Awards Code of Ethics

The James Beard Foundation, its Awards committee, and members of the subcommittees have established a code of ethics as a guideline for all entrants, semifinalists, and nominees, as well as its voting body.

All Entrants, as well as James Beard Foundation staff, board members, committee members, and judges must act in a manner that is consistent with the values of the James Beard Foundation and its Awards Program, honoring and working individually and together in a fair and transparent manner to further our industry.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of behaviors and practices that are antithetical to the values of the James Beard Foundation and its Awards program:  

  • Inhumane, exploitative, or unlawful workplace practices;
  • Sexism, racism, harassment, or similar behavior, including but not limited to:  
    • Threats of violence, including bullying;  
    • Discriminatory or racist jokes and language; 
    • Sharing of sexually explicit or violent material;  
    • Use of abusive language; and  
    • Inappropriate sexual attention;    
  • Misrepresentation of material facts, including fabrication, plagiarism, or false claims of ownership;
  • Retaliation against workers who raise legitimate concerns; and
  • Stealing of wages or tips.
  • Additionally, all individuals must comply with all applicable federal and local laws, including those regarding fraud, bribery, corruption, assault, and child labor.


Allegations Against Prior Award Winners

Moving forward, all Awards will be issued with a license that stipulates alignment with the Code of Ethics. A known breach will result in the recipient not being able to use the James Beard Awards association, including the use of its seal, logo, or image.

At this time the Foundation does not intend to rescind Awards that have been issued. Award recipients have already received their accolades and benefits associated with these Awards.


An Independent Ethics Committee in Formation

Over the next few months, an independent volunteer ethics committee will be established to address allegations made about potential winners, or members of the voting body.

The Ethics Committee will be responsible for establishing policies and procedures for vetting, conducting fair and impartial review of allegations, and will function independently from the Awards Committee, subcommittee members, and the Foundation’s staff, including its Awards team.

This committee will report to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees’ Governance Committee.

The committee is currently being formulated and will comprise five to six members with a range of professional backgrounds that include law and ethics.

Please visit this page for continued updates.