C. General Operating Rules
- Time restrictions. The SCEPP shall not act on any complaint if the claimed unethical conduct occurred more than one (1) year prior to the date of the complaint, if the conduct complained of did not take place during the complainant’s analysis or more than five (5) years prior to the date of the complaint if the complainant alleges unethical conduct during the course of an analysis. The five (5) year period shall be deemed to have started immediately after the termination of the analysis or when there is no longer significant contact between the complainant and respondent, whichever date is later. A complainant shall have the right to show cause as to why such a time restriction of a complaint filed shall be extended. Any extensions beyond the limit specified here must be approved by a majority of the members of the SCEPP.
- Legal counsel. Complainants and respondents shall have the right to consult with and be represented by legal counsel, although they are required to respond to the SCEPP, in writing, personally as well as through counsel, and within the specified time limits. The SCEPP is authorized to seek advice from legal counsel or professionals trained in ethics or any other area of special relevance.
- Records. All complaints, responses to complaints and communication between the parties and the SCEPP shall be in writing. Copies shall be retained for a period of at least five (5) years, except in cases for nonviolations which shall be destroyed one (1) year after the SCEPP has closed the case. However, the SCEPP’s records shall be maintained in a manner designed to prevent identification of the complainant or respondent for any reason other than the business of the SCEPP. All files, written or electronic, shall be stored securely and accessible only for the work of the SCEPP. Files concerning members who have been expelled, suspended, or permitted to resign shall be maintained indefinitely. Records of members readmitted under a stipulated resignation shall be maintained for five (5) years after readmission.
- Confidentiality. The investigation and adjudication of the SCEPP shall be kept confidential except when a validly issued subpoena or order legally compels disclosure of information or as otherwise herein provided. The President of the NYAAP shall be advised of all proceedings of the SCEPP, and shall have access to all communications, and a report shall be made following adjudication of the case. Additionally, pursuant to Section B, paragraph 5 above, when appropriate, the Chairperson of the Institute shall be advised of the proceedings of the SCEPP, in which case, according to the requirements and procedures of the Board of the Institute, said information may be given to a duly constituted committee of that Board or to the Board of the Institute as a whole. In cases which result in a member’s probation, resignation, suspension or expulsion, the SCEPP may communicate such action to members, affiliated associations, state licensing and certification boards, legal counsel of the Association, and such other individuals or organizations as the SCEPP shall deem necessary to protect the public health, safety, or welfare. In cases in which the SCEPP determines by a majority vote of the members present at a regularly scheduled meeting that there may be a serious threat to the public welfare, the SCEPP, with the approval of the President of the NYAAP, may also disclose the information that a member is under investigation to any of the above organizations or individuals. No such communication shall be made without the advice of counsel to insure that the SCEPP, the NYAAP, its officers and members are complying with the law of defamation and other applicable laws.
- Countercomplaints. The SCEPP shall not accept countercomplaints from the respondent during the course of its investigation of a complaint. Such countercomplaints will only be considered after the initial complaint has been resolved.
- Cases of legal misconduct. The Executive Committee may request that the SCEPP institute its own investigation and adjudication of the conduct of a member if that member is found guilty of any criminal offense or if that member has been indicted or charged with commission of a criminal offense, even if that member is ultimately acquitted.
- Majority Rule. All decisions of the SCEPP, with the exceptions herein stated, shall be by majority vote of those members present.