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This article originally appeared in The Hearing Profesional May—June 2002

Protecting Members’ Rights

IHS respects the right of every member to register a formal complaint against another Society member when he or she deems it appropriate. As mandated in the IHS bylaws, the Grievance Committee must establish and publish a detailed procedure to address any complaints put forth.

The Grievance Committee has just concluded an exhaustive analysis of the procedure. The procedure that follows is the result of their hard work. IHS recognizes the special efforts of committee members A. W. Britt Rivers, BC-HIS, chair; J. Ronald Germain, BC-HIS; and Michael Lloyd, BC-HIS.

We suggest you keep a file copy of this important document for ready reference.

Complaint Procedure

Article I—Introduction

Section 1. Pursuant to Article XV, Section 1(a) of the bylaws of the International Hearing Society (“Society”) which states:

“The Grievance Committee (“Committee”) shall promulgate and publish a Procedure Manual outlining the manner in which complaints shall be addressed, as well as the hearing and appeal process.”

The following procedures shall be adhered to when a complaint regarding a member of the Society is referred to the Committee.

Article II—Procedure

Upon Complaint Referral

Section 1. Confidential investigation by the Committee.

  1. The Committee shall perform a confidential investigation in an effort to learn all facts.
  2. The investigation should, if possible, include an interview of the accused.
  3. Following the conclusion of the investigation the Committee should, if possible, attempt to resolve the Complaint with the accused.
  4. If the Committee is not able to resolve the Complaint, then a hearing should be held.

Section 2. Report of Resolutions either exonerating the accused or preferring specific charges.

  1. If the investigation exonerates the accused, a resolution so stating should be entertained at the next scheduled Board of Governor’s meeting or at a special meeting of the Board of Governors to be held within fourteen days of the investigation results being made available to the Society’s executive director, whichever is sooner.
  2. If the investigation does not exonerate the accused, a resolution preferring charges and specifications, suspending the accused’s Society rights during pendency of the disposition of the Complaint Investigation and scheduling a hearing before the Executive Committee of the Society shall be entertained at the next Board of Governors meeting.

Section 3. Notification of the accused preferring specific charges and specifications.

  1. Written notification will be sent to the accused stating the specific charges and the date, time and location of the hearing.
  2. Notification under this provision is to be done via certified mail or its equivalent.

Section 4. Hearing procedure.

  1. The hearing will be before the Executive Committee of the Society.
  2. The hearing procedure will be governed by the fundamental procedural concepts consistent with the procedural guidelines outlined in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th Edition.
  3. A simple majority vote of the Executive Committee is needed to impose a sanction on the accused.

Section 5. Board of Governors Review of Executive Committee’s findings.

  1. If the accused chooses not to accept the Executive Committee’s determination following hearing, upon written request to the Society’s executive director within 14 days of the conclusion of the hearing the accused may have his/her case reviewed by the Board of Governors.
  2. Said review shall be at the next Board of Governors meeting.
  3. The accused, or his/her designee, will be given an opportunity to present his or her case.
  4. The Executive Committee, or its designee, will then be allowed to proffer a rebuttal.
  5. The Board of Governors will vote on the disposition of the complaint.
  6. A simple majority vote of the Board of Governors is needed to uphold the determination of the Executive Committee
  7. The Board of Governors’ vote is final and not appealable.

Section 6. Sanctions.

  1. a. The Board of Governors, upon recommendation of Grievance Committee, Executive Committee or on its own, shall have the right to render the following sanction:
    (1) Written reprimand.
    (2) Suspension from the Society.
    (3) Expulsion from the Society.