The La Leche League Code of Conduct
La Leche League (LLL) is a worldwide organization with local entities in many countries around the globe. La Leche League International (LLLI) is the U.S. based not-for-profit organization with the responsibility to protect the worldwide organization’s brand, accredit Leaders, maintain cohesion and communication among the various Direct Connect Entities (DCEs) that comprise LLL, and maintain a visible global presence for LLL.
LLLI is composed of the LLLI Board of Directors, LLLI Board committees, LLLI Executive Director (ED) and staff, and various global forums directly responsible to the LLLI Board of Directors. LLLI consists of accredited Leader volunteers (“LLL Leaders”), volunteers who are not accredited Leaders (“LLLI volunteers”), and paid staff.
Purpose of the Code of Conduct
This Code of Conduct applies to all LLL Leaders, the LLLI Board of Directors, Board committee and global forum members, to LLLI volunteers, and to all LLLI staff. It applies to all LLL Leaders’ activity and to the work of LLL social media administrators or moderators, whether in-person, written, or electronic, including activity on both internal and external social media spaces whenever Leaders identify themselves as Leaders. See Social Media policy for LLL Leaders and Social Media–LLLI Board Member participation.
Upon accreditation, and when annually renewing their commitment to LLL, Leaders sign the LLL Leader “Statement of Commitment” (“SoC”) agreeing to represent LLL in accordance with the most recently published version of the La Leche League Policies and Standing Rules (PSR) as posted on the LLLI website, which includes this Code of Conduct. The commitment to ethical behavior is inherent in the PSR and fundamental to being part of La Leche League.
LLLI Board members and members of LLLI Board committees and global forums who are not LLL Leaders are expected to adhere to the sections of this Code of Conduct that pertain to their work with LLLI.
The LLLI ED and all other paid contractors or staff members are also expected to adhere to the sections of this Code of Conduct that pertain to their work with LLLI and LLL.
Allegations that an LLL Leader has failed to uphold this Code of Conduct are addressed through the Area, Area Network, Direct Connect Entity (DCE), or LLLI Conflict Resolution Process, as appropriate.See the Resource Bank’s listing of Area contacts for their complaint processes and the LLLI Conflict Resolution Process.
LLL entities may modify the LLL Code of Conduct to include necessary additional requirements relating to local codes and laws. However, LLL entities’ own policies cannot contradict or be less ethically rigorous than the LLL Code of Conduct appearing in the PSR.
Allegations that an LLLI volunteer or the ED has failed to uphold this Code of Conduct are addressed through the LLLI Conflict Resolution Process.
Allegations that an LLLI staff member has violated this Code of Conduct are addressed to the ED using the Complaint Form.
The La Leche League Code of Conduct
- LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff adhere to the Mission, Vision, and Purpose of LLL, protect its brand, and, in their LLL roles, act in ways that are consistent with LLL philosophy.
- 1.1 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff exercise good judgment and recognize the limits of their qualifications.
- 1.2 Leaders, LLLI volunteers, LLLI staff understand and follow the LLLI Conflict of Interest policy as stated in the LLL Policies and Standing Rules (PSR).
- 1.3 LLL Leaders who are engaged in paid professions and businesses which offer products or services of value to families make all efforts to separate their roles as LLL Leaders from these paid professions. Leaders do not use their LLL positions or LLL platforms to promote any non-LLL products or services. If Leaders are asked to recommend pertinent services, they offer a selection of services, preferably from an independent list, which need not be exhaustive and which may include their own product or service. Because some Areas have more rigorous restrictions, Leaders check with their local support to be sure they are adhering to Area practice and local laws.
- LLL Leaders comply with the administrative processes of all constituent units in which they volunteer.
- 2.1 LLL Leaders fulfill their administrative responsibilities to the organization by keeping personal information held by constituent units up to date, fees current, and communicating regularly with the organization and with any designated support persons.
- 2.2 LLL Leaders update their knowledge through regular participation in enrichment opportunities.
- 2.3 LLL Leaders actively help eligible individuals find out about LLL leadership and support their preparation to become LLL Leaders.
- 2.4 LLL Leaders maintain accurate and complete records of their Leader work, including all helping contacts, LLL Group finances, and administrative requirements and take all steps to ensure that LLL documents are maintained securely and retained in line with applicable local legislation.
- 2.5 LLL Leaders respond promptly to any investigations or complaints against Leaders and cooperate with conflict resolution processes as requested.
- 2.6 LLL Leaders follow ethical business practices and use contracts as described in the Financial Code of Ethics.
- LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff work cooperatively with others throughout the organization regardless of differences and disagreement.
- 3.1 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff communicate and coordinate with others directly impacted by their work regardless of the Group, Area, Area Network, or DCE to which Leaders connect.
- 3.2 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff respect the accreditation and/or skills, experience, knowledge, and contributions of their colleagues. They are mutually accountable to their Leader, volunteer, and staff peers.
- 3.3 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff discuss differences of professional opinion, concerns and disagreements with respectful, open, civil communication and with fairness and honesty, in person, in writing, and in electronic spaces. See the Social Media Policy for LLL Leaders and Social Media – LLLI Board Member Participation. They take reasonable steps to recognize, identify, work through, and resolve conflict in a proactive manner, using Area, Area Network, and/or DCE support functions as appropriate. When a conflict and/or breach of this Code of Conduct cannot be resolved by the parties themselves, they use the relevant unit’s grievance or conflict resolution process. If these are not available to them, they use the LLLI Conflict Resolution Process.
- 3.4 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff freely and fully exchange breastfeeding, chestfeeding, human milk feeding, and other LLL related information with their LLL colleagues while complying with the LLL Confidentiality policy (see 6.2).
- 3.5 LLL Leaders encourage an environment of continuous learning and mutual accountability at Group, Area, Area Network, DCE, and International levels.
- LLL Leaders, LLLI staff, and LLLI volunteers understand how the World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent World Health Assembly resolutions impact their work. At minimum, this means that
- 4.1 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff recognize and accept that they are considered “Health workers” for the purposes of meeting obligations under the International Code (Article 3).
- 4.2 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff comply with Article 7 (health care workers)and Article 4.2 (educational materials) of the International Code.
- 4.3 As representatives of La Leche League, LLL Leaders, LLL entities, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff never accept donations or inducements (financial or material) from manufacturers or distributors of products who do not meet their obligations under the International Code.
- 4.4 LLL Leaders direct families who ask about the use of breastmilk substitutes to their healthcare professionals or provide resources with pertinent information. See the International Code 4.2. and the Leader Handbook section on the International Code.
- 4.5 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff convey to mothers and parents who use breastmilk substitutes or feeding devices that they are always welcome to seek LLL breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and parenting support. This could include LLL meetings, online and in person.
- 4.6 As representatives of LLL, LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff never give families donations or samples of breastmilk substitutes, or any other product covered by the International Code. See the Financial Code of Ethics.
- 4.7 At LLL presentations and events, LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers and LLLI staff do not allow advertisements or exhibits for any product that has been documented as being harmful to the breastfeeding dyad or the nursing relationship; any product that could undermine breastfeeding; any product covered by the International Code; any product incompatible with LLL purpose or philosophy; or any recalled product. See the LLL Financial Code of Ethics.
- In their LLL roles, LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff do not promote personal opinions or causes. Where other causes overlap with breastfeeding or the LLL Mission, Leaders may provide LLL information and speak to the relevance of breastfeeding to that cause.
- 5.1 LLL Leaders do not receive payment or personal donations for their basic responsibilities as Leaders as defined by the Definition of a Leader in the Leader Rights and Responsibilities policy, by the Code of Conduct 5.1, and by their entity’s own guidelines, if they exist. Donations towards the Leader’s Group, Area, Area Network, or DCE may be accepted. The entity accepting the donation keeps clear financial records noting the source and amount of the donation and how the donation has been used.
- 5.2 Leaders may work cooperatively with others who support, promote, and protect lactation and the nursing relationship. See the Cooperative Action policy (For partnerships and sponsorships with commercial entities see the Financial Code of Ethics.)
- 5.3 Leaders do not promote their own or anyone else’s personal, volunteer, commercial, or professional activities from their Leader platform. Leaders may disclose their LLL qualifications or experience as credentials within their personal, volunteer, commercial, or professional activities.
- 5.4 Leaders do not use their Leader role to set up any type of milk sharing network. See the Milk Donation policy.
- 5.5 In order to protect the reputation of LLLI, LLL Leaders do not act as representatives for any organization similar to LLL in providing volunteer, mother-to-mother/parent-to-parent breastfeeding or lactation support, nor do they provide volunteer administrative or Board member support for such organizations. LLL Leaders may be donors, members, or paid staff of similar organizations. See the Cooperative Action policy. (For partnerships and sponsorships with commercial entities see the Financial Code of Ethics)
- LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff demonstrate high standards of respect, honesty, and trust.
- 6.1 LLL Leaders and LLLI volunteers and LLLI staff uphold the standards and values set out in this Code and in the PSR.
- 6.2 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff keep medical or other sensitive personal information confidential unless permission has been granted. This includes but is not limited to in-person interactions, electronic communications, and written documentation. See the Confidentiality policy. Information relevant to a complaint may be shared as part of confidential grievance procedures.
- 6.3 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff behave in a manner that will not discredit the organization, cause unnecessary and continual conflict within the organization, or interfere with their effectiveness as Leaders or representatives of LLL, nor with the effectiveness of any other Leader or representative of LLL.
- 6.4 LLL Leaders follow the laws of the country in which a Leader is volunteering as a Leader. If the laws of the country conflict with La Leche League policies and procedures, the laws of the country take priority.
- 6.5 LLL Leaders are sensitive to the history, cultures, and customs of any country and community in which they are volunteering as Leaders.
- 6.6 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff do not use their LLL role to engage in personal relationships or sexual activities that exploit others, or use their LLL position to elicit favors, sexual or otherwise, from others.
- 6.7 LLL Leaders promptly disclose to the administrators of the entities to which they connect (Areas, Area Networks, or DCEs), any criminal charges or convictions against them related to offenses of harm to either children or adults. LLL Leaders who have any financial responsibility to LLL also disclose criminal charges or convictions against them related to financial misconduct.
- Anyone with a role within LLLI must also make these disclosures promptly to the LLLI ED.
- While carrying out their roles in LLL, LLL Leaders LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff treat all persons fairly and without discrimination, intimidation, bullying, or any form of harassment, regardless of the Leaders’ opinions and life choices.
- 7.1 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff respect the right of Leaders, mothers, and parents to follow their own judgment and instincts in raising and feeding their children. LLL Leaders offer information and support that is adaptable to a variety of family situations. LLL Leaders do not give specific advice.
- 7.2 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff treat all mothers, parents, Leaders, administrators, volunteers, and staff in LLL with acceptance and dignity; they respect each person’s right to determine their own identity and needs. See the Inclusivity Statement.
- 7.3 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff create open, trustworthy, and safe spaces. These spaces may be electronic, in-person, written, or social media spaces. Whether the space is open to the public or not, Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff maintain the degree of confidentiality required by each situation. See the Confidentiality policy.
- 7.4 LLL Leaders are aware that there will be differences among Leaders, Leader Applicants, and families supported by LLL and remain aware of the potential for bias. Leaders maintain a high level of considerate and thoughtful attention in their interactions with those whom they support and with their LLL colleagues.
- 7.5 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff avoid making assumptions about others and recognize diversity and individual choice.
- 7.6 LLL Leaders, LLLI volunteers, and LLLI staff are sensitive to individual needs and cultural customs.
Breach of this Code of Conduct
Anyone who, in good faith, believes that an LLL Leader, LLLI volunteer, LLLI staff member, or unit of the organization has breached this code is invited to file a complaint by filling out the Complaint Form.
(Mar 21, Feb 22)