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Statement and Guidelines on Professional Behavior Within ADEC

Statement and Guidelines on Professional Behavior Within ADEC


As a professional society, ADEC values our members having differing opinions and spirited discussions, which are important and necessary in the scientifically-based field of thanatology.  ADEC further values our members sharing personal experiences, including regarding loss and grief, when appropriate as part of developing professional relationships and as part of educating others to advance the science and practice of thanatology.

ADEC also values the professionalism of its members.  Behaviors such as intimidation, incivility, bullying, discrimination, harassment, drug and alcohol abuse, property damage, and other forms of disruptive behavior are not in keeping with the spirit of our association. 


ADEC members and ADEC meeting attendees are expected to treat each other, ADEC staff, and everyone in a professional manner and are expected to behave professionally while conducting or engaging in ADEC business or participating in ADEC activities.

To whom does this Policy apply?

This Policy applies to ADEC members and staff and anyone participating in or attending an ADEC activity including presenters, conference attendees, students, guests, contractors, exhibitors, volunteers, and media representatives.

Where and when does this Policy apply?

This Policy applies in any venue or forum connected to ADEC, including conferences, meetings (in-person, telephonic, or virtual), receptions, and social events.  This Policy applies to face-to-face interactions and also to communications that are in writing and electronic (by phone or text message or social media). 

What is prohibited?

Abusive behavior toward others and other forms of unprofessional behavior while conducting or engaging in ADEC business or participating in ADEC activities will not be tolerated.  Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to:

 Harassment based on sex or gender, which includes offensive “put downs” related to sex or gender, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion (including use of professional bribes or threats to pressure an individual to comply with sexual demands);

 Non-sexual harassment and bullying, which includes physical or verbal intimidation (including shouting or angry outbursts directed toward others), derogatory verbal or physical behavior, or behavior that is intended to cause humiliation to others;

 Property damage;

 Illegal drug use or alcohol abuse; and

 Other unprofessional or inappropriate behavior.

What happens if unprofessional behavior occurs?

Ideally, inappropriate behavior is addressed informally by those who are parties to the behavior or who are witnesses to the behavior. ADEC members, employees, and meeting attendees who believe they are being subjected to discourteous or offensive behavior are encouraged, when appropriate, to ask the person engaging in the behavior to stop. To the extent that these types of unprofessional behaviors are observed by others, it is also recommended that observers step in to ask that the behavior stop immediately within the context of the situation. For example, a session chair, in response to an insulting comment made by an audience member or panel member might make a statement such as "Let's make sure comments are not insulting.”

In the event an incident is serious in nature and is not resolved and/or there are repeated incidents, a formal complaint should be made in a timely manner. Complaints should be made to ADEC’s Executive Director and President; if either of those persons is implicated in the complaint or is unavailable, the formal complaint should be directed to the Vice President (President-Elect).  If the Vice President is unavailable or is implicated in the complaint, the formal complaint should be directed to the Treasurer or to the Secretary.  The individual(s) lodging a complaint will be asked to provide details of the incident or incidents, names of individuals involved, and names of any witnesses. This is best done in writing, but a writing is not mandatory.  Complaints may be made on a confidential or anonymous basis, but please note that enough detail is needed to proceed or act on the matter alleged.

The complaint will be referred to the Executive Committee of the ADEC Board (excluding those who might be implicated in the complaint) for initial evaluation.  The initial evaluation will address whether there is sufficient information to pursue the claim further, whether the alleged behavior is serious in nature and meets the criteria identified in this policy, and whether it might be resolved through less formal means.

Where appropriate, the Executive Committee will initiate an investigation. Insofar as practicable and consistent with legal process and full and effective investigation, every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality of the complainant(s) and the individual(s) implicated in the complaint.  Upon completion of an investigation, the results will be shared with the full ADEC Board of Directors (excluding those who might be implicated in the complaint).  If disciplinary action is being considered, those who are implicated in the completed investigation will have an opportunity to appeal to the Board of Directors before a disciplinary action is made.  Disciplinary actions by the Board of Directors could range from a conversation with the person, a formal written warning, or, for particularly egregious or repeated incidents, barring the person from attending workshops or sessions or even a recommendation to revoke the person's ADEC membership.  All disciplinary decisions by the Board of Directors will be final.

*Approved 9/19/2019 meeting of the ADEC Board of Directors*