Statement and Scope of Policy
The Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (SBN) is committed to hosting Annual Meetings that create a safe, productive and welcoming environment for the exchange of scientific advances and for the debate of ideas. In order to promote that environment, SBN is committed to equal opportunity and treatment for all meeting participants, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious belief, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. SBN strives to create at its meetings an environment free from harassment and discrimination. The SBN annual meeting should serve as an effective forum to consider and debate science-relevant viewpoints in a respectful, civil, and fair manner. Meeting participants are expected to uphold standards of scientific integrity and professional ethics and must comply with these standards of behavior. Harassment and other forms of misconduct undermine the integrity of SBN meetings and are strictly prohibited. All participants, including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, staff, service providers, and others are expected to abide by the SBN Meetings Code of Conduct.
Discrimination means unequal or unfair treatment in professional opportunities, education, benefits, evaluation, and employment (such as hiring, termination, promotion, compensation) as well as retaliation and various types of harassment. Discriminatory practices can be explicit or implicit, intentional, or unconscious.
Harassment is a type of discrimination that consists of a single intense and severe act, or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts, which are unwanted, unwelcome, demeaning, abusive, or offensive. Offensive conduct constitutes harassment when 1) it becomes a condition of an opportunity, education, benefit, evaluation, or employment or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work or educational environment that most people would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. These acts may include epithets, slurs, or negative stereotyping based on gender, race, sexual identity, or other categories, as protected by U.S. federal law. Also included are threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and displays; or circulation of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or a group.
Sexual harassment includes any unwanted and/or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. When unwelcome, behaviors that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; sexually explicit jokes; and unnecessary touching. Behavior that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another, so one must use discretion to ensure that words and actions communicate respect for others. This is especially important for those in positions of seniority, as those in more junior positions may be reluctant to express their objections or discomfort regarding unwelcome behavior.
Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others in the professional environment that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. These actions can include abusive criticism, humiliation, the spreading of rumors, physical and verbal attacks, isolation, undermining, and professional exclusion of individuals through any means.
Reporting Unacceptable Behavior
If you experience or observe harassment, we recommend that you write down the details as soon as possible, in as much detail as possible, to help you to recall specific events in the future. If you believe you have experienced or observed harassment, notify SBN in one or more of the following ways.
- via our web portal https://sbn.org/about/contact.aspx
- by phone at
- by contacting one of the Society’s Executive Officers (President, Past-President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer; https://sbn.org/about/board-of-directors.aspx)
The person experiencing harassment is not required to discuss the incident with the offending
party, unless they feel comfortable doing so. If you feel unsafe or threatened, use a venue phone to ask for security; if the circumstances warrant it, call for medical or police assistance. All complaints will be treated seriously and addressed promptly and appropriately. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent that it does not compromise the rights of others or the need to conduct an adequate investigation and to the extent allowed by law.
Harassment, discrimination and bullying that occurs prior to or after the annual meeting is not acceptable. Please notify SBN if you have had these experiences in relation to an SBN-member or SBN meeting attendee (past or future meeting). In these cases, the SBN Executive Committee will follow the procedures for responding to harassment complaints detailed below.
Individuals who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, as will individuals who act in bad faith by making maliciously false accusations. In the Society’s sole discretion, this disciplinary action may consist, at minimum, of a written warning, but may also include ejection from the meeting, reporting the behavior to the violator’s Title IX officer (or equivalent), and other penalties, without refund of any applicable registration fees or costs. If an incident is particularly serious or repeated incidents occur with the same individual, that individual may be banned from future meetings, or SBN membership may be revoked.
SBN Procedures for Responding to Harassment Complaints at Annual Meetings
- Any SBN representative receiving a complaint will immediately notify the SBN Meeting Organizer, or an SBN Executive Officer (President, Past-President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer). The SBN President should be made aware of the situation immediately unless such an individual is the subject of the complaint. All complaints will be investigated fairly, thoroughly and as promptly as possible, and corrective action will be taken where warranted.
- The SBN President in consultation with the SBN Executive Committee will then determine whether the matter requires an investigation. If so, they will name at least two impartial investigators to conduct an investigation. Impartial investigators should be individuals who do not have close relationships (personal or professional) with the complainant or the alleged offender. Examples of close relationships are those that would be reported in the Collaborators and Other Affiliations form from National Science Foundation. Any individual who believes he or she has a conflict of interest should not serve as an impartial investigator. If the SBN President and SBN Executive Committee determine that no investigation is necessary, they will determine if any other action is appropriate.
- The selected independent investigators will review the complaint and interview the complainant. They will then document and report to the SBN President, who will determine if further investigation is required or recommend other appropriate action, including, where it is deemed advisable, consultation with legal counsel.
- If appropriate, the investigators will then meet with the alleged offender, explain the details of the complaint, and give them a reasonable chance to respond to the allegations and bring evidence of their own.
- If the facts are in dispute, the investigators will take any additional steps necessary to determine the facts, such as interviewing witnesses. The investigators will seek appropriate counsel from the SBN President and SBN Executive Committee if they are unsure how to proceed at any time.
- The investigators will report the findings of the investigation to the SBN President or other SBN Executive Committee, as appropriate. The SBN Executive Committee will then determine an appropriate action, which may include a disciplinary action. The determination will then be promptly communicated to the complainant and alleged offender.
- Notification to the Society is essential to enforcing this Policy. Meeting participants may be assured that they will not be penalized in any way for reporting harassment or discrimination.
Retaliation is Prohibited
Retaliation, as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor, against any individual who reports harassment or assists in an investigation as defined herein is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Retaliation is a serious violation of SBN policy and, like acts of harassment or discrimination, will be subject to disciplinary action. If you believe you have experienced or observed retaliation, notify SBN staff via our web portal (https://sbn.org/about/contact.aspx), by phone at 1-847-517-7225, or by contacting one of the Society’s Executive Committee members (President, Past-President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Program Officer).
Appeal & Questions
In the event that an individual is dissatisfied with the actions taken as a result of the investigation, he or she may submit a written appeal to SBN’s Executive Committee. An appeal may be granted at the discretion of the SBN Executive Committee.
Any questions regarding this policy should be directed to the SBN President.