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Harassment and Discrimination

General Harassment and Discrimination

AHLA is committed to maintaining an environment in which all its employees, members,  customers, and leaders are treated fairly and with respect and dignity by employees, contractors, leaders, members, and vendors. AHLA prohibits discrimination and harassment based upon an individual’s race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, marital status, family responsibilities, physical appearance, military/veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, genetic information, disability, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.  Harassment and discrimination are unlawful and absolutely prohibited

Harassment based on a protected characteristic is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  Harassing conduct includes but is not limited to

  • Comments or documents that contain slurs, epithets, threats, derogatory remarks, unwelcome jokes, and/or teasing that interfere with work performance or create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. 
  • Repeated incidents or a pattern of behavior that is intended to offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people.
  • Written or graphic material furnished, placed, posted or circulated: (i) on walls, e-mail, bulletin boards, desks, or elsewhere on the Association’s premises or in its workplace, (ii) onsite at any AHLA meeting or program, (iii) online in connection with any in-person or virtual AHLA meeting, or program, or (iv) in or on any electronic or social media controlled or maintained by AHLA, that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual or group because of the characteristics identified above. 

Sexual Harassment and Other Unwelcome Sexual Conduct

Sexual harassment also constitutes discrimination, and is likewise unlawful and absolutely prohibited. AHLA’s policy against sexual harassment and other unwelcome sexual conduct prohibits sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when: 1) submission to such conduct is made an express or implicit condition of leadership advancement or any volunteer opportunity, such as speaking or writing; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is issued as a basis for decisions affecting the individual who submits to or rejects such conduct; or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s professional life or creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive environment. 

While it is not possible to list all the circumstances which would constitute sexual harassment or other unwelcome sexual conduct, the following are some examples: 

  1. Unwelcome sexual advances (whether they involve physical touching or not);
  2. Requests for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised benefits;
  3. Making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances; or
  4. Coerced sexual acts. 

Prohibited conduct also includes unwelcome:

  • Verbal harassment (e.g., sexual or demeaning requests, comments, jokes, slurs);
  • Physical harassment (e.g., physical contact, gestures, or obstruction); and
  • Visual harassment (e.g., posters, e-mails, cartoons, or drawings of a sexual nature).

While such behavior, depending on the circumstances, may not be severe or pervasive enough to create a sexually hostile environment, it can nonetheless make the reasonable person uncomfortable.  


All AHLA leaders, including Directors and all leaders appointed to a leadership position by the Association’s President or President-Elect, have a responsibility to keep the AHLA environment free of harassment.  Each leader is expected to exercise care to avoid questionable or borderline conduct that may be perceived as harassment. As a condition to and responsibility of participating in a leadership role in AHLA, attending or participating in AHLA educational and other public events, or attending any AHLA meeting, each leader shall be required to conduct himself or herself in accordance with this policy and to accept any action taken as a result of any investigation or inquiry into potential harassing or discriminatory conduct referred to herein.


AHLA will not tolerate harassment or discrimination.  Anyone who is a witness to or feels that he or she is a victim of discrimination or harassment, whether sexual or not, should immediately report such actions to the Chair of the Governance Committee, the Association’s President, or the Association’s Chief Executive Officer.


Retaliation against anyone who has reported harassment or discrimination, submits a complaint, reports an incident witnessed, or participates in the investigation of a harassment or discrimination claim is prohibited.


AHLA will take reasonable steps to respect a complainant’s desire for confidentiality.  However, confidentiality cannot always be assured or guaranteed, either due to circumstances, the necessity to investigate, or compulsory legal process. Nonetheless, no complainant will be retaliated against for having made a complaint or cooperated in any investigation.


The Chair of the Governance Committee will oversee a panel of three that will investigate reported complaints in a prompt and thorough manner.  AHLA will conduct all investigations in as discreet a manner as possible; however, other witness or parties to the alleged conduct may be questioned. Following the investigation, the Chair of the Governance Committee will confer with the President of the Association and the Chief Executive Officer to present the findings and recommendations of the panel. If any director or officer is the subject of a complaint to which this policy applies, that director or officer will be recused from participating in the investigation and enforcement process.

Enforcement Action by AHLA

AHLA reserves the right to take any action determined to be necessary and appropriate in response to any incident that is the subject of this Policy, including, but not limited to prohibiting attendance at any AHLA meeting, event or function (whether virtually or in person). termination of a leadership position, or suspension or expulsion from membership in the Association.

Approved by the Board of Directors: January 15, 2021