Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP)
Anti-harassment Policy

Introduction

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) has adopted a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination and all forms of unlawful harassment, including harassment or discrimination based on sex, gender, gender identity, age, disability, perceived disability, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, national origin, veteran status or any other legally protected characteristic.

This zero-tolerance policy applies to:
(1) any AWP Conference, Bookfair, or any AWP-hosted event: Any member, attender, delegate, media representative, speaker, exhibitor, contractor, subcontractor, consultant, volunteer, intern or support staff;
(2) any AWP workplace: Any employee, member, vendor, subcontractor, consultant, volunteer, intern, or other person in or interacting with those in our workplace.   

AWP will not tolerate any form of unlawful discriminatory or harassing conduct by or towards the categories of individuals noted above, and AWP is committed to enforcing its policy at all levels within the Association.

Sexual Harassment

Because confusion often arises concerning the meaning of sexual harassment in particular, it deserves special mention. Sexual harassment may take many forms, including the following:

  • Offensive and unwelcome sexual invitations, whether or not the employee accepts the invitation, and particularly when a spoken or implied quid pro quo for sexual favors is a benefit of employment or continued employment;
  • Offensive and unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including sexually graphic spoken comments; offensive comments transmitted by e-mail, social media, or another messaging system; offensive or suggestive images or graphics whether physically present in the workplace or accessed over the Internet; or the possession of or use of sexually suggestive objects; and
  • Offensive and unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, including the touching of another’s body; the touching or display of one’s own body, or any similar contact.

In terms of general guidance, AWP advises that if people tell you “no” or to leave them alone, your business with them is done. If you continue to attempt to have contact with those people, you may be removed from the premises (workplace, conference, bookfair, or any other AWP-hosted event).

Computer Messaging & Information Systems

AWP employees, consultants, volunteers, or interns are particularly cautioned that the use of e-mail, voice mail, social media, or other electronic or Internet-based messaging systems, may give rise to liability for harassment. AWP employees, consultants, volunteers, or interns may not generate, should not receive, and must not forward any message or graphic that might be taken as offensive based on sex, gender, or other protected characteristics as listed above. Harassment includes, for example, the generation or forwarding of offensive “humor” which contains offensive terms or pernicious stereotypes. Employees, consultants, volunteers, or interns receiving offensive messages over AWP’s computer equipment or receiving other unlawfully offensive messages or graphics over AWP’s computer equipment should report those messages to their supervisor or other appropriate manager.

Employees, consultants, volunteers, or interns are reminded that AWP’s computers and the data generated on, stored in, or transmitted to or from AWP’s computers remain the property of AWP for all purposes. AWP retains the right to monitor its computers, computer systems, and networks to ensure compliance with this requirement. 

Any member, attender, delegate, media representative, speaker, exhibitor, contractor, subcontractor, consultant, volunteer, intern or support staff at an AWP Conference, Bookfair, or at any AWP-hosted event are similarly cautioned against engaging in any communications or actions that can reasonably give rise to liability for harassment, as described above.

Procedures in Cases of Harassment

At any AWP Conference, Bookfair, or AWP-hosted event, if you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns related to harassment, you are encouraged to contact an AWP staff member or conference security official. If you feel that you are in imminent danger, your first course of action should be to contact 911.

At AWP’s workplace, any AWP employee, consultant, volunteer, or intern who believes that she or he has been subjected to unlawful harassment of any kind has the responsibility to report the harassment immediately to her or his supervisor. If the employee, consultant, volunteer, or intern is uncomfortable reporting the harassment to her or his immediate supervisor (for any reason), the employee, consultant, volunteer, or intern must report the harassment to: (a) the next higher level of management above the immediate supervisor, or (b) to the Executive Director of AWP, or (c) to the Chair of AWP. AWP also has an arrangement with an independent law firm to enable a concern or complaint to be raised with them, if preferred.

Every report of harassment will be investigated promptly and impartially, with every effort to maintain confidentiality of the complainant. The complainant and the accused will be informed of the results of the investigation.

If AWP finds that its policy has been violated, it will take appropriate corrective and remedial action, up to and including discharge of offending officers or employees, and/or similarly appropriate action towards offending consultants, volunteers, interns, vendors, contractors, or members.

Reporting Without Fear of Retaliation

No AWP employee, consultant, volunteer, or intern will be retaliated against for reporting harassment. This no-retaliation policy applies whether a good faith complaint of harassment is well-founded or ultimately determined to be unfounded. No AWP officer, director, manager or supervisor is authorized, or permitted, to retaliate or to take any adverse employment action whatsoever against anyone for reporting unlawful harassment, or for opposing any other discriminatory practice in the workplace.