NOSSCR values our members and works tirelessly to ensure an exceptional member experience. To deliver that exceptional experience, NOSSCR and all NOSSCR members are bound by the following policies, terms, conditions, and codes of conduct.
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NOSSCR is committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for participants at all NOSSCR events.
We expect all participants at NOSSCR events to abide by this Code of Conduct in all venues, including ancillary events and social gatherings.
Be considerate and respectful in your speech and actions.
Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech.
Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants.
Alert community leaders if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Conduct.
Unacceptable behaviors include, but are not limited to:
If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the NOSSCR staff immediately.
At an in-person event, staff can be identified by their badges or found at either the information or registration desks. All reports are confidential.
Unacceptable behavior from any participant at a NOSSCR event, including attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, contractors, volunteer leaders, vendors, venue staff, and anyone with decision-making authority, will not be tolerated.
Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. Repeated or serious violations of this policy will result in an order to leave the event immediately without a refund. Egregious violations will result in more severe sanctions.
If you have been falsely or unfairly accused of violating this Code of Conduct, you should notify NOSSCR’s staff or the NOSSCR Membership Standards Committee with a concise description of your grievance.
Welcome to NOSSCR’s new Communities! NOSSCR will assist in adding and removing subscribers, monitoring posts and participants, managing content, and responding in a timely manner as applicable.
This includes compliance with and will require that all subscribers to the Communities comply with all applicable U.S. law, as well as require that all subscribers to the Communities agree not to use the internet connection for illegal purposes, including but not limited to, defamation, violation of intellectual property laws, violation of antitrust or unfair competition laws or violation of criminal laws. Nothing in these rules and policies shall be interpreted as restricting NOSSCR or any Community participant from following mandatory reporting requirements of U.S. law, a state bar, or court order.
Communities’ administrators/owners are responsible for saving archived messages to their list(s). NOSSCR reserves the right to delete archived messages. When NOSSCR members join Communities or post to NOSSCR’s listservs, they agree to abide by these Rules and Policies, as amended from time to time, in addition to other standards such as our Code of Conduct. NOSSCR members are reminded annually to review these rules, which may be found below.
Violations of these rules may result in immediate suspension of posting privileges or other restrictions, reviewed by NOSSCR’s CEO. Posting in Communities is not an automatic privilege for all members, and past behavior of members in this or other similar contexts may be considered in allowing or disallowing participation. NOSSCR is not required to provide explanation for declined Communities posts or restricted participation.
Rule 1: Do not use the forum for illegal purposes, including but not limited to defamation, violation of intellectual property laws, violation of antitrust or unfair competition laws or violation of criminal laws.
Copyright – Referring to an article or news item with typical reference citations, providing a brief quote, or offering a link to legitimate online published content is permissible; Community members should not post a full-text version of published material to the Communities. Not infrequently a Community member wants to tell others about an article or news item related to the issues discussed in the Community.
However, sending the entire article to the Community, without the permission of the author or publisher, results in a prima facie case of copyright violation. While there can be defenses to a claim of copyright infringement where the purpose of copying is clearly not for commercial purposes (e.g. “fair use” or academic teaching exceptions), those defenses are complicated, have been construed differently in different jurisdictions and are not necessarily applicable to Communities distribution.
Defamation and libel – In exchanges on the Communities and when referring to others, avoid personal attacks and characterizations that question a person’s motives or qualifications. Sometimes a robust debate about ideas spills over into attacks on the proponents or opponents of the ideas. Community members need to be reminded that a false statement that harms someone’s reputation can be actionable as libel. There is a substantial difference between disagreeing with how someone did their research or treated a client and accusing the person of fraud or incompetence. Because negative statements that impugn someone’s professional qualifications can cause substantial economic and emotional harm, this is an area for careful scrutiny. Keeping criticism on an objective basis that is factually verifiable and skipping personal commentary about character, competence or motive minimizes legal risk.
Antitrust concerns – NOSSCR by its nature is subject to antitrust issues. Discussions about rates charged, efforts to exert collective pressure on payors, terms of contracts, internship salaries, etc., all are prohibited. The antitrust laws are broad and complex but on a very basic level they operate to prohibit and even in some cases criminalize certain anticompetitive agreements between competitors. A professional association like NOSSCR is almost by definition a group of competitors that has come together to pursue common interests. Where those common interests involve agreements on such terms of competition as rates charged, salaries paid, standards applicable to members of the profession, and other issues of the marketplace, the antitrust laws may apply. Communities provide a written record of statements that may create an antitrust risk even when there is no anti-competitive intent.
Ethics – Discussions of fact patterns involving ethics issues or questions must all be posed in hypothetical terms. If a post is not clearly stated in hypothetical terms, it may be refused or it must be interpreted as describing a hypothetical situation.
Rule 2: Do not intentionally interfere with or disrupt other forum members, network services, or network equipment. This includes distribution of unsolicited advertisement or chain letters, propagation of computer worms and viruses, and use of the network to make unauthorized entry to any other machine accessible via the Community.
Rule 3: Do not use the Forum for commercial purposes. “Commercial” as used for purposes of evaluating Communities messages means communications whose primary purpose is to advance the business or financial interests of any person or entity, or otherwise to promote a financial transaction for the benefit of the author directly or indirectly. Examples of prohibited communications include advertisements for products or services, notices regarding rental of office space, or direct solicitations of Communities members to purchase products or services.
Examples of messages that may be of financial benefit to Communities members but are not prohibited because they do not inure to the financial benefit of the author include news of job listings or position openings, or discussion of professionally related products or services where the Communities member conveying the information is not in the business of selling the products or services. Announcements that provide useful professional information to Community members but may also have some incidental commercial benefit to the sender (e.g., an author who is a Community member merely advising the Community of publication of a professional book) typically would not be “commercial” for purposes of this restriction.
Rule 4: Do not violate privacy rules or disclose Community content with anyone outside the Community. All information shared on the Communities board is limited to verified members of NOSSCR. Only verified members are allowed to join and participate in the Community. NOSSCR does not allow Community participation by employees of the federal government, administrative or federal judges, vocational witnesses, medical experts, or others who are the subject of open professional conversation by NOSSCR’s claimant representatives. New members may be required to provide relevant information to verify their identity and professional credentials. Do not share or disclose any personally identifiable information (PII) of fellow members without their explicit consent.
No External Sharing of Posts: Information and discussions shared on the Community are intended solely for members’ benefit. Do not forward, share, or reproduce posts from the Community outside of the Community without the original author’s consent.
Use of PII in Responses: When responding to a post that involves a specific case or situation, avoid including any personal or sensitive information that could identify individuals or clients, even if anonymized. Further, do not share or disclose any personally identifiable information (PII) of fellow members without their explicit consent.
Secure Communication: We encourage members to use secure communication practices when sharing sensitive information within the Community.
Professional Conduct: All members must adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct and ethics. Avoid engaging in any behavior that could reflect poorly on the legal profession, yourself, or NOSSCR.
Respectful Communication: Treat all members with respect and courtesy. Avoid personal attacks, offensive language, and discriminatory remarks. Do not assert or imply that another member is unethical or acting illegally. NOSSCR’s Communities are not the forum for such activity.
Confidentiality: Do not share confidential client information or any privileged communications on the Communities.
Relevance: Keep discussions relevant to the legal profession, legal issues, and matters of professional interest. Avoid off-topic discussions.
No Solicitation: Do not use the Communities for commercial purposes or to promote products, services, or events without prior approval from the Community administrators.
No Spam: Refrain from posting repetitive or irrelevant messages that could be considered spam.
Civility: Engage in constructive debates and discussions. Disagreements are allowed, but always maintain a respectful tone.
No Unauthorized Advertising: Do not advertise job openings, services, or events without prior permission from the Community administrators.
Respect Copyright and Intellectual Property: Do not share copyrighted material without permission from the owner.
Report Inappropriate Content: If you come across any content that violates the rules or Community guidelines, report it to the administrators promptly.
Personal Liability: Each member is personally responsible for their own posts and comments.
Keep Discussions Legal and Ethical: Do not engage in discussions that promote or encourage illegal or unethical behavior.
Practical Limits: Consider whether your post is worth sending to hundreds of busy professionals. Do not use posts to schedule personal meetings, to thank someone for sending you something, adding “me too” without furthering a topic, or to say hello to a friend. Ask yourself, “will my post add to the knowledge base for the other members in the Community?” If not, respond directly to the other member instead.
Search for yourself first: Before asking Communities for assistance, first attempt to answer a question or solve a problem yourself. The Communities are not a substitute for doing your own internet search or legal research. Indeed, the internet may be faster and even more reliable than asking Communities for assistance. NOSSCR’s Research for Advocates, https://nosscr.org/research-advocates/, has pre-formed Google searches. For example, instead of asking Communities for the SGA amount for non-blind individuals for 2010, simply pose that same question using a search engine. Sample Searches: “SSA POMS SGA non-blind 2010” or “SSA EDPNA.”
Appropriate frequency: Do not post messages so often that Communities exchanges become a dialogue between you and the entire Community. You should add to your post or contribute further only if it will add content. However, there is a limit to how much the Communities should hear from just one person. Maintain an appropriately professional frequency of your posts, allowing for others to be heard.
Politics: Do not use the Communities for political discussion or promotion of candidates.
Other associations: Do not use the Communities to promote or to negatively describe other associations or nonprofits. This is a particular focus for associations that NOSSCR works with regularly, such as NADR.
NOSSCR: NOSSCR’s Communities are not the appropriate forum for negatively describing NOSSCR’s operations, events, board, or staff. NOSSCR has leadership that will handle such matters directly, and communications to email@example.com are always reviewed. All nonprofits make mistakes, and NOSSCR requires funding and time to make corrections. NOSSCR has not established Communities to substitute for the annual meetings of the membership, board, or committees that strive to make NOSSCR a premier organization. Constructive and respectful feedback such as “please provide more CLE that counts for ethics in my state” is appreciated by NOSSCR, but we ask that you communicate on those topics with us directly.
Membership refunds are handled on a case-by-case basis. Please contact 202-849-6466 or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions concerning cancelations and refunds.
Event refunds are available up to 30 days before an event’s start date. After that, refunds for events are handled on a case-by-case basis. Please reach out to email@example.com for questions concerning event cancelations and refunds.
NOSSCR will never share or sell your membership data without your permission.
Members are given the option to allow NOSSCR to share their data with trusted business and marketing partners who may have products or services that are relevant to NOSSCR members. We will only share your data, including sharing it with third parties, where (1) you have provided your consent which can be withdrawn at any time, (2) the sharing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which you are a party, (3) we are required by law, (4) sharing is required to protect your vital interests or those of another person, or (5) sharing is necessary for the purposes of our legitimate nonprofit mission or interests, except where such interests are overridden by your rights and interests.
For members who do opt in, NOSSCR may share the membership-record information you provide, such as name, address, telephone number, email address, or other descriptions of your practice. NOSSCR may share whether you have registered or attended an event or conference. NOSSCR will not share payment/financial information, content posted in Communities or listservs, litigation strategy, work product or attorney-client privileged information, or information about individual claimants or clients of NOSSCR members.
These partners may contact NOSSCR members using this information to offer services or products they believe will be helpful to NOSSCR members. If you have questions or concerns about this notice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at 1300 I St NW Suite 825 Washington DC 20005.