Code of Conduct

Main content

ETH Zurich and the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering aim for highest quality in teaching and research with a positive and open athmosphere for all people involved.


John Lygeros

At D-ITET, we maintain an inclusive, open and friendly environment, where our students, employees and faculty can thrive and achieve their highest potential, based on mutual respect. To preserve this cordial environment, we do not tolerate misbehaviour of any kind, including threats, violence, bullying, sexual harrassment, discrimination, or dishonesty in study and in research.

Prof. John Lygeros, Head of Department

Our principles

We ensure that our environment is respectful and professional for all D-ITET members including professors, students, lecturers, research, administrative, and technical staff.

Mutual respect and responsible everyday interaction

We maintain a supportive environment for all members of the department, regardless of origin, religion, beliefs, gender, or sexual identity.

Open and fair communication and conflict resolution

We communicate openly and sympathetically with each other. All conflicts are resolved in a fair and objective manner.

Honesty and integrity in academic matters

We document methods, data, workflows, and results faithfully. There is a clear distinction between own work and the work of others. All sources are credited correctly.

Inappropriate Behaviour

We consider the following types of behaviour unacceptable in our environment. The definitions and examples mirror the corresponding policy adopted by ETH.

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Threats and Violence


Violence at the workplace includes any action, incident, or behaviour that departs from reasonable conduct in which a person is assaulted, threatened, harmed, injured in the course of, or as a direct result of, her or his work (International Labour Organization, UN, p. 10).

Physical violence of any kind is unacceptable in our community. Psychological violence is subtler but no less cruel.

We do not tolerate:

  • Verbal or non-verbal insults, humiliation, or abuse.
  • Verbal or non-verbal pressure or threats.
  • Harassment or stalking.

We consider the following examples as inappropriate behaviour:

  • One person blocks use of experimental equipment and threatens that if the other person does not back down in their rightful claim to use it they will make sure that it is bad for their career.
  • A professor threatens doctoral students to sabotage their career if they do not prolong their doctoral thesis time (just for the benefit of the professor who profits from more experienced PhD students).



Bullying is the regular, systematic harassment by colleagues, managers, or subordinates over an extended period with the aim of exhausting the person in question and gradually driving them out of their job, or study program (Leymann H, 2006).

We do not tolerate:

  • Targeted exclusion of colleagues and team members, refusal of contact, and withholding information.
  • Needling, insulting, contemptuous comments, and defamation.
  • Assignment of humiliating tasks, intensive monitoring, and unjustified criticism.
  • Intentional exclusion or taking advantage based on language.

We consider the following examples as inappropriate behaviour:

  • Excluding a relevant person from meetings, access to meeting minutes, or events.
  • Excluding a person from meetings due to language, i.e., by not inviting them, or holding the meeting in a language that not all people understand.
  • A professor demands confidential information about reviewers from a post-doc in another lab.

Sexual Harassment


Any harassing behaviour of a sexual nature or other behaviour related to the person's sex that adversely affects the dignity or equality of women or men in the workplace is discriminatory (see Swiss Gender Equality Act, Art. 4).

We do not tolerate:

  • Sexist jokes and suggestive, disparaging, or contemptuous remarks or actions.
  • Displaying and disseminating pornographic material including posters, or screen savers.
  • Undesired physical contact.
  • Exploitation of a dependent relationship.

We consider the following examples as inappropriate behaviour:

  • A pornographic screen saver on a personal laptop visibly displayed in a work or study environment.
  • Unwanted physical contact from a colleague or superior, e.g. putting an arm around someone, or touching them repeatedly.
  • A lecturer making sexist jokes or comments in a lecture or meeting with students.
  • Making comments that women are less tough or less skilled in any area just because they are a woman.



Intentional or unintentional discrimination of persons in comparable situations because of actual or attributed group-specific characteristics such as gender, origin, nationality, religion, ideology, physical ability, sexual identity, and professional status (see Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, Art. 8, para. 2).

We do not tolerate:

  • Unequal appraisal, promotion, and treatment on the grounds of gender, origin, nationality, religion, ideology, physical ability, sexual identity, and professional status.
  • Discrimination because of pregnancy or maternity.
  • Sexist or racist representation of persons in presentations, video material, and computer programs.

We consider the following examples as inappropriate behaviour:

  • Not adhering to the maternity leave laws and regulations.
  • Disparaging and personal comments in teaching evaluations, i.e., comments about the lecturer’s appearance, tone of voice, or person.
  • Not hiring someone due to their gender, origin, nationality, religion, ideology, physical ability, or sexual identity.
  • Application of rules and processes differently to people in the same position based on their gender, origin, nationality, religion, ideology, physical ability, or sexual identity.
  • Making degrading comments to a student based on their sexual orientation.
  • Making unwelcome comments about looks or dress.

How to react to inappropriate behaviour:

  • If you are a victim of inappropriate behaviour, you should respond quickly and firmly.
  • A slow response makes it more difficult to convey that the behaviour or actions are inappropriate and unwelcome. It must be understood that you will not tolerate such behaviour. If you are silent or passive, this can be interpreted as acceptance of the inappropriate actions and behaviour.
  • If verbal communication is unsuccessful, inform the harasser in writing that the inappropriate behaviour must stop. See: Sample letter to someone harassing you.
  • Talk to other people. Determine if others are having similar experiences.
  • Document your situation. Keeping a detailed log in which you note all incidents (i.e. the person harassing you, date, time, place, words, gestures, type of offence, witnesses) can make it easier to prove inappropriate behaviour and actions.
  • Depending on the type of inappropriate behaviour, ETH regulations provide different mechanisms through which complaints can be escalated. The people on our contact list can advise on this matter.
  • People who accuse innocent people of inappropriate behaviour can expect the same consequences as those who harass others!


Contact the relevant organizations and people depending on who you feel most comfortable to talk to. As a first point of contact, you can always turn to our confidant D-ITET.

Confidentiality and discretion are guaranteed by all contact persons.

List of contacts

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Sat Jun 24 13:49:44 CEST 2017
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