AACE Governance Policy

(Approved May 19, 2021)

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Inc., and American College of Endocrinology, Inc. d/b/a American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (individually and collectively “AACE”) Board of Directors and Board of Trustees (collectively “Board”) have approved the following Policy for its Board, Committee, Task Force members and speakers, (collectively, “Member(s)”) in order to ensure they maintain a high standard of professional conduct when representing AACE and working on AACE programs and services. 

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that all AACE Members and Staff are treated with respect, professionalism and courtesy when representing AACE.  This includes representation at Board Meetings, Committee/Task Force Meetings, Annual Meetings, Speaking Engagements and other educational events, regardless of virtual or in person.

AACE POLICY

All AACE members are subject to terms and conditions of the AACE Code of Conduct and the AMA Code of Medical Ethics (Attachments 1 & 2 respectively). In addition, any AACE member who formally represents AACE on the Board, Committees, Task Forces or speaking engagements, etc. must comply with and foster the following healthy and productive association culture.

1. CULTURE OF DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION

We at AACE are committed to embracing diversity. We believe that inclusion, representation, and access to opportunities for all make our global community stronger and better. We will ensure a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion across AACE’s membership, leadership, governance and educational activities, as well as the community at large.  We are working to foster a welcoming environment that allows everyone in the AACE community to contribute, innovate, and thrive. Together, we are elevating clinical endocrinology to improve global health. Together, we are AACE.

2. HARASSMENT FREE ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURE

AACE staff are governed and protected by a harassment policy contained in the AACE employee manual, which is incorporated herein by reference (Attachment 3). The following AACE Policy applies to AACE Members:

It is AACE's policy to prohibit intentional and unintentional harassment of anyone on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, sex or gender (including pregnancy, childbirth and pregnancy related conditions), gender identity or expression (including transgender status), sexual orientation, marital status, military service and veteran status, physical or mental disability, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws (referred to as "protected characteristics"). Such conduct will not be tolerated by AACE.

It is important to note that behavior that is welcome or acceptable to one person may be unwelcome or offensive to another. Consequently, individuals must use discretion to ensure that their words and actions communicate respect for others.  Therefore, exercise proper authority and good judgment in dealing with AACE staff, members, consultants, contractors, exhibitors and the general public and respond to the needs of AACE's Members in a responsible, respectful and professional manner. This is particularly important for those in positions of authority since individuals who are subject to such authority may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort regarding unwelcome behavior.

Harassment intended in a joking manner still constitutes unacceptable behavior. Actions resulting in fear for one’s safety and well-being is a criminal offense and proper authorities would be contacted.  Therefore, strive at all times to serve the best interests of AACE as a whole regardless of personal interests. Conduct the business affairs of AACE in good faith and with honesty, integrity, due diligence and reasonable competence and support the actions of AACE even if they differ from your personal position, unless such actions are unlawful, unethical or otherwise improper. 

DEFINITIONS:

HARASSMENT– Unwelcome conduct, displayed in person or virtually, that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin or ethnicity, age, disability, genetic information, veteran or military service or any other basis protected by federal, state or local law. Harassment becomes unlawful where the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create an environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals in violation of these laws.

  1. Hostile or Offensive Environment – As noted above, any behavior by an individual or group, displayed in person or virtually, that contributes to a hostile, intimidating, offensive and/or unwelcoming environment or otherwise substantially interfering with an individual’s environment is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, speech or behavior that a reasonable person would find unwelcome or offensive whether it is based on any of the legally-protected classifications set forth above (see above) or any other legally protected status.  AACE strongly discourages discrimination or hostile conduct based on other factors, such as physical appearance, marital status or political affiliation. This conduct includes, but is not limited to, epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; demeaning jokes and display or circulation of written or graphic material that demeans or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group. Retaliatory harassment is also prohibited.
  2. Sexual Harassment – Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical actions of a sexual nature displayed in person or virtually. The following examples may constitute sexual harassment if unwelcome: sexual flirtations, advances or propositions; unnecessary touching; verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; a display of sexually suggestive objects or images including electronically sent material; and
  3. Other Disruptive Behavior – While generally not prohibited by law, AACE nevertheless prohibits bullying behavior displayed in person or virtually. AACE defines bullying as “repeated inappropriate behavior, either direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical, cyber or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others that is hurtful, harmful or humiliating; exhibits coercion; or abuse of power as well as any other unreasonably disruptive behavior such as sustained disruption of talks, events or meetings.” All members and staff will be treated with dignity and respect, and AACE will not tolerate bullying behavior. Bullying may be intentional or unintentional. AACE considers the following types of behavior examples of bullying:
  4. Verbal Bullying: Slandering, ridiculing or maligning a person or his/her family; persistent name calling that is hurtful, insulting or humiliating; using a person as the butt of jokes; abusive and offensive remarks.
  5. Physical bullying: Pushing, shoving, kicking, poking, pinching, slapping, tripping, assault or threat of physical assault; damage to a person’s work area or property.
  6. Gesture bullying: Nonverbal threatening gestures or glances that convey threatening messages.
  7. Cyber: electronic or online harassment including social media.
  8. Coercion: intimidation; using a position of authority for undue influence.

REPORTING PROCEDURES:

If you believe you have been subject to or have observed harassment or believe that an offensive environment exists, report the incident immediately so that appropriate action may be taken. The following procedure outlines the steps that will be taken by AACE in the event of a harassment charge. However, when the facts of a case warrant quick and severe action, this procedure may be modified.

  1. Persons should report the account of the alleged harassment to either the President, President-Elect, CEO, HR or their designee.
  2. The appropriate Individuals will be contacted and asked to provide a detailed account of what was observed.
  3. The accused person will be requested to provide an explanation of the alleged charges.
  4. The appropriate AACE official or representative will investigate the facts and make recommendations for resolution of the charge.
  5. Victims and witnesses will be protected against retaliation. Anyone who retaliates against another person for making a good faith complaint or participating in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary actions.
  6. The resolution options will be based on the Professional Standards Committee’s Disciplinary Procedures.
  7. Unless required by law, the Members involved in the investigation process must keep all information regarding the alleged harassment case confidential.
  8. Anyone who is found to have knowingly made a false accusation of sexual or other unlawful harassment or retaliation may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action  as outlined by the AACE Professional Standards Procedures.
  9. Any AACE Staff involved would be contacted by Human Resources and policy and procedures from AACE’s Harassment Policy would be followed.

CONSEQUENCES:

  1. AACE reserves the right to revoke, without refund, membership and/or registration fees of any member not in compliance with this Policy.
  2. AACE reserves the right to refuse memberships and/or registration of any individual, as long as such refusal is consistent with applicable law and AACE policy.
  3. If the issue occurs onsite at an AACE event, AACE reserves the right to revoke attendee(s) badge and to remove them from the Event premises at any time without prior notice. If AACE revokes name badge/meeting credentials, fees paid for admission and travel expenses will not be refunded.
  4. AACE has the right to remove any individual that appears to pose a threat to the safety and security of the AACE event, including those identified as in violation of any of the aforementioned listed herein. Law enforcement may also be called when necessary.
  5. Members found to be in violation of this Policy may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action as outlined in the Professional Standard’s Committee Policies and Procedures.

3. ENGAGEMENT POLICY:

AACE expects all Members to behave responsibly and professionally in person or virtually and to abide by this Policy at all times when representing AACE.   AACE business should be conducive to open and candid discussion.  AACE expects Members to comply with the following:

  1. Confidentiality.  Members shall maintain confidentiality of meeting proceedings and sign AACE’s Confidentiality Agreement memorializing such commitment.  Except as advised by the Board or as otherwise required by law, no Member shall share, copy, reproduce, transmit, divulge or otherwise disclose any confidential information or work in progress related to the affairs of AACE. 
  2. Conflicts of Interests.  When encountering potential conflicts of interest, Members will abide by AACE’s Disclosure of Outside Interests and Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy.
  3. Responsible Consumption of Alcohol. At many AACE networking events both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are served. AACE expects Members at these events to drink alcoholic beverages responsibly.  AACE has the right to deny service to Members for any reason and may require a participant to leave the event.   Likewise, Member(s) agrees to protect, indemnify, defend and hold harmless AACE and its respective owners, managers, partners, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, employees and agents, from and against any and all claims, losses or damages to persons or property, governmental charges or fines, penalties, and costs (including reasonable attorneys’ fees), in any way arising out of or relating to the event, including but not limited to, the negligence, gross negligence, or intentional misconduct of Member(s).
  4. Controlled substances. Members shall not be under the influence of illegal drugs or other unauthorized or mind-altering or intoxicating substances while representing AACE. Included within this prohibition are lawful controlled substances that have been illegally or improperly obtained.  This Policy does not prohibit the possession and proper use of lawfully prescribed drugs taken in accordance with the prescription.

4. COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA

The following guidelines are meant to facilitate effective and productive communications.

All forms of communication (electronic; email, text or in person) should demonstrate a mutual show of respect between individuals. Remember the way you communicate reflects your professionalism.  Avoid sending or responding to messages when you are emotional. Sometimes a telephone call, letter or face-to-face meeting will be a better method of responding than returning an e-mail.  Try to be intentional about maintaining a positive tone in emails because they lack the benefit of facial expressions and our true voice.  Remember that your “tone” can be misunderstood or misinterpreted too.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media channels, including but not limited to, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, WeChat, YouTube, Flickr, Twitch, blogs, wikis or any other tool or service that facilitates interactions over the internet, have evolved to become one of the primary ways people communicate. While this method of communication provides great opportunities for networking, supporting each other, personal expression, fostering collegiality and camaraderie, it also creates risks and responsibilities.  Anything you do on social media, whether on a personal account or business account, could be viewed by colleagues, supervisors, AACE members, etc. as a reflection of AACE and its brand.   Any time you are on social media and could be identified as an AACE representative, in any fashion, you have an obligation to protect AACE’s brand and to accurately represent AACE online.  The following are some Do’s and Don’ts that should be considered for any social media communications:

  1. Do have fun and connect, but take responsibility and use good judgement
  2. Do be professional and respectful when posting, tweeting, commenting or sharing on any social media channel
  3. Do “like, share and comment” on posts created by AACE
  4. Do be polite and courteous, even if you disagree with a post 
  5. Do maintain the privacy of others and refrain from posting anything that could be identifiable of a specific person online
  6. Do report any unprofessional, negative or disrespectful posts on social media to the AACE President, President-Elect, CEO, HR or Marketing Team
  7. Do add a disclaimer to your bio if you are posting about AACE that “any post published to my profile does not imply an endorsement from AACE; all views are my own.”
  8. Do not share proprietary or confidential information
  9. Do not post defamatory, derogatory or inflammatory content
  10. Do not post information or pictures that imply illegal or negative conduct
  11. Do not answer questions or complaints directed at AACE without first consulting the AACE President, President-Elect, CEO, HR or Marketing Team
  12. Do not post complaints or concerns about your job or working environment, those should be directed to your supervisor or human resource department
  13. Do not post anything that could be viewed as harassment, bullying, racism, dehumanizes, ridicules, or condones or promotes violence
  14. Try not to mix your personal profile with a work profile. Members may have a social media account to communicate information related to AACE; however, it is recommended that Members avoid personal posts related to opinions, religion and/or politics on any work- related profiles or posts.
  15. REMEMBER…WHAT YOU SAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA SHOULD BE CONSIDERED PUBLIC (even in a private forum) AND PERMANENT. 

In summary, all members who represent AACE must treat others with respect, professionalism, and courtesy.