Code of Conduct

OARSI Code of Conduct Policy

It is the policy of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) that all individuals are entitled to respectful treatment regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, age, position, disability, sexual orientation or religion. OARSI affirms its obligation and commitment to foster and support a professional environment in which to carry out its mission, recognizing that failure to meet this obligation and commitment harms OARSI’s reputation, the profession of osteoarthritis research, our professional credibility, the well-being of individuals, and the broader communities in which we live and work. Accordingly, and to foster a positive and inclusive environment, the OARSI Board of Directors has issued this Code of Conduct Policy.

This policy applies to participants in all virtual and in-person Society activities, including members and non-members, scientists, students, guests, staff, contractors, exhibitors, vendors and members of the public. By obtaining OARSI membership, registering to present or attending OARSI meetings or other activity, members and participants commit to maintaining respectful and ethical relationships in accordance with this policy.

Expected Behavior at OARSI Meetings and Events

  • Treat all participants with respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views and opinions.
  • Communicate openly and collaboratively, with respect for others, critiquing ideas rather than individuals.
  • Avoid any personal attacks directed toward other participants.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert OARSI staff if you notice a dangerous situation or someone in distress.
  • Adhere to the rules and policies of the meeting venue, hotel, OARSI contracted facility, or any other venue.
  • Do not record virtual or in person meetings or share documents or links without express permission from OARSI staff.


Unacceptable Behavior at OARSI Meetings and Events

  • Harassment (including sexual harassment), bullying, or discrimination in any form will not be tolerated including deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following; harassing photography or recording; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; unwelcome sexual attention; or advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
  • Physical or verbal abuse or harassment of any participant will not be tolerated.

Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to, offensive verbal or written comments related to gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin, or socioeconomic class; inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images; unwelcomed physical contact; deliberate intimidation, threatening or stalking any attendee, speaker, volunteer, exhibitor, OARSI staff member, service provider, or other meeting guest.

No weapons, including firearms, are allowed at OARSI meetings and events, regardless of if one has a permit. Anyone found with a weapon will be expelled from the event.

This conduct policy establishes guidelines for appropriate behavior for OARSI members and issues a call for continuing awareness and education. Anyone requested to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. OARSI reserves the right to remove an individual violating this policy from any OARSI event – whether in person or virtual -- without warning or refund, and to take additional disciplinary action. 

If You Are Subject to or Witness Unacceptable Behavior

If you are being subjected to, or notice that someone else is being subjected to, behavior that violates this Code of Conduct, please tell a member of the OARSI staff immediately. If you cannot find a member of OARSI staff, email OARSI executive director, Elizabeth Grotos at  immediately.

All complaints will be treated seriously and responded to promptly. If possible, provide the following information, preferably in writing: 

  • Identifying information (name, appearance) of the participant expressing inappropriate behavior.
  • The behavior that was in violation.
  • The approximate time of the behavior (if different than the time the report was made).
  • The circumstances surrounding the incident.
  • Other people involved in or witnessing the incident.

Addressing Grievances

Direct or indirect retaliation of any kind by OARSI or its officers, directors, employees, members, or agents against any individual that initiates or is involved in the making of a complaint is strictly prohibited.

If you feel you have been falsely or unfairly accused of violating this Code of Conduct, please notify OARSI staff in writing by sending a message to with a description of your grievance.  

Upon receipt and preliminary review of each complaint, the Ethics and Governance Committee Chair may conclude, that the complaint: (1) contains factually unreliable or insufficient information or (2) is patently frivolous or trivial. In such cases, the Chair may determine that the complaint does not constitute a potentially actionable complaint that would justify bringing it before the Committee for further deliberation of whether there has been a material violation of the Code. If so, such complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice by the Ethics and Governance Committee and notice to its submitter of such action shall be provided by the Chair in writing. All such preliminary dispositions of complaints by the Chair shall be immediately reported in writing to all members of the Committee. As to any complaint that is dismissed before an investigation is conducted, there shall be no obligation on the part of the Chair to notify the member against whom the complaint was filed that a complaint was filed.


If the Ethics and Governance Committee chair or any member of the Ethics and Governance Committee is named in the complaint, that person(s) will be recused from participating in any actions pertaining to the complaint. In the case of the Ethics and Governance Committee chair being named in the complaint, another member of the Committee will be appointed to review the complaint. 


If a complaint is deemed by the Chair on a preliminary basis to be a potentially actionable complaint, the Ethics and Governance Committee shall inform the member in writing of the charges against the member and solicit the member’s response to the charges.


If, upon receiving the response of the member, the Ethics and Governance Committee determines that cause for further inquiry exists, the Ethics and Governance Committee shall set a time and place for a hearing and shall notify the member of the time and place.


The purpose of the Ethics and Governance Committee hearing is to gather all the facts related to the alleged violation. The charged member shall have the privilege of appearing in person, or may submit a written defense to the Ethics and Governance Committee at least fourteen (14) days prior to the time of the hearing. At the hearing, the charged member shall have the right to make an introductory statement, answer Committee member questions, and make a closing statement.


The Ethics and Governance Committee shall submit a report of its findings to the Board of Directors and recommend:


A. dismissal of the charges,

B. censure or warning,

C. suspension, or

D. expulsion.


The Ethics and Governance Committee shall provide a copy of its report and recommendation to the charged member.


If the Ethics and Governance Committee finds for a recommendation of guilt of any of the charges or recommends censure, warning, suspension or expulsion, the member shall have thirty (30) days from the receipt of the Ethics and Governance Committee report to submit to the Board of Directors written objections to the findings or recommendations of the Ethics and Governance Committee.


The Board of Directors shall review the findings and recommendation of the Ethics and Governance Committee and any written objections submitted by the member and shall reach a final decision.


Approved by Ethics & Governance Committee:  July 13, 2022

Approved by OARSI Board of Directors:  October 29, 2022