Policies on Professionalism

The following is a non-exhaustive summary of CMA’s policies that concern the professional conduct of members and attendees at CMA functions.

The California Medical Association (CMA) is committed to providing an inclusive, and harassment-free environment for all attendees, including members, staff, and invited guests in order to facilitate constructive, thoughtful, unbiased, useful, and relevant dialogue, debate, education, networking, and the exchange of information in a respectful, professional manner. 

Some behaviors are, therefore, specifically prohibited:

  1. Harassment or intimidation based on race, religion, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, appearance, or other protected group status per applicable local, state, and federal law;
  2. Sexual harassment or intimidation, including unwelcome sexual attention, stalking (physical or virtual), or unsolicited physical contact;
  3. Using defamatory, or profane language against other attendees;
  4. Engaging in or threatening violence against other attendees;
  5. Disrupting any portion of the event;
  6. Breaking confidentiality where required; and
  7. Engaging in other unlawful activity.

CMA reserves the right to immediately address any disorderly conduct of attendees; including warning, expelling, and calling security or law enforcement as it deems appropriate.

Members have a Duty of Loyalty to act in the best interest of CMA, its mission and its members. We appreciate your adherence to these policies on professionalism to ensure a successful event for all.

CMA policies

Full copies of CMA’s policies are available below for your review.

Policies may be updated and new policies concerning professionalism may be created in the future.

Real Talk on Decency, Kindness and Respect

CMA members come from all corners of the state, represent every medical specialty, span all generations, and hold diverse viewpoints and social expectations reflecting their myriad of backgrounds, cultures and lived experiences.

When physician, resident and medical student members come together to support CMA’s common mission, it is expected that we will encounter differences in opinion – sometimes passionate ones. In order to arrive at informed consensus, we ask all participants to remember the value of respectful communication, and to be courteous and patient with democratic decision-making. We also encourage participants to err on the side of civility, grace, curiosity kindness and patience.

Regardless of our many differences, everyone is capable of respecting personal boundaries and comporting themselves with decency. Some basics:

  • Generally avoid or else save provocative, edgy, inflammatory, aggressive, or sarcastic remarks for close personal acquaintances, who know you well and understand your intent.
  • It is disrespectful to invalidate the experiences of others. If you don’t share or haven’t witnessed those experiences communicated by others, it’s probably a time for listening instead of speculation, playing devil’s advocate or one-upmanship.
  • Please refrain from remarks of a sexual nature or any potential unwelcome commentary on people’s bodies or appearances, including, but not restricted to, clothing, age, hair, jewelry, etc. Take care to make sure that any physical touch is consensual.
  • You are expected to self-regulate your own behavior, as every individual is the best judge of their limits on socializing, hours worked or awake, alcohol consumed, or any other stressor that may impact a person’s disposition or behavior.
  • If you make an error in social judgement, apologize and then leave the other party alone. 

CMA doesn’t need policy on kindness to expect civil conduct from all attendees. Those lacking the ability to navigate these common social expectations should consider alternative ways of engagement within our organization.

CMA is committed to providing an inclusive and harassment-free environment, and we believe that creating an ongoing dialogue is a key tenet to supporting that goal.

We are all human and mistakes or miscommunications can be expected. There is no policy that will prevent misunderstandings or rude incidents from occurring or eliminate the inevitable discomfort that can arise when you bring large, diverse groups of people together.

If you feel safe doing so, you are encouraged to communicate directly with the other party in the moment or soon after when someone offends or is flatly inappropriate. This allows the individual the opportunity to apologize, make amends, and learn from the experience. Not every incident described above may rise to the level of a formal complaint or disciplinary action, but we would still like to hear from you so that we are able to have important conversations and be aware of those behaviors for the future.  

How to Communicate a Concern or File a Complaint

Concerns can be discussed informally or a complaint can be formally registered by contacting any of the following groups of individuals. For a more rapid response, we recommend that you utilize email to contact multiple recipients. Anonymous complaints or tips can be submitted using the form below, which is sent directly to the Chief Legal Officer, without any identifying data. 

CMA reviews every complaint brought to our attention. A group of Association leaders and appropriate staff will meet to review the incident. In order to help us understand and respond to the complaint, please include as much of the following information as possible:

  • Your name* (and contact information)
  • The name of the person experiencing the harassment (if not you) (and their contact information, if available)
  • The name of the person who is alleged to have committed the harassment
  • A brief description of what happened or of the concern*
    • The general circumstances of the incident
    • When and where the incident occurred
    • Other people who were involved or who may have witnessed it
    • If you are seeking to convey a concern informally or a formal complaint

*In order to submit an anonymous complaint, you may use the form below. Please note, however, that anonymous or non-descriptive complaints may reduce or eliminate the ability for CMA to conduct a formal investigation or make recommendations for further action.

What Happens After You Make a Report

Once we receive a report, we will contact the individual who experienced the harassment. We will invite them to meet with us to discuss the situation so that we can conduct an initial assessment. Depending on the circumstances and information available, we might conduct a formal investigation, embark down a path of conflict resolution, or close the report.

Should a formal investigation be undertaken, a notice of the allegation will be sent to all parties, a report will be created, and the leadership team will determine appropriate discipline if applicable. Complainants and respondents will both be afforded the opportunity to speak with the investigators, and to provide evidence, testimony or materials, as applicable.

The leadership team may request any or all of affected parties take steps to help facilitate a safe, peaceful and impartial investigation.

What to Do When You Don’t Feel Safe

Please know that we are not crisis responders and do not provide emergency services. If you are experiencing an emergency or need immediate assistance with a violent or threatening matter, please dial 9-1-1 for all emergencies.

Submit a Concern or Complaint

All of the fields in the contact form are optional, should you want to submit an anonymous complaint. Please note, however, that anonymous or non-descriptive complaints may be submitted but may reduce or eliminate the ability for CMA to conduct a formal investigation or make recommendations for further action.