Whistleblower Policy

Member Misconduct/Whistle Blower Complaint

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) is committed to the highest standards in cardiovascular ultrasound and creates standards and guidelines and educational materials to facilitate high quality patient care. This is articulated clearly in our mission statement and strategic goals. Should a member have a concern regarding other ASE members, staff, volunteers and consultants there is an opportunity for members to express their concerns (“whistle blow”) in the form of a written request detailing a specific incident. If there are violations of disclosure and representations made to the ASE, we will take appropriate action in accordance with our bylaws, code of ethics and whistle blower policies.

While the ASE is not a certification or licensing body, we will adjudicate member, staff or contractor misconduct as a non-profit organization that serves the public interest and the common good. Depending on the severity of the misconduct, this may be reported to external agencies.

Procedure for Communicating Allegations of Member Misconduct

Adherence to ASE’s Code of Ethics is a condition of ASE membership. A member may be reprimanded, censured, dismissed from ASE Boards/Committees/Task forces and/or removed from ASE membership for violating the Code of Ethics in proceedings governed by the ASE Governing policies.

Adherence to ASE’s core values is a condition of ASE employment. A staff member or contractor may be reprimanded, censured, or dismissed from service for violating ASE’s core values.

An allegation of unethical behavior and/or unacknowledged conflict of interest shall be submitted in writing to ASE through this online link. Any complaint regarding members will be forwarded to the chair of the Governance & Compliance Committee and ASE’s Governance and Compliance staff liaison, with a copy to the President, unless one of these parties is implicated in the offense. In this case, the complaint can be sent to the CEO or President-Elect. Once these groups have reviewed the claims and found them to be applicable to ASE’s Code of Ethics, the Governance & Compliance Committee shall be asked to review the complaint to determine subsequent actions if necessary.

Complaints related to staff and/or contractors will be forwarded to the ASE’s HR manager. These will be handled internally, unless they involve members. In this case, they will be returned to the Governance and Compliance Committee for review to determine course of action in necessary. Should the complaint be found to be credible, disciplinary action may include up to censure or termination.

If the committee, by majority vote, recommends proceeding, the ASE President shall appoint a separate ad hoc committee to review the matter, including interviewing the complainant and alleged offender. The alleged offender will be informed of the complaint lodged against him/her and given reasonable opportunity (not to exceed 15 days) to respond and provide a defense in writing. Once review is complete, the Ad Hoc group will make a recommendation to the President. Such recommendations could include dismissal of the complaint, a reprimand/or censure of the offender, dismissal of the offender from ASE Boards/Committees/Task Forces, removal from recognition, and/or removal from ASE membership. After receiving any majority recommendation from the Ad Hoc Committee, the ASE President will determine if the findings of the inquiry will result in a specific action regarding the member, staff or consultant. If the President concurs with a recommendation which calls for reprimand or censure, dismissal from ASE Boards/ Committees/Task Forces, removal from recognition and/or removal from ASE membership, the recommendation must be presented to the Board of Directors. A 2/3 vote of all members of the Board of Directors is required for removal from membership, as well as for reprimand, censure or removal from ASE Boards, Committees or Task Forces. Email or mail ballots may be used by Board of Directors not present, but not by proxy.

Appeals Process

Any member so reprimanded, censured, removed from ASE Boards, Committees or Task Forces or removed from membership may appeal the decision of the Board of Directors to the next General Meeting of the Membership, providing that notice of intent to appeal is provided to the CEO at least 10 days in advance of the business meeting. Attendees at the General Business Meeting, by a 2/3 vote of those present, may ask the Board of Directors to reconsider their recommendation. The Board of Directors must do so at their next scheduled meeting; a 2/3 vote is again required to reverse the original decision for removal from membership, as well as for reprimand, censure or removal from ASE Boards, Committee and or Task Forces.

If an ASE member is reported to have been censured by or dismissed from other professional organizations, and/or has his/her professional license withdrawn, the Governance & Compliance Committee shall review the information available and make a recommendation to the ASE President concerning the member’s ASE status. The ASE President will then proceed, as above, by appointing a separate ad hoc committee to review the matter, etc.

Questions. For more information, contact ASE’s staff liaison to the Governance and Compliance Committee, Suzanne Morris (smorris@asecho.org).

Whistleblower will determine the path to which they would like their complaint filed.
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