Rules and Procedures
Certified Technology Specialist (CTS, CTS-D, CTS-I)
RULES AND PROCEDURES REGARDING ETHICAL AND PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE COMPLAINTS
I. Responsibility and Objectives of the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee
R1.l Objectives. The fundamental objectives of the AVIXA CTS Ethics and Disciplinary Committee (“Committee”) are to enforce the CTS Code of Ethics and Conduct(the “Code”) to ensure that any person who has applied for, or has been awarded certification (a “CTS Applicant/Certificant”) is practicing in accordance with profession and community standards and to protect the public against unprofessional and unethical conduct by CTS Applicant/Certificants.
R1.2 Rules. The Committee shall review and analyze the Code and shall propose recommendations regarding the Code for adoption by the AVIXA Certification Committee.
R1.3 Conduct. The Committee is responsible for receiving, reviewing and, if appropriate, investigating complaints of unprofessional conduct or violations of the Code.
R1.4 Resolution of Complaints. The Committee shall resolve all complaints of unprofessional and unethical conduct or other violations of the Code and, if necessary, shall recommend to the Certification Committee such other action to achieve the objectives of the Code.
R1.5 Reports. Annually, or as requested by the Certification Committee, the Committee shall deliver a summary report to the Certification Committee identifying the Committee's activities.
R1.6 Procedures. Subject to the review of the Certification Committee, the Committee shall adopt procedures and safeguards governing the functions of the Committee to ensure that all CTS Applicant/Certificants and the Committee are in full compliance with the Code and these Rules and Procedures Regarding Ethical and Professional Discipline Complaints ("Rules”).
R1.7 Time. The time periods set forth in the sections below are intended to provide guidance to the Committee, the Certification Committee and the parties, and may be extended at the Committee's discretion depending upon the circumstances of each proceeding. Failure of the Committee, the Certification Committee or any party to comply with the time periods shall in no event prevent the continuation or conclusion of a proceeding by the Committee or the Certification Committee.
II. Nature of Authority
R2.1 Power to Investigate. The Committee shall have the power, but shall not be obligated, to investigate all allegations of unprofessional and unethical conduct that may be harmful to colleagues, to the public, to the profession or that may be otherwise contrary to the objectives of the Code or AVIXA, provided that such allegations are made in writing. The Committee's powers do not extend to addressing economic issues as they relate to legitimate marketplace competition.
R2.2 Disposition of Complaints. The Committee has the sole authority to decide whether to act on a complaint and to make final determinations regarding each complaint, subject to the Certification Committee’s authority to conduct an appeal hearing as set forth in these Rules.
R2.3 Committee Actions. The Committee may make the following determinations:
- Notify all parties, in writing, that no action is warranted against the CTS Applicant/Certificant;
- Require that the CTS Applicant/Certificant cease and desist the alleged conduct;
- Require the supervision of the CTS Applicant/Certificant as the Committee sees necessary;
- Admonish, censure or reprimand the CTS Applicant/Certificant;
- Place the CTS Applicant/Certificant under probation with or without monitoring of the CTS Applicant/Certificant for a specific length of time;
- Refer the matter to the proper authorities for criminal prosecution, if appropriate;
- Suspend or revoke the CTS Applicant/Certificant’s certified status with AVIXA; and/or
- Propose other action that is warranted under the circumstances.
R2.4 Monetary Penalties. The Committee will not determine or impose monetary penalties.
R2.5 Committee Meetings. The Committee shall meet at reasonable intervals, as needed, but not less than two (2) times each year. Regular meetings may be held by conference call or in person. A quorum at such meetings shall consist of a majority of the members of the Committee. The Committee may meet by telephone conference call. All Committee members must be given at least ten (10) days advance written notice of any meeting, provided that such notice may be waived by any member of the Committee or by the attendance of any member of the Committee at the meeting. Notices may be communicated by electronic transmission or by facsimile.
R2.6 Confidentiality. All information disclosed to the Committee, Certification Committee, or AVIXA shall be maintained on a confidential basis, except that the Committee and/or the Board shall be permitted to disclose such information when compelled by a validly issued subpoena or court order, when otherwise required by law, or to parties essential to the review and investigation of the alleged unethical or unprofessional conduct. Public information shall not be considered confidential information for purposes of this Rule R2.6. R2.7 Determination. When the investigation has been completed and the Committee has made its decision, it shall inform both the complainant ("Complainant") and the CTS Applicant/Certificant of its conclusions and the actions to be taken, along with the basis for such actions. Such disclosures shall include a citation to any particular Code section violated.
R2.8 Record Keeping. The Committee shall maintain records of its proceedings and establish reasonable procedures to ensure that confidentiality is maintained with respect to the handling, storage, maintenance and destruction of such records.
III. Disciplinary Procedures: Initial Consideration
R3.1 Complaint. A complaint ("Complaint") against any CTS Applicant/Certificant shall be submitted only on the AVIXA CTS Professional Discipline Complaint Form, signed by the Complainant, by: (i) any party with direct knowledge of the violation of the CTS Code of Ethics and Conduct by the CTS Applicant/Certificant; (ii) any national, regional or other professional association of which the CTS Applicant/Certificant is a member; (iii) any licensing or credentialing authority; (iv) AVIXA; or (v) the Committee. The complaint will initially be submitted to and reviewed by the AVIXA Director of Certification who will determine if the complaint filing is valid and actionable. Only valid and actionable complaints will be forwarded to the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee.
R3.2 Disclosure of Previous Actions. The Complainant shall inform the Committee of previous steps, if any, that have been taken with respect to the alleged unethical or unprofessional conduct and the results of such steps taken.
R3.3 Committee Complaint. The Committee may proceed on its own initiative when a CTS Applicant/Certificant appears to have violated the Codes by submitting a formal Complaint.
R3.4 Anonymous Complaint. The Committee may not act solely on the basis of an anonymous complaint or allegation.
R3.5 Additional Information. The Committee may, through correspondence or otherwise, seek supplementary information from the Complainant or any other party, when necessary, in order to completely evaluate the substance of the allegations. In the event that the Committee determines that additional information is necessary but the Complainant refuses to provide such information, the Committee may determine that the case should be closed.
IV. Disciplinary Procedures: Initial Action
R4.1 Initial Determination. Within forty-five (45) days of receiving a Complaint from the Complainant, the Committee shall determine whether sufficient information exists to proceed with a formal investigation. However, the Committee shall not proceed until such time as the Committee is satisfied that the Complainant has complied with all procedural requirements. If the Committee concludes that an investigation is not warranted, it shall notify the Complainant within thirty (30) days of its determination.
R4.2 Formal Investigation. If the Committee determines that a formal investigation should ensue, it shall notify the Complainant and CTS Applicant/Certificant within thirty (30) days of its determination. The notification sent by the Committee to the CTS Applicant/Certificant shall include a description of the alleged behaviors involved in the Complaint, including the specific section of the CTS Code of Ethics and Conduct that the CTS Applicant/Certificant is alleged to have violated. In addition, the notification shall include a request that the CTS Applicant/Certificant reply to the Complaint within thirty (30) days of the date of the notification, along with a request that the CTS Applicant/Certificant's response contain complete information concerning the Complaint. The notification shall also include a copy of the CTS Code of Ethics and Conduct and these Rules. The notification shall further contain the name of the Complainant. If the Complainant refuses to have his/her name known to the CTS Applicant/Certificant, the case shall be closed. The notification shall include a statement that the information submitted by the CTS Applicant/Certificant shall become part of the record and may be used in further proceedings.
R4.3 Response to Complaint. The CTS Applicant/Certificant is required to provide to the Committee and personally sign his/her written response within thirty (30) days of the date of notification sent by the Committee. Failure to respond or any other unwarranted delay by the CTS Applicant/Certificant, or the lack of the CTS Applicant/Certificant's cooperation, shall in no way prevent the continuation or conclusion of the proceedings by the Committee as it deems fit.
R4.4 Additional Information. If, after receipt of the CTS Applicant/Certificant’s response, the Committee determines that additional information is warranted from either or both the Complainant or the CTS Applicant/Certificant, or from any third party, it shall request such additional information. The parties shall provide the additional information no later than thirty (30) days after the date of the request for additional information.
R4.5 No Further Action. Once the information has been received pursuant to Rules R4.3 and R4.4 above, the Committee may conclude that the Complaint has no basis in fact, is insufficient or is likely to be corrected on its own merit and, therefore, may determine to close the case without further action. Such decision shall be made within forty-five (45) days of the Committee's receipt of the information. If the Committee determines to close the case, it shall inform both the Complainant and the CTS Applicant/Certificant.
R4.6 Right to a Hearing. If the Committee, having received all information pursuant to Rules R4.3 and R4.4 above, determines that further action is warranted, it shall notify the Complainant and the CTS Applicant/Certificant that the Committee is prepared to consider all of the information before it and render a decision on that basis. The CTS Applicant/Certificant may request that, prior to such analysis and decision, he/she be afforded the opportunity to have a hearing before the Committee so that he/she may present his/her interpretation of the facts before the Committee. If the CTS Applicant/Certificant desires to have a hearing before the Committee, he/she must so notify the Committee, in writing, within thirty (30) days of the date of the Committee's notification to the CTS Applicant/Certificant and Complainant as set out in this Rule R4.6. The CTS Applicant/Certificant's failure to timely request a hearing shall be deemed a waiver by the CTS Applicant/Certificant of the right to a hearing. The Complainant shall be invited to be present at the hearing. If the Complainant is invited to be present at the hearing but does not attend, the hearing and investigation shall continue; however, the Complainant's failure to attend may be considered as a factor in the Committee's determination relating to that particular matter.
R4.7 Hearing Process. The hearing process shall be conducted by the Committee. The CTS Applicant/Certificant may be accompanied by any third party, including legal counsel. However, the CTS Applicant/Certificant, personally, shall make all presentations, responses and address all issues to the Committee.
R4.8 Hearing Date/Place. If the CTS Applicant/Certificant requests a hearing pursuant to Rule R4.6, the Committee shall schedule a hearing date mutually convenient to all parties but in no event later than forty-five (45) days after receipt of the CTS Applicant/Certificant's request. The Committee shall promptly notify the CTS Applicant/Certificant and Complainant of the date and place of the hearing. The hearing may take place by conference call or in person. The CTS Applicant/Certificant and Complainant shall each pay all of his/her own costs, including his/her own third party expenses.
V. Disciplinary Procedures: Disposition of Complaint
R5.1 Committee Action. If the Committee concludes that some type of action is warranted, it shall adopt any one or more of the following sanctions or take any other appropriate action:
- require that the CTS Applicant/Certificant cease and desist the alleged conduct;
- require the supervision of the CTS Applicant/Certificant as the Committee sees necessary;
- admonish, censure or reprimand the CTS Applicant/Certificant;
- place the CTS Applicant/Certificant under probation with or without monitoring of the CTS Applicant/Certificant for a specific length of time;
- refer the matter to the proper authorities for criminal prosecution, if appropriate;
- suspend or revoke the CTS Applicant/Certificant’s certified status with AVIXA; and/or
- propose other action that is warranted under the circumstances.
R5.2 Notification. The Committee shall notify the Complainant and CTS Applicant/Certificant of its determination and action to be taken within thirty (30) days of the date of its decision.
R5.3 Appeal. The CTS Applicant/Certificant shall have thirty days (30) days from the date of the notification to appeal the Committee's determination. The CTS Applicant/Certificant must notify the Committee, in writing, of his/her appeal request within thirty (30) days of the date of the notification if he/she intends to appeal the Committee’s determination. The appeal request must be mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested or by verifiable overnight express mail service, to the Director of Certification — Attn.: Appeals Committee at the AVIXA headquarters office. The CTS Applicant/Certificant's appeal request must include all reasons and basis for the appeal. If the CTS Applicant/Certificant accepts the Committee's determination and sanctions or the CTS Applicant/Certificant does not appeal the Committee's decision within the thirty (30) day time period, the Committee's conclusions and sanctions shall be deemed final, effective immediately. The Committee shall so notify the Complainant and the CTS Applicant/Certificant.
R5.4 Appeals Committee. The Certification Committee shall establish an Appeals Committee consisting of at least three (3) members, who are not simultaneously serving on the Committee, to act on its behalf to review, consider and make a final determination concerning an appeal of a Committee decision. The CTS Certification Committee shall ratify the Appeals Committee’s final determination R5.5 Hearing. If the CTS Applicant/Certificant appeals the Committee's determination, the Appeals Committee Chair shall notify the CTS Applicant/Certificant and Complainant of a scheduled appeal hearing date. The appeal hearing date must be within forty-five (45) days of the receipt of the CTS Applicant/Certificant's appeal request to the Appeals Committee. The Appeals Committee shall promptly notify the CTS Applicant/Certificant and Complainant of the date and place of the appeal hearing. An appeal hearing shall be conducted at AVIXA’s headquarters office or other such location as determined by AVIXA. The CTS Applicant/Certificant may be accompanied by a third party, including legal counsel. However, the CTS Applicant/Certificant, personally, shall make all presentations, responses and address all issues to the Appeals Committee. The CTS Applicant/Certificant and the Complainant shall pay all of his/her own costs, including his/her own third party expenses. The Appeals Committee shall consider all available evidence.
VI. Appeals Committee Decision
R6.1 Further Consideration. The Appeals Committee may, after reviewing the decision of the Committee, determine that the Committee did not properly review the evidence prior to making its final decision in the matter. In such case, the Appeals Committee may remand the matter back to the Committee for further consideration.
R6.2 Appeals Committee Decision. The Appeals Committee shall only overrule the Committee's decisions in the event of the following: (a) the Code was incorrectly applied; (b) the findings of fact by the Committee were erroneous; (c) it would be unjust or unfair to implement the Committee's decision; (d) the procedures used by the Committee were in serious and substantial violation of the Code and these Rules; and/or (e) the disciplinary sanctions determined by the Committee were disproportionate to the facts. In no event shall the Appeals Committee be bound by the Committee's determination regarding the sanction.
R6.3 Notification. Within forty five (45) days of the appeal hearing, the Appeals Committee shall notify the Complainant and the CTS Applicant/Certificant of its decision which shall be final. The Appeals Committee’s decision may not be appealed. Once the Appeals Committee decision has been made, it shall notify the Committee, which shall implement the Appeals Committee directives.
R6.4 Publication of Sanction. The Ethics and Disciplinary Committee shall report at least annually on the AVIXA website the names of all sanctioned CTS Applicant/Certificants and the violations of the Standards involved.
VII. Close of Case
R7.1 Close of Case. Once the final decision has been made by the Committee or the Appeals Committee, the matter shall be closed and the files shall be retained at AVIXA’s administrative offices.
VIII. Request for Reinstatement of Credential
R8.1 Reinstatement Request. The Certification Committee will consider all written reinstatement requests, which must include the following information: (i) the date of the final Committee and/or Appeals disposition; (ii) a complete statement of reasons that the CTS Applicant/Certificant believes support the reinstatement request; and (iii) copies of all relevant documents and materials supporting the reinstatement request. The Certification Committee will provide its decision to the CTS Applicant/Certificant within forty five (45) days of receipt of the reinstatement request.
IX. Governing Law/venue
R10.l Governing Law. The laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia shall govern these Rules.
R10.2 Venue. The CTS Applicant/Certificant and AVIXA agree to file and pursue all claims and suits regarding these Rules with the applicable court in the jurisdiction in which AVIXA’s corporate offices are located.