ICD Code of Ethics Complaint Procedures

Subscribers of the ICD are professionals and are expected to practice their profession in an ethical manner. Those who subscribe to the ICD have agreed to abide by the ICD Code of Ethics (“Code of Ethics”) as a condition of subscriber status.

Additionally, compliance with the Code of Ethics is a condition for retaining one's CPO-CD® certification. Therefore, a complaint asserting a violation of the Code of Ethics may be filed only by a current subscriber against anyone who is a current subscriber or who has been certified by the ICD as a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®.

This document sets forth the procedures for filing complaints and for providing objective evaluation of complaints filed. It also sets forth a disciplinary process for anyone found to be in violation of the Code of Ethics.

AUTHORITY
The Board of Directors of the ICD has the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions set forth herein.

The Ethics Committee of the ICD, appointed as needed by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, will be vested with the authority to investigate alleged violations of the Code of Ethics and to recommend action to the Board of Directors. If a Respondent is a CPO-CD® or is currently enrolled in the Certification Program as a Level III candidate

  1. the Certification Program Director will be one member of the Ethics Committee investigating the complaint,
  2. the Ethics Committee will be chaired by either the President-Elect or the Immediate Past President, whoever is in office at the time,
  3. the Ethics Committee will be comprised of three individuals including the Chair.

In the event that the President-Elect or Immediate Past President cannot serve as Chair due to a conflict of interest with respect to any matter or person under review or consideration, the Executive Committee will appoint a Chair. 

CONFIDENTIALITY
The Board of Directors and those acting on behalf of the ICD will undertake to keep the identities of the complainant and respondent in any ethics complaint proceeding confidential and not disclosed to the general public. While disclosure of the identity of the complainant will be avoided where possible, upon filing a complaint, the complainant will consent to the disclosure of his or her identity to the respondent. Final disciplinary sanctions imposed by the Board of Directors may be published to the profession at the Board's discretion. Parties are encouraged to maintain confidentiality, and Certified Professional Organizers in Chronic Disorganization® are reminded of their obligation to protect the profession.  

PROCEDURE FOR FILING COMPLAINT
Complaints must be submitted in writing using the Ethics Complaint Form (downloadable from www.challengingdisorganization.org) and sent by mail to ICD, 1693 S. Hanley Rd., St. Louis, MO 63144; or as a .pdf attachment to ICD@challengingdisorganization.org. It is the responsibility of the Complainant to confirm receipt of the complaint at ICD headquarters. Only information in writing will be considered. Complaints must be accompanied by sufficient evidence to credibly allege a material violation of the Code of Ethics. Complaints must be filed within six (6) months after the latest act constituting the basis of the accusation. Only complaints from current subscribers will be considered.

PROCEDURE FOR PROCESSING THE COMPLAINT
Upon receipt of a fully completed and supported Ethics Complaint Form at ICD headquarters, a copy of the Ethics Complaint Form and any supporting evidence will be sent to the President and the Chair of the Ethics Committee (“the Chair”). Within twenty (20) business days after receipt at headquarters of the Ethics Complaint Form and supporting evidence, the following with occur:

The President will convene a meeting via telephone with the Chair and, as deemed appropriate, the Certification Program Director.

These individuals will review the complaint and determine whether it meets all requirements of an actionable complaint and whether, if the allegations are ultimately determined to be true, a violation of the Code of Ethics will have occurred.

If the complaint is found insufficient, the complaint will be dismissed and both parties (Complainant and named Respondent) will be notified by a letter from the President sent via the U.S. Postal Service by First Class mail with Signature Confirmation™. Reason(s) for dismissal will be noted in this letter.

If the complaint is determined to be actionable, a copy of the complaint and all evidence submitted by the complainant will be sent to the Respondent by the Chair via U.S. Postal Service by First Class Certified Mail™ with Return Receipt requested.

The Respondent will be notified that a written response is necessary and should be filed with the Committee.

If a written response is not received from the Respondent within twenty (20) business days of the date upon which respondent received a copy of the complaint, the Committee may deem the charges to be true by default.

When the response is received, the Chair will send a copy to the Complainant.

The Ethics Committee shall investigate the complaint to determine whether, in view of all the evidence gathered, the evidence demonstrates clearly and convincingly that the Respondent has materially violated the Code of Ethics. The Committee shall have the right to seek additional information regarding the matter from the Complainant, the Respondent and/or relevant third parties.

If the Committee determines that there is not clear and convincing evidence of a violation of the Code of Ethics, the Chair shall so advise the Complainant and the Respondent in writing via U.S. Postal Service First Class Certified Mail™ with Return Receipt Requested, and the matter shall be considered dismissed and not subject to appeal.

If the Committee determines that there is clear and convincing evidence of a violation of the Code of Ethics, the matter will proceed to Inquiry. The Chair shall provide written notification to the Complainant and the Respondent via U.S. Postal Service by First Class Certified Mail™ with Return Receipt requested at least twenty (20) business days in advance of the date of Inquiry. A copy of all evidence gathered by the Ethics Committee shall accompany the notice. The notice shall state these rights of the Respondent:

  1. The right to a copy of all evidence supporting the complaint.
  2. The right to present evidence and witnesses at the Inquiry.
  3. The right to request clarification from the Complainant.
  4. The right to a written decision.

INQUIRY
The Ethics Committee will convene the Inquiry by telephone conference call to evaluate all documentation pertaining to the matter. The Committee may require the Complainant and/or the Respondent to participate in the Inquiry. The Committee shall render one of three decisions within sixty (60) business days of the date of the Inquiry:

  1. There is insufficient evidence to make a determination.
  2. The complaint is substantiated.
  3. The complaint is not substantiated.

In the case of a decision under (1) or (3) above, the complaint shall be dismissed, the dismissal shall not be subject to appeal, and both the Complainant and the Respondent shall be so notified by the President in a letter sent by First Class mail with Signature Confirmation™. The files of dismissed complaints shall be treated as confidential.

In the case of finding that the complaint is substantiated, the Ethics Committee shall issue a written decision setting forth the basis for its decision and recommending to the Board of Directors an appropriate disciplinary sanction which may consist of one or more of the following:

  1. Loss of subscriber status for a specified period of time. Use of the ICD name or logo on marketing materials including website by those who are not active subscribers is prohibited. In the case of loss of subscriber status as a disciplinary sanction, the Respondent shall have twenty (20) business days from the date of receipt of notice of the Board's imposition of any such sanction to remove such references from marketing materials including website and online directories.
  2. Placement on probation for a period not to exceed two (2) years. During this probationary period, should any further complaints of a violation of the Code of Ethics be found substantiated, the Respondent's certification (CPO-CD®, Level IV or Level V) status shall be suspended or revoked, as determined by the Ethics Committee and the Board of Directors. A CPO-CD® placed on probation would retain certification status and all of its rights and privileges during the period of probation.
  3. Suspension of certification status for a minimum of two (2) years, based upon the severity of the professional misconduct. In some cases, certification status may be revoked permanently. Use of the CPO-CD® credential, including use of the phrase "Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization" by those who are not currently credentialed is prohibited. In the case of suspension of certification status as a disciplinary sanction, the Respondent shall have twenty (20) business days from the date of receipt of notice of the Board's imposition of any such sanction to remove such references from business cards and other marketing materials including website and online directories.
  4. Other disciplinary sanctions as determined by the Committee to be warranted.

Upon receipt of the written recommendation from the Ethics Committee, the President will notify both the Complainant and the Respondent that the Ethics Committee has found that the complaint is substantiated and note the date of the next meeting of the Board of Directors when the final decision concerning disciplinary action shall be made. This written notification will be sent by First Class mail with Signature Confirmation™.

The Board of Directors shall consider the entire record and make its determination regarding the imposition of the sanction recommended by the Ethics Committee.

Within ten (10) business days of the decision by the Board of Directors, the President will send a letter by First Class Certified Mail™ with Return Receipt requested to both the Complainant and Respondent which sets forth any disciplinary sanction imposed by the Board of Directors. The Chair will notify the members of the Ethics Committee by electronic mail of the determination of the Board within ten (10) business days of such determination.

Complaints on which sanctions are imposed shall be maintained permanently as electronic files accessible to those in the positions of President of the Board of Directors and Chairperson of the Ethics Committee.

FEES
No fees paid to the ICD will be refunded should any disciplinary sanctions be imposed hereunder.

All contractual obligations by the individual for payments due the ICD prior to the imposition of any disciplinary sanction for participating in the certification program shall remain payable in full in accordance with the original agreement.

LIMITED RIGHT TO APPEAL
Any dismissal of an ethics complaint shall not be subject to appeal. A decision of the Board of Directors to impose disciplinary sanctions against a Respondent is subject to appeal by the Respondent; however, the sole ground for such appeal shall be that the Respondent has new, relevant information which was not considered by the Ethics Committee.

Any Respondent having new information to submit to the Board of Directors shall, within twenty (20) business days of receipt of the written notice from the President setting forth the disciplinary sanction imposed by the Board of Directors, file with the Board of Directors a written notice of appeal stating the reason for the appeal and including the new information not considered by the Ethics Committee.

Disciplinary sanctions shall be deferred during the process of appeal, pending the final decision of the Board of Directors.

Following review of the entire body of evidence on file, the decision and recommendation of the Ethics Committee and the new information submitted by the Respondent, the Board of Directors shall, at its next regularly scheduled meeting, render a final decision which may not be further appealed.

Within ten (10) business days of the decision by the Board of Directors, the President will send a letter by First Class Certified Mail™ with Return Receipt requested to both the Complainant and Respondent which sets forth the final decision made by the Board of Directors.

The Chair will notify the members of the Ethics Committee by electronic mail of the final determination of the Board within ten (10) business days of such determination.

Ethics Complaint Form