Filing a Complaint of Alleged Violation of the ASHA Code of Ethics
The Complaint Adjudication Process and the Board of Ethics
When a complaint alleging a violation(s) of the Code of Ethics is filed with ASHA's Board of Ethics (BOE), the complaint adjudication process begins. The BOE published a Statement on ASHA's Code of Ethics and Principles Associated with its Enforcement which provides an overview of the purpose of the BOE, the Code of Ethics, and the complaint adjudication process. When considering whether to file a complaint, please keep in mind that
- the BOE only has jurisdiction to receive, deliberate, and act upon complaints filed against ASHA members or individuals who hold the Certificate of Clinical Competence;
- the person filing the complaint (the "Complainant") does not have to be an ASHA member;
- the BOE does not accept anonymous complaints or complaints filed against an organization or employer;
- the BOE accepts complaints filed via mail only and will not accept complaints filed via telephone, e-mail or facsimile;
- a copy of the complaint form, a written statement of complaint, and all supporting documentation will be provided to the individual against whom the complaint is filed (hereafter referred to as the Respondent).
How to File a Complaint
What to Include with the Complaint Form
The Complaint Form for Alleged Violation of the Code of Ethics [PDF] must be completely filled out and include the following:
- a written statement of complaint (created using a word processing software application) that contains the information and facts on which the complaint is based;
- any additional documents and evidence that corroborates and supports the allegations, if any;
- if additional documentation contains confidential information such as client/patient/employment records, redact all identifying information (e.g., name, SSN, etc.) and replace it with a letter or number code, if necessary;
- if a complaint containing the same allegations in this complaint was filed with another agency (e.g., state licensure board; academic institution; federal, state, or local official, etc.) attach copies of all related correspondence showing to whom it was submitted, date of filing, and whether/how the matter was resolved;
- signature(s) of the individual(s) filing the complaint.
Mail the completed complaint form, written statement of complaint, and any additional documentation in an envelope marked CONFIDENTIAL to:
Heather Bupp, Esq.
Director of Ethics
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard, #309
Rockville, MD 20850-3289
What to Include in the Statement of Complaint
Facts and evidence to be provided in your statement of complaint may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- date(s) of incident(s);
- your relationship to the Respondent (e.g., employer, employee, colleague, clinical fellowship supervisor, client/patient or caregiver);
- location/occasion of incident;
- how and when you observed/discovered the alleged violation;
- the Respondent's actions, practices, and/or behavior you think were violations of the Code of Ethics;
- descriptions and copies of any communications with others regarding this incident;
- descriptions and dates of actions taken, if any, to try to rectify the situation prior to submitting this complaint;
- descriptions and dates of any communications with the Respondent regarding your concerns and any responses received;
- signed and dated witness statements;
- copies of all other materials and evidence that corroborate and support the allegations;
- information about facts and circumstances in your complaint that are also the subject of any complaints to other regulatory entities (e.g., licensure board), or a legal cause of action.
Complainants should cite each provision of the Code of Ethics that he/she believes has been violated, followed by a nexus to the facts and evidence provided to support each allegation.
How to Prepare Your Complaint
When preparing your documentation, please
- create your statement of complaint using a word processing software application;
- do not use staples;
- do not use colored fonts, highlight or shade text; instead underline, circle or box the facts or evidence you wish to emphasize;
- do not hole-punch the materials;
- do not submit two-sided documents.
The Complainant will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of the complaint from the director of ethics. If the complaint is outside the BOE jurisdiction, or if the complaint does not have merit, it will be returned to the Complainant with a letter of explanation. If the complaint is within the BOE jurisdiction, the Complainant will receive a Waiver of Confidentiality Agreement that must be signed and returned to ASHA. This agreement will allow ASHA to provide a copy of the complaint and supporting documents to the Respondent for a response to the alleged violations.
The BOE meets three times per year, typically winter, summer, and during the ASHA Annual Convention each November. Depending on the complaint submission date, the BOE's meeting schedule, and whether the Respondent takes advantage of the appeals process available to him/her, 4–12 months may pass before the BOE reaches its final decision.
No information about the matter will be provided to Complainants before the BOE renders its final decision.
For general questions about the complaint filing process, please contact:
Heather Bupp, director of ethics
800-498-2071, ext. 5785 (members)
800-638-8255, ext. 5785 (consumers)
Ethics program manager
800-498-2071, ext. 5763 (members)
800-638-8255, ext. 5763 (consumers)