Procedure for Handling Ethical Matters

Procedures for Handling Ethical Matters of Relating to the Joint Standards of Practice

A report of an alleged violation of the Joint Code of Ethics may be filed in accordance with the procedures set forth herein. Complaints shall be limited to subjects specified in the Joint Code of Ethics.

Procedures for Handling Ethical Matters of Relating to the Joint Standards of Practice

A report of an alleged violation of the Joint Code of Ethics may be filed in accordance with the procedures set forth herein. Complaints shall be limited to subjects specified in the Joint Code of Ethics.

  1. Filing of a Complaint
  1. To proceed, the individual filing the Complaint (Complainant) shall:
    1. Submit their Complaint in writing via The Complaint Form. In the event that a complaint is sent to a member of a Board of Directors or the Executive Director, The Complainant is asked to fill out the form. No consideration will be given any ethics complaint not filed accordingly.
    2. The following information is necessary to process a Complaint:
      1. Names of alleged violator (Respondent) and Complainant.
      2. The specific portion of the Ethics Code alleged to have been violated.
      3. A specific written description included in the form, including where the violation was alleged to have occurred, who was involved, what happened, and what sections of the Ethics Code apply.
      4. Any details deemed to be of importance in support of the Complaint.
    3. Complainant shall disclose at the time of the filing of a Complaint and during the pendency of the matter, any and all legal action undertaken based on the same facts as those asserted in the Complaint.
  2. The Ethics Chair is notified of incoming complaints, and the Chair and Review Panel Committee (RPC) assess the evidence submitted as it relates to the Joint Code of Ethics.
  1. Receipt and Initial Review of Report of Alleged Violation
  1. The Ethics Chair shall acknowledge receipt of the Complaint to the Complainant without further comment within 10 days of the receipt of the Complaint.
  2. Within 14 days of receipt, the Ethics Chair shall appoint a Complaint Review Panel (CRP) of three Ethics Committee members to review the Complaint and gather additional information from the Complainant and witnesses, as needed. The CRP may include the Chair.
  3. The Chair only votes if serving as a member of that CRP.
  4. A committee member may not serve on the CRP in the review of any matter in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned or which presents an actual conflict of interest.
    1. Being a member of an involved organization is not considered a conflict of interest.
  5. At least one member of each organization represented by the Respondent may be appointed to the CRP.
    1. The ideal number of 3 CRP members can be increased, but no CRP may have fewer than 3 reviewers.  Any organization may decline to have a CRP representative provided the minimum number of 3 reviewers is met.
  6. The CRP shall appoint a member to prepare a preliminary report summarizing all allegations of violations of the Code of Ethics and any evidence supporting findings of violations.
    1. The preliminary report shall be prepared within 30 days of the receipt of the Complaint, with an extension possible with permission from the Chair. If approved by the Executive Director Committee (EDC), legal counsel may be contacted for advice. At any time during the investigation, the CRP may consult with the Ethics Chair (if not a member of the CRP) regarding the report.
  7. If the CRP concludes that the Complaint does not provide sufficient evidence of violation of the Ethics Code, the Ethics Chair shall notify the Complainant that the matter is closed with the Joint Panel. The Ethics Chair shall notify the EDC of the decision and of the notification to the Complainant. The Respondent will not be notified that a complaint was filed against them.
    1. If the CRP concludes that the matter is not a violation of the Joint Standards, but one member organization believes it violates their own addendum standard, the matter may be continued within that organization’s internal procedure. All findings will be filed with the Joint Ethics Panel for future reference.
  8. If the CRP determines there is evidence of an individual organization’s additional pledge or membership contract unrelated to the Joint Code of Ethics, the matter will be referred to that organization’s internal administrative processes. Regardless of findings, the matter will be recorded in the Joint Panel’s records.
  9. If the CRP believes that there is evidence supporting findings of violations, the Ethics Chair shall notify the Respondent of the existence of the Complaint and provide the Respondent 30 days to furnish a statement and/or any relevant evidence in response to the Complaint and to respond to questions propounded by the CRP. The Complaint and supporting evidence shall be summarized and the summary provided to the Respondent. The Ethics Chair shall forward the responses to the CRP.
  10. The CRP may promulgate additional questions to the Respondent and provide an additional 15 days for responses. If requested, the CRP may grant an additional 15 days to the Respondent to answer. Failure to respond to questions propounded by the CRP on the part of the Respondent shall be considered grounds for sanction, up to and including termination of membership in the association.
  11. After the CRP has received the response from the Respondent, the CRP may promulgate additional questions to the Complainant. If necessary for the Complainant to respond to the questions, the CRP may provide a summary of the response by the Respondent. The Complainant shall have 15 days to respond to any questions and/or provide any additional information to the CRP. If requested, the CRP may grant an additional 15 days to the Complainant. If the Complainant fails to furnish the additional information requested, this may be considered grounds for dismissal of the Complaint.
  12. Within 45 days of the receipt of all responses and not more than 90 days after publication of the preliminary report, a member of the CRP shall prepare a final report summarizing the CRP’s findings regarding the allegations and the evidence supporting them. The report shall also include a proposed resolution if the evidence supports a finding of a Code of Ethics violation. The CRP may also recommend sanctions where deemed appropriate. The report shall recommend dismissal of the Complaint if the evidence does not support a finding of a Code of Ethics violation. All decisions shall be by a majority vote of the CRP.
  13. The EDC and Ethics Chair shall review the final report to determine if the recommendations of the CRP should be accepted.
    1. If the recommendation is dismissal and is accepted by the EDC and Ethics Chair, the Ethics Chair shall notify the Complainant and Respondent of the dismissal.  All decisions shall be by a majority vote of the EDC.
    2. If the recommendation is a resolution of the case and is accepted by the EDC and Ethics Chair, the Ethics Chair shall inform the respondent of the resolution to the Respondent.
    3. Receipt of the resolution by the respondent, through email, concludes the Complaint.
    4. Sanctions may include:
    5. Reprimand – Admonishment for infractions
    6. Education be completed
    7. Mentoring be completed
    8. Probation — From one week up to six months; may be combined with Reprimand
    9. Suspension – From one week up to six months may be imposed
    10. Termination – Termination of membership privileges; removal of certification may be imposed.
    11. The Sanctions Rubric will guide the recommendation of Sanctions
  14. If the recommendation of the CRP is not accepted by the EDC and Ethics Chair, the EDC may request that the CRP reconsider its recommendation based on specific reasons provided by the EDC.
    1. The CRP and Ethics Panel serve under the auspices of leadership. In the event that the CRP cannot find a resolution acceptable to the EDC, the EDC will determine a recommendation to be sent by the CRP to the Respondent.
  15. If at any time, the Complaint is dismissed, the Complainant shall have no right of appeal unless providing substantial new evidence. In its discretion, the Committee may reopen the matter for new evidence.
  16. Once the Respondent acknowledges receipt of the findings and resolution, the Ethics Chair shall notify the Complainant of the resolution without detail, and notifies the Complainant that the resolution is confidential.
  17.  In the event that the Respondent fails to provide proof of compliance of the imposed sanctions of the Ethics Panel within the timeframe specified in the case, membership will be subject to revocation from all Joint Ethics Panel organizations.
  18. In cases concerning termination of membership, an appeal review may be requested by the Respondent within 15 days of notice with the presentation of new evidence and reasoning to support the appeal.
    1. The complaint shall be forwarded to the original CRP with the evidence or reasoning that supports an appeal.
    2. Within 30 days of receipt, the committee will notify the respondent of its decision whether to grant an appeal
      1.  Should the new evidence provided warrant reopening of the case, the committee will re=open and reevaluate the case within 60 days
    3. Appeal review findings are final.
  19. The Chair may consult with legal counsel with the approval of the EDC.
  20. The Ethics Chair shall ensure that a record is kept of all proceedings related to Section B, including independent investigations done by individual organizations having to do with organization-specific pledges or contracts.

 

  1. Confidentiality
  1. Upon submission of a Complaint, Complainant will agree to be bound by the Procedures for Handling Ethical Matters (Procedures), and agree to keep submission of the Complaint, the identity of the Respondent, the alleged violation, and any related act or determination by the Ethics Committee, confidential, other than as noted herein. A breach of confidentiality may result in sanctions.
  2. Confidentiality shall be maintained throughout the process. Once a determination has been made, the parties involved will be notified of that determination. Details of the determination shall remain confidential except as provided in C. 9. above or as required by law.
  3. Violation of confidentiality by any member may be considered a violation of the Ethics Code. Violation of confidentiality by a non-member may result in dismissal of the Complaint and may result in civil penalties.
  4. The confidentiality obligations imposed by these Procedures do not preclude a Complainant, Respondent, witness, or any organization member involved in a Complaint from consulting legal counsel. Complainant and Respondent may seek the assistance of counsel in drafting statements and in responding to any questions asked pursuant to these Procedures.
  5. The EDC reserves the right to disclose the names of parties and resolution of a case if in the best interests of the organizations.
  6. A party to a Complaint may petition the Board for permission to disclose the names of the parties and the resolution of his/her case. The EDC may grant disclosure for good cause.

 

If you’d like to file an ethics complaint about a violation of the Joint Standards by a member of one of the subscribing organizations, you may do so on this page.