As part of our ongoing effort to ensure the ACB community is safe, respected, and welcome, all participants in virtual and in-person ACB events must read and agree to ACB's Code of Conduct. ACB takes any violation of the code seriously, and we encourage concerns and complaints be sent to the following email: [email protected]. You may also leave a voicemail at: (866) 222-7720. The Human Resources/Payroll Specialist monitors these channels. Reports may also be filed with the President or Executive Director. Your correspondence will be kept in confidence, fully investigated, and acted upon.
Code of Conduct
Approved April 29, 2021
The American Council of the Blind (hereinafter referred to as ACB) is committed to maintaining the integrity of its events by creating a welcoming, professional, safe, and respectful environment for all who attend and/or participate in its events. The term "events" shall include conferences, meetings, functions, or any other gatherings sponsored or convened by ACB whether live, electronic communication, virtual or hybrid.
All participants at ACB events are required to adhere to this Code of Conduct policy as drafted and adopted by the ACB board of directors. This policy defines prohibited conduct as including, but not limited to:
- unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability, genetic information, gender identification, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law, or;
- disrespectful, offensive and/or threatening conduct, verbal abuse, stalking, bullying, violence, or intimidation.
Any person who believes that he or she has experienced or witnessed behavior prohibited by this policy must promptly report the conduct to the ACB Executive Director, ACB President or ACB Event Coordinator.
Upon receipt of an allegation reported under this policy, ACB will investigate, and the ACB Executive Director, ACB President, and ACB Event Coordinator or their designees will thereafter determine what, if any, action will be taken based on the circumstances. Such action may include banning the individual from the event where the conduct is determined to have occurred, and any future events.
Nothing in this policy shall limit or preclude the free exchange of ideas and/or opinions so long as such exchange does not involve threats or other prohibited behavior as defined in this policy.
Interim Code of Conduct Policy Investigation Standard Operating Procedures
Approved July 1, 2022 and effective until October 22, 2022
1. The initial complaint will be conducted as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. It is important that the complaint is made within 90 days of the incident so that memories of the alleged incident are still intact. The Human Resource Specialist will acknowledge receipt of the complaint when it is received via the Hot Line, orally or submitted in writing. The acknowledgement will include the request to keep the matter confidential to protect the integrity of the process and any investigation, and to protect the interest of everyone involved. The complaint will be reviewed by the Code of Conduct panel, which shall be comprised of a chair and two additional members, to determine if the panel recommends to the parties that it be forwarded to a two-member Conflict Resolution Team, investigated by the panel or handled otherwise, for example by turning the incident over to law enforcement.
2. The complainant and the defendant will then receive:
- Notification of a receipt and a copy of the complaint;
- A copy of the Code of Conduct;
- The Code of Conduct Policy Investigation Standard Operating Procedures;
- The anticipated timeline of the next step;
- A list of the panelists.
All parties involved in the complaint will be directed to send all communication to the Human Resource Specialist who will forward this information to the panel.
To protect the integrity and interest of the process, the investigation, and of everyone involved, it will be requested that all this information be kept confidential. The notification will, however, indicate that total confidentiality cannot be guaranteed during the course of the investigation.
It is the goal of the panel to complete the entire complaint process within 30 days of receipt of the complaint. If the Code of Conduct panel determines during the investigation that the process cannot be completed within 30 days, both parties will be notified.
3. The Code of Conduct panel will make every effort to offer conflict resolution as a first remedy to any incident unless it is determined that the matter needs to be escalated to law enforcement. When the Conflict Resolution process is recommended by the panel but is either not successful or rejected by either party, an interview with the complainant will be conducted first to gather all necessary details of the complaint, followed by interviews with the defendant, and witnesses.
Interviews will be conducted with the panelists via Zoom, phone call or in person. The Human Resource Specialist will listen to and record the discussion and provide support.
A summary of the parties panel testimony will be shared with complainant and defendant.
Both parties may request an individual to attend for support while they are being interviewed. These individuals may attend as a courtesy but are not allowed to give testimony, they are only there to observe and provide support.
4. After all interviews have taken place and all evidence is reviewed, the panel will determine the results and any action to be taken.
5. The panel will notify the complainant and defendant of all outcomes in writing or electronically to include any agreements during conflict resolution sessions and panel recommendations. The Human Resources Specialist may follow up with the complainant at a later date to ensure there are no other issues and provide feedback to the panel if needed.
6. A final report will be prepared for ACB’s records summarizing the incident, those involved, key findings, conclusions, resolutions and actions taken.
If the complainant or the defendant disagrees with the panel’s decision, that party may appeal within 90 days of the decision to the Human Resource Specialist who will forward it to a board grievance committee, which will be appointed by the president and consist of three members of the board of directors. Any information recorded will be retained in the Human Resource confidential file.