Harassment and Bullying Free Environment Policy

Approved by the Executive Board, May 2023



The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is committed to diversity, inclusion, equity, professional treatment of ideas, and respectful treatment of all participants at all AALL activities and events. To that effect, AALL is committed to maintaining a professional environment that is free from harassment of any kind or conduct that meets the definition of “bullying” as described below. This policy applies to all participants in all AALL events and activities.

Participants at AALL activities and events include members, speakers, vendors, contractors, exhibitors, sponsors, volunteers, guests, and attendees. For AALL employees, please refer to the harassment policy in the AALL employee handbook. Participants are expected to respect the rights, opinions, personal security, and beliefs of others. Bullying, harassment, and retaliation based on race (including but not limited to hairstyles and traits associated with race), color, age, sex, religion, ethnic or national origin, citizenship status, ancestry, marital status, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, citizenship status, domestic violence victim status, or any other basis protected by law is strictly prohibited. Additional prohibited conduct is explained below.

Harassment Defined

Harassment includes verbal, written, or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual on the basis of any of the protected factors listed above and that: (1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; (2) has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s performance or ability to participate in AALL activities or events; or (3) otherwise affects an individual’s ability to participate in AALL activities or events.

Harassing conduct includes epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; denigrating jokes; offensive texts and emails; as well as the application of any stereotypes or generalizations based on any of the prohibited grounds.

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct, comment, gesture, attention, or contact of a sexual nature, whether on a one-time basis or in a continuous series of incidents that might reasonably be expected to offend, embarrass, or offend an individual. Sexual harassment also includes any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.

Bullying Defined

Bullying is unwelcome, aggressive behavior (including verbal, social or physical conduct), whether on a one-time basis or in a continuous series of incidents involving the use of influence, threat, intimidation, or coercion to dominate others in the professional environment. Examples include:

  • Persistent singling out of one person.
  • Shouting or raising one’s voice at an individual in public or in private.
  • Using obscene or intimidating gestures.
  • Not allowing a person to speak or express themselves.
  • Personal insults and use of offensive nicknames.
  • Public humiliation in any form.
  • Public reprimands.

Prohibited Conduct

AALL seeks to provide a professional atmosphere in which diverse participants may learn, network, and participate in an environment of mutual respect. Conduct that is prohibited includes:

  • Harassment or bullying, as defined above, based on any of the protected characteristics enumerated above or protected by law.
  • Abusive, lewd, or threatening conduct.
  • Verbal abuse toward employees, volunteers, members, or other participants at AALL activities or events.
  • Physical or verbal threats


Retaliation against an individual for reporting harassment or discrimination or for participating in an investigation of a claim of harassment or discrimination is a serious violation and is strictly prohibited. Acts of retaliation should be reported immediately and will be promptly addressed.

Reporting Acts of Harassment, Bullying or Retaliation

Before any investigation can take place, AALL requires reporting of all perceived incidents of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, regardless of the offender’s identity or position.

AALL encourages individuals, if they feel comfortable doing so, to advise the offender that their conduct is unwelcome and to request that it be discontinued. If an individual feels that their physical safety is in jeopardy, AALL encourages the individual to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to make a report.

Individuals who believe they have been the victim of or a witness to such conduct may report it to the AALL Executive Director and/or AALL President. Such reports should be made as soon as possible after the incident so that immediate action can be taken, if appropriate. The Executive Director and/or President may provide a form for reporting the incident.

The Executive Director and/or President may investigate the incident. If the Executive Director and/or President believe that corrective action may be necessary, the accused will be given an opportunity to respond. The Executive Director and/or President will determine and carry out the appropriate course of action, including consulting with other AALL leaders and legal counsel as appropriate. The accused will be provided with sufficient details so that he/she can provide a meaningful defense which may include the names of the accusers.

If it is determined that an individual has engaged in prohibited conduct, AALL shall determine the appropriate action to be taken, which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Private reprimand.
  • Expulsion from the AALL activity or event without a refund.
  • Implementation of conditions upon attendance at future AALL activities and events.
  • Removal of the individual as a committee member.
  • Restriction from attendance at future AALL activities and events.
  • Revocation of membership in AALL.