Policies and Procedures in the Event of EPSA Code of Conduct Violations
Council Adopted 09 September 2022
In our Code of Conduct, EPSA has set forth clear expectations regarding the behaviour of its members and participants at EPSA-sponsored events. This document lays out policies and procedures in the event that there is a violation of the Code of Conduct.
Violations of the Code of Conduct can be reported within two years of the date when the violation is claimed to have occurred, to EPSA’s Ombudsperson, a meeting organizer, a member of the EPSA Council, or the EPSA President.
The Role of the Ombudsperson
The Ombudsperson will be nominated by the association’s President and ratified by a majority vote of the Council and will serve a term of two years.
The Ombudsperson will act as a point of contact for any individual that has experienced a Code of Conduct Violation. The Ombudsperson will provide guidance to the complainant and make clear the avenues for pursuing a complaint both within the organization and with outside authorities. The Ombudsperson cannot provide legal advice but can be an important source of support and information.
While complainants are free to report Code of Conduct violations to any of the association officials mentioned above, it is strongly recommended that complainants begin by consulting with the Ombudsperson. Consultations with the Ombudsperson or any of the association officers listed above are strictly confidential and the details of any related communication will remain confidential, except as required by law. Consultation with the Ombudsperson or any of the association officials mentioned above does not commit the complainant to any further action. If, after consulting with the Ombudsperson or any of the association officials mentioned above, the complainant wishes to pursue a formal complaint, they should contact the Executive Director and President in writing. Throughout the process, the ombudsperson should continue to try to determine the complainant’s view of what appropriate remedies might be.
The formal complaint should include as much identifying information as possible(name/institution/position) of the person accused of the violation; the behaviour that was in violation; the approximate time/date of the behaviour; the location and circumstances surrounding the incident; and any other people that may have been involved in or witnessed the incident.
Upon receiving a formal complaint:
- The Executive Director, in consultation with the President and Ombudsperson, shall appoint an ad hoc Code of Conduct Fact Finding Committee (FFC) comprising three association members with no conflict of interest in the case at hand. Should the Executive Director or the President have a conflict of interest, they will recuse themselves and appoint a designate.
- The Executive Director or President will inform the individual whose conduct is in question regarding the nature of the complaint.
- The individual whose conduct is in question will be provided an opportunity to provide a written statement providing their account of the behaviour reported in the complaint. The FFC may ask to meet with either the complainant or the individual in question; solicit evidence and statements from identified witnesses at their discretion; and consult others with direct knowledge of the event in question, as indicated by the accused, victim, or witnesses. While these are all available routes by which the FFC can gather additional information, the committee is not required to pursue any one of them. The FFC may work with EPSA leadership to consult legal counsel for advice at any time. At all stages, members of the FCC must maintain strict confidentiality to the extent possible.
- The FCC will issue a report to the Executive Director and the President
indicating, based on the preponderance of evidence, whether and which Code of Conduction violation(s) occurred. In the event that the FCC finds that a violation occurred, they should recommend the appropriate sanction(s) proportional to the severity of the violation.
- Sanctions will take effect immediately after the Executive Director and President have approved the FFC’s recommendation and notified all parties in writing of the determination.
- The range of sanctions will include the following, which may be applied individually or in combination and for any duration – as determined by the Executive Director and President in light of the FCC’s recommendation.
- Warning the offender to cease the behaviour in question;
- Termination of any EPSA meeting, conference, or workshop participation, as well as any ongoing EPSA responsibilities and appointments held by the offending party;
- Barring the offender from assuming any future governance positions within EPSA;
- Barring the harasser from future EPSA meetings, conferences, and/or workshops;
- Revoking EPSA membership.
- In case of repeated and severe violations of the EPSA code of conduct, especially when the offender has engaged in harassment or sexual harassment, the President or Executive Director can inform the leadership of other professional organizations.
- In the event that the FFC issues a negative or inconclusive finding, the President or Executive Director will inform both parties of the FCC’s finding.
Should either party to a complaint wish to appeal any decision produced by the process described above, they should issue an appeal within 30 days to the Council. Council members involved in the above decision process will be recused at the appeal stage.
CONFIDENTIALITY AND NON-DISCLOSURE
All EPSA-appointed participants to the process will agree to maintain strict confidentiality of the process and its outcome, including signing a non-disclosure agreement to this effect. This will include the Ombudsperson, members of the FFC, the President, the Executive Director, and should there be an appeal, any additional Council members who are provided details of the appeal.