Many RCI, Inc. members might not be aware that when we sign our annual RCI membership renewal, we “…have read and understand the RCI Code of Ethics and hereby agree to abide by its principles.” Some members may also not know that there is an Ethics Committee to enforce the Code of Ethics and review complaints against members.
The Ethics Committee, comprised of volunteer members of RCI, is tasked to uphold the RCI Code of Ethics, which was revised in 2015. Complaints received by RCI are assigned to the Ethics Committee and are subject to its review process—even those that may appear frivolous. It is the duty of the committee to be diligent, but more importantly, discreet when investigating a complaint.
The process begins with the committee conducting an initial review of the complaint, which requires the complainant to cite which section of the RCI Code of Ethics he or she believes a member has violated. The review is conducted in accordance with the RCI Ethics Administrative Procedures, which have been developed for the committee’s use and approved by the Board of Directors.
The Ethics Committee evaluates the information received and requests additional information, if needed, from the complainant. Based on this information, the Ethics Committee makes a recommendation to the Executive Committee for “Action” or “No Action.”
If the Executive Committee agrees that the complaint does not have merit, all participants are informed and the complaint is closed. Should the Executive Committee agree that the complaint has merit, the respondent is notified of the complaint and the Ethics Committee schedules a hearing, if applicable. The respondent, complainant, and witnesses may participate in the hearing.
After the hearing, the Ethics Committee develops a report of findings and submits it to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors reviews the findings and recommends “Action” or “No Action” and any disciplinary action, if warranted. All participants are notified, and the complaint is closed. (The basic steps are outlined in the accompanying flow chart).
The Ethics Committee was established to serve the association and its membership. The Ethics Committee takes complaints against RCI members seriously; review of the complaints is important for due process. Review of a complaint against a member does not imply that an RCI member is “guilty as charged,” but rather provides a process through which an RCI member may respond to any and all complaints through a formal inquiry. RCI members have the freedom to make complaints as needed against other members who do not appear to uphold the RCI Code of Ethics, knowing that they will be subject to an impartial review.
Keep an eye out for future Ethics Committee information and for additional notes and articles. We hope you will enjoy them!