AWP Anti-Harassment Policy


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) AWP Conference, Bookfair, or any AWP-hosted event: member, attender, delegate, media representative, speaker, exhibitor, contractor, subcontractor, consultant, volunteer, intern, or support staff and
(2) AWP workplace: 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 is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when either:

  • conduct is made as a term or condition of an individual's employment or participation in AWP communities, activities or events;
  • acceptance or refusal of such conduct is used as the basis or a factor in decisions affecting an individual's employment, or participation in AWP communities, activities or events; or
  • conduct unreasonably impacts an individual's employment or participation in AWP communities, activities, or events or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Sexual harassment includes requests for sexual favors, sexual advances, or other sexual conduct

  • is either explicitly or implicitly a condition affecting employment decisions;
  • behavior is sufficiently severe or pervasive as to create an intimidating, hostile, or repugnant environment; or
  • behavior persists despite objection by the person to whom the conduct is directed.

 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 any AWP-hosted event is 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 call 911.

Every report of harassment will be investigated promptly and impartially. AWP will maintain confidentiality to the extent consistent with its legal obligations to disclose, investigate, address, resolve and/or rectify the complaint. 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. 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.

Conference & Bookfair Anti-Harassment Policy

AWP supports freedom of speech & expression in our programs, publications, and events. We understand that occasionally this free and open forum may result in disagreement and conflict. AWP does not arbitrate personal disputes among members or attendees and is not obligated to any particular action for a disagreement among individuals.

However, if multiple, substantiated claims are reported to AWP about an individual’s problematic, harassing, or otherwise inappropriate behavior that would violate AWP’s harassment policy, it may result in the individual’s removal from AWP activities, including membership, publications, and conference programs and events. Determination of whether an individual is removed is at the discretion of the AWP Board of Directors.

To report harassing behavior, please email with as much information as you can provide, and it will be routed to the appropriate department. Complaints escalated to a select committee of the AWP Board of Directors will be reviewed and investigated. The results to be shared with the reporting party within thirty days of the committee receiving the complaint.