Introduction

7.10 Procedures for Member Conduct Complaints

In accordance with IEEE Bylaw I-110.1, a member of the IEEE may be expelled, suspended, or censured for cause.

Cause shall mean conduct that is determined to be

·   a material violation of the IEEE Code of Ethics, or

·   a material violation of the Constitution, Bylaws, Policies, or Operations Manuals of the IEEE that is seriously prejudicial to the IEEE, or

·   other conduct that is seriously prejudicial to the IEEE.

When such conduct is reported in a complaint, it shall be investigated and evaluated by the IEEE Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, and shall be subject to appropriate action by the IEEE Board of Directors.

The contents of complaints, identity of the persons involved and the scope of any inquiries shall remain undisclosed to the extent practicable, consistent with the need for information and expeditious review and the procedures set forth below.  If the identity of a charged member is disclosed by the EMCC, the person or entity to whom such disclosure was made shall be notified of the final action on the complaint.  Final action shall mean either the termination of the complaint by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee or the final action of the Board of Directors.

For purposes of these procedures, traceable mail shall be used for notifications and other material correspondence. Traceable mail shall mean mail sent using an internationally recognized courier that provides tracking and/or confirmation of delivery services.

All notifications to the charged member(s) shall be sent to the last address on record at the IEEE and the address provided in the complaint, if different.  If materials are undeliverable all reasonable attempts to contact the charged member(s) to verify or obtain a current address shall be made; however, proceedings shall continue in accordance with these procedures regardless of the charged member(s) acknowledgement of receipt of such notifications, refusal to accept such notifications, or lack of response to communications sent.

Part A - The Complaint

Part A - The Complaint.

1.  Submission of Complaint.  The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee considers only those complaints, delivered by traceable mail to IEEE, c/o Corporate Activities, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854.  Complaints shall be addressed to the Chair, Ethics and Member Conduct Committee.

2.  Form and Contents of Complaint.  The complaint shall be in the form of an affidavit, typewritten, and signed by an IEEE member in good standing.  The complaint shall be notarized, or include the equivalent certification of signatures in areas outside of the US.  The complaint shall include:

a)  the name and address of the IEEE member(s) whose conduct is the subject of the complaint;

b)  a statement which sets forth with reasonable specificity the conduct that is alleged to constitute cause.

Cause shall mean conduct that is determined to be

·   a material violation of the IEEE Code of Ethics, or

·   a material violation of the Constitution, Bylaws, Policies, or Operations Manuals of the IEEE that is seriously prejudicial to the IEEE, or

·   other conduct that is seriously prejudicial to the IEEE.

c)  the specific provisions of any documents described in Part A.2(b) that the conduct is alleged to have violated;

d)  the name and address of the person(s) believed to have knowledge pertaining to the subject of the complaint;

e)  the identification and location of any documentation or materials upon which the complaint in whole or part is based; the complaint may be accompanied by any materials or documentation which are thought to be relevant to the Committee’s consideration and review;

f)  a statement declaring that the person submitting the complaint, will be present at any hearing at which the complaint is considered, upon the written request of either the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee or the charged IEEE member in the complaint.

3. Timeliness of Complaint. In accordance with IEEE Bylaw I-110.3, no complaint shall be accepted or considered by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee if based upon conduct alleged to have occurred more than two (2) years prior to the date on which the complaint is received, except that with respect to alleged acts of plagiarism, no complaint shall be accepted or considered by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee if based upon acts of plagiarism alleged to have occurred more than ten (10) years prior to the date on which the complaint is received. The Chair shall return such complaints to the submitter without further distribution.

4. Acknowledgment.  The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee Chair, or his/her designee, shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint.

5.  Distribution.  Concurrent with the acknowledgement, copies of the complaint shall be distributed to the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee members.

Part B - Review of the Complaint

Part B - Review of the Complaint.

1.  Preliminary Investigation.

a)  The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee shall normally complete its consideration, investigation, and preparation of the Report on Preliminary Investigation within ninety (90) days from the date the Chair acknowledges receipt of the complaint. When circumstances require more time for the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee to complete its work, the complainant, or any other individuals who have been contacted by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee shall be notified.

b)  The Preliminary Investigation shall be limited to a determination of cause.  The preliminary investigation may involve interviewing the complainant, ascertaining whether there are witnesses or documents to corroborate the allegations, and determining if certain conduct is permissible.

c)    During the period of its Preliminary Investigation, the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, acting on its own behalf or through ad hoc committees appointed by and under the direction of the Chair of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, may seek relevant information from IEEE staff, members and others as may be appropriate to the nature and contents of the complaint.  Such relevant information as may be obtained shall be reduced to writing and included in the case file.

d)  During the period of the Preliminary Investigation, if the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee determines that contacting the charged member(s) will aid the investigative process, the complainant shall be notified of the Committee’s action, and the following procedures shall be followed.

·   All material correspondence communication shall be in writing.

·   The charged member shall be provided with a copy of the full complaint.

·   The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee shall, by action, agree on the specific information to be requested.

·   The charged member shall be given thirty (30) days from the date the request for information is received to respond in writing.

·   The charged member shall be notified that IEEE will not reimburse expenses incurred in the preparation of the response.

·   Information provided by the charged member shall remain confidential and shall not be shared with the complainant unless a hearing board is convened.

Part C - Findings of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee

Part C - Findings of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee.

1.  Report of Findings.  The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee shall determine whether a reasonable basis exists for believing that:

a)  the facts alleged in the complaint, if proven, constitute cause for expulsion, suspension, or censure of the charged member(s); and

b)    the facts alleged in the complaint can be proven.

These findings shall be made in writing by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, dated and signed by its members.  These findings shall be the Committee's "Report on Preliminary Investigation".

2.  Termination.

a)  The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, upon determination that there is not a reasonable basis for believing both that the facts alleged in the complaint constitute cause, and that the facts can be proven, shall conclude its investigation. Notice of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee action to terminate the complaint shall be sent by traceable mail to the complainant and shall include a copy of the Report on Preliminary Investigation.   Any parties to whom information about the case was disclosed during the period of investigation shall be notified that the case has been terminated.

b)  Other Reasons for Termination. The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee may terminate a Preliminary Investigation for any reason in its reasonable discretion including if:

i)  there is any disclosure or publication of the complaint or its contents by the complaining party before the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee has concluded its Report on Preliminary Investigation. In such event, the Committee may return the complaint to the initiating party and the Chair shall notify the IEEE Board of Directors of its actions; or

ii)  the complainant fails to respond to a written request for further information within twenty (20) days following receipt of such request; or

iii)  the complainant has initiated legal proceedings, which are based upon the same or related circumstances underlying the complaint; or

iv) the case pertains to the same or substantially similar conduct, or subject matter, involving the charged person(s) in a case previously considered by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee.

3.  Reconsideration. The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee shall reconsider or review its findings to terminate a case only upon receipt of newly discovered information which by due diligence could not have been discovered at the time the complaint was filed. The complainant shall have ten (10) business days following service of notice to provide such information.

The Committee shall have a maximum of sixty (60) days, from the date the Chair acknowledges receipt of newly discovered information, to reconsider its decision. If the Committee affirms the findings contained in its Report on Preliminary Investigation terminating the matter, no further reconsideration shall be granted.

4.  Affirmative Findings.

a) Upon an affirmative finding, the Chair shall advise the IEEE President, by transmittal of the Report on Preliminary Investigation, of the Committee's decision and request the appointment of a hearing board and the determination of the date, place and time at which the complaint shall be presented to the hearing board.

b) The date selected by the IEEE President shall be chosen to permit service of notice on the IEEE member(s) to be charged at least ninety (90) days prior to the date set for hearing the matter and not more than six months following receipt by the IEEE President of the Report on Preliminary Investigation.

c)  The Ethics and Member Conduct Committee Chair shall serve notice, by traceable mail, on the IEEE member(s) to be charged.  The notice shall include:

(1) the time, place and date of the hearing

(2) the date by which the charged member(s) shall notify the Committee Chair whether the member will attend the hearing in person, or be presented by a person authorized by the member

(3) a copy of the complaint

(4) the Report on Preliminary Investigation

(5) notice that any materials for the presentation, intended for submission by the charged member(s), be received by the Committee Chair for distribution to the hearing board twenty (20) days in advance of the hearing date

d)  Materials that are to be a part of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee’s presentation to the hearing board shall be distributed to both the hearing board members and the charged member(s) fifteen (15) days in advance of the hearing date.

e)  Any persons appearing before the hearing board on behalf of either the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee or the charged member(s) shall present written authorization for their appearance.

Part D - Hearing Board; Procedures

Part D ‑ Hearing Board; Procedures.

1.  Hearing Board Members.

a)  Appointment. The IEEE President, with the concurrence of the Board of Directors, shall appoint no fewer than five and not more than nine IEEE voting members, not currently serving on the IEEE Board of Directors, to serve as the hearing board to hear the presentations by the Committee and by the charged IEEE member(s).  The IEEE President with the concurrence of the Board of Directors shall at the same time appoint alternate members, designated as first alternate and second alternate, to serve as may be required.

b)  The charged member shall be notified of the appointment and membership of the hearing board.

c)  The hearing board shall select one of its members to serve as Chair. The Chair shall preside over the hearing and prepare their findings and recommendations. 

d)  The hearing board, by majority vote, shall disqualify one or more members, if warranted to assure impartiality.  Any member may disqualify himself or herself in like circumstances. 

e)  A charged member may request disqualification of hearing board members in writing to the hearing board Chair. Such request shall be made within ten (10) days of receipt of the notification of the hearing board appointment and membership.

f)  Should any disqualifications reduce the hearing board to fewer than five members, the Chair of the hearing board shall designate alternates to serve in the order determined by the IEEE President.

2.  Procedure at the Hearing.

     a)  The session shall be in confidence.

     b)  Alternate forms of meeting (i.e., teleconference) shall be allowed if agreed to by the hearing board, the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee and the charged person(s).

     c)  All written materials presented to the hearing board shall be filed with the Staff Secretary of the Board of Directors.

     d) The hearing board Chair shall convene the session and shall be the final authority in any matters relating to procedures and administrative functions of the hearing.  The hearing shall include:

          (1) Opening instructions by and at the discretion of the hearing board Chair;

          (2) Opening statements by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee and the charged member;

          (3) Presentation of evidence by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee;

          (4) Cross-examination by the charged member;

          (5) Presentation of evidence by the charged member;

          (6) Cross-examination by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee;

          (7) Closing statements by the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee and the charged member; and

          (8) Conclusion/adjournment by the hearing board Chair.

3.  Appearance of Charged Member.

a)    Failure to Make Presentation.  In the event that the charged member or the authorized representative fails to appear on the hearing date, the hearing board may either act upon the presentation submitted by the member or the matter may be considered at the discretion of the hearing board, on a subsequent date.

b)  Notice of Postponement.  The Chair of the hearing board shall notify the member(s) and the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee of the new date, time and place for such postponed hearing.  The notice shall be given within such period as the hearing board determines to be reasonable under the circumstances.  Failure of the member(s) or the authorized representative(s) to appear on the new hearing date shall not be cause for further delay of the hearing board's final action.  If the charged member failed to submit a presentation, the hearing board shall act upon the presentation of the Committee.

c)  Postponement or Delay.  The length of postponement or delay of hearing or final action by the hearing board shall be discretionary; provided, however, no delay or postponement approved by the hearing board shall extend the final action of the hearing board beyond six months from the date on which the hearing procedure was initiated.

Part E - Deliberation and Findings by Hearing Board

Part E ‑ Deliberation and Findings by Hearing Board.

1.  Deliberation of Cause and Sanctions. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the hearing board shall convene in executive session to consider the evidence presented for cause and sanctions. The hearing board shall determine, on the basis of the evidence presented, whether the conduct in question constitutes cause.

Cause shall mean conduct that is determined to be

·   a material violation of the IEEE Code of Ethics, or

·   a material violation of the Constitution, Bylaws, Policies, or Operations Manuals of the IEEE that is seriously prejudicial to the IEEE, or

·   other conduct that is seriously prejudicial to the IEEE.

A recommendation to expel, suspend or censure a charged member shall be made by the hearing board based on the severity of the wrongful conduct of the charged member, the extent to which IEEE's interests were prejudiced as a result of such conduct, and other factors which the hearing board considers relevant in the circumstances of the particular case.

2.  Findings.

a) The hearing board, after resolving these issues in executive session, shall be reconvened for the purpose of recording the ballots and the final action taken pertaining to the issue of cause.

b)  If the hearing board finds cause, it shall concurrently record its vote and recommendation, if any, on the issue of sanction as defined in IEEE Bylaw I-110.1.  A finding that a charged member’s conduct constitutes cause for censure, suspension or expulsion shall require the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the votes of the members of the hearing board present at the time of the vote, provided a quorum is present.

The sanctions which may be recommended by the hearing board are:

·   Censure which shall mean an official reprimand.  Such reprimand shall be in the form of a letter from the IEEE Board of Directors.

·   Suspension which shall mean that all benefits and privileges associated with the member grade held, at the time the suspension begins, shall cease for the period of the suspension.  The hearing board shall make a recommendation on the time period for suspension.

·   Expulsion which shall mean that the individual shall no longer be considered a member of the IEEE.  All rights and privileges of membership shall cease and the individual shall be removed from the rolls of the IEEE.

c)  The hearing board, should it find cause, shall make a recommendation to the Board of Directors as to whether the identity of the charged member should be included in any notification to the membership.

3.  Final Hearing Board Action; Notice.

a)  The hearing board, acting through its Chair, shall prepare its findings, and recommendations as to sanction, if any, in writing, including any opinions or statements from individual members of the hearing board.

b)  Final hearing board action shall comprise the recorded ballots and findings made in writing on the issues of cause and sanction.

c)  Notice of final hearing board action shall be served, by traceable mail, on the charged IEEE member(s), the IEEE member(s) initiating the complaint, the Chair of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee, and the IEEE Board of Directors.  The notice shall include the record of the final action by the hearing board.  The Chair of the hearing board shall serve notice within five (5) business days of the date on which the hearing board takes its final action.

d)  Within ten (10) days of the receipt of the notice of the final action of the hearing board by the Board of Directors, the IEEE President shall notify, by traceable mail, both the charged member(s) and the Chair of the Ethics and Member Conduct Committee of the date on which the Board of Directors will review the hearing board’s final action.

e)  Within ten (10) days of the receipt of the notice of final action, the charged member(s) may submit, in writing, such comments and recommendations to the Board of Directors as they deem relevant to that Board's deliberations.

Part F - Board of Directors; Sanction; Publication

Part F - Board of Directors; Sanction; Publication.

1.  Final Action and Notification by the Board of Directors (On Review of Hearing Board Decisions and Recommendation).

a)  Final action by the Board of Directors shall comprise the recorded ballots and findings made in writing on the issues of cause and sanction, in accordance with IEEE Bylaw I-110.6.

b) In accordance with IEEE Bylaw I-110.7, the IEEE Board of Directors shall notify the charged member(s) of the final action taken.  Notifications to the IEEE membership shall be at the discretion of the IEEE Board of Directors.