The American Ornithological Society (AOS) Code of Conduct and Ethics is intended to advance the mission of the Society through the open and honest communication of research and exchange of ideas; to promote equality of opportunity and treatment for all members; to assure appropriate accessibility of accurate and reliable information to colleagues, policy makers, and the public; and to encourage the effective professional development of researchers in the continuum of disciplines of ornithological sciences.
The AOS is dedicated to providing a safe, hospitable, and productive environment for everyone participating in AOS activities regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, or any other protected status. The AOS acknowledges that effective communication requires that we treat each other with respect and courtesy in face-to-face, written and electronic interactions and that we respect the intellectual property of our colleagues.
Participants in AOS activities should be able to engage in open discussions free of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Harassment will not be tolerated in any form. Harassment includes offensive gestures or verbal comments related to ethnicity, religion, disability, physical appearance, gender, or sexual orientation in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome attention. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.
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Reporting an Incident
Reports of potential violations can be made to the AOS Professional Ethics Committee via email: PEC@americanornithology.org, or this Google form. The person reporting, who may be a complainant or witness, is not required or expected to discuss the concern with the alleged offender. All complaints will be treated seriously, will be reviewed promptly by the AOS Professional Ethics Committee or their designee, following the review process illustrated in the diagram below. Confidentiality will be honored to the extent permitted as long as the rights of others are not compromised.
Individuals found to have engaged in behavior prohibited by this Policy as well as those making allegations of a breach of Code in bad faith will be subject to disciplinary action. The Executive Committee may take any action they deem appropriate, ranging from a verbal warning or ejection/prohibition from the specific activity in question (e.g. annual meeting, workshop, publication, etc.), to the reporting of their behavior to their employer. Repeat offenders may be subject to further disciplinary action, such as being banned from participating in future AOS activities, meetings, publications, or other programs. AOS Bylaws permit Council to terminate the membership of any Member.
Retaliation Is Prohibited
AOS will not tolerate any form of retaliation against individuals who file a complaint or assist in an investigation. Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy and, like any breach of the Code itself, will be subject to disciplinary action.
Questions & Appeal
Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to the AOS Professional Ethics Committee at PEC@americanornithology.org. In the event that an individual involved in any reported incident is dissatisfied with the disciplinary action, he or she may appeal to the Executive Committee.