The Biophysical Society (BPS) is committed to
providing an environment that encourages the free expression and exchange of
scientific ideas. As a global, professional Society, the BPS is committed to the
philosophy of equal opportunity and respectful treatment for all regardless of
national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, gender, gender identity
or expression, race, color, age, marital status, sexual orientation,
disabilities, veteran status, or any other reason not related to scientific
merit. All BPS meetings and BPS-sponsored activities promote a working
environment that is free of inappropriate behavior and harassment by or toward
all attendees of Society meetings and Society-sponsored activities, including
scientists, students, guests, exhibitors, staff, vendors, and other suppliers.
This global policy applies to all locations and
situations where BPS business is conducted and to all BPS-sponsored activities
and events. This policy does not replace the specific staff policies for
situations in which only staff are involved.
Reported or suspected occurrences of harassment will
be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Following an investigation, BPS will
immediately take any necessary and appropriate action. BPS will not permit or
condone any acts of retaliation against anyone who files harassment complaints
or cooperates in the investigation of same.
The term "harassment" includes but is not limited to
epithets, unwelcome slurs, jokes, or verbal, graphic or physical conduct
relating to an individual's race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin,
ancestry, citizenship status, age, gender or sexual orientation that denigrate
or show hostility or aversion toward an individual or group.
Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances,
requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual
nature. Behavior and language that are welcome/ acceptable to one person may be
unwelcome/offensive to another. Consequently, individuals must use discretion to
ensure that their words and actions communicate respect for others. This is
especially important for those in positions of authority since individuals with
lower rank or status may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort
regarding unwelcome behavior. It does not refer to occasional compliments of a
socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior that is not welcome, is
personally offensive, debilitates morale, and therefore, interferes with work
effectiveness. The following are examples of behavior that, when unwelcome, may
constitute sexual harassment: sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions;
verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words
used to describe an individual; a display of sexually suggestive objects or
pictures; sexually explicit jokes; unnecessary touching.
Anyone who feels harassed is encouraged to immediately
inform the alleged harasser that the behavior is unwelcome. In many
instances, the person is unaware that their conduct is offensive and when so
advised can easily and willingly correct the conduct so that it does not
reoccur. Anyone who feels harassed IS NOT required to address the
person believed guilty of inappropriate treatment. If the informal
discussion with the alleged harasser is unsuccessful in remedying the problem or
if complainant does not feel comfortable with such an approach, he/she should
contact BPS's Executive Director or the Society President, or any BPS Officer.
All complaints will be promptly and thoroughly investigated.
All reports of harassment or sexual harassment will be
treated seriously. However, absolute confidentiality cannot be promised
nor can it be assured. BPS will conduct an investigation of any complaint
of harassment or sexual harassment, which may require limited disclosure of
pertinent information to certain parties, including the alleged harasser.
No retaliation will be taken against any employee,
member, volunteer, exhibitor, or supplier because he or she reports a problem
concerning possible acts of harassment. Employees, members, volunteers,
exhibitors, or suppliers can raise concerns and make reports without fear of
Once a complaint of harassment or sexual harassment is
received, BPS will begin a prompt and thorough investigation.
An impartial investigative committee, consisting
of the Past-President, current President, and President-Elect will be
The committee will interview the complainant and
review the written complaint. If no written complaint exists, one will be
The committee will speak to the alleged offender
and present the complaint.
The alleged offender will be given the opportunity
to address the complaint, with sufficient time to respond to the evidence
and bring his/her own evidence.
If the facts are in dispute, the investigative
team may need to interview anyone named as witnesses.
The investigative committee may seek BPS Counsel’s
Once the investigation is complete, the committee
will report their findings and make recommendations to the Society Officers.
Individuals engaging in behavior prohibited by this
policy as well as those making allegations of harassment in bad faith will be
subject to disciplinary action. Such actions range from a verbal warning to
ejection from the meeting or activity in question without refund of registration
fees and the reporting of their behavior to their employer. Repeat offenders may
be subject to further disciplinary action, such as being banned from
participating in future Society meetings or Society-sponsored activities. In the
event that the individual is dissatisfied with the results of the investigation,
he or she may appeal to the President of the Society. Any questions regarding
this policy should be directed to the BPS Executive Officer or other Society
Every officer, director, supervisor, and manager is
responsible for ensuring that BPS provides an environment free of harassment and
inappropriate behavior and that complaints are handled promptly and effectively.
The BPS Society Office and Officers must inform the Society membership and all
vendors and suppliers about this policy, promptly investigate allegations of
harassment, take appropriate disciplinary action, and take steps to assure
retaliation is prohibited.