Professional Standards

The American Guild of Organists Code of Ethics

Preamble: Founded as an educational and collegial organization, the American Guild of Organists strives to support its members in their professional lives and work. In keeping with this goal, and recognizing the diversity of its membership, the Guild establishes the following rules of conduct, which shall be considered binding upon all members in good standing.

Rule 1. All individuals shall be eligible for membership and participation in the American Guild of Organists.

The Guild-its Headquarters, Regions, Districts, and Chapters shall not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, age, religious affiliation, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition (including, but not limited to, acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

All members are entitled to enjoy the privileges and are expected to accept the responsibilities of membership in the Guild. Members shall be considered equally for Guild offices and participation in Guild activities. Members shall abide by the Code of Ethics, the Code of Professional Standards, the By-Laws of the American Guild of Organists and the Operating Procedures of their local Chapters.

The Guild’s referrals and recommendations for prospective employment shall be based solely upon professional competence and availability.

The Guild shall consider members’ physical disabilities when choosing sites for its activities, and it shall endeavor to make printed material accessible to members with visual disabilities.

Rule 2. Members shall strive to promote good working relationships within this organization and within their employing institutions.
Members shall observe both the spirit and the letter of this Code of Ethics in their dealings with the Guild, with individual members and with musicians under their supervision. In their relationships with employing institutions, members shall abide by the Code.

Members shall address differences of opinion within this organization through appropriate channels, including its Discipline. Members shall address differences of opinion with employing institutions through appropriate channels, as provided by their individual employment agreements and the Guild’s Procedures for Dealing with Complaints about Employment Matters.

Rule 3. Members shall respect the employment of colleagues.

Members shall not apply for a position, appearing to be soliciting a position, engage in discussion about possible employment or attempt to place a student or colleague in a
position until the incumbent shall have resigned or been notified of termination by the institution. It is the responsibility of the members to determine whether the incumbent has been notified. Furthermore, members shall not undermine or attempt to dislocate an incumbent.

In cases where the National Council has determined that a position has been made vacant by wrongful termination of a member of the American Guild of Organists (see Procedures for Dealing with Complaints about Employment Matters), members shall not seek employment or attempt to place a student or colleague in the position until the National Council has declared that differences between the Guild and the institution have been resolved.

A member may accept a performing engagement only when such an engagement has been approved by the incumbent musician. It is the responsibility of the member to determine whether approval has been granted. In cases where such a performing engagement, for a wedding, funeral or other occasional service, has been requested by a third party, it is appropriate for the third party to offer the incumbent the customary fee as a professional courtesy.

Rule 4. Members shall respect the legal rights of others.

Members shall respect the property rights of composers, authors, and publishers by being aware of and complying with the Copyright Law and attendant procedures regarding performance, reproduction and recording rights.

Members shall respect the employment rights of others by being aware of and complying with all laws and procedures pertaining to immigration and work permits.

American Guild of Organists Code of Professional Standards

Skills

i. Members develop and maintain skills in performance, improvisation, service playing, conducting, arranging, and composing commensurate with their duties.

ii. Members stay abreast of current developments in liturgy, hymnody, performance practice, and musicology through continuing education.

iii. Members become knowledgeable in the liturgy and worship traditions of the institutions they serve.

iv. Members acquire business, administrative and interpersonal skills to perform their duties.

Employment Matters

i. Members agree to employment only after reaching a clear understanding of the position, the employer’s expectations, and the lines of accountability.

ii. Members request written contracts that protect employee and employer.

iii. Members maintain courteous and respectful relationships with other staff members and members of their congregations, making an effort to resolve potential conflicts as soon as they become evident.

iv. Members address differences with employing institutions through appropriate channels, including, but not limited to, their contract, the institution’s personnel policies manual, and the Guild’s Procedures for Dealing with Complaints about Termination.

Respect for Colleagues

i. Members supervise other musicians in a professional and courteous manner.

ii. Members respect the intellectual property rights of composers, authors and publishers by complying with the Copyright Law and licensing requirements regarding reproduction, recording, distribution, broadcasting and performing rights.

iii. Members address differences with other members of the American Guild of Organists by following the procedures outlined in the Discipline.

iv. Members do not discriminate against others on the basis of race, national origin, age, religious affiliation, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or medical condition (including, but not limited to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

v. Members do not use AGO affiliation or membership information publicly (except for biographical purposes) to endorse, for commercial advantage, the financial and business goals or the products and services of others or to further any political goals.