AFL-CIO Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

The AFL-CIO recently created two policies that are binding for our staff, leaders and activists.

The anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy protects officers and staff from discrimination based on certain personal characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, sex, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, among others. It also protects officers and staff from harassment, including sexual harassment.

The code of conduct provides similar protection to any nonofficer or staff member who attends one of our events: an activity, event or meeting convened by any federation body.

Additionally, it protects anyone, including officers and staff, from other behavior that is not covered by the anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy.

You do not have to be a staff person to be protected by the code of conduct. Unacceptable behavior under the code of conduct includes such things as bullying and stalking, uninvited sexual attention or contact, physical assault (including uninvited touching or groping), and real or implied threat of physical harm.

Everyone involved in our organization should strive to help us create a positive environment free from harassment and discrimination of any kind. You—our staff and leaders—are protected by these policies, and you also are required to comply with them.

Implementing these policies means making them part of an ongoing conversation about how we conduct the business of our movement. It means creating a dialogue about valuing everyone’s leadership and how our culture can enable staff, leaders, activists and members to make their best contributions. It means regularly reinforcing the values these policies enshrine. Implementation requires regular training and consistent reference to the policy and values on which it is based.

Additional Resources


The AFL-CIO will develop and disseminate a model training guide for unions. You also may want to consult any of these additional resources.

The Pink to Green Toolkit (Wider Opportunities for Women, Institute for Women’s Policy Research)

Responses to Union Members Who Perpetrate Violence (Workplaces Respond)

What to Do If You Are Targeted at Work for Violence, Harassment or Hate Speech (AFL-CIO)

Stopping Sexual Harassment: An AFSCME Guide (AFSCME)


Workplaces Respond (Futures Without Violence)
This initiative educates and builds collaborations among workplace and nonworkplace stakeholders to prevent and respond to domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, stalking and exploitation affecting the workplace.


Ending Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work in the United States (AFL-CIO)
This report highlights the urgent need to end gender-based violence in the workplace in the United States.

Fact Sheet: Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (National Women’s Law Center)

Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (National Women’s Law Center)

Hands Off, Pants On: Sexual Harassment in Chicago’s Hospitality Industry (UNITE HERE)
This report outlines proposed changes in local and state laws to address the serious issue of sexual harassment in Chicago’s hospitality industry.

Reimagining Workplace Safety Convening Report (Futures Without Violence, United Way)
Strategies to shift the culture of the workplace to one that enhances support to workers experiencing gender-based violence on the job or at home.

Women in Construction and the Economic Recovery: Results from 2013 IWPR Tradeswomen Survey (Institute for Women’s Policy Research)
This survey finds the construction trades offer good wages for female workers, but harassment and discrimination still are common.

Status of Women in the States: 2015 — Violence & Safety (Institute for Women’s Policy Research)
This report examines intimate partner violence and abuse, rape and sexual assault, stalking, workplace violence and sexual harassment, teen dating violence and bullying, gun violence and human trafficking.

Intersections of Domestic Violence and Economic Security (Institute for Women’s Policy Research)
Intimate partner violence has short- and long-term negative effects on survivors’ economic security and independence.


Chicago Men React to Workplace Harassment and Assault (UNITE HERE)

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace (AFL-CIO)