Code of Conduct

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CMS-A Candidate Code of Conduct

CMS-A courses and examinations are guided by the same core values–Hospitality, Integrity, Humility, Self-Care, and Diversity–that Master Sommeliers are expected to embody. As such, candidates and students are also expected to develop these values while participating in CMS-A programming.


At all CMS-A programming and examinations, we expect attendees, students, and candidates to behave as hospitality professionals. Attendees shall engage in respectful conduct during programming and examinations toward fellow candidates and students, examiners and instructors, as well as venue staff, and shall follow the requirements of the CMS-A non-discrimination and anti-harassment policy as a matter of hospitality and a commitment to inclusion to ensure a safe environment that gives candidates the best opportunity for success and learning, no matter their identity or background. The CMS-A expects all candidates to follow instructions concerning the confidential nature of examination content in order to preserve the integrity of the examination process. While students and candidates at CMS-A programming and examinations are not members of the CMS-A, the use of CMS-A credentials makes students and candidates de facto public representatives of the organization. Conduct while wearing or representing a CMS-A credential, whether in-person or online, should be aligned with the CMS-A Core Values.


Egregious violations of the Code of Conduct outside of CMS-A programming and examinations may result in exclusion from further participation in CMS-A programming and loss of the use of CMS-A credentials.

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Alcohol and other substances can affect our ability to behave professionally when they are abused. In the interest of self-care, any candidates who would like to seek more information and other resources on substance dependence and abuse can find information here.


All candidates and students in attendance at a CMS-A event have an obligation to report any activities or behavior that they feel may compromise the integrity of an examination. These reports should be made as soon as possible to an on-site representative or an employee of the CMS-A. Additionally, candidates and students are obligated to report violations of the CMS-A Candidate or Member Code of Conduct to a member of the CMS-A Board of Directors or through the Lighthouse Services Reporting Line for CMS-A. Reporting violations of the Code of Conduct may be made anonymously.

Ethics Reporting Line:

We have established a confidential and anonymous Ethics Reporting Line through Lighthouse Service, Inc. The purpose is to report fraud, unlawful, unethical and other types of improper behavior. The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas is committed to developing effective lines of communication for our members and constituents.

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Any individual who has a good-faith reason to believe wrongdoing has occurred, and who reports a suspected or actual violation of legal, ethical, or professional standards, will be protected to the full capacity of the Board and Court from retaliation or retribution as a result of such reporting, regardless of whether a violation is found to have occurred.

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The Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas does not discriminate on the basis of any of the following categories covered by state or federal law: race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), disability (physical or mental), age, citizenship status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or veteran status. In addition, the Court does not tolerate behavior of any member, employee, or stakeholder that is discriminatory, harassing, or hostile toward an individual or group of individuals. Behavior found in violation of the Nondiscrimination Policy will result in corrective action, up to and including loss of the right to participate in Court programs, or loss of credential.

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