NAA's Anti-Harassment Policy

(APPROVED BY THE NAA BOARD: DECEMBER 14, 2020) REVISED ON MARCH 11, 2021)

PREAMBLE

“We intentionally welcome all auction professionals. We do this without adherence to any social, religious and/or political affiliation or creed. We endeavor to foster a climate of purposeful inclusion, an environment where all can feel safe, valued, cared for, and given an opportunity to form meaningful connections with each other.”

The NAA Board of Directors adopted this values statement at their April 8-9, 2019 meeting and it articulates the reason that this anti-harassment policy exists. Our association is a blend of people, their beliefs and traditions. While all members and participants are expected to engage in consensual and respectful behavior and to preserve NAA’s standard of professionalism at all times, we understand that harassment can occur at conferences and meetings (both virtual and live) and on social media as well.

According to the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), an effective anti-harassment policy should include (but is not limited to) the following elements:

  • Underlying principles
  • Definition of harassment
  • Clear reporting procedures and potential sanctions
  • Anti-retaliation provision
  • False accusation provision

This policy will be communicated in materials (digital and print) provided to event attendees as well as on the organization’s website as an indication of the commitment to providing an environment free of harassment.

DEFINITION OF HARASSMENT

Harassment is strictly prohibited. Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual.

Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; denigrating jokes, and display or circulation in the workplace of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group (including through electronic/digital medias such as text messages, email or on social medias). Any such conduct is unacceptable at any NAA event or associated social gatherings.

Sexual harassment may occur whenever there are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any other verbal, physical or visual conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and not so subtle behaviors and may involve individuals of any combination of gender. These behaviors may include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors;
  • Sexual jokes and innuendo
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
  • Commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies;
  • Leering;
  • Catcalls or touching;
  • Insulting or obscene comments or gestures;
  • Display or circulation in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures
  • (including through electronic/digital medias such as text messages, email or on social medias).
  • And other physical, verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature.

Such examples are illustrative, not exhaustive. Courteous, mutually respectful, pleasant, noncoercive interactions between employees that are appropriate in the workplace and acceptable to and welcomed by both parties are not considered to be harassment, including sexual harassment.

Pursuant to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, the victim of harassment can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct, not just the individual at whom the conduct is directed. This policy extends to the relatives, friends and associates of that individual.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN HARASSED

The Association strongly urges the reporting of all incidents of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, regardless of the offender’s identity or position. Early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving actual or perceived incidents of harassment or discrimination. Individuals who are the target of harassment should not feel unheard or unassisted.

If you have experienced or witnessed harassment or discrimination of any kind, you should deal with the incident(s) as directly as possible, clearly communicating to the offender, and/or the Chief Staff Officer and/or the Chairman of the Board. Written records such as letters, notes, memos, emails, social media messages, text messages and telephone messages can strengthen documentation. It is not necessary that the harassment be directed at you to make a complaint. It is NAA’s goal to support vulnerable members of the community and to strategize to end the harassment in question.

If the Chief Staff Officer and/or Chairman of the Board is not available, contact the most senior staff person on site or you can contact either of these individuals by email or send an email to hcombest@auctioneers.org. Accommodations will be made should the person who encounters the harassment or sexual harassment wish to have a person of the same gender present when making the complaint.

If the harassment includes any type of threat of violence or actual violence, the person who encounters the harassment should immediately call local law officials.

If the individual wishes to have their complaint investigated, NAA will make every reasonable effort to conduct this investigation in a responsible and confidential manner. The investigation may include individual interviews with the parties involved and with individuals who may have witnessed the alleged conduct or who have other relevant knowledge. NAA reserves the right however to provide notice that may be used to investigate claims of harassment.

Potential outcomes of the investigation may include the requirement for training, referral to counseling and/or disciplinary action such as private censure or membership suspension or expulsion.

FRIVOLOUS COMPLAINTS

The possibility of serious consequences exists for an individual accused of harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination. Therefore, complaints made in bad faith or that contain false information may also lead to private censure or membership suspension or expulsion.