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NSGC Disciplinary Procedures

Effective January 1, 2024, NSGC has implemented a process for handling alleged violations of NSGC policy by NSGC members. 

Complaints can be submitted by NSGC members and staff to report an alleged violation of NSGC's Bylaws, Code of Ethics, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) policyAnnual Conference Code of Conduct or other policies by NSGC members.  Complaints must identify the specific language and relevant policy or policies alleged to be violated.

All complaints will be handled through formal Disciplinary Procedures

Fictional examples of how Disciplinary Procedures might be applied.

NSGC Disciplinary Procedures Announcement and Overview Video (8:30)

How to Submit a Complaint

To submit a complaint, the complainant must fill out the form below, which will forward to NSGC's Executive Director. Please note that complaints are not anonymous. Upon receipt, the complaint is shared with NSGC's President and legal counsel for an initial review. That review will determine whether or not the complaint has met the basic criteria outlined below. If these are met, the complaint will be sent to the NSGC Disciplinary Procedures Committee.

Submit a Complaint

Basic Criteria for a Complaint

After a complaint is determined to move forward to the Disciplinary Procedures Committee, the committee will conduct an investigation.

Procedure Overview Infographic

You can download an infographic that outlines the Disciplinary Procedures Complaint Submission Process here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of NSGC’s new Disciplinary Procedures?

  • To ensure that the high standards of ethics, professionalism, and mutual respect outlined in all of NSGC’s policies are upheld by NSGC members and staff
  • To establish NSGC as a safe and inclusive organization

What do these procedures apply to?

These apply to NSGC member and staff conduct during the following types of activities (this list is not exhaustive):

  • NSGC events, such as conferences (in-person and virtual), webinars
  • NSGC Committee/Task Force/Workgroup meetings (in-person or virtual)
  • NSGC SIG meetings/activities
  • Communications taking place through NSGC Discussion Forums
  • Communications to/from the Executive Office

What do these procedures not apply to?

The Disciplinary Procedures work to hold NSGC members accountable in their experiences surrounding NSGC activities and the ethical practice of genetic counseling. As such, these procedures DO NOT apply to interpersonal interactions outside of NSGC, including but not limited to:

  • Interactions between NSGC members in the workplace
  • Activities/events run by other organizations where NSGC members are present (e.g., non-NSGC educational events/conferences, non-NSGC committees)
  • Personal interactions between NSGC members outside of NSGC activities

Note that these procedures do not directly impact an NSGC member’s licensure or certification status. However, receiving a disciplinary action as a result of these procedures may be something that indirectly impacts one’s ability to be licensed or certified due to specific licensure rules or a restricted ability to attend NSGC educational events. These would be issues separate from the Disciplinary Procedures.

Who can make a complaint?

NSGC members of all categories and any member of the NSGC Executive Office staff.

Why are these procedures being implemented?

NSGC members have been asking for an official process to support member and staff accountability for upholding our standards of professionalism, ethics, and mutual respect as a society. This was a major theme in the Exeter DEI Assessment Report (“Take Action, Over Talk”), the subsequent member open comment period, and in our J.E.D.I. Action Plan.

Without measures for recourse or enforcement, NSGC’s policies are only aspirational. Our policies need a framework of accountability to be meaningful and actionable, and to truly support our commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. and the culture of belonging that we are actively working towards. Formal disciplinary procedures provide an official process for accountability that will lead to more consistent, systematic and equitable enforcement of NSGC policies using an established framework, rather than dealing with concerns as they arise. This avoids the inconsistency of a case by case approach which can lead to inequities in consideration and enforcement.

How were these procedures developed?

As NSGC was reviewing all of our policies through the lens of the Exeter Report we knew we did not yet have a framework or formal process to ensure accountability in the event that any of the policies were violated.

To build accountability around this and all of NSGC’s policies, our former J.E.D.I. manager worked with NSGC’s attorney to draft disciplinary procedures.  These procedures align with similar processes used by other professional healthcare provider associations and societies. The Board reviewed and discussed these procedures over several meetings and approved the current disciplinary procedures in February 2023. 

Who will conduct these procedures?

A new Disciplinary Procedures Committee is being created to follow these procedures. The committee will be charged with reviewing specific complaints as they are brought forward and conducting the disciplinary procedures in a responsible manner. This committee will be filled by recruiting members through the NSGC Annual Call for Volunteers. Learn more about the composition for the Disciplinary Procedures Committee.

What disciplinary actions can be taken as the result of a complaint?

Please note, actions can only apply to a person’s NSGC membership. These actions are not limited to, but may include:

Censure 

  • Private written letter to Respondent (individual receiving complaint) advising Respondent they have been found guilty of conduct and/or violation(s) charged.
  • Public written letter or notification similar to above may be published on NSGC website

Probation 

  • Respondent may lose ability to serve on NSGC’s Board, Committees, SIG leadership, Task Forces, and to speak at NSGC conferences and educational events for a defined period. 

Suspension 

  • Respondent is allowed to attend NSGC’s conferences and education events but loses all rights of NSGC membership and all rights to speak at NSGC conferences/events for a defined period (up to 3 years). 

Expulsion 

  • Respondent is expelled from NSGC and loses all membership rights, including all rights to attend or speak at NSGC conferences and educational events. After 5 years, the Respondent may re-apply for membership at the discretion of NSGC Board of Directors. 

Please note that NSGC has the right to publish the respondent names and any disciplinary actions taken as an outcome of the disciplinary procedures.

2024 Disciplinary Procedures Committee Members 

  • Sandy Prucka, Chair 
  • Jodie Vento, Vice Chair
  • Brady Bunkleman 
  • Michelle Takemoto 
  • Antonina Wojcik
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