Ethics & Discipline Committee
NCCCO’s Ethics & Discipline Committee is responsible for establishing and implementing standards of conduct for candidates and certificants, such as ethical standards, as well as policies and procedures for disciplinary action in such cases.
All participants in NCCCO’s certification programs, including NCCCO certified personnel, are held to very high standards of conduct and are expected to conduct themselves in an ethical manner.
In recognizing its responsibility to maintain the integrity of NCCCO’s certification programs, NCCCO understands that action may be needed against a candidate or certificant upon receipt and investigation of allegations of violation(s) of the Code of Ethics or Substance Abuse Policy or similar policies, if they are found to be substantiated.
Grounds for sanctions, including revocation of certification status, shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Non-compliance with the Code of Ethics
- Falsification of any information on any documents submitted to NCCCO or its agents
- Culpability in an accident during certification period
- Non-compliance with NCCCO’s Substance Abuse Policy
For purposes of applying NCCCO’s Code of Ethics and related policies and procedures, prospective certificants (i.e., those who have applied or registered for certification), and those holding themselves out as certificants, shall be treated in the same way as certificants.
Click here for NCCCO’s Code of Ethics.
Click here for NCCCO’s Substance Abuse Policy.
Purpose, Responsibilities and Objectives of the Ethics & Discipline Committee
The purpose of the Ethics & Discipline Committee is to ensure that issues regarding the practice and conduct of CCO-certified personnel (certificants) are fairly and reasonably investigated and determined, and to protect the public and integrity of the program against unprofessional and/or unethical conduct by certificants or candidates.
The primary objective of the Ethics & Discipline Committee is to enforce the Code of Ethics and Substance Abuse policies. The Ethics & Discipline Committee shall receive and review complaints of ethical or substance abuse violations and determine appropriate action, including sanctions and/or dismissal of complaint.
Composition and Meetings of the Ethics & Discipline Committee
The Ethics & Discipline Committee shall comprise a minimum of six (6) members to serve as members of the Committee, who shall be appointed by the President and approved by the Board of Directors. Of the six members, a minimum of three shall be Commissioners or have previously served as a Commissioner.
The Committee shall also be empowered to draw on any additional expertise available from members of NCCCO’s exam management committees or other sources, as it deems necessary, to formulate an educated decision.
Procedures for the Investigation and Referral of Cases to the Committee
In general, NCCCO’s Ethics & Discipline Committee considers matters as presented and/or recommended by NCCCO Staff. In particular, matters are referred to the Ethics & Discipline Committee by the Program Integrity Team (PIT), after investigation, generally by means of a completed written report to accompany the referral.
NCCCO’s policies and procedures have been designed to fairly and consistently address complaints of alleged violations of the Code of Ethics or Substance Abuse Policy, or similar complaints, to ensure that complaints are fairly and reasonably investigated and considered, and to allow for the referral of valid and actionable cases to the Ethics & Discipline Committee after investigation.
Click here for NCCCO’s Standard Procedures for Program Integrity Matters.
Hearings by the Ethics and Discipline Committee
Upon referral, the Ethics and Discipline Committee shall schedule meetings to hear cases, by general reference to the following procedures, which shall be subject to modification or change from time to time.
- A certificant or candidate shall be invited to the Ethics & Discipline Committee meeting at which their case will be considered at least 14 calendar days prior to the meeting.
- The certificant or candidate who is the subject of the case may elect to attend the Committee meeting via telephone conference.
- The certificant or candidate, in advance of the meeting, can provide a written statement for the Committee’s consideration. Any statement submitted shall be limited to two (2) pages. Exhibits may also be provided by the certificant or candidate for the Committee’s consideration. Any exhibits submitted shall be limited to ten (10) pages.
- One or more attorneys for the certificant or candidate may be present during the meeting; however, the attorney(s) will not be permitted to participate in the Committee meeting.
- Neither factual witnesses nor expert witnesses will be permitted to participate in the Committee meeting. If a candidate or certificant wishes to present statements from such witnesses, he or she may submit up to three (3) such statements, in writing, at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting. Any statement submitted shall be limited to two (2) pages in length.
- No other parties will be permitted to participate in the Committee meeting.
An individual’s failure to respond to the complaint, lack of cooperation in the investigation, or non-participation in the Committee meeting shall be considered by the Ethics and Discipline Committee in reaching a determination concerning a case.
Disposition of Cases
If the Ethics and Discipline Committee concludes that some type of action is warranted, it may take one or more of the following actions, or other appropriate action, in the discretion of the Committee:
- Notify the complainant and certificant or candidate, in writing, that, based on the investigation, no action is warranted against the certificant and dismiss the case;
- Require that the certificant or candidate cease and desist the alleged conduct;
- Reprimand the certificant or candidate in writing;
- Place the certificant or candidate on probation and monitor the certificant’s conduct;
- Refer the matter to a national, regional, state, or local professional association;
- Suspend the certificant’s certified status for an appropriate period of time, including indefinitely;
- Revoke the certificant’s certified status;
- Prevent a candidate from seeking certification for a period of time, including indefinitely;
- Take any other action that is warranted under the circumstances.
Notification of Disposition of Case
NCCCO’s Program Integrity staff shall notify the candidate or certificant of the Committee’s findings and determination within 30 days from the date of the decision.
Any action taken by the Committee against the candidate or certificant shall become part of the record in the individual’s file, which record may be considered during any future consideration regarding the individual’s certification status.
Program Integrity Staff shall report the name(s) of the sanctioned certificants or candidates, and the violation(s) as determined by the Ethics & Discipline Committee. Such information may be posted on the NCCCO website, or other reasonable locations, consistent with NCCCO’s Information Release Policy.
Upon request, Program Integrity Staff may provide a report to any interested person or public agency deemed necessary to protect the public, consistent with NCCCO’s Information Release Policy.
Click here for NCCCO’s Information Release Policy.
NCCCO has established policies and procedures by which sanctioned individuals may appeal decisions of the Ethics & Discipline Committee to the Board of Directors.
Sanctioned individuals who wish to appeal a decision by the Committee, including revocation, must do so in writing. In general, the appeal must be mailed by traceable courier or certified mail, return receipt requested, stating the grounds for the appeal.
Click here for a chart of NCCCO’s Appeals Policy and Procedures.
Click here for a chart of NCCCO’s Decisions/Appeals Process.
Close of Ethics and Discipline Committee Case
Once a final decision has been made, the matter shall be closed and the relevant files shall be retained for a reasonable period of time by NCCCO Program Integrity Staff.
Members of the Ethics & Discipline Committee, the Board of Directors, and others in contact with materials related to the investigation, shall destroy or return all information received during the investigation to NCCCO Program Integrity Staff.