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Part Nine, Section 41 — Function

The function of the Grievance Committee is clearly distinguishable from the function of the Professional Standards Committee. The Professional Standards Committee makes decisions on matters involving ethics or arbitration (Revised 05/15)

The Grievance Committee receives ethics complaints and arbitration requests to determine if, taken as true on their face, a hearing is to be warranted. The Grievance Committee makes only such preliminary evaluation as necessary to make these decisions. While the Grievance Committee has meetings, it does not hold hearings, does not decide whether members have violated the Code of Ethics, and does not dismiss ethics complaints because of a lack of evidence. Complainants are not required to prove their case upon submission of their ethics complaint or arbitration request. The Grievance Committee does not mediate or arbitrate business disputes. The Grievance Committee will hold regularly-scheduled meetings and/or review arbitration requests not later than forty-five (45) days after receipt of the request. (Revised 05/15)

In evaluating ethics complaints, the Grievance Committee may require a written response from the respondent(s) only if the committee is in need of additional information pertaining to the questions in Section 19, Grievance Committee’s Review of an Ethics Complaint, and the complainant cannot provide such information. In such instances the respondent(s) should be provided with a copy of the ethics complaint and advised that failure to respond may be the basis for a charge of having violated Article 14 of the Code of Ethics. (See Form #E-4, Grievance Committee Request for Information [Ethics Complaint] and Form #E-5, Response to Grievance Committee Request for Information, Part Six of this Manual). In evaluating arbitration requests, the Grievance Committee may request a written response to the arbitration request from the respondent(s) only if the committee is in need of additional information pertaining to the questions in Section 42, Grievance Committee’s Review and Analysis of a Request for Arbitration, and the complainant cannot provide such information. (See Form #A-5, Grievance Committee Request for Information [Arbitration Request] and Form #A-6, Response to Grievance Committee Request for Information, Part Thirteen of this Manual.) If no response is filed within the time allotted, the Grievance Committee shall make its determination as to whether an arbitration hearing should be scheduled based upon the information set forth in the arbitration request. (Revised 11/15)

When Grievance Committees refer ethics complaints and arbitration requests for hearing, hearing panel chairs can determine if questions about

(1) whether ethics complaints and arbitration requests are timely filed,
(2) whether arbitrable issues exist,
(3) whether arbitration requests are too legally complex to be fairly arbitrated, and
(4) other administrative issues

will be addressed through a pre-hearing meeting of the hearing panel or at the outset of the hearing prior to testimony relating to the ethics complaint or arbitration request commencing. If these matters rise during a hearing, the hearing panel will address them at that time.

Dismissals of ethics complaints and arbitration requests by hearing panels can be appealed to the Board of Directors on the same bases as dismissals by the Grievance Committee. 

Where such issues are considered at a pre-hearing meeting of the hearing panel, the chair will determine whether the parties may be present, and the extent to which their participation will be permitted. (Revised 05/14)