Q. Can I file a complaint or can a third party file a complaint on behalf of somebody else?
Answer. We generally discourage filing a complaint on behalf of someone else. However, under certain circumstances we will investigate a complaint filed by a third party. The Ethics Committee will consider complaints filed on behalf of a third party if accompanied by verifiable independent evidence such as publicly available records, reports, business records, including those of a public agency, judgements of a court, marketing advertisements and commercial documents and reports, commercial publications and the like. We discourage complaints made on behalf of someone else because in some cases it may not be appropriate to conduct an investigation without the involvement and consent of the alleged injured party. Similarly, the accused must have the opportunity to respond to any allegations made by the complainant. While third parties may be able to provide a written summary as a supporting witness to corroborate a complainant's allegations, third parties acting in the role of complainant may not be able to provide the necessary data for a matter to move forward in the complaint process, and allowing a third party violates the intrinsic confidentiality of the complainant and defendant.
Q. Why Are Some Complaints Closed Without Action?
Answer. We understand that having a complaint closed without action may be disappointing to you. However, please note that all complaints are reviewed thoroughly and each complaint is taken very seriously. A behavior may be upsetting to you but may not be a clear violation of a specific standard of the PPGA Ethics Code of Conduct. Complaints may also be closed without further action because there is not sufficient evidence to prove the behaviors, or the violations have already been adequately addressed in another forum or are likely to be corrected. It is also possible that at the time the complaint is reviewed, the individual is no longer a member.
Q. How Long Does the Complaint Review Process Take?
Answer. Our ethics review process will begin after your complaint has been acknowledged by the ethics chair. The complaint process can take weeks to complete. In some instances, the process may take several months or more if there are other reviews and/or legal processes that are occurring. It is important that our office receive your cooperation throughout the course of the investigation. The Ethics Committee will keep all parties apprised of any developments and/or resolution of open cases.
Q. Can I File a Complaint Against an Organization?
Answer. The Ethics Committee accepts complaints against members acting in their individual capacities. In other words, the Ethics Committee can only address each member's alleged unethical behavior as an individual, and not their involvement in a group decision or action.
Q. Can I Tell Anyone About a Complaint I am Involved In?
Answer. The process is strictly confidential. Except for relationships covered by privilege (e.g. your lawyer or therapist), no, you may not discuss any aspect of your case with anyone other than the Ethics Committee. If there are people that have information relevant to your case, you may provide that information or the witness(es) contact information to the Ethics Committee, but you should in no circumstances discuss the case in any way (verbally, or in writing).
Q. How Much Time Do I Have to File My Complaint?
Answer. Members of PPGA have 30 days from when the behavior occurred or was discovered to file a complaint against another member. Non-members have 30 days.