APTA is committed to fostering a welcoming environment that is safe, collaborative, and productive for supporting dialogue and discovery for all attendees at APTA-sponsored events and values the participation of all attendees in its events. APTA expects that all attendees, members, media, speakers, organizers, staff, and exhibitors associated with any official APTA-sponsored event will adhere to this Code of Conduct and the following principles:
- Respect the rules for public behavior, personal interaction, courtesy, and private property.
- Be considerate and respectful of differing perspectives during the event.
- Respect the rules and policies of APTA, the event venue, and hotels.
All participants are expected to treat others with respect and consideration, follow venue rules, and alert staff or security of any dangerous situations, violations of this Code of Conduct, or of anyone in distress. All who register to participate, attend, speak at, or exhibit at an APTA event agree to comply with this Code of Conduct.
- All who register to attend, volunteer, guests, speakers, or exhibitors at an APTA event agree to comply with this policy.
- This policy applies to APTA members and staff as well as APTA leadership.
- APTA Bylaws Article II, (“Objectives”).
- 2017 APTA Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.
- “Events” are defined as all APTA venues including Meetings and Conferences, Live Webinars, the EXPO, and other in-person and virtual meetings of APTA members and volunteers organized, sponsored, or hosted by APTA, including APTA’s online presence, such as social media pages and APTA meeting hashtags. In connection with events that are marketed to registered APTA attendees, but not specifically sponsored by APTA, are also subject to this policy and event organizers can be sanctioned for failure to comply with this policy.
- “APTA Leadership” is defined as APTA Officers, Executive Committee members, Board members, and committee leaders.
a. APTA Conference Attendees, Speakers, Volunteers, Guests, and Exhibitors should:
- Act with integrity and in an ethical and professional manner in their interactions with each other, members of the public, APTA members and staff; and
- Report violations of this policy promptly to APTA leadership, APTA’s hotline (1-833-203-6447) or web portal (https://www.lighthouse-services.com/apta).
b. APTA members and staff should:
- Maintain high ethical and moral behavior at APTA conferences so that their behavior reflects positively on APTA;
- Report violations of this policy to APTA leadership; and
- Encourage others who witness or experience violations to report such conduct to APTA’s hotline (1-833-203-6447) or web portal (https://www.lighthouse-services.com/apta).
c. APTA Leadership should:
- Serve as a role model for professional and ethical behavior at APTA conferences;
- Promote and foster fairness and justice in the treatment of conference attendees, members, speakers, volunteers, guests, and exhibitors; and
- Are responsible for taking appropriate steps to ensure offending conduct is stopped immediately and offenders are reported to APTA’s hotline (1-833-203-6447) or web portal (https://www.lighthouse-services.com/apta).
APTA provides a safe, hospitable, and productive environment for everyone attending APTA events, regardless of ethnicity, religion, disability, physical appearance, gender, or sexual orientation. It is important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is neither healthy nor productive. APTA also prohibits any form of harassment, sexual or otherwise. Anyone subject to this policy who asked to stop any harassing and/or abusive behavior is expected to comply immediately. If you feel physically unsafe or believe a crime has been committed, you should report it to onsite security or to the police immediately. APTA may also involve venue security and/or local law enforcement, as appropriate based on the specific circumstances. APTA staff are available to document allegations for future assessment and to assist in reporting.
Unacceptable behaviors include:
- Intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, derogatory, or demeaning speech or actions by anyone subject to this policy at or in relation to the live or virtual event and related event activities sponsored by APTA;
- Harassing behavior such as: using offensive verbal comments related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, gender identity, or disability;
- inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images at APTA-sponsored spaces or in presentation slides;
- deliberate intimidation, virtual or in-person stalking or unwelcome following including on social media;
- harassing photography, recording or social media posts;
- yelling at or threatening speakers;
- sustained disruption of talks or other events; unwelcome physical or verbal contact or sexual attention; and/or
- verbal or physical abuse, intimidation, threats, efforts to annoy others, which in any way creates a disturbance that is disruptive or dangerous or creates reasonable apprehension in a person.
As at any conference or other professional event, conference attendees often combine professional activities with social interaction with other attendees, staff, and others. While APTA encourages such networking and strengthening of connections between attendees, APTA reserves the right to remove or block any person subject to this policy whose social attentions become unwelcome to another (whether in-person or online) and who persists in such attentions after their unwelcome nature has been communicated. APTA also reserves the right to remove or block any person who is subject to this policy who appears inebriated and who engages in conduct that interferes with the ability of other attendees to participate in and enjoy the live or virtual event. Behavior that is violent, offensive, or harassing in nature at events or hotel spaces that APTA has not sponsored, could result in APTA banning the covered party from attending all or part of the APTA sponsored event or conference. APTA may also report on the outcome of any investigation to individuals who have reported a violation of this Code of Conduct and/or to the employer of the offender if the individual’s participation in the event is connected to the individual’s employment.
To report a violation to APTA:
- APTA encourages prompt reporting of violations so immediate action can be taken to address the concern. Complaints may also be raised after the event has concluded, according to the following procedures:
- You may make a report in-person to any APTA staff member or APTA Leadership.
- At any time, you can also make a report through APTA’s hotline (1-833-203-6447) or web portal (https://www.lighthouse-services.com/apta), which will collect and promptly relay information in a secure and sensitive manner. Policies and procedures for APTA’s management of allegations are described below.
Event attendees and participants are expected to cooperate with any APTA investigation into reports of a violation of this policy by providing information requested by APTA that is relevant to APTA’s investigation.
Reports may not be submitted anonymously unless they include specific factual allegations that permit an adequate investigation. Depending on the nature of complaint, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, but all complaints will be handled with discretion and with the aim of preserving confidentiality to the extent compatible with conducting an appropriate investigation.
Procedures After an Incident is Reported
Once an allegation is received, the incident will be reviewed promptly and confidentially by the APTA Chair, APTA President and CEO and/or General Counsel (“APTA leader”), depending in part on the position of the alleged offender in connection with APTA. APTA’s Chair, in her or his discretion, may also establish a Code of Conduct Committee (comprised of members, appointed by the APTA Chair, and who are in good standing on the APTA Board of Directors and representing the CEO Coordinating Council, Business Member Board of Governors, Transit Board Members Committee and two members of the Executive Committee) who will review and consider reports of violations and will consider the factual allegations. Note: if any of the above individuals were to be named in an allegation, they would be excluded from seeing the information, and anyone named to the Committee must disclose any conflicts of interest and recuse from consideration of any allegation in which the Committee member has a disqualifying conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest. The complainant will be interviewed either in person or by telephone for support and, if needed, to provide initial assistance. The complainant will be asked to provide their views on what they would like to happen. Based on the sole assessment of the Code of Conduct Committee, APTA Chair, APTA President and CEO and/or General Counsel, APTA may determine a range of next steps. As an initial matter, the appropriate APTA leader and/or Code of Conduct Committee will make a determination as to whether the facts alleged violate this Code. If the allegations on their face would constitute a violation and the complainant requests an investigation and/or sanctions, two APTA representatives charged with investigating the allegation will raise the complaint with the alleged offender, who will be given a chance to respond. If facts are not in dispute, action may be recommended by the APTA leader and/or Code of Conduct Committee based on its assessment of the level of misconduct.
If the severity of the allegation is high, it is a possible repeat offense, or it is determined that the case is beyond APTA’s capacity to assess claims and views on either side, APTA may refer the case to the alleged offender’s employer or a governmental authority or law enforcement and may delay decision under this Code until the further investigation, findings, and decision by that third party authority.
Penalties for Violation of this Policy
If the appropriate APTA leader and/or the Code of Conduct Committee determines it is more likely than not that the allegations or events occurred and the conduct violated this Code, APTA may take measures or impose sanctions against the offender such as:
- Conversation with offender regarding the negative impact of the specific behavior and direction to cease inappropriate behavior;
- Removal from the event, without return of fees paid;
- Verbal warning;
- Written warning;
- Temporary or permanent ban from all or some future APTA events (in-person and/or virtual);
- Suspended or expelled from APTA (depending on membership type) without return of any membership dues paid;
- Removal from any volunteer leadership or committee role at APTA; and/or
- Depending on the severity of the conduct, reporting the Code of Conduct Committee findings to the offender’s employer or law enforcement for their investigation and recommended decision.
If the Code of Conduct Committee makes a finding and sanction, it shall report its findings to the APTA Chair and the APTA President and CEO before imposing or recommending any sanction to a covered party. The APTA Chair and/or the APTA President and CEO may ask the Code of Conduct Committee to adjust/enhance or otherwise reconsider its penalty determination. Any sanction of a ban from future APTA events or suspension or expulsion from membership may either be accepted by the offender or appealed to the APTA Executive Committee by a written notice of appeal and the grounds thereof, submitted within 30 calendar days of the date of the notice of sanction, in which case the sanction shall be deemed a recommendation of the Committee. To the extent that the nature of the sanction and the offender’s position or relationship to APTA creates substantive or procedural rights under APTA’s Bylaws, other APTA policies, or applicable law, the Executive Committee decision will be taken in accordance with those policies and governing authorities. The Executive Committee may accept, modify, or reject the Committee’s recommended sanction.
Retaliation Not Tolerated
Persons covered by this policy must not engage in retaliation of any kind against any individual who, in good faith, reports or participates in the investigation of an alleged violation of this policy. Retaliation of that nature is itself a violation of this Code of Conduct.