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March 2, 2018

Americas: Why Your Event May Not Need a Code of Conduct

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Harassment, sexual and otherwise, is a hot topic today, and association boards across America are calling for codes of conduct to protect their organizations from harassment complaints at their events. “I want to say, ‘not so fast,’” said Paula Cozzi Goedert, a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, in a session at this year’s Professional Convention Management Association’s Convening Leaders conference. Goedert, who chairs the Associations and Foundations Practice Group, added, “It’s not so simple. The big question is, if someone engages in that conduct—or someone alleges that someone engages in that conduct—what are you going to do about it?” 

What’s in Your Power?
Organizations have several ways to deal with attendees accused of harassment. “You have the power to eject people from your meetings. You have the power to ban them from future meetings. And you may have the power to remove them from membership. That gives you a lot of leverage over the accused,” said Goedert.

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