Code of Conduct Complaint Review Procedures
Anyone who believes that an IAAPA member has violated the IAAPA Code of Conduct may submit a written complaint (“Complaint”) to IAAPA. Complaints must be submitted to IAAPA’s headquarters office, using the Code of Conduct Complaint Form. A Complaint must be reasonable and objective and must be substantiated with specific facts and documentation that show possible violation of one or more specific features of the Code of Conduct. The person submitting the complaint is the “Complainant” and the person against whom the Complaint is alleged is the “Respondent.”
Any proper Complaint, submitted in compliance with the instructions, shall then be forwarded to the IAAPA Governance Committee for review.
The Governance Committee will determine whether the Complaint has merit on its face. If the committee determines that the Complaint does not contain sufficient information for the committee to resolve whether the Complaint has merit on its face, then the committee may request that the Complainant provide additional information and/or the committee may supplement the Complaint with information that it develops through its own investigation. If a Complaint is deemed by the committee to be inadequate in any respect, including but not limited to inadequate information or a trivial or inconsequential alleged violation of the Code of Conduct, then the committee may dismiss the Complaint with written notice to the Complainant. In evaluating a Complaint, the committee may use the resources of IAAPA executive staff.
The committee will not consider any Complaint that is deemed to be an attempt by a company or individual to gain competitive advantage. Additionally, IAAPA does not permit retaliation of any kind against individuals for good faith Complaints of potential violations of the Code. Any member who retaliates against another member for reporting known or suspected violations of the Code may be considered to be in violation of the Code by virtue of the retaliation.
Prior to beginning a review, the Respondent shall be provided with notice of the Complaint and an opportunity to respond, in writing within 30 days of receipt of the notice. The committee may also, in its discretion, invite the Respondent to address the committee on the Complaint, including via telephone conference call. Any such call will be brief and non-legal, with no lawyers addressing the committee on behalf of the Respondent, no legal briefs, and no witnesses. If a Respondent fails to respond to the notice in the time allotted or refuses to accept delivery of notices from IAAPA despite IAAPA’s reasonable efforts, the allegations against the Respondent in the Complaint may be deemed to be fact. Copies of all submissions from the Complainant or Respondent shall be provided to all parties.
The burden of proving the allegations in a Complaint falls on the Complainant, who must provide clear and convincing evidence that an IAAPA member has violated the Code of Conduct. While the Governance Committee may seek additional information, it is not the duty of the Governance Committee or any other representative of IAAPA to find evidence outside the case presented by the Complainant.
The Governance Committee will meet in executive session to decide on the Complaint. The Governance Committee shall decide, based solely on the evidence presented, whether the Respondent has committed a violation of the Code of Conduct. The Governance Committee shall prepare a concise written decision stating its conclusions and the basis for its determinations. If a violation is found, the decision will also impose sanctions.
If the Governance Committee recommends the Respondent be expelled from IAAPA membership, the Governance Committee must present the Complaint, the evidence, and the Governance Committee’s reasoning for expulsion to the Board of Directors, and the Board of Directors shall make the determination. Expulsion from IAAPA membership is outlined in bylaw 3.02 Removal of Member. All other actions are at the discretion of the Governance Committee.
The final decision of the Governance Committee (or in the case of membership expulsion, the Board of Directors), including any specified sanctions, shall be sent to the Respondent and the Complainant within 10 days of its issuing.
The range of potential sanctions for violating the IAAPA Code of Conduct is as follows:
- Letter of Reprimand with copy to be placed in member’s file.
- Suspension or expulsion from sponsoring with IAAPA.
- Suspension or expulsion from advertising with IAAPA.
- Suspension or expulsion from attending IAAPA expos, conferences, and/or trade shows.
- Suspension or expulsion from exhibiting at IAAPA expos, conferences, and/or trade shows.
- Suspension from IAAPA membership.
- Expulsion from IAAPA membership for a time (up to permanently) determined by the IAAPA Board of Directors.
Only the sanctions outlined above may be imposed upon an IAAPA member for violating the Code of Conduct, and no additional sanctions may be added. The final written decision of the Governance Committee or the Board of Directors shall clearly articulate the sanctions imposed for any violation found, including the period for any specified suspension or expulsion.
The Respondent shall have the right to appeal a decision issued by the Governance Committee, or, in the case of a membership expulsion, the Board of Directors. An appeal must be submitted to IAAPA’s headquarters office, within 30 days of receipt of notice of the decision. The appeal must be submitted on the applicable appeal form, provided by IAAPA, and must include a statement explaining why the appeal should be considered.
Appeals shall be reviewed by the Board of Directors, except that, in the case of an appeal of a membership expulsion decision made by the Board of Directors, the Board shall convene an ad hoc, disinterested Review Panel composed of three former Board members to consider the appeal.
Neither the Complainant nor the Respondent may be present at any appeals review session, and neither may submit any additional information in support of or against the Complaint, other than what was submitted for the initial review.
In reviewing an appeal, the Board of Directors or the Appeals Panel, as applicable, will reach a decision to: (i) confirm the original decision; (ii) amend the original decision, including by instituting alternate sanctions; or (iii) overturn the original decision and send the Complaint back for a new review. The Board or Appeals Panel will issue a concise, written decision, which shall be sent to all parties, and may not be appealed.
An attorney representing IAAPA may be present at and offer advice for any deliberations contemplated under these procedures.
Majority vote applies for all actions taken by the Governance Committee, the Board of Directors, or an Appeals Panel.
No individual who is a member of the Governance Committee, the Board of Directors, or an Appeals Panel will participate in deliberations or decisions involving the Code of Conduct where the individual has a significant past or current family, business, or personal/social relationship with the Complainant or Respondent based on the information disclosed by either.
All final decisions regarding Code of Conduct violations shall be retained in the applicable member’s file with IAAPA for a period of five years and may be reviewed and considered in relation to any subsequent Complaint filed against such member during that time period.
If an IAAPA member resigns from membership before a decision is issued on a Complaint against the member, the Complaint review process shall be suspended. If the IAAPA member should attempt to rejoin IAAPA at any time thereafter, the IAAPA Governance Committee may choose to reopen and process the Complaint.
NOTE: IAAPA is not in a position to monitor member disputes and does not presume to represent either party. The above is not a legal proceeding. However, any documents provided to IAAPA may be subpoenaed by a court of law.