GUIDELINES FOR THE ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES COMMITTEE
AND THE PROCESSING OF COMPLAINTS
The following procedure for the Ethics and Professional Practices Committee (EPPC) are hereby established:
1. All EPPC matters will be handled in accordance with the objectives and standards of the Association¡¯s Code of Professional Ethics and in a confidential manner to the extent feasible.
2. Any written charges of ethics violations, any member or client grievance, or any ethics of grievance matter from any source shall be directed to the EPPC Chairperson. The Chairperson shall maintain a confidential file of all correspondence and telephone communications, including client name, practitioner data, animal¡¯s name or identification, and nature of complaint.
3. Any matter which will require the attention of the entire Committee, as determined by the Chairperson, must be submitted in writing, addressed to the Committee Chairperson. The ethics complaint charge must be signed by the complainant and must contain a full detailed statement of the matter he/she wishes to be reviewed by the Committee.
4. An individual filing an ethics complaint shall be advised that full disclosure of the matter will be made available to all parties concerned. At this time, the complainant has the right to withdraw the complaint, and thus the matter will be closed.
5. The Committee will at all times respect the integrity of all persons concerned.
6. The Chairperson of the Committee will distribute copies of all duly received ethics complaints to other members of the Committee. All such correspondence shall be marked ¡°Personal and Confidential.¡± The Chairperson will request each member of the Committee to render an opinion as to the validity of the complaint, and give a recommendation on how best to proceed. It is anticipated that the Committee may, at its discretion, decide not to pursue certain complaints.
7. The Committee Chairperson, alone or with the other members of the Committee, shall investigate the complaint by any usual and proper method. The accused shall be provided an opportunity to respond to the charge and submit information to the Committee on his/her behalf.
8. The Committee Chairperson, alone or with the other members of the Committee, may attempt to resolve the complaint at the Committee level by discussions with the parties involved and suggesting a solution of mutual agreement.
9. If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved, the Committee will render its judgment and report its recommended action to the Board of Directors. In such case, the Board of Directors will reach a final determination. The accused may request an opportunity to be heard and to present his/her position before the Board of Directors if the matter is considered by the Board. A representative of the EPPC may also attend the Board meeting to state their position. The matter shall remain confidential to the extent feasible. Any person on the EPPC who took part in the investigation of an accused shall not vote as a Board member when the matter is decided by the Board.
10. The Board of Directors shall make such sanctions as is commensurate with the seriousness of the wrongdoing by majority vote of the quorum. It may censure a member by private confidential written admonition. It may impose probation on the member by placing certain reasonable conditions on his/her membership for a period not to exceed one (1) year. In order to impose probation for longer than one (1) year, or cause a member to be suspended or terminated, the Board of Directors must so approve the action by two-thirds (¨ø) majority of a quorum.