Code of Conduct

OSA Anti-harassment Policy and Code of Conduct

OSA is committed to providing an environment for volunteers and meeting participants that is conducive to the free and robust exchange of scientific ideas. This environment requires that all participants in OSA and OSA-managed meetings, events, and activities be treated with equal consideration and respect. An environment in which people feel threatened or intimidated is not productive and does not advance the cause of science. All participants in OSA and OSA-managed activities are therefore expected to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully.

It is the policy of The Optical Society that all forms of discrimination and harassment, sexual or otherwise, are prohibited in any OSA or OSA-managed events or activities. This policy applies to all meeting attendees, speakers, exhibitors, journal reviewers and editors, staff, contractors, volunteers, and guests at any OSA or OSA-managed event or activity. It is also a violation of this policy to retaliate against an individual for reporting discrimination or harassment or to intentionally file a false report of discrimination or harassment.

OSA may take any disciplinary action it deems appropriate if, after thorough investigation, it finds a violation occurred.

Discrimination and Harassment

For purposes of this policy, “Discrimination” and “Harassment” are defined as follows.

Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of categories of people based on personal attributes such as race, sex, age, color, sexual orientation, body size, ethnic or national origin, disability, religion, marital status, veteran status, political affiliation, or other attributes not related to the merit of one’s work or scientific research or ideas.

Harassment consists of unwanted, unwelcomed and uninvited behavior that demeans, threatens or offends another and results in a hostile environment. Harassing behavior includes, but is not limited to, the use of epithets, derogatory comments or slurs, assault, stalking, impeding or blocking movement, threats of violence, offensive touching, any physical interference with normal work or movement, and visual insults, such as derogatory images, posters or cartoons.

Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, lewd comments or images, or other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature where such conduct creates an unreasonable, intimidating, or offensive environment.

If you experience or witness harassment

If you experience or witness discrimination or harassment, you are encouraged to immediately inform the alleged violator that their comments or behavior are unwelcome. Individuals may be unaware that their conduct is offensive and are often willing to correct their behavior if so informed.

However, please note that you are not required to directly address or confront a person you believe is discriminating against or harassing you or another person. If you do not feel comfortable addressing the alleged violator, or if the alleged violator continues the behavior after being advised that such conduct is unwelcome, you should report the incident.

Reporting harassment

If you wish to report discrimination or harassment you have witnessed or experienced, you may do so by contacting any OSA staff member (if onsite at an event or meeting), your OSA staff liaison, if applicable, or by sending an email to You are also encouraged to write down as many relevant details as you can recall (e.g., names, dates, times, locations, behavior or statements made, etc.), which can be helpful in filling out a report later if needed.

Please note that OSA will maintain your confidentiality except where doing so would compromise another person’s rights or OSA’s ability to conduct a thorough investigation. In such cases, OSA will limit disclosure only to that information necessary to ensure proper investigation and compliance with procedures.

No retaliation will be taken or tolerated against anyone who makes a good faith report of discrimination or harassment to OSA.

Investigation procedure; disciplinary action

Upon receiving an allegation of misconduct, OSA will conduct a prompt, thorough investigation, which will include speaking with all parties with knowledge of the incident, including the reporting individual, the alleged victim (if different from the reporting individual), any known witnesses, and the alleged offender.

An investigation will be led by OSA’s Chief of Employee and Membership Engagement working in conjunction with the OSA CEO and General Counsel, as appropriate. OSA may seek other professional counsel as needed prior to recommending a decision and any follow-up actions to the OSA CEO, Executive Committee, and/or Board. OSA may consult with the alleged victim and/or the reporting individual prior to taking any action.

If OSA finds that a violation of this policy has occurred, OSA may take any disciplinary action it deems appropriate, which may include suspension or ejection from an OSA activity or event without refund or recompense. Serious or repeated offenses may result in more significant consequences such as being banned from participation in future OSA events or volunteer activities, contacting the violator’s employer, or termination of OSA membership, if applicable.

For any question about this policy, please contact OSA’s Chief of Employee and Membership Engagement (