A complaint may be filed against an INACSL employee or member by sending the complaint to INACSL. Complaints may be filed via email. Either option is reviewed by representatives at SmithBucklin, INACSL's association management partner. The complainant shall be promptly notified of the receipt of the Complaint and advised when the complainant will be notified as to when the complaint will be reviewed by the Professional Liaison.
Complaints will be acknowledged within two (2) business days of receipt. SmithBucklin will review the complaint to a determination that the complaint is complete.
At the same time that the complaint is logged and a response is requested from the respondent, the SmithBucklin shall notify the Executive Director and Board Chair of the complaint and that a response to the complaint has been requested. The respondent shall have 30 days from the date of notification to respond to the Board.
The Chair will then inform the party named in the complaint (“Respondent”) that a complaint has been filed and accepted and request a response, including any supporting documentation, from the Respondent within thirty (30) days. Both the complainant and the respondent shall be notified of the obligation to keep all matters confidential and that neither party shall be retaliated against with regard to the making of the complaint and the responding to the complaint. Both parties shall sign a confidentiality agreement. The following will be sent to the Respondent:
The Chair shall inform the Board that a Complaint has been made and that a response has been requested from a Respondent. The Board Members shall then sign a Confidentiality Agreement and an acknowledgment that no retaliation is permitted with regard to either the Complainant or the Respondent. The Board Chair shall then disclose the names of the Complainant and the Respondent and request that any Board Member who believes they have an actual or potential conflict of interest to notify the Chair within two (2) business days.
Board members who have an actual or potential conflict of interest arising from the filed complaint or response to the complaint will recuse themselves from any discussion or consideration of the matter. Recusal may be either because of direct knowledge of the matter under discussion that may affect an impartial vote or a personal/professional relationship with either party that may affect the perception of an impartial vote. Recused members may not count towards the quorum, which is required for a meeting.
Once the Chair is notified of an actual or potential conflict of interest, the Chair shall inquire as to whether the board member believes they can consider the matter fairly or whether the Board member seeks to be recused from further involvement with the matter. If the Chair agrees that the Board Member has a conflict of interest, then the Board Chair shall approve the Board Member’s request to be recused. If the Chair does not approve the Board Member’s request to be recused, then the matter shall be brought to the full Board for a vote and a majority of Board Members may vote to grant the Board Member’s request to be recused.
The members of the Voting Board who do not have a conflict of interest will review the complaint and the response to the Complaint in a closed session meeting (either via conference call or face-to-face). The members of the Voting Board by majority vote may decide to accept the matter for investigation or determine that no further investigation is necessary. If the Board votes that no further investigation is necessary, the Board Chair will direct the PL to send a letter to the Complainant advising of the Board’s action.
The initial Board process will be to review the complaint and the response. The Voting Board will then take one of the following actions:
The PL shall be responsible for arranging for an investigation which shall be conducted according to the following criteria:
The investigation shall be confidential to the extent that is possible.
Once the investigation is complete, the results of the investigation shall be delivered to the Chair of the Board for review. The Chair shall consult with the Executive Director and determine whether they should recommend that the Board either impose sanctions or decline to impose sanctions against the respondent at the next meeting of the Board.
The following consideration of the recommendation shall occur as follows: The Chair and Executive Director shall make their recommendation and summarize the results of the investigation. The Board shall ask questions regarding the investigation and the recommendation. At the close of the discussion/question period, a member of the Board shall make a motion that the Board should impose sanctions or a motion that the Board should decline to impose sanctions against the respondent.
The board may impose sanctions it deems appropriate. The sanction applied must reasonably relate to the nature and severity of the violation, focusing on reformation of the conduct of the affected and deterrence of the same or similar conduct by others.
Potential sanctions include:
Letter of caution;
This is a sanction for conduct that is not cause for formal discipline and is intended to remind the recipient of an issue of concern or an ethical obligation, or to recommend changes in behavior or procedures, or to suggest an appearance of impropriety that should be avoided.
Letter of admonition;
This sanction is more corrective than Letter of Caution and is intended to address conduct that also falls short of conduct that is cause for formal discipline. A written reprimand is an expression of disapproval of conduct, and may contain a proscription to follow a corrective course of conduct, and may direct professional treatment, counseling, or assistance.
This is a formal sanction for engaging in conduct which either violates the code of conduct or which violates an ethical obligation. It is a rebuke for one or more violations that do not require censure. A reprimand usually involves an isolated incident or behavior that can be easily corrected. It could involve misconduct that is more serious, but the respondent presented substantial mitigating factors.
“Censure” is a formal sanction for conduct which violates the Code of Conduct or which violates an ethical obligation. It is a declaration that the respondent is guilty of misconduct that does not require suspension or removal. Censure is a stern rebuke that finds the conduct of the respondent detrimentally affects the integrity of the organization and its members and undermines public confidence in the mission and values of the organization. It could involve misconduct that is more serious, but the respondent presented substantial mitigating factors. A censure may include a requirement that the respondent follows a specified corrective course of action. A censure is public in nature and therefore serves as a public warning to other individuals of the consequences of similar violations.
Suspension or revocation of membership for a designated period of time;
A recommendation to suspend or revoke membership is based on serious misconduct that merits more than a censure but less than removal. This sanction is flexible, and there are no restrictions on the length of a suspension. It can be imposed for egregious or repetitive conduct. It could involve misconduct that is more serious, but the respondent presented substantial mitigating factors. A suspension may require that the respondent follow a specified corrective course of action before being reinstated.
If the respondent holds a volunteer or elected position with INACSL, the respondent may be suspended from their position for a designated period of time.
Permanent expulsion from INACSL membership with the inability to renew membership in the future.
Permanent expulsion permanently removes a respondent from membership for extreme or gross misconduct involving the respondent’s integrity, fitness for membership, substantial harm to public confidence and trust in the organization and its members, damage to the reputation of the organization and its members, or damage to the ability of the organization to uphold its mission and values, or the inability of the respondent to function as member of the organization. Mitigating factors, if any, presented by the respondent were unable to affect the decision to remove the respondent from membership. The respondent is no longer eligible to be elected, appointed, or otherwise serve as a member of the organization.
Sanctions shall not be imposed until the time for an appeal has expired or, in the event of an appeal, until the respondent has fully exhausted their appeal rights.
The Board may either impose sanctions or decline to impose sanctions. The results will be sent in writing to both parties. Every effort will be made to inform the parties of the outcome of the appeal within 30 days of submission. Notification will be done, regardless of the decision, by registered mail to allow for document tracking. If this deadline cannot be met, the member will be provided a new timeline before the end of the 30-day period.
If the Board votes to impose sanctions against the respondent, the respondent may file an appeal of the decision by the Board if the respondent believes that the Board violated its policies and procedures or if the respondent believes that the decision of the Board was not fair and reasonable taking into consideration all of the relevant facts and circumstances. The Board will appoint a three-person appeals panel (“INACSL Board Appeals Panel”) consisting of at least one past Board Vice President, a past member of the Governance Committee, and a former Past President. Prior to serving as the Appeals Panel, the members shall sign a Confidentiality Agreement. The Professional Liaison will serve as the Panel’s staff contact to collect and distribute information to the Panel. The complainant shall be notified that the respondent filed an appeal.
No member of the appeals panel may have a conflict of interest involving the Complainant or the Respondent. The appeals panel will review the documentation from the hearing, the processes and procedures, and any other relevant documentation.
When an appeal is reviewed by the INACSL Board Appeals Panel, their deliberation can result in three possible outcomes:
Every effort will be made to inform the parties of the outcome of the appeal within 30 days of submission. Notification will be done, regardless of the decision, by registered mail to allow for document tracking. If this deadline cannot be met, the member will be provided a new timeline before the end of the 30-day period.
The decision of the Board Appeals Panel shall be final.
Sanctions will be noted in the member’s record. Members with three disciplinary actions in less than 10 years will be reviewed by a special panel appointed by the Chair of the Board. The panel will convene a hearing with the member participating to determine if the member should be expelled from the organization based upon the imposition of even a single sanction, depending on the nature of the conduct which warranted the sanction. Subsequent sanctions will be dealt with on a case by case basis.