Society of Environmental Journalists Anti-Harassment Policy

The Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) is committed to maintaining an environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity without harassment. Toward this end, SEJ prohibits and condemns discrimination and all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment and harassment based on an individual’s race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, military or veteran status or any other legally-protected characteristics.

This strict policy means that no form of unlawful or prohibited discriminatory or harassing conduct by or towards any SEJ employee, member, board member, speaker or invited guest, exhibitor, event attendee, vendor or contractor or volunteer will be tolerated. This policy should not be construed as applicable to events not organized by SEJ or non-SEJ forums or workplaces which it does not control.

SEJ is committed to enforcing its policy at all levels within SEJ and at SEJ events. Any employee, member, board member, speaker or invited guest, exhibitor, event attendee, vendor or contractor or volunteer who engages in prohibited discrimination or harassment will be subject to discipline, up to and including immediate removal from any applicable SEJ-organized functions, activities or events, removal from leadership or committee positions or expulsion from SEJ consistent with its member expulsion policy.

Unless otherwise excluded, the term “harassment” within this policy includes prohibited discrimination.

Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies for employees are covered by SEJ’s separate employment handbook.

Conduct Covered by This Policy: This policy applies to and prohibits all forms of harassment and discrimination in the course of SEJ’s work or activities. This includes any harassment or discrimination that may occur as part of SEJ activities, whether in person, in writing, via phone or through any online platforms, including but not limited to systems hosted or moderated by SEJ.

Harassment or discrimination may take many forms, including but not limited to the following:

  • Verbal conduct, such as epithets, derogatory comments and slurs.
  • Displaying derogatory posters, cartoons, drawings or gestures.
  • Physical conduct, such as assault or blocking normal movement unnecessarily.
  • Yelling at or threatening speakers and other participants (verbally or physically).
  • Offensive or unwelcome advances and invitations, regardless of whether they involve physical contact, or if the harassed individual submits to the invitation.
  • Offensive or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including sexually graphic spoken or written comments, offensive comments transmitted by email or another messaging system, or offensive or suggestive images or graphics, whether physically present or sent over the Internet or displaying or using sexually suggestive objects in an offensive manner.
  • Offensive or unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, including the touching of another’s body or the touching or display of one’s own body in a sexual manner.

Nothing in this policy shall be construed to prevent a critical discussion of or education relating to sexual harassment or different forms of discrimination. SEJ is strongly committed to diversity, equity and the free expression of ideas. Critical disagreements or conflicting beliefs and viewpoints do not alone constitute harassment. Sexual imagery or language in a professional discussion might not constitute harassment. Speakers and sponsors are asked to be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others. Participants may exercise their option to leave a session or a conversation.

Computer Messaging and Information Systems: Employees, members, board members, speakers or invited guests, exhibitors, event attendees, vendors or contractors or volunteers are reminded that data generated on, stored in or transmitted to or from SEJ’s computers, websites and listservs remain the property of SEJ for all purposes. SEJ retains the right to monitor its computers, computer systems, listservs, networks, websites and social media accounts to ensure compliance with this requirement.

Procedures in Cases of Harassment or Discrimination:
SEJ is committed to taking all reasonable steps to prevent harassment and will make every reasonable effort to promptly and completely address any harassment that may occur. However, SEJ cannot take prompt and effective remedial action unless each incident of harassment is reported immediately.

Anyone who believes that they have been subjected to harassment or discrimination of any kind within the meaning of this policy should report the incident immediately or as soon as possible to SEJ’s Executive Director or the President of SEJ’s Board of Directors. Violations that occur at an SEJ event also may be reported directly to the organizers of the event. Anyone else who observes conduct that they believe is in violation of this policy also is encouraged to report the conduct in the same manner.

Any individual making a claim of harassment or discrimination should provide as much information as possible about the details of the incident or incidents, name or names of the individuals involved, the names of any witnesses, and any written, electronic or physical evidence. Reporting should be made without any fear of retaliation. Retaliation against any employee, member, board member, speaker or invited guest, exhibitor, event attendee, vendor or contractor or volunteer for reporting harassment will not be tolerated.

SEJ will take appropriate, thorough, independent and prompt action in response to any reports of harassment or discrimination in whatever context or circumstances they arise under this policy. Such reports will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee whose voting members shall consist of the following: the President of SEJ’s Board of Directors and the chairs of SEJ’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and its Membership Committee or their designees, provided that all such voting members must also be members of SEJ’s Board of Directors who are not involved in the dispute. The ad hoc committee may also consult or discuss the matter with SEJ’s Executive Director.

The ad hoc committee will use good faith efforts to the extent practicable to maintain confidentiality as it conducts its investigation and deliberations. The complaining party and the accused will be informed of the results of the investigation, with timing up to the discretion of the ad hoc committee. The ad hoc committee will notify the full Board of Directors about any complaints at the next Board Meeting, but due to privacy concerns the level of detail will be at the discretion of the ad hoc committee.

Notwithstanding the forgoing, violators at events may be summarily expelled from the event without further review at the discretion of SEJ event organizers.