Section: 6.51

COMMITTEE ON PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OPERATING PROCEDURES

I. INTRODUCTION

These Operating Procedures provide instruction and guidance to the Committee on Professional Conduct (referred hereinafter as "the Committee"), the Board of Directors and staff that interrelates with this standing committee. The Society Bylaws require each organizational unit of the Society to develop Operating Procedures to supplement but not replace or supersede the Bylaws.

II. MISSION

The primary mission of the Committee on Professional Conduct is to:

  • Provide an avenue for the Society to demonstrate "quality control and assurance" within its membership
  • Contribute to the overall maintenance of quality of the safety profession.

III. PURPOSE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The American Society of Safety Engineers has an obligation to its membership and the profession to review and act on allegations of professional misconduct involving any of its members. This responsibility is entrusted to the Committee on Professional Conduct. When fulfilling this responsibility the Committee will utilize the latest Board approved version of the ASSE Code of Professional Conduct (Section 6.52) as its primary basis for defining actions of members that are deemed to be of the nature of professional misconduct. The Committee's overall responsibilities include:

  • Providing a high-level, centralized "hearing review board" for determining if the Society's Code of Professional Conduct has been compromised by a member
  • Determining if and when the Society's Code of Professional Conduct should be revised and recommending same to the Board of Directors
  • Reporting to the Board of Directors on professional conduct and ethics issues affecting the safety profession and the members of the Society
  • Providing a central resource within the organizational structure of the Society dedicated solely to the addressing of ethics and professional conduct issues
  • Determining when a member of the Society should be the object of punitive actions as defined elsewhere in these procedures

IV. COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

The number of members of the Committee will be a minimum of five (5) and will encompass no more than the number that may be defined in governance documents of the Society. Terms of each member will be five (5) years with the membership maintaining staggered terms for continuity. Members may be reappointed at the discretion of the appointing authority as specified in governance documents. The Chair will be designated by the appointing authority. Within the purview of the any governing statements in the Bylaws of other governance documents, the nominees of the appointment authority may be required to be confirmed by either the House of Delegates, the Board of Directors or both.

V. STRUCTURE

The Committee has line authority and is accountable to the Board of Directors, who maintain the final responsibility for the Committee's activities. The primary Board member to whom the Chair of the Committee reports is the President of the Society, who has primary oversight of the Committee's activities. The Society President is accountable to the Board of Directors for reporting and addressing any activities of the Committee that may be the focus of any discussion within the Board's various meetings. The Executive Director of the Society will be the Committee's staff liaison and will act as the official custodian of the "for record" file (explained in a later subsection of this document) of each case being reviewed.

VI. COMMITTEE FUNCTIONS

Within the responsibilities and purposes identified in previous sections, the Committee will:

  • Recommend for Board of Director's approval the names of members who should be removed from an elected or appointed office as a result of Committee's review and investigation of allegations brought against that member.
  • Be empowered to remove a person's membership from the Society (appeal process explained later in this document).
  • Report to the membership via the procedures stated elsewhere in this document punitive actions taken against members as a direct result of fulfilling its function of accepting and investigating allegations brought against members.
  • Maintain the currency of the Society's Code of Professional Conduct.

VII. COMMITTEE OPERATIONS

Acceptance of Allegations of Misconduct
The scope of the Committee's responsibilities will not include allegations against a non-member.

Allegations of professional misconduct against a member may be initiated by either a member or non-member of ASSE. Such allegations must be detailed in a written statement forwarded with supporting documentation to the Chair of the Committee, in which the facts supporting the charge or charges are clearly and concisely outlined. By written correspondence, the Chair will confirm receipt to the originator with a copy of the Committee's Operating Procedures.

The Executive Director will initiate and maintain a chronological file for each allegation. Included with each file will be a "check-off" sheet that will assist the Executive Director in assuring the Committee is following its prescribed procedures in the correct chronological order. The file will contain all original correspondence, copies of responses by the Committee and/or Chair of the Committee, minutes of teleconferences as recorded by the Executive Director and any other supporting documentation received independently by the Committee. No material in the official file may be duplicated and released to any third party without consent of the Chair of the Committee.

Meetings

Schedule: Meetings will be scheduled as necessary and normally will be conducted via teleconference.

Upon review of initial allegations as prescribed in the (A) above, the Chair of the Committee shall determine if the allegation statement reasonably warrants the initiation of a review within the Committee. If so, the Chair shall immediately forward a copy of the allegation to each member of the Committee and will schedule a conference call within ten (10) working days.

Quorum: A quorum shall be a simple majority of Committee members. No discussions of allegations will be conducted by teleconference without a quorum.

Agenda: The agenda for each teleconference will be developed by the Chair and forwarded via fax to each member no less than 10 working days from the scheduled date of the teleconference.

Motions and Actions: The Committee is authorized to act on matters of removal of membership and recommending member's removal from elected or appointed positions within the Society.

Parliamentary procedure: For matters not governed specifically by Committee procedures or Society Bylaws, the latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order (Newly Revised) shall guide the transaction of business at Committee meetings. If necessary, the Chair may appoint a parliamentarian for each meeting from among Committee members.

Ballots: Official business of the Committee may also be transacted by mail or faxed ballots. Such ballots require a simple majority of ballots received within a deadline not to exceed 10 days from the date of mailing or fax.

Minutes: The staff liaison will prepare minutes for all Committee meetings and distribute the minutes to all Committee members for review, comment and approval at the next scheduled meeting. A copy of the approved minutes will be sent to the Society President marked "Confidential".

Reports: Reports of activities will be summarized and submitted to the Society President for review and inclusion in the materials prepared for each Board of Directors meeting.

Staff Liaison: The Executive Director of the Society is the assigned liaison of the Committee.

Budgeting and Finance: The Committee operates within the Society budget, including all support expenses for teleconferences.

Procedures for Allegation Review and Action
If a quorum of the entire Committee believes the initial allegations need to be continued through the review and action process, the Chair will send a copy of the allegation to the member charged, along with a copy of the Committee's Operating Procedures, and shall certify that a copy was delivered. Written answers to the allegations from the member shall be requested by the Chair of the Committee. In this event, the Chair will likewise notify the originator of the allegations that the process will be continued. The total time from the original date of receipt of the allegations to the written confirmation of continuance of the process to the two parties will not exceed thirty (30) calendar days.

At the discretion of a simple majority of the Committee, allegations against a member brought by a Society unit (i.e. Board of Directors, Council, Chapter, Section, Standing Committee, Division, etc.) may be considered. In this event, the unit will designate a single representative to communicate with the Committee.

The Chair of the Committee will issue a written statement to the representative of the unit detailing that no information regarding the Committee's activities will be communicated to the constituency of the unit unless approved in advance by the Chair of the Committee. The written statement will include that the Committee has the right and privilege to review and approve the actual language of the statement to be issued to the constituency. If the representative of the unit does not agree to abide by the written statement, the Committee shall not initiate any review of the allegations.

Examples of professional misconduct worthy of review may include but not necessarily be limited to the following:

  • Conviction for a felony, misdemeanor or an offense involving moral turpitude if there is a reasonable "link" between the offense or conviction and professional practice. (A misdemeanor traffic ticket conviction may not be considered a reasonable link, but a misdemeanor conviction for burglary or theft of property of the member's employer very well may be a reasonable link.)
  • Malicious or purposeful injury of the reputation or professional standing of any individual, group or organization
  • Taking credit unfairly or without prior consultation or agreement for the work or achievements of others or the Society
  • Using member involvement in the Society, paid or unpaid, to gain advantage or apparent endorsement by the Society
  • Revocation of a recognized professional credential by a recognized certification or licensing Board for cause
  • Commission of any act which brings discredit upon the Society or the profession
  • Use of the Society's service mark that is contrary to Society Bylaws or is deemed a violation of registered patent, register trademark or copyright laws
  • Abuse of an elected or appointed Society office or position or responsibility

Once the Committee's review process is initiated by written confirmation to the two parties, the Committee will conduct its review such that final determination will occur within ninety (90) days.

During the formal review process, the Committee on Professional Conduct will:

  • Consult the Society legal counsel.
  • Examine records and consult with parties most knowledgeable of the allegations.
  • Request additional information as appropriate.
  • Review written responses to the allegations from the affected members.
  • Initiate additional, independent investigation activities, after receiving legal counsel regarding same; and may conduct hearings at which testimony is given under oath. Rules of procedure for each hearing will be closely monitored by the Society's legal counsel.

When the Committee accepts a case for review, the Committee shall remain intact until completion of the case. Those members whose terms may expire during a review shall continue to participate as "ad hoc" members (i.e. no voting privilege) in the case until a decision is reached. This will not preclude new appointments to the Committee on Professional Conduct as required to fill expired terms. Newly appointed members of the Committee will participate in cases pending from previous Committees and will have full voting authority.

Official actions of the Committee will be one of the following categories:

  • Revocation of membership - minimum of three (3) years - after which the individual may reapply for membership (for those in elected offices of the Society, this revocation action in effect removes them from office)
  • Suspension of membership privileges - for a minimum of one (1) year the individual will maintain membership but will not have any privileges (i.e. voting in elections, discounts on purchases and seminar registrations, etc.)
  • Censure - a "for record" statement admonishing the conduct of the member
  • Reprimand - same as "censure" except it will not be "for record"
  • Recommendation to the Board for removal from elected or appointed office or position within ASSE - this action will be validated by a vote of the Board of Directors within thirty (30) days of recommendation by the Committee on Professional Conduct before it may be implemented.

All of the above actions may be implemented by the Committee, except for the last listed.

All of the above actions of the Committee, except for "Reprimand," will be announced to the membership of ASSE by way of the next available edition of Professional Safety.

The Committee will report actions and activities to the Board of Directors in a written report prepared for each scheduled Board meeting. The Board may take action to reverse a Committee Action.

Members impacted by the actions of the Committee on Professional Conduct may appeal the decision directly to the Board of Directors.

With the exception to the parties involved in the cases, the case-load of the Committee, and the subject matter of same, will be confidential and privileged only to the Committee, staff liaison and legal counsel.

Recognizing that the membership of ASSE is not restricted to the borders of the United States, the Committee will nevertheless use the social norms and customs of the United States as the primary factor for assisting in determining misconduct. However, the norms and customs of professional conduct that are unique to another country will be reviewed if necessary for any allegations involving international members.

The original files will be maintained in the Headquarters offices. The Executive Director will be the primary transmitter and recipient of legal inquiries with the Society's legal counsel.


Approved By/Date: Board of Directors 2/10/96

Replaces Edition Dated: 6/18/93

Next Revision Due: 2/99

 
 

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