ASM Events Code of Conduct

The American Society for Microbiology (“ASM”) is the main forum for microbial sciences that considers and debates scientific issues in an orderly, respectful and fair manner. The ASM is committed to providing an environment that encourages the free expression and exchange of scientific ideas and promotes equal opportunities and respectful treatment for all participants. Differing perspectives are valued and ASM welcomes the diversity of individuals and their identities. All participants are expected to treat others with respect and consideration, follow venue rules and alert ASM staff or security of any dangerous situations or anyone in distress. 
ASM prohibits and will not tolerate any form of harassment or bullying at its events, whether the event is in person or virtual. This applies to all ASM related events.  
Harassment is defined as unwanted and unwelcome attention or other conduct that creates an environment where a reasonable person would feel unwelcome, intimidated, excluded or abused. Harassment based on gender, race, religion, national origin, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibilities, genetic information, disability, matriculation, political affiliation and any other personal characteristic is strictly prohibited. Additionally, inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces, presentations, or within online forums is considered a violation of the ASM Events Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated.
If a participant experiences or witnesses harassment, the participant should contact ASM staff (ASM staff are identifiable by their ASM Staff name badge and can be located in the registration areas) as soon as possible or contact security if they feel unsafe. At in person meetings, event security and local police may be contacted if violators pose an imminent threat to others or are disrupting the event.

For in person or virtual ASM events, individuals may also report complaints via 866-209-5916 or All complaints will be responded to promptly and treated seriously and, to the extent possible, confidentially. Complaints that require broader investigation will be handled by ASM’s Ethics Committee. ASM expressly forbids any retaliation against individuals for reporting harassment.   
If possible, the following information should be provided when reporting a harassment incident: 
  • Name and contact information of participant.
  • Name and contact information of any witnesses.
  • Identifying information (e.g. name, badge number, physical appearance, online profile name) of the individual(s) who are accused of the harassment.
  • The specific action or behavior that was in violation of the ASM Events Code of Conduct.
  • The date and approximate time of the incident.
  • The location and circumstances surrounding the incident. 
In the event that an individual knowingly provides false information regarding a harassment situation, ASM may take similar disciplinary action. 

ASM will accept and investigate all complaints of harassment and investigations will be conducted in an unbiased manner. Complaints should be filed as soon as possible after the incident.

All event participants also are expected to follow ASM and venue rules, along with all applicable laws and policies for the event (e.g. public health policies/recommendations).

Violation of this code of conduct may result in the participant being asked to leave the event at which the incident occurred, without warning or refund; being barred from attending ASM events (both virtually and in person) in the future; and/or other sanctions, including, if relevant, being barred from or revocation of membership in the ASM. 

If an ASM Staff member is found to be in violation, the ASM Headquarters Employment Policy (Prohibition against Sexual and Other Harassment and Discrimination; which is distinct from the Ethics Review Process for ASM Members and Volunteers) will be followed. Action regarding an ASM staff member may result in termination of employment. 

This policy applies to all attendees, speakers, exhibitors, contractors, volunteers, and guests at ASM events.