Code of Conduct

ABAA Code of Conduct: Policy on Racial, Ethnic, Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment

I. The ABAA hosts events such as book fairs, events, and meetings, on-line discussion groups, and other professional activities to enable its members to buy and sell books and printed material, further their education, build professional networks, and meet new customers. We are committed to providing a harassment-free environment for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, physical appearance, ethnicity, religion or other group identity.

II. While the presence of sexual, racist or derogatory imagery or language in books or other printed matter for sale at fairs does not in itself constitute hostile conduct or harassment, using or referring to such material in a manner which denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual does constitute a violation of the ABAA's Code of Conduct.

III. Additionally, in order to ensure an environment in which booksellers, their employees, and event participants can conduct business, learn, network and enjoy the company of colleagues in an environment of mutual human respect, the following actions are specifically prohibited:

A. Harassment or intimidation based on race, religion, language, gender, 

B. Sexual or gender-based harassment or intimidation, including unwelcome sexual attention, stalking (physical or virtual), or physical contact. Attention or conduct is considered unwelcome if the individual did not request or invite it and the attention or conduct is considered to be undesirable or offensive. While it is not possible to list all circumstances that might constitute sexual or gender-based harassment, the following are some examples of conduct that might constitute sexual or gender-based harassment depending on the totality of the circumstances:

1. Inappropriate or unwelcome physical contact or suggestive body language, such as touching, groping, patting, pinching, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual's body;

2. Verbal abuse or offensive comments of a sexual nature, including sexual slurs, persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes or anecdotes, degrading words regarding sexuality or gender, suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations;

3. Undue and unwanted attention, such as repeated inappropriate flirting, staring, or making sexually suggestive gestures.

4. Making direct verbal or physical threats, whether in person or through use of electronic or other media.

IV. All participants are expected to observe these rules in instances including but not limited to ABAA-hosted fair or conference venues, online venues, sponsored social events and meetings, and other professional activities.

V. Members are responsible for communicating these rules to their staff and employees. Any member found in violation may be censured, fined, suspended, or expelled from the Association.

VI. Investigating complaints of harassment. Upon its own initiative or upon receiving a written complaint alleging that a member has engaged in harassment, the ABAA Ethics Committee will conduct an investigation. The investigation will be conducted in a prompt, thorough, and impartial manner. The Ethics Committee chairperson or his/ her designee shall inform the respondent that an investigation is being commenced and shall provide the respondent in writing with:

A. a written summary of the allegations of the complaint;

B. notification that he/she may provide within a reasonable time a response to the allegations;

C. notification that the Ethics Committee will advise the respondent and the complainant, after conducting its investigation, whether it has decided that reason exists to believe a violation of the Code of Ethics has occurred and of its intention to request that the ABAA Board of Governors schedule a hearing on the matter; and that among the materials to be submitted by the Ethics Committee to the Board will be any responses to the allegations provided by the respondent;

D. notification that, should the Board of Governors decide to hold a hearing the respondent will be notified by mail as to the time and date of the hearing and date by which to submit any written materials in response to the allegations and that he/she will have the ability to appear in person, submit a written statement and/or arrange to have Counsel present during the hearing;

E. Finally, notification that if the Board determines that a violation of the Ethical Code has occurred it has the authority to levy a fine, censure, suspend up to one year or expel a member from the ABAA in accordance with By-laws section 1.2.