Procedures for Handling Ethical Matters of the IAABC
A report of an alleged violation of the IAABC Code of Ethics may be filed in accordance with the procedures set forth herein. Complaints shall be limited to subjects specified in the IAABC Code of Ethics.
In the event that the IAABC has not designated an Executive Director or the Executive Director is the subject or a witness regarding the Complaint, the President of the IAABC is delegated those powers and responsibilities assigned to the Executive Director below. If the complaint concerns the President, the Vice President shall stand in.
A. Filing of a Complaint
- To proceed, the individual filing the Complaint (Complainant) shall:
- Present Complaint to the Executive Director of the IAABC in writing.
- The following information is necessary to process a Complaint:
- Names of alleged violator (Respondent) and Complainant.
- The specific portion of the Ethics Code alleged to have been violated.
- A specific written description including where the violation was alleged to have occurred, who was involved, what happened, and what sections of the Ethics Code apply.
- Any details deemed to be of importance in support of the Complaint.
- 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.
- The BOD or Executive Director may in their discretion determine that a communication constitutes a Complaint and forward it to the Chair consistent with the procedures in B 3 below. The Ethics Committee Chair or his designee shall ensure that all materials in 1(b) above are submitted in order for the Complaint to proceed.
B. Receipt and initial review of report of alleged violation
- The IAABC Executive Director shall acknowledge receipt of the Complaint to the Complainant without further comment.
- The Executive Director shall forward the Complaint to the Chair of the Ethics Committee (Ethics Chair) within 48 hours and notify the BOD that a Complaint has been filed. The details of the Complaint shall be kept confidential in order to preserve the BOD's ability to provide a fair hearing, should an appeal be filed.
- The Ethics Chair shall appoint a Complaint Review Panel (CRP) of a maximum 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 if he/she so desires.
- 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. The preliminary report shall be prepared within 60 days of the receipt of the Complaint. If approved by the BOD, 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) and/or the Executive Director regarding the report.
- If the CRP concludes that the Complaint does not allege or provides insufficient evidence of violation of the Ethics Code, the Ethics Chair shall notify the Complainant that the matter is closed. The Ethics Chair shall notify the Executive Director of the decision and of the notification to the Complainant. The Executive Director and/or Ethics Chair shall also advise the Respondent that a Complaint was filed by the Complainant and that the matter is closed.
- If the CRP believes that there is evidence supporting findings of violations, the Ethics Chair or Executive Director shall notify the Respondent of the existence of the Complaint and provide 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 response shall be received by the Executive Director, who will forward it to the Ethics Chair. The Ethics Chair shall forward the responses to the CRP.
- The CRP may promulgate additional questions to the Respondent and provide an additional 30 days for responses. If requested, the CRP may grant additional time 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.
- After the CRP has received the response from the Respondent, the CRP may contact the Complainant for additional information. 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 30 days to respond to any questions and/or provide any additional information to the CRP. If requested, the CRP may grant additional time to the Complainant. If the Complainant fails to furnish the additional information requested, this may be considered grounds for dismissal of the Complaint.
- Within 60 days of the receipt of all responses, 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 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 majority vote of the CRP.
- The Executive Director and Ethics Chair shall review the final report to determine if the recommendations of the CRP should be accepted. If the recommendation is dismissal and is accepted by the Executive Director and Ethics Chair, the Ethics Chair shall notify the Complainant and Respondent of the dismissal. If the recommendation is a resolution of the case and is accepted by the Executive Director and Ethics Chair, the Ethics Chair shall present the proposed resolution to the Respondent. The Respondent shall have 15 days to accept the proposed resolution.
- If the recommendation of the CRP is not accepted by the Executive Director and Ethics Chair, the CRP may reconsider its recommendation or refer to a Hearing Panel. (HP).
- If at any time, the Complaint is dismissed, the Complainant shall have no right of appeal. In its discretion, the Committee may reopen the matter for new evidence.
- If the Respondent accepts the proposed resolution, the Ethics Chair shall notify the Complainant of the resolution and notify the Complainant that the resolution is confidential. Acceptance of the proposed resolution concludes review of the Complaint.
- If the Respondent does not accept the proposed resolution, the Complaint shall be forwarded to a HP.
- If the Respondent accepts the proposed resolution and violates any part of the resolution, the CRP may forward the complaint to a HP as if the Respondent had not accepted the proposed resolution.
- The Ethics Chair shall ensure that a record is kept of all proceedings related to Section B.
C. Determination by panel
- Once the Respondent is notified that the Complaint will proceed, the Executive Director and the Ethics Chair shall appoint an HP to investigate and make a determination. The HP shall consist of five members in good standing, at least two of whom will be drawn from the BOD and at least one member of the Ethics Committee who was not a member of the CRP. If a board member or ethics committee member is the Claimant, Respondent, witness, or other non-neutral party, he/she shall not be involved as a member of the HP. The HP shall designate a member of the Ethics Committee as Chair of the HP.
- The HP shall review the entire file of the CRP. The HP may continue to gather information from any source deemed pertinent and may ask for additional information or comment from the Claimant, Respondent, or witness.
- The HP may set time restrictions for responses pursuant to C (2) but in no event may anyone be granted longer than thirty (30) days to respond.
- The HP shall conduct its review and provide a written report within 90 days of receipt of all information. If the HP needs more than 90 days to make a determination, the HP shall notify all parties that an extension is needed. The HP shall state the length of the extension.
- The report shall include the HP’s findings as to whether the alleged violation(s) did occur, and if so, what sanction is imposed. The findings and sanctions shall be determined by a majority vote. If no majority can be reached regarding a finding and/or sanction, the least severe of the decisions and/or sanctions shall prevail.
- The HP may consult with legal counsel with approval of the BOD.
- Sanctions may include:
- Reprimand – Admonishment for infractions
- Probation -- From one week up to six months; may be combined with Reprimand
- Suspension – From one week up to six months may be imposed
- Termination – Termination of membership privileges; removal of certification may be imposed.
- The HP may also make continued membership or membership reinstatement contingent upon the Respondent making restitution or repayment to the Claimant, or undertaking certain obligations regarding future professional conduct, advertising, or promotional activities. Any member whose membership is suspended or terminated as a result of an ethics violation shall not be entitled to a refund of membership dues.
- The HP shall forward its report to the Ethics Chair, Executive Director and BOD
- The Executive Director and/or Ethics Chair shall notify the Respondent of the findings and sanction. The Executive Director and/or Ethics Chair shall also notify the Complainant of the findings and sanction and of the confidentiality thereof.
- A member or members sanctioned shall be notified of the right to appeal at the same time as they are notified of the decision of the HP.
- The Ethics Chair shall ensure that a record is kept of all proceedings related to Section C.
D. Appeal or Referral to the IAABC Board of Directors
- A Respondent sanctioned may appeal the decision of the (HP) to the BOD within 30 days of notification of the sanction. The appeal shall state the reasons the BOD should overrule the sanction imposed by the HP. The sanctioned party shall address the appeal to the Executive Director, who shall forward it to the BOD for consideration. A copy shall be provided to the Ethics Chair for the official record.
- If a member or members request an appeal to the BOD, all materials considered by the HP shall be given to the BOD. If an error in evaluation or procedure is deemed to have occurred, the board may remand the case to the HP. The BOD may overturn or modify the decision of the HP.
- The BOD shall make its determination within 30 days of receiving an appeal or a notice that the Hearing Panel could not reach a majority decision. If the BOD determines that more than 30 days are required to make a determination, said deadline may be extended by the BOD with notice to all parties.
- The BOD may confer with legal counsel as deemed necessary throughout the appeal process.
- The decision of the BOD shall be by majority vote and shall be final.
- The Executive Director shall ensure that a record of the decision is forwarded to the Ethics Chair.
- Upon submission of a Complaint, Complainant will agree to be bound by the Procedures for Handling Ethical Matters of the IAABC (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.
- 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.
- Violation of confidentiality by any IAABC 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.
- The confidentiality obligations imposed by these Procedures do not preclude a Complainant, Respondent, witness, or any IAABC 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.
- The BOD reserves the right to disclose the names of parties and resolution of a case if in the best interests of the organization.
- A party to a Complaint may petition the BOD for permission to disclose the names of the parties and the resolution of his/her case. The BOD may grant disclosure for good cause. The BOD may consult the Ethics Committee in making the good cause determination.
F. Alleged Violation of Ethics Code by the BOD as a body
- Any Complaint against the BOD as a body shall be reviewed by the Ethics Committee consistent with procedures in A through C. The Executive Director shall appoint IAABC members in good standing to serve on the HP in lieu of BOD members.
- If the Respondent wishes to appeal from the decision by the HP, the appeal shall be filed in the appropriate state court.
- If the Executive Director is the Respondent, the Ethics Chair shall ask the President to appoint a board member to act as Executive Director for the limited purpose of compliance with the responsibilities of the Executive Director in the procedures stated above.
G. Ineligibility of members of BOD or Ethics Committee to Participate
If a board member or Ethics Committee member is a Complainant, Respondent, witness, or other non-neutral party to any Complaint, he/she shall not be involved as a hearing officer or decision maker at any level in the investigation or review of that Complaint.