Volunteer & Participant Code of Conduct Policy

five young adults, four women and one man who are all volunteers in blue ACS shirts, sit and smile at an ACS Meeting

The mission and vision of the American Chemical Society is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people, as well as to improve all people’s lives through the transforming power of chemistry. As one of the world’s largest scientific organizations, ACS is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, respectful, positive, and welcoming environment for all participants at every event, whether in person or online.

This Volunteer and Participant Code of Conduct Policy outlines ACS’ expectations for all ACS members and participants at in-person and virtual events and activities, including but not limited to seminars, symposia, trainings and courses, mixers, meetings, programs, and gatherings that are organized, hosted, planned, or managed in whole or in part by ACS or its units. Participants, including but not limited to, those engaging with ACS as members, officers, affiliates, associates, volunteers, attendees, exhibitors, partners, speakers, and service providers are expected to communicate and abide by this policy at all times.

American Chemical Society Volunteer and Participant Code of Conduct Policy

1. Participants should understand and support ACS’ mission and vision.

2. Participants are expected to act in a professional, courteous, cooperative, and respectful manner in order to contribute to a safe, collegial, inclusive, and positive environment for all Participants. Participants shall not engage in any action that could be considered bullying, threatening, or that implies or inflicts physical or emotional harm.

3. Participants shall not discriminate, harass or take any inappropriate actions based on any characteristic protected by applicable law, including but not limited to race, religion, national origin, country of residence, citizenship, language, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, economic status, marital status, or/and physical appearance.

4. Specifically with regard to sexual harassment, Participants shall not engage in any unwelcome sexual conduct, including but not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual jokes or inferences, stalking, lewd or offensive sexual behavior. Any verbal or physical sexual harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Personal boundaries set by others must be observed.

5. Participants will comply with all applicable laws and regulations of the relevant government authorities, as well as all rules, safety guidelines, and regulations of the venue for any ACS Hosted Event.

6. Participants shall only use ACS’ trademarks, insignia, name, logos, and other intellectual property in compliance with the ACS Governing Documents and/or Branding Guidelines.

7. Participants granted access to sensitive, confidential, and/or proprietary information of ACS, including but not limited to, trade secrets, financial data, business data, personally identifiable information (PII), governance records, presentations and abstract papers, and any other non-public information, must take reasonable efforts to protect and safeguard such information.

8.  Participants are prohibited from engaging in unauthorized photography or recording, including within the event environment for use on social media, without the prior permission of the event organizer, the individuals to be photographed/recorded, and/or owners of any underlying content.

9.  Participants shall fully disclose all potential and actual conflicts of interest, including but not limited to distinguishing whether they are speaking as an individual or in an ACS capacity.

10. Participants may be required to consent to a background check in order to participate in an ACS Hosted Event involving certain groups (e.g., people under age 18, other vulnerable groups, etc.) as may be required under applicable laws and regulations or otherwise deemed appropriate. Individuals working either directly or in an unsupervised capacity with these certain groups should familiarize themselves and comply with any relevant reporting laws regarding volunteers and background checks.  

*Note: A comprehensive ACS Youth Protection Policy is being developed to ensure sponsors of and volunteers at ACS Hosted Events have information and details about how the requirements of Section 10 should be met. More information will be available when that policy and related processes, including a centralized background-check provider, are available and adherence with this Section 10 is required.

11. Participants shall comply with applicable antitrust laws and are prohibited from discussing or making unlawful agreements at ACS Hosted Events. Participants shall refrain from inappropriate discussion of business operations or exchanging competitively sensitive information.

12. Violations of this policy at ACS Hosted Events must be reported promptly either to the ACS Office of the General Counsel (“OGC”) at whistleblower@acs.org or via one of the anonymous methods listed below. Please reference “ACS” or the “American Chemical Society” in the subject line of any written submissions. All reported concerns will be reviewed in a timely manner. 

13. Where appropriate, the OGC will investigate the allegations as reasonably promptly as possible. Upon completion of the investigation, the OGC will, in coordination with the Secretary, inform the appropriate governing body of the results of the investigation so that body can take such actions as they may determine appropriate to ensure any violation of this Policy is not repeated. Information will either be provided to the Chair of the ACS Board of Directors or in the case of Councilor conduct, the Council Policy Committee. Potential actions include but are not limited to the following: 

  • A warning to the offender 
  • Removal from the meeting or event without refund 
  • Blocking individuals from online platforms 
  • Reporting the incident to law enforcement or other appropriate government agencies 
  • Exclusion from future ACS meetings, events, and activities 
  • Expulsion or suspension from the Society without refund 

Please note, for privacy reasons, the Participant filing the initial report may not be informed of certain details related to the investigation or the precise nature of the action taken by ACS)

14. Any Participant who, in good faith, reports a violation of this policy shall not be subject to retaliation. Any Participant who retaliates against someone who has reported a concern in good faith is subject to an investigation and disciplinary actions as appropriate, including by the Board of Directors, or in the case of Councilor conduct, by the Council Policy Committee.

Adopted by the Board of Directors December 1, 2023 | Effective May 1, 2024 



What is an ACS Hosted Event?

Any event or activity that is organized, hosted, planned, or managed in whole or in part by ACS or its units. 

What is updated in this policy?

The policy name was revised to reflect the broader applicability to its audience and scope of relevant events. In addition to addressing compliance with key laws and regulations, the updated policy provide ACS’ expectations on handling personally identifiable information, photography and recording, adherence to the ACS branding guidelines, disclosure of conflicts of interest, the need for a background check when participating in events involving vulnerable groups, and compliance with antitrust laws. The policy also provides guidance on how to report violations, the investigation process, and the potential repercussions for those found to be in violation of this policy.

If an ACS unit has its own existing code of conduct policy, will this policy supersede their policy?

Yes, the ACS Board of Directors has authority to implement a Code that applies to all ACS units.

Does this policy apply to regional meetings?


How do I report violations of this policy?

See item 12 in the policy.

Are participants required to sign a document acknowledging this policy?

Participation in an ACS Hosted Event constitutes implied consent with this policy. Acknowledgement of this policy is required when registering for ACS meetings and purchase of benefits packages. Some programs may require signed acknowledgement of this policy and consent to a background check may be necessary.

Does this policy apply to ACS Hosted Events outside of the United States?

Yes, this policy is applicable to all ACS Hosted Events regardless of location. In addition, the laws, regulations, and safety guidelines of the country where the event is being held may also apply.

What if I have other questions?

Please email VolunteerPolicy@acs.org.