Society Operating Guidelines

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Our Society Operating Guidelines describe in detail the manner in which American Society of Safety Professionals is structured and governed. They are intended to accompany and be consistent with ASSP bylaws.

Section: 6.11: Professional Conduct Committee Operating Procedures

I. Purpose and Responsibilities

The Professional Conduct Committee is a standing committee established in accordance with ASSP bylaws. The committee adjudicates ASSP's Code of Professional Conduct, thereby protecting the reputation of ASSP, its members and the profession while clarifying expectations, providing a mechanism for addressing disputes, and declaring ASSP values to the outside world.

Its responsibilities are to:

  • Review allegations that an ASSP member has failed to abide by the Code of Professional Conduct or ASSP bylaws or has otherwise acted in a manner that is prejudicial to the interests of the organization.
  • Recommend for the Board of Directors' approval the names of members who should be removed from an elected or appointed office as a result of the committee’s review and investigation of allegations brought against that member.
  • Be empowered to remove a person’s membership from ASSP (appeal process explained later in this operating guideline).
  • Determine if and when the Code of Professional Conduct should be revised and recommend same to the Board of Directors.
  • Report to the Board of Directors on professional conduct and ethics issues affecting the safety profession and ASSP members.
  • Provide a central resource within ASSP to address ethics and professional conduct issues.
  • Educate and offer guidance to members regarding the Code of Professional Conduct.

II. Committee Membership

  • Committee members shall be appointed by the president-elect as specified in the ASSP bylaws.
  • The committee shall consist of seven members, including a chair.
  • Committee members serve a three-year term and may not be reappointed. Appointments are structured to allow for staggered terms. 
  • The chair shall be designated by the president-elect. The term of the chair is one year, renewable for a maximum of three consecutive years. 

III. 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 committee chair reports is the ASSP president who has primary oversight of the committee’s activities. ASSP's president is accountable to the Board of Directors for reporting and addressing any committee activities that may be the focus of any discussion within the board’s various meetings.

ASSP's chief executive officer (CEO) is the committee’s staff liaison and acts as the official custodian of the “for record” file (explained in a later subsection of this operating guideline) of each case being reviewed.

IV. Committee Operations

A. Receipt of Allegations of Misconduct

  1. The scope of the committee’s responsibilities does not include allegations against a nonmember.
  2. Allegations of professional misconduct against a member may be initiated by either a member or nonmember of ASSP. Such allegations must be detailed in a written statement to the committee chair, along with supporting documentation in which the facts supporting the charge or charges are clearly and concisely outlined.
  3. By written correspondence, the chair will confirm receipt to the originator along with a copy of the committee’s operating procedures. The committee chair will inform the originator that the committee will provide the written statement and supporting documentation to the accused.
  4. Upon review of initial allegations, the committee chair, in consultation with the CEO, shall determine whether the written allegation statement reasonably warrants review by the full committee. If so, the chair shall immediately forward a copy of the allegation to each committee member and will schedule a conference call.
  5. If the chair deems that the facts provided are insufficient to warrant a review of the matter, the chair will request additional information or documentation from the originator of the allegations.
  6. If the chair finds that the information provided does not justify a charge of misconduct, the originator of the allegations will be so notified.
  7. The CEO will create and maintain a file for each allegation in the headquarters offices. The file will contain all original correspondence, copies of responses by the committee and/or committee chair, minutes of teleconferences as recorded by the CEO and any other supporting documentation received independently by the committee.
  8. No material in the official file may be duplicated or released to any third party without consent of the committee chair and concurrence of the CEO or legal counsel.

B. Meetings

  1. Schedule: Meetings will be scheduled as necessary and normally will be conducted via teleconference.
  2. Quorum: A quorum shall be a simple majority of committee members. Allegations of misconduct will only be discussed when a quorum of the committee is present.
  3. Agenda: The chair will develop an agenda for each meeting and forward it to each committee member no less than 10 working days from the scheduled meeting date.
  4. Ballots: The committee may also conduct official business by e-mail ballots. Such ballots require a simple majority of ballots received by a deadline prescribed by the chair.
  5. 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.”
  6. Reports: Reports of activities will be summarized and submitted to the Society president for review and included in the materials prepared for each Board of Directors meeting.
  7. Budgeting and Finance: The committee operates within the Society budget.
  8. Procedures for Allegation Review and Action: If a quorum of the committee believes the initial allegations need to be continued through the review and action process, the chair will send a copy of the allegation statement and supporting documentation from the originator to the member charged, along with a copy of the committee’s operating procedures. The chair shall request the accused member to provide written answers to the allegations. In this event, the chair will likewise notify the originator of the allegations that the process will be continued.

C. Review Process and Actions

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

  1. Review written responses to the allegations from the accused member.
  2. Examine records and consult with parties most knowledgeable of the allegations.
  3. Request additional information as appropriate.
  4. Consult ASSP legal counsel, as appropriate.

An accused member will be given the opportunity to present a defense in person or by telephone. The Society’s legal counsel will closely monitor the rules of procedure for each hearing. Newly appointed members 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:

  1. Revocation of membership for a period of time or the fulfillment of conditions, after which the individual may appeal to the Professional Conduct Committee for renewed membership. For those in elected Society offices, the revocation action in effect removes them from office.
  2. Suspension of membership privileges for a period of time. The individual will maintain membership, but will have no privileges (e.g., voting in elections, discounts on purchases, event registrations).
  3. Recommendation to the board for removal from elected or appointed office or position within ASSP.
  4. Censure, which is a “for record” statement admonishing the member’s conduct.
  5. Reprimand, which is a statement of disapproval.

The Board of Directors will validate or overturn the revocation or suspension of membership before that action is implemented. The Professional Conduct Committee may implement censure or reprimand.

Members affected by censure or reprimand actions of the Professional Conduct Committee may appeal the decision directly to the Board of Directors. Such an appeal must be made in writing within 30 days of the date of the letter to the member conveying the decision.

Members affected by decisions of the Board of Directors to revoke or suspend membership or to remove them from office may appeal using the process outlined in the bylaws.

With the exception of the parties involved in the cases, the caseload of the committee and the subject matter of the same will be confidential only to the committee, staff liaison and legal counsel. Recognizing that the membership of ASSP 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 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.

Original files will be maintained in the headquarters offices. The CEO will be the primary transmitter and recipient of legal inquiries with the Society’s legal counsel.

Approved By | Date: Board of Directors | 12/2019
Replaces Edition Dated: 08/2019
Next Revision Due: 12/2022