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Filing a Complaint of Alleged Violation of the ASHA Code of Ethics or the Assistants Code of Conduct

During the time the ASHA National Office is closed due to COVID-19 concerns, the Board of Ethics will temporarily accept the electronic submission of materials related to ethics complaints at ethics@asha.org.

The Complaint Adjudication Process and the Board of Ethics

When a complaint alleging a violation(s) of the Code of Ethics (2016) or the Assistants Code of Conduct (2020) is filed with ASHA's Board of Ethics ("BOE"), the complaint adjudication process begins. The Board published ASHA's Code of Ethics and Assistants Code of Conduct and Principles Associated with Their Enforcement, which provides an overview of the purpose of the BOE, the Code of Ethics, the Assistants Code of Conduct, 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
    • current or former ASHA members,
    • individuals who hold or have held the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC),
    • individuals who hold or have held assistants certification (C-AA or C-SLPA), and
    • individuals who have applied for the CCC or for assistants certification (C-AA or C-SLPA);
  • the person filing the complaint (the "Complainant") does not have to be an ASHA member or hold the CCC, C-AA, or C-SLPA;
  • 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; and
  • 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 (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 or the Assistants Code of Conduct [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, whether/how the matter was resolved, and the final decision (if available).
  • 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:

ASHA 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, student, colleague, clinical fellowship supervisor, client/patient or caregiver);
  • Location/occasion of incident;
  • How and when you observed/discovered the alleged violation(s);
  • The Respondent's actions, practices, and/or behavior you think were violations of the Code;
  • 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 before 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 or Assistants Code of Conduct that they believe have been violated, followed by the particular 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; and
  • do not submit two-sided documents.

Complaint Follow-Up

The Complainant will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of the complaint from the ASHA Ethics staff. If the complaint is outside the BOE's 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's jurisdiction, the Complainant will receive a Waiver of Confidentiality Agreement (and may receive other waivers specific to the case) that must be signed and returned to ASHA Ethics staff. This agreement will allow the BOE 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: February/March, May/June, and October. Depending on the complaint submission date, the BOE's meeting schedule, and whether or not the Respondent appeals the decision, more than 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, contact ASHA Ethics at:

  • 800-498-2071 (members) or 800-638-8255 (consumers)  
    • director of ethics, ext. 5785
    • ethics associate, ext. 5654
    • ethics case manager, ext. 5763
  • ethics@asha.org   

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