NSS Policy Regarding Harassment and Discrimination

October 7, 2018 (updated May 30, 2022) – PDF version


A. The National Space Society (“Society”) is committed to being an organization free from all forms of unlawful discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment. The Society does not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, age, disability, perceived disability, race, color, religion/creed, ethnicity, national origin, veteran status, citizenship 1, or any characteristic not listed above that is legally protected. This Policy applies to any director, governor, officer, employee or chapter officer (each, a “Society Leader”) and to any volunteer, member or holder of any other position in the Society (together with the Society Leaders, the “Society Representatives”), when the conduct in question occurs at Society workplace, event, or activity, or while representing, or in the course of business of, the Society.

B. Any Society Representative who violates this Policy will be subject to corrective action, as set forth in Sections III.D and E.

C. Any attendee at a Society workplace, event, or activity perceived to be in violation of this Policy may be directed to stop that conduct or may be removed from that workplace, event, or activity without warning or refund, as an authorized Society Representative of the Society may determine at that time. In such an instance immediate compliance is expected, and the Society may later take further corrective action as provided in this Policy.


A. Every Society Representative bears the responsibility to refrain from sexual harassment at any Society workplace, event, or activity. No person, regardless of gender, should be subject to unwelcome sexual overtures in such places. Instances of perceived sexual harassment must be reported and investigated.

B. All Society Representatives, particularly those in a management or supervisory capacity, are expected to become familiar with the contents of this Policy and to abide by its requirements. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of all supervisors of Society workplaces, events, or activities to make Society workplaces, events, and activities free from sexual harassment.

C. Harassment generally includes any form of unwelcome conduct towards another person that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive workplace, event, or activity environment or that otherwise interferes with the ability to perform work tasks. The legal standard focuses on whether the conduct is unwelcome and whether or not the conduct is severe or pervasive. One act may be severe enough to qualify as harassment. In other instances, the conduct may not be severe, but the repeated nature of actions of a sexual nature over time, may constitute pervasive conduct. Voluntary participation by the recipient will not mean that the advances were welcomed. The legal standard reviews whether or not the recipient by his/her conduct indicates that the advances were not welcome. In other words, participating may not be “forced” but it may still be unwelcome and therefore not lawful. The legal standard looks at what would offend a “reasonable” woman or man, and the Society will apply that standard with reference to established U.S. law.

D. Sexual harassment may take many forms, ranging from the severe to repeated subtle actions, including, without limitation:

(i) Repeated unwelcome sexual invitations (including, for example, dating requests) after the recipient rejects the initial or further invitations.

(ii) Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to the sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of employment or continued employment or ability to participate in any Society matter.

(iii) Unwelcome sexual conduct, such as sexually suggestive gestures, innuendoes, jokes of a sexual nature, sexually oriented kidding or teasing or practical jokes, referring to or calling a person a sexualized name, and, in general, sexually graphic comments, whether spoken or transmitted or forwarded by e-mail or another messaging system.

(iv) Unwelcome or suggestive images or graphics whether physically present at a Society workplace, event, or activity, or expressed or accessed over the Internet; or use of sexually suggestive objects.

(v) Unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, including the touching of another’s body; the touching or display of one’s own body, or any similar contact; consent to some contact does not imply consent to other or to more of the same kind of contact.

(vi) Statements of a sexual nature about Society employees, members, or other participants involved in Society matters, even if spoken or communicated outside their presence.

(vii) Unwelcome gifts of an intimate or inappropriately sexual nature.

(viii) Repeated delivery of unwanted gifts of a romantic nature, such as flowers.

(ix) Inappropriate compliments that call attention to someone’s body or appearance, or that are made at inappropriate times, especially during meetings, public events, or during introductions.

(x) Repeatedly using terms such as “honey,” “cookie,” or “sweetheart” to belittle or undermine someone, especially in a public setting or meeting.

E. Repetition of conduct stated by the recipient to be unwelcome will be an indication of harassment.

F. There is much conduct that does not rise to the level of legal harassment, but which may still violate the Society’s standards of respect and professionalism. For example, there may be conduct of a sexual nature that is neither severe nor pervasive, but which is in the nature of the prohibited conduct referenced above and is the type of conduct that may lead to harassment. This type of conduct is not acceptable by the Society either, and may also be addressed through the process outlined below.


A. Any person, whether or not a Society Representative, may report perceived harassment. The report is to be made to any one or more of the following: The Chair of the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer, the President, the Chief Operating Officer, and any persons from time-to-time designated by the Executive Committee for that purpose. The report may be verbal or written. Any Society Leader who perceives a violation of this Policy, or to whom a perceived violation is reported, whether by the person subject to such conduct or another, shall promptly notify one of those listed persons about the report.

B. The Society will promptly and thoroughly investigate each report, and will do so in accordance with any procedures that may have been set by the Executive Committee. The individual alleged to have engaged in the conduct in question shall be given an opportunity to be heard. Efforts will be made to preserve confidentiality to the greatest degree possible, consistent with the Society’s obligation to thoroughly investigate and resolve the report.

C. Investigators may refer matters to the Executive Committee or Board of Directors as they deem appropriate. Investigators may consult the Society’s General Counsel on a pro bono basis; they shall have no authority to authorize the incurring of legal fees without the prior approval of a Society officer authorized to approve such an expense. If a matter cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the person reporting and the person reported, either of them may refer the matter to the Executive Committee.

D. Once the investigation is complete, the Society will take immediate corrective action where appropriate, such as those listed below.

E. Examples of corrective action include, but are not limited to, (i) training, (ii) apologies, (iii) counseling, (iv) imposition and monitoring of a plan of remediation, (v) removal, temporary suspension, or barring from active roles in Society activities, (vi) loss of Society membership in accordance with the procedures specified in the Society’s Bylaws, (vii) the non-renewal of membership, (viii) in the case of conduct by a Society Leader, removal from the leadership position in accordance with procedures specified in the Bylaws, (ix) in the case of employees, financial penalties or termination of contracts, and (x) suspension of imposition of such sanctions for a period of time in which no further violations occur.

F. The Society will arrange that each harassment report and any resolution are appropriately documented.

G. In instances where individuals believe they have been the recipient of inappropriate conduct that is of a sexual nature, or other nature based on a protected status, but the conduct is not severe or pervasive, such recipients are encouraged to let the offending person know that they have made the recipient uncomfortable and to stop the behavior. If the behavior continues or the person the request was made to does not graciously accept the feedback, then the recipient should engage in the above reporting process.

H. The Society hopes that any incidents of harassment can be resolved through the internal process outlined in this Policy. Individuals may, however, contact, file a complaint with, request an investigation by, or seek recourse through an appropriate governmental authority.

I. In order to maximize the effectiveness of an investigation, the Society encourages individuals who have a perceived a violation of this policy to bring that matter promptly to the attention of the Society. The Society will not investigate reports concerning alleged incidents that occurred prior to the effective date of this policy (October 13, 2018), unless the Society is otherwise required to extend this time by law.


The Society will not tolerate retaliation against any individual making a good faith report about harassment under this Policy or for cooperating in any investigation undertaken in connection with this Policy. Individuals who feel that they have been retaliated against for making a report or participating in an investigation of one should contact a member of the Executive Committee.

While the Society does not discriminate based on citizenship for general membership, some offered events relevant to the Society’s mission take place at U.S. Government facilities where U.S. Citizenship is a requirement for admission. Further, participation in certain Society events and committees is limited to U.S. citizens either to conform to U.S. law or to avoid the implication that the Society is representing a foreign government without being registered as a foreign agent.

A PDF version of this document is available at NSS-policy-on-harassment-and-discrimination.pdf