IABC Code of Conduct

IABC is a global community of friendly and welcoming members. We value the support we provide for each other and are grateful for the hard work of volunteers and staff.

In that spirit, IABC is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment at all IABC sponsored events—both virtual and face-to-face events, as well as all online forums. It is obvious that an environment free of bullying, discrimination, harassment and other unprofessional conduct is better for everyone. However, it is not always obvious when bullying, discrimination, or harassment occurs or how certain conduct can be perceived by others. Sometimes this can occur unknowingly. There are subtle and inappropriate exchanges that can build up over time to become bullying and harassment. Each of us has a role to play to ensure we have a culture that is safe, supportive and inclusive.

This IABC Code of Conduct sets forth our expectations for all attendees and participants, including members, speakers, vendors, media representatives, exhibitors, sponsors, volunteers and staff (all participants) at IABC virtual or face-to-face events.

Expected behavior 

Participants should communicate professionally and constructively, whether in person or virtually, and everyone is expected to:

  • Exercise consideration and respect in your speech and actions.
  • Passionate conversations are part of who we are and part of solving problems. That being said, dissent or disagreement should be handled with courtesy, dignity and an open mind, being respectful when providing feedback and staying open to alternative points of view.
  • Remember that the boundaries of good taste, humor, personal space and physical interaction differ from person to person; if you sense someone feels uncomfortable, whether they explicitly state it or not, be respectful of those boundaries.

Unacceptable behavior 

Participants should refrain from bullying, demeaning, discriminatory, harassing or other inappropriate behavior. Examples of harassing and inappropriate behavior may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic or otherwise discriminatory jokes or language.
  • Physical intimidation, stalking or following.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Sustained disruption of talks or events or otherwise failing to obey any rules or policies of the venue or of IABC.
  • Posting or displaying sexually explicit or violent material.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention. This includes sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping and unwelcomed sexual advances.
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.

Consequences of unacceptable behavior 

Anyone requested to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. Engaging in any of these unacceptable behaviors will result in a warning and, depending on the severity, expulsion from the event with no refund. The IABC Executive Director, Chair or most senior volunteer participating with the event, or security has the authority to take any action they deem necessary and appropriate.

Any incident may be referred to the IABC Ethics Committee for further investigation and, if they find it appropriate, you can be banned from future events, activities and membership in accordance with IABC policies and procedures. This pertains to online activities as well as face-to-face events.

What to do: Reporting unacceptable behavior 

If you feel you are being bullied or harassed, are the subject of other unacceptable behavior, or witness any such behavior at an IABC event, please immediately contact the IABC executive director by calling +1 312.673.5448.

If you are attending an IABC event and the Executive Director is unavailable, please ask for an IABC staff or board member at the onsite registration desk and one will be found to discuss your concerns.

Your concerns will be held as confidential as you would like them to be and you may remain anonymous to the extent permitted by law and as long as the rights and safety of others are not compromised.

Any participant experiencing or witnessing behavior that in their judgment constitutes an immediate or serious threat to their safety or the safety of others should contact 911 immediately and notify IABC on-site staff and security, if applicable.

People participate in IABC activities to learn, network and enjoy themselves, free from bullying and harassment. Please participate with respect for the dignity of all.


Parts of the above text is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0, adapted from the SRCCON Code of Conduct and the Citizen Code of Conduct. The Geek Feminism community anti-harassment policy, O’Reilly Media’s conference Code of Conduct, and the Coral Project’s Code of Conduct were also consulted. In addition, parts were adapted from the Code of Conducts for the Online News Association, the NAFSA and the Portland 2019 SPSP Convention.