  • The behavior that was in violation
  • The approximate date and time of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made)
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident
  • Other people involved in or witnessing the incident

Reports may also be made anonymously. If the complaint is of a criminal nature, legal authorities will be notified.

Response

All complaints will be treated seriously and responded to promptly. If your safety is threatened, please contact venue security or 911.

All reports will be treated seriously and promptly. Incidents will be handled with respect for the privacy of the victim and will be confidential to the extent practical and legal, given the circumstances.

If a person is found in violation of this Code of Conduct, MLA reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to do any of the following:

  • Verbal or written warning;
  • Suspension of attendance at MLA-sponsored events;
  • Prohibit attendance at any future meeting;
  • Reports of unacceptable conduct by an individual may also be reported by MLA to an individual’s employer.

A person suspended from an MLA-sponsored event due to a violation of this Code of Conduct Policy will not be eligible for a refund or any other compensation.

Responsibilities of the Board

The MLA Executive Committee will review the policy every three (3) years, or sooner if conditions warrant, and put forward any necessary changes for Board approval.

Policy Review Schedule

  • May, 2022
  • May, 2025
  • May, 2028

MLA Code of Conduct Policy.pdf