American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Ethics

Practices and Procedures of the Board of Ethics

Board of Ethics


About This Document

Effective February 8, 1998; revised 1993; revised 1997; revised 1998; revised 2004; revised 2008; revised 2012.

The Board of Ethics (BOE) is charged as follows by the Bylaws of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2008):

The Association shall establish a Board of Ethics that shall (1) formulate, publish, and, from time to time, amend a Code of Ethics (hereinafter the “Code”) containing the professional responsibilities by which members and certificate holders shall be bound; (2) develop educational programs and materials on ethics for distribution to members and certificate holders, academic programs, and other agencies and associations; and (3) adjudicate complaints alleging violations of the Code. Members of the Board of Ethics shall be appointed by the Committee on Committees. The Board of Ethics shall review all proposed amendments to the Code and forward recommendations regarding the proposed revisions to the Board of Directors. The Code and all amendments shall be subject to approval by the Board of Directors. The Board of Ethics shall formulate and publish procedures that shall be used for the processing of alleged violations of the Code, including a reasonable opportunity to be heard through counsel of one's own choosing. The Board of Ethics shall determine sanctions for violations in its discretion as it deems appropriate, including revoking membership and/or certification. Revocation of membership and/or certification requires a two-thirds vote of the Board of Ethics. Any appeal from a Board of Ethics action shall be decided by a panel of the Board of Directors, whose decisions shall be final.

A fundamental precept that guides the Board of Ethics in the discharge of its responsibility is that an effective Code of Ethics requires an orderly and fair administration and enforcement of its terms and requires full compliance by all members of the Association and all holders of Certificates of Clinical Competence. The Board of Ethics recognizes that each case must be judged on an individual basis and that no two cases are likely to be identical. Thus, the Board of Ethics has the responsibility to exercise its judgment based on the merits of each case and on its interpretation of the Code.

Return to Top


Terminology

  • Address for Board of Ethics: 2200 Research Boulevard #309, Rockville, Maryland 20850

  • Answer: A timely, written submission to the Board of Ethics by the Respondent in a complaint

  • Appeal: A timely, written request from the Respondent to the Board of Ethics alleging error in the Board of Ethics Decision and asking that it be reversed, in whole or in part, by the Board of Directors

  • Association: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

  • Cease and Desist Order: An order to stop engaging in a particular course of unethical conduct

  • Code: Code of Ethics of the Association

  • Certificate(s): Certificate(s) of Clinical Competence

  • Certification Disclosure(s): In applications for ASHA Certification, two or three questions about the applicant's history of criminal and civil pleas/convictions as well as professional discipline

  • Complainant(s): The person(s) alleging that a violation occurred

  • Further Consideration: Further consideration by the Board of Ethics of its Initial Determination Decisions after Further Consideration require a quorum of the Board of Ethics and, except as otherwise noted, a majority vote.

  • Initial Determination: Initial decision of the Board of Ethics, subject to Further Consideration and appeal, of the (a) finding, (b) proposed sanction, and (c) extent of disclosure as to whether or not a violation of the Code of Ethics occurred

    Initial Determinations require a quorum of the Board of Ethics and, except as otherwise noted, a majority vote.

  • Petition for Reinstatement from the Board of Ethics: The Respondent must request reinstatement before applying for reinstatement of membership and/or certification after serving a sanction of Revocation of Membership and/or Certification for any period of time.

  • Quorum: A majority of voting members of the Board of Ethics

  • Respondent: The individual alleged to have violated the Code of Ethics

  • Sanction(s): Penalties imposed by the Board of Ethics

    • Reprimand: A formal rebuke or condemnation with limited disclosure

    • Censure: A public Reprimand with broad disclosure

    • Suspension of Membership and/or Certification: A sanction that temporarily interrupts the Respondent's membership in and/or certification by the Association for the period of time imposed

      Suspension of Membership and/or Certification requires a majority vote of the Board of Ethics. The Respondent need not request reinstatement to regain membership and/or certification at the end of the suspension period.

    • Revocation of Membership and/or Certification: A sanction that terminates the Respondent's membership in and certification by the Association for the period of time specified Revocation requires a two-thirds vote of those Board members present and voting. The Respondent must request reinstatement in order to have the opportunity to regain membership and/or certification.

    • Withholding of Membership and/or Certification: This sanction, which applies only in situations in which the Respondent is in the certification or membership application process when a violation is found, prohibits future Association membership and/or certification for the period of time imposed.

      Withholding of Membership and/or Certification requires a majority vote of the Board of Ethics. When the sanction period of time has expired, the Respondent is not required to apply to the Board of Ethics; application is made directly to the Association.

Return to Top


I. Complaint Adjudication

A. Case Review Procedures

  1. Alleged violations shall be reviewed by the Board of Ethics in such manner as the Board of Ethics may, in its discretion, deem necessary and proper.

  2. Jurisdiction: Every individual who is (a) a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, whether certified or not, (b) a nonmember holding the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the Association, (c) an applicant for membership or certification, or (d) a Clinical Fellow seeking to fulfill standards for certification is subject to the Code of Ethics and the jurisdiction of the BOE. See Code of Ethics Preamble.

  3. The BOE does not accept a single complaint against more than one Respondent. Complainants must file separate complaints for each individual who is the subject of a complaint. Each complaint must stand on its own merits.

  4. The BOE does not accept the filing of online or electronic complaints, waivers, or responses.

  5. Three (3) days for mailing shall be added to the deadline for all submissions to the Board of Ethics (i.e., a Respondent's request for Further Consideration must be received by the Board of Ethics no later than 30 days plus 3 additional days for mailing after the date the notice of Initial Determination was mailed to the Respondent).

  6. Except when the Complainant is the Board of Ethics, the Complainant(s) shall submit a signed waiver (and nondisclosure agreement in cases where the Complainant is not an ASHA member or certificate holder) to the Board of Ethics consenting to allow the Board of Ethics to send a copy of the complaint to the Respondent for the Respondent's response. In cases where the Board of Ethics issues a sanction of Censure or the Withholding, Suspension, or Revocation of Membership and/or Certificate(s) of Clinical Competence, the waiver shall also consent to allow the Board of Ethics to send its Final Decision and any relevant case information provided by the Complainant(s)

    1. to any state agency providing a license to the Respondent, or to which the Respondent has applied for license or other credential, or to any state agency located in the state where the Respondent resides;

    2. to any other professional organization that enforces a code of ethics or a code of professional conduct of which the Respondent is a member or is an applicant for membership;

    3. as required by law.

  7. Upon receipt of the signed waiver (and nondisclosure agreement if applicable), a copy of the complaint shall be sent to the Respondent, and the Respondent's answer to the allegation shall be in writing and must be received by the Board of Ethics no later than 45 days after the date the Board of Ethics notice is mailed to the Respondent. Resignation of membership or other termination and/or surrender of the Certificate(s) of Clinical Competence shall not preclude the Board of Ethics from continuing to process the alleged violation to conclusion, and the notice from the Board of Ethics to the Respondent requesting an answer shall so advise the Respondent.

  8. When a Respondent is initially contacted regarding a complaint filed against him/her, the Respondent shall be advised that in cases where the Board of Ethics issues a sanction of either Censure or the Withholding, Suspension, or Revocation of Membership and/or Certificate(s) of Clinical Competence, any Final Decision of the Board of Ethics and any relevant case information provided by the Complainant(s) and/or the Respondent may be provided

    1. to any state agency providing a license to the Respondent, or to which the Respondent has applied for license or other credential, or to any state agency located in the state where the Respondent resides;

    2. to any other professional organization that enforces a code of ethics or a code of professional conduct of which the Respondent is a member or is an applicant for membership;

    3. as required by law.

  9. At its discretion, the Board of Ethics may inform the appropriate staff of the Association's National Office that the Respondent is the subject of a complaint alleging violation of the Code and may instruct such staff that no change in membership and/or certification status shall be permitted without the approval of the Board of Ethics.

  10. The Board of Ethics shall consider all information provided by the Complainant(s), Respondent, or any other relevant source and shall base its Initial Determination on that information in light of the version(s) of the Code of Ethics in effect at the time of the alleged violation. Board of Ethics determinations shall be based on facts established by a preponderance of the evidence/information submitted to the Board of Ethics. The Board of Ethics does not have subpoena powers.

  11. Upon review of all information provided by the Complainant(s), Respondent, and any other relevant source, the Board of Ethics shall make an Initial Determination, which may be a finding that there is insufficient evidence to support a finding of a violation or a finding that a violation occurred. In this regard, the final decision of any state, federal, regulatory, or judicial body may be considered sufficient evidence that the Code was violated.

    For Initial Determinations in which the finding is that a violation occurred, the Initial Determination will include the Code of Ethics principle(s) and rule(s) violated, the proposed sanction, the proposed extent of disclosure, and, if deemed necessary, a Cease and Desist Order.

  12. The Board of Ethics may, as part of its Initial Determination, order that the Respondent cease and desist from any practice found to be a violation of the Code. Failure to comply with such a Cease and Desist Order is, itself, a violation of the Code, and shall normally result in Revocation or Withholding of Membership and/or Revocation or Withholding of the Certificate(s) of Clinical Competence. The Board of Ethics may require the Respondent to attest in writing that she/he has complied with the Cease and Desist Order.

  13. The Board of Ethics shall give the Respondent notice of its Initial Determination. The notice shall also advise the Respondent of the right to request Further Consideration by the Board of Ethics and of the right, after Further Consideration, to request an appeal to the Board of Directors. The procedures to be followed in exercising those rights are described in Sections E and F of this statement.

  14. In cases where the Initial Determination of the Board of Ethics is that there is insufficient evidence to support a finding of a violation, the Board of Ethics shall give the Respondent and Complainant notice of its Initial Determination and advise both that the matter is considered closed.

Return to Top


B. Notices and Answers

  1. All notices shall be in writing and are effective on the date sent to the Respondent—via certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested—to the address then listed in the ASHA membership and certification records or, if this method is not available, by any other method reasonably calculated to send the notice to that address. All answers shall be in writing and are effective when received by the Board of Ethics.

  2. Respondents are required to provide an acknowledgment of a complaint and are encouraged to submit a written answer to the Board of Ethics pursuant to Section A.7. A knowing failure to file a timely answer or acknowledgment will not preclude adjudication of a complaint.

Return to Top


C. Sanctions

Sanctions shall consist of one or more of the following: Reprimand; Censure; Withholding, Suspension, or Revocation of Membership and/or the Certificate(s) of Clinical Competence. At its discretion, the Board of Ethics may add terms and conditions. If the Respondent holds or is pursuing both membership and certification, a decision to revoke, suspend, or withhold shall include both membership and certification. A decision to withhold either membership or certification occurs when the Respondent holds, or is pursuing, only one. A Cease and Desist Order may become part of any sanction.

Return to Top


D. Publication and Release of Information

  1. The Board of Ethics Decision, upon becoming final, shall be published in an ASHA publication distributed to all of the membership and shall be provided to any person or entity requesting a copy of the Decision, if the sanction is Censure or the Withholding, Suspension, or Revocation of Membership and/or Certificate(s) of Clinical Competence. In the case of Reprimand, the Board of Ethics Decision shall be disclosed only to Respondent, Respondent's counsel, Complainant(s), and, when appropriate, to staff and Association counsel, each of whom shall be advised that the decision is strictly confidential and that any breach of that confidentiality by any party who is a member and/or certificate holder of the Association is, itself, a violation of the Code.

  2. In cases where the sanction is Censure or the Withholding, Suspension, or Revocation of Membership and/or Certificate(s) of Clinical Competence, the Board of Ethics may provide its Final Decision and relevant case information

    1. to any state agency providing a license to the Respondent, or to which the Respondent has applied for license or other credential, or to any state agency located in the state where the Respondent resides;

    2. to any other professional organization that enforces a code of ethics or a code of professional conduct of which the Respondent is a member or is an applicant for membership;

    3. as required by law.

Return to Top


E. Further Consideration by the Board of Ethics of the Initial Determination

  1. When the notice of Initial Determination from the Board of Ethics states that the Respondent has violated the Code and announces a proposed sanction and extent of disclosure, the Respondent may request that the Board of Ethics give Further Consideration to the Initial Determination.

  2. The Respondent's request for Further Consideration shall be in writing and must be received by the Board of Ethics no later than 30 days after the date the notice of Initial Determination was mailed to the Respondent. In the absence of a timely request for Further Consideration, the Initial Determination shall be the Board of Ethics Decision, which decision shall be final and there shall be no further right of appeal to the Board of Directors.

  3. If the Respondent submits a timely request for Further Consideration by the Board of Ethics, the Board of Ethics shall schedule a hearing and notify the Respondent. The Respondent shall be entitled to submit a written defense or brief, which must be received at least 30 days prior to the hearing. The Complainant(s) is permitted to provide additional relevant or material documentation at any time during the pendency of the complaint adjudication.

  4. The Respondent may choose to appear in person before the Board of Ethics to present evidence and to be accompanied by counsel. The proceedings shall be informal; strict adherence to the rules of evidence shall not be observed, but all evidence shall be accorded such weight as it deserves. The Board of Ethics shall afford, as an alternative to Respondent's appearing in person at the hearing, the opportunity to make a presentation to the Board of Ethics and to respond to questions from the Board of Ethics via a conference telephone call placed to the Respondent by the Board of Ethics. All personal costs incurred in connection with the Further Consideration, including travel and lodging costs incurred by the Respondent and Respondent's counsel and witnesses and counsel and other fees, shall be the Respondent's sole responsibility.

  5. After the Further Consideration Hearing, the Board of Ethics shall render its decision and notify the Respondent. Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, the Board of Ethics has the following options for affirming or modifying the findings and sanction that were announced to the Respondent in the notice of Initial Determination:

    1. Affirm the Code provisions violated and/or the sanction cited in the Initial Determination.

    2. Modify the findings by removing Code provisions cited in the Initial Determination.

    3. Modify the findings by adding Code provisions cited in the Initial Determination. If new evidence is disclosed at the Further Consideration Hearing that (a) was not available to the board at the Initial Determination Hearing and (b) if known at that time, would have resulted in the Board's finding the Respondent in violation of one or more additional Code provisions, the Board may modify its Initial Determination findings by adding those provisions. In that situation, the Board must make available to the Respondent the opportunity to continue the Further Consideration Hearing based on the added violation(s).

    4. Increase or decrease the severity of the sanction.

    5. Modify the extent of disclosure of the Board's findings.

    This decision shall be the Board of Ethics Decision After Further Consideration, and, in the absence of a timely appeal to the Board of Directors, the Board of Ethics Decision After Further Consideration shall become the Board's Final Decision.

Return to Top


F. Appeal of the Board of Ethics Decision to the Board of Directors

  1. The Respondent may appeal the Board of Ethics Further Consideration Decision to the Board of Directors. The request for appeal shall be in writing and must be received by the Board of Ethics no later than 30 days after the date the notice of the Board of Ethics Decision After Further Consideration was mailed to the Respondent. If the Respondent appeals the Board of Ethics Further Consideration Decision to the Board of Directors, a copy of the further consideration hearing transcript shall be made available to the Respondent at the Respondent's expense. The Respondent's request for the hearing transcript must be received by the Board of Ethics within 30 days after the Further Consideration Decision was mailed to the Respondent. The Respondent may appeal a Decision After Further Consideration only if the claim is based on a showing that the Board of Ethics did not adhere to procedural requirements and/or that the decision of the Board of Ethics was arbitrary and capricious and without any evidentiary basis. The Board of Directors Appeals Panel may not receive or consider any evidentiary matters not included in the official record of the Further Consideration Decision.

  2. The procedures for a hearing before the Board of Directors are described in the Statement of Practices and Procedures for Appeals of Decisions of the Board of Ethics.

Return to Top


G. Reinstatement

  1. Persons whose membership or certification has been revoked may petition the Board of Ethics for approval to seek reinstatement at the completion of the revocation period. A petition for reinstatement [PDF] will be reviewed by the Board of Ethics at the Board's next scheduled meeting, assuming that the request and supporting documentation are received at least 30 days prior to the meeting. Depending on when the next Board of Ethics meeting is scheduled, it may be several months before the Board can act on the request.

  2. In all cases, the individual bears the burden of demonstrating with appropriate documentation that conditions that led to revocation have been rectified and that, if reinstated, the individual will abide by the Code. The Board of Ethics' deliberation will be guided by the premise that reinstatement must be in the best interests of the Association, the professions, and persons served professionally. The Board may inquire as applicable about restitution, rehabilitation, continuing education, remediation, employment, lifestyle, and acknowledgment.

  3. Approval to Seek Reinstatement of ASHA Certification requires a two-thirds vote of those Board of Ethics members present and voting. In approving a request to seek reinstatement, the Board may set any conditions or requirements it deems necessary for the protection and benefit of the public and the professions.

  4. The individual must then apply for reinstatement of certification in accordance with the certification standards and procedures of the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology and/or membership requirements that are in effect at the time the Board of Ethics's Approval to Seek Reinstatement is issued.

Return to Top


II. Certification Disclosure Reviews

  1. Required disclosures shall be reviewed by the Board of Ethics and the Director of Ethics in such manner as the Board of Ethics may, in its discretion, deem necessary and proper.

  2. All notices shall be in writing and are effective on the date sent to the applicant, via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the address then listed in the ASHA membership and/or certification application or, if this method is not available, by any other method reasonably calculated to send the notice to that address.

  3. A three (3) member panel of the Board of Ethics will review on a minimum of a quarterly basis, or as often as a monthly basis, applications for certification that have been submitted by ASHA Certification to the ASHA Director of Ethics for disclosure(s) review. The panel will review the application along with the certified documentation accompanying the responses to the disclosure questions and that which was submitted to ASHA Certification.

  4. After review by the Board of Ethics panel, the Director of Ethics will communicate in writing to both ASHA Certification and the applicant about the outcome of the review. Communication may be made electronically through e-mail in addition to mailing or faxing.

    1. The panel may decide to permit further processing of the individual's application for certification.

    2. The panel may decide to initiate a complaint for the full Board of Ethics to consider at its next scheduled meeting.

    3. The panel may request additional written documentation or self-reporting from the applicant.

    4. The panel may delay processing of the application for certification.

    5. The panel may require the applicant making disclosure(s) to complete continuing education as a condition precedent to further processing of an applicant's application for certification.

Return to Top


III. Amendment

This statement of Practices and Procedures may be amended upon a majority vote of the adjudicating members of the Board of Ethics. All such changes will be given appropriate publicity.

Return to Top


Index terms: ethics, Board of Ethics

Reference this material as: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2012). Practices and procedures of the board of ethics [Ethics]. Available from www.asha.org/policy.

© Copyright 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association disclaims any liability to any party for the accuracy, completeness, or availability of these documents, or for any damages arising out of the use of the documents and any information they contain.

doi:10.1044/policy.ET2012-00328

Share This Page

Print This Page