Voir en


A professional culture at CERN

James Purvis, Human Resources Department Head, on breaching CERN’s code of conduct


The richness of our Organization comes from our people; with diverse cultures, backgrounds and interests, we are able to achieve the incredible – pushing the frontiers of knowledge. Regrettably, the behaviour of some members of our community occasionally undermines our collective ambitions and the opportunity we have to work at CERN. Currently, the senior management, HR, computer security, legal service and communications teams are managing the consequences of the actions of a small group of individuals, which is having significant and widespread repercussions for our Organization – from queries about our conduct, culture & security through to potentially more politically delicate questions.

Despite our relaxed and informal campus atmosphere we are professional people, working in a professional environment. Maintaining CERN’s unique character requires respect for each other and for the communities that support CERN and its work. This is why we have a code of conduct, applicable to anyone on the CERN site.  Any behaviour, which can have a detrimental impact on how our Organization is perceived by our neighbours, our Member States and the wider international community, and hence could impact eventually on CERN’s reputation and fate, shall not be tolerated. 

When each of us start work on the CERN site, we sign a contract agreeing to abide by the Organization’s rules and regulations. Though prefaced by the word “staff”, these rules and regulations apply to all members of personnel: staff, fellows, users, students, etc. This contractual document states: “Members of the personnel shall conduct themselves with due regard to the interests and proper functioning of the Organization” [S I 3.01 Conduct]. Misconduct, including misuse of CERN premises and bringing disrepute to CERN’s name and the integrity of the Organization’s professional activities, can therefore result in disciplinary action. In addition, all users of CERN computing network sign the CERN computing rules stating that “the use of CERN computing facilities must cause no material or moral damage to the Organization, nor disrupt their operation.” In reference to this particular case, we are continuing investigations that could lead to disciplinary measures for the people involved.

We are all ambassadors for CERN, even when outside of our day-to-day work, e.g. on social media. Let’s focus our passion for working at such a unique place into collaborating together, to uphold CERN’s values of respect, integrity, commitment, professionalism, diversity and scientific creativity.

Read more: CERN code of conduct


Article revised on 23 August 2016