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Ethics

What is the Ethics Advisory Committee (EAC)?

The EAC’s purpose is to promote the highest ethical conduct of AASECT members through a consultation model, with emphasis on guidance, education, and avoidance of misconduct. We are a volunteer based committee of AASECT members appointed by the Board of Directors.

The EAC roles and tasks are to:

  • promote high standards of ethical conduct of the Members of AASECT;
  • provide education to Members and the public about the general ethical principles and practices;
  • respond to inquiries by Members or by the public about general ethical principles and practices;
  • provide consultation to, and advise Members on more specific ethical issues when so requested by the Board of Directors;
  • report to the Membership of AASECT, through the Board of Directors, on the types of inquiries and issues that are extant;
  • take such actions as are consistent with these Bylaws, with the AASECT Code of Conduct, and with the EAC’s own rules and procedures, and as are necessary and appropriate to achieve the objectives of the Committee.
  • The EAC, under the supervision of the Board of Directors, shall be responsible for interpreting, implementing, and updating AASECT’s Code of Conduct for the benefit of all Members of AASECT.

AASECT Ethics Advisory Committee Members

Standing voting members, Discussant member, and Ex-officio Members.

Voting Members

  • Nick Marzo, LPC, LMHC, CST, ACS (he/him); Chairperson
  • Mariotta Gary-Smith, MPH, CSE (she/her)
  • Jayleen Galarza Patterson, Ph.D, LCSW, MEd, CST (they/them)
  • Kristen Lilla LCSW, CST-S, CSE-S (she/they)
  • Heather Raznick, MSW, LCSW, CST (she/her)
  • Lynn Wang, MD, CSE, CSC (she/her)

Discussant Members (Non voting members)

  • Tanisha James, LCSW, LCAS, CCS (she/her)
  • Sheila Addison, PhD, LMFT, CST (she/her)
  • Christina Alkire, Student Member (she/her)

Ex-officio Members

  • Dr. Lexx Brown-James, PhD, LMFT, CSE, CSES, AASECT President
  • Kellie Braband, AASECT Executive Director

Overview of EAC Process for Ethics Cases

As per AASECT Bylaws, policies and procedures:

The EAC shall not serve as an adjudicative or disciplinary body, those functions being reserved for the Board of Directors (BOD). The EAC’s purpose shall be to promote the highest ethical conduct of AASECT members through a consultation model, with emphasis on guidance, education, and avoidance of misconduct. The EAC reviews concerns and complaints that might imply the possibility of a violation of AASECT conduct standards (Bylaws, Membership Agreement, and Code of Conduct), including those raised by Members, AASECT Directors and Officers, AASECT Committees, the public and others. This process may include obtaining and sharing confidential or sensitive material.

Members facing a complaint are entitled to notification of the complaint, including facts sufficient for the member to make a full response. The EAC may determine whether facts can be independently verified before notifying a member of the complaint, in order to determine whether the name of the originator must be included in the complaint.

The EAC makes an effort to resolve all inquiries, concerns, and complaints through educative and consultative efforts with the Member, and with mutual agreement whenever possible. If an educative or consultative approach is not possible, the EAC may refer the case to the BOD for review and determination of the next steps. Please refer to Bylaws (Article III, Section G) and the Code of Conduct (Article III) for the conditions that may result in BOD actions against a member.

EAC Ethics Cases Flowchart.

Please note: This flowchart does not include other AASECT complaint/grievance processes, such as CE related Grievances (AASECT Grievance Policy).

Instructions for Filing an Ethics Complaint

Before filing a complaint, please ensure that you have discerned this to be an Ethics Complaint and not a Member Concern. A Member Concern is something you have witnessed, experienced, observed, or been exposed to related to a Member that left you feeling less than comfortable and you are unsure how to proceed.

It may also be a question you have about how to proceed in your own work. Member Concerns often do not rise to a committee review of someone’s work and how it compares to AASECT’s conduct standards (Bylaws, Membership Agreement, or Code of Conduct). They are topics you can email to the committee and a committee member will provide consultative support via email, phone, or video consult.

An Ethics Complaint may be warranted if you believe a member’s behavior is not consistent with AASECT’s conduct standards (Bylaws, Membership Agreement, or Code of Conduct), and have either made an attempt to resolve the issue with that member without success, or is egregious to the degree that direct filing is ethically appropriate for parties involved.

The EAC strongly encourages all AASECT Members and associated parties to uphold the principles of ethical conduct by resolving any ethical matter directly with each other, whenever possible and appropriate, in accordance with AASECT guiding documents and policies, applicable laws and regulations. If a person is contemplating or planning to file an ethics complaint, the EAC strongly encourages that person, PRIOR to filing the complaint, to contact ethics@aasect.org with ETHICS CONSULTATION in the subject line to to set up a consultation. The purpose of the consultation is to help determine if the potential complaint is appropriate for EAC review versus other Committee or Board Member oversight, provide assistance in navigating the process, and address ethics related questions/concerns.

Please note: Information provided by the EAC is not legal advice. It is always recommended to seek legal counsel or advice from other relevant professionals as needed. Additionally, AASECT does not arbitrate business or financial disputes.

If you have determined that you wish to submit an ethics complaint, please email a completed AASECT Ethics Complaint Form and ONE attachment of supporting documentation to Ethics@AASECT.org.

Important Documents