How ASHA's Board of Ethics Sanctions Individuals Found in Violation of the Code of Ethics
Individuals who are found in violation of ASHA's Code of Ethics receive sanctions for unethical conduct.
Purpose of Sanctions
Sanctioning individuals for unethical conduct has four major goals:
1. To penalize the person in violation
When an individual violates the Code of Ethics there must be consequences associated with that misconduct. Depending on how egregious the misconduct is, the Board of Ethics has a range of sanctions that it can impose, from less to more punitive depending on the violation and the totality of the facts.
2. To serve as a mechanism to educate and rehabilitate
It is important to provide feedback to individuals who violate the Code of Ethics so that they understand and appreciate exactly how their past conduct was inappropriate, so that it will be less likely to occur again in the future. These measures serve a rehabilitation function.
3. To protect the public
The welfare of the consumer and the reputation and integrity of the professions must be protected.
4. To inform other ASHA members and certificate holders that the Association enforces its ethical standards and alerts them that there are penalties for engaging in professional miscounduct
The Association requires the Board of Ethics to publish the majority of its sanctions in The ASHA Leader to serve as a means of informing the membership of their ongoing ethical responsibilities and to alert them that there are penalties for engaging in professional misconduct.
Types of Sanctions the Board of Ethics Can Impose
The Board of Ethics has a range of sanctions it can impose when individuals are found in violation of one or more provisions of the Code of Ethics; generally, the more egregious the misconduct, the harsher the sanction.
The sanction of Reprimand is confidential and imposed in cases where unethical conduct is of a minor nature. A Reprimand is disclosed only to the person found in violation and to the individual who originally filed the complaint (Complainant). Any further unauthorized disclosure of the sanction of Reprimand is, itself, a violation of the Code of Ethics.
The sanction of Censure is essentially a public reprimand. The violation is published in The ASHA Leader to the full membership in a manner that identifies the individual in violation, his or her city/state of residence, and the principles and rules of the Code of Ethics violated. When a sanction of Censure is imposed, notice of the ethics violation may also be sent to, among others, any state agency that provides a license to the individual and to any other professional organization the individual is a member of that enforces a code of ethics or code of professional conduct.
For cases of egregious misconduct, the Board of Ethics can revoke the individual's ASHA membership and certification for a period of years, up to life. The sanction of Revocation requires a two-thirds vote of the members of the Board of Ethics present and voting. Notice of this sanction to the ASHA membership and other entities is the same as with the sanction of Censure.
After the period of revocation has expired, in order for the individual to seek reinstatement of ASHA membership and/or certification a petition must be made to the Board of Ethics and the board must approve reinstatement by a two-thirds vote. In petitioning for reinstatement [PDF], the individual has the burden of demonstrating that conditions that led to the revocation have been rectified and that, upon reinstatement, the individual will abide by the Code of Ethics. The individual must also satisfy all certification standards and procedures of the Council for Clinical Certification and/or membership requirements that are in effect at the time of the Board of Ethics Reinstatement Order.
The Board of Ethics can impose the sanction of Suspension of ASHA membership and certification in lieu of Revocation. The sanction is usually intended to be employed for short periods of time (e.g., 6 months). A major difference between Revocation and Suspension is that at the end of the period of suspension the individual can make application directly to the Association for reinstatement of membership and certification without seeking approval of the Board of Ethics first.
The Board of Ethics can impose the sanction of Withholding of ASHA membership and certification in cases where an applicant for membership and/or certification is found in violation of misconduct, or a Clinical Fellow who is a member in the application process but is not yet certified. The Board of Ethics cannot revoke what the applicant does not yet have, but the board can impose the sanction of Withholding of membership and/or certification for a period of years up to life.
Cease and Desist Orders
In addition to the sanctions identified above, the Board of Ethics can also order an individual to cease and desist from any practice or conduct found to be in violation of the Code of Ethics. The order essentially prohibits the individual from continuing a particular course of conduct and may require specific affirmative actions designed to comply with the order, including written confirmation of compliance. Failure to comply with a cease and desist order is, in itself, a violation of the Code of Ethics and normally results in revocation of membership and certification.