The open exchange of ideas and the freedom of thought and expression are central to the Association for Computing Machinery’s (“ACM’s”) aims and goals. These require an environment that recognizes the inherent worth of every person and group, that fosters dignity, understanding, and mutual respect, and that embraces diversity. For these reasons, ACM requires all ACM members and members of ACM Special Interest Groups (“SIGs”) (referred to in this policy as “Members”) to abide by this Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment with respect to their participation in ACM-related activities. ACM also expects registered attendees of ACM- or SIG-sponsored events, co-sponsored, and cooperating events (“Event Attendees”) to abide by this Policy.
This Policy applies to all ACM-related activities, including any conferences, symposiums, meetings or other events sponsored, co-sponsored, or cooperating with an ACM SIG. This Policy also applies to communications sent through official communication channels for any such activity or event, including social media.
This Policy applies only to conduct in which the complaining party is a Member and/or Event Attendee and the subject of the complaint is a Member and/or Event Attendee. If a complaint is made by or against any ACM employee, that complaint will be addressed under ACM’s employee policy against discrimination and harassment.
This Policy supersedes any policy, supplemental guidelines or by-laws enacted or adopted by a Special Interest Group concerning discrimination or harassment.
1. In General
ACM prohibits discrimination and conduct that constitutes or could lead or contribute to harassment because of an individual’s race or color, religion or creed, alienage or citizenship status, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and pregnancy-related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, disability, marital or domestic partnership status, military or veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law in the city or state in which the conduct at issue occurs. ACM also prohibits other harassment – including bullying – rising to the level of persistent, malicious, and severe mistreatment by conduct or threats, intimidation, or abuse that has the effect of (i) substantially interfering with a Member or Event Attendee’s participation in ACM-related activities or (ii) that would reasonably cause a Member or Event Attendee to fear for his or her physical safety.”
Examples of prohibited discriminatory harassment include, but are not limited to:
- use of ethnic slurs or derogatory terms relating to an individual’s gender or sexual orientation;
- distribution of racially or sexually offensive e-mail or other electronic communications; and/or
- threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts directed at a particular sex or religious group or directed at an individual because of his or her sexual orientation, color or ethnicity.
Harassment does not require intent to offend. Thus, inappropriate conduct or language meant as a joke, a prank, or even a compliment can lead or contribute to harassment.
2. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a specific type of discriminatory harassment. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature can constitute sexual harassment.
ACM prohibits conduct that constitutes or could lead or contribute to sexual harassment. Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to:
- unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions;
- inappropriate touching of an individual’s body;
- graphic verbal comments about an individual’s body or appearance;
- sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; and/or
- the use of the Internet to display or distribute sexually explicit images, messages, or cartoons.
B. Complaint Procedures and Remedial Actions
If you believe that you or any Member or Event Attendee has been subjected to any conduct of the type prohibited by this Policy by another Member or Event Attendee, you are urged to report the relevant facts promptly. Prompt reporting is very important so that ACM can take action to stop the conduct before it is repeated. All reports will be followed up on promptly, with further investigation conducted where needed to confirm facts or resolve disputed facts. In conducting its investigations, ACM will strive to keep the identity of individuals making reports as confidential as possible.
If the conduct at issue occurs at an ACM- or SIG-sponsored conference or symposium, you should ordinarily direct such reports to a chair of the event or, alternatively, you may direct reports to ACM’s President or Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) (or the CEO’s designee), currently ACM’s Chief Operating Officer depending on which individual you feel more comfortable contacting under the circumstances. In all other cases, reports should be directed to ACM’s President or CEO or his or her designee. If an event chair receives a report, he or she must present that report to ACM’s President, CEO or his or her designee. ACM’s President, CEO or his or her designee will review and direct appropriate follow-up of complaints made under this Policy, in consultation with the Chair of ACM’s Committee on Professional Ethics (the “Committee”). In consultation with the Committee Chair, the President, CEO or his or her designee will also make a recommendation to the Committee on how to resolve any complaint made under this Policy. After receiving this recommendation, the Committee will make a final, binding decision regarding whether this Policy has been violated and the consequences of any such violation.
Individuals who violate this Policy will be subject to remedial action, including without limitation suspension and termination of their membership in ACM and exclusion from participating in future ACM- or SIG-sponsored conferences or activities. Appropriate remedial action will also be taken with respect to an individual who knowingly makes a false allegation concerning an alleged violation of this Policy or makes a complaint under this Policy in bad faith.
C. Policy Applicability
ACM is not responsible for protecting the safety of Members or Event Attendees. A Member or Event Attendee who feels that his or her safety is at risk due to harassment or for any other reason is encouraged to take other appropriate steps to ensure his or her own safety, in addition to reporting the conduct to ACM as described above. ACM assumes no liability or responsibility for the actions of any Member or Event Attendee.
This Policy applies only to discrimination and harassment as described above and not to other potentially unwelcome conduct. Complaints regarding papers and publications should be made under ACM’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct or its Plagiarism Policy, as applicable. Other complaints regarding issues not covered by this Policy should be addressed under the applicable ACM policy, if any.
D. No Retaliation
Threats or acts of retaliation against individuals who report inappropriate conduct pursuant to this Policy or provide information in connection with a report by another individual will not be tolerated. In the event you believe that you have been retaliated against for such action, you should use the above procedures to report the pertinent facts promptly. ACM will investigate and take appropriate action in the manner described above.