As a member of the public you have the right to formally lodge a complaint if you feel an AHG member has violated the AHG Code of Ethics. Your complaint will be reviewed via a documented Complaints Resolution Process that may include investigation by the Ethics Review Committee.
To file a grievance based on the process below please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Code of Ethics Complaints Resolution Process
Any member of the public has the right to formally lodge a complaint if they feel a member has violated the AHG Code of Ethics or make an Ethics Complaint against an AHG Member. Read more about AHG Complaints Resolution Process.
Making a Complaint
Before submitting a concern, it is important to know what types of concern the AHG can and cannot deal with.
The AHG will not investigate complaints about matters which do not relate to our Code of Ethics policy. We cannot consider:
● complaints about herbalists who are not AHG members
● complaints with the intention to harass people
● complaints which solely relate to a member’s personal life
● complaints which lie solely within the jurisdiction of another regulator and which should have been made to that regulator
● we are not here to replace or interfere with criminal investigations
● reverse decisions of other organizations or bodies
● get involved in matters which should be decided upon by a court
● arrange refunds or compensation
● give legal advice
● make a member apologize
● publicly shame or callout individuals after the investigation
The AHG might not be able to respond to anonymous complaints if we are unable to investigate or substantiate information. This is because we operate a fair and clear process and we cannot ask for more information if we do not know who has contacted us.
Introduction and Explanation:
● All members agree to abide by the AHG Code of Ethics, Values, and Principles as Members of the AHG, and abide by our vision for our community in your conduct and public discourse on line or off. To be more specific, this applies to all membership levels that agree to the Code of Ethics, including RH, General, Associate, and Student.
● RH members and all practicing herbalist members must follow the additional Code of Conduct that they have agreed to abide by, pertaining to work as herbal practitioners, that may not be relevant to general non-practicing members.
● The AHG respects and values diversity of opinions and ideals among its membership, as well as respectful discourse; the AHG Ethics, Values, and Principles are intended as a “shared circle” of community values and not as a prescriptive.
● Likewise, Symposium speakers, webinar presenters, writers for JAHG, etc. agree to abide in a broad sense to these values and principles, but some specific points may not be relevant.
● In the case of AHG members, Ethics complaints may be filed using our formal Ethics complaints process listed below.
● In the case of a current AHG member, depending on the outcome of the process below, the AHG may offer a warning to (1) censure a member (equivalent to a warning or statement of concern about a violation of AHG principles), (2) revoke membership temporarily or in more extreme cases, permanently, (3) in the case of RH members, temporarily or permanently revoke the RH credential. The AHG might also (4) determine no further action is required, or (5) recommend other processes or remedies. We reserve the right to determine if any additional processes or outcomes are recommended.
● In addition, those members serving on committees of the AHG can be censured or removed temporarily or permanently from their position on the committee as a result of the process outlined below.
● For speakers, teachers, writers who are not members, the only remedy AHG has is to cancel the specific article, webinar, class, etc. in question,or to not invite said person in the future or accept any contributions from them.
● The AHG has no capacity or authority for any remedy beyond the actions outlined above. The AHG is not able to enforce mandatory public statements by members, nor are we here to police the actions of the herbal community. Our process does not include mandatory public shaming or public announcements, and the Ethics and Code of Conduct investigative processes might be private based on the nature of the accusation, the parties involved, and the outcome. We are not a regulatory or licensing body.
● The AHG has no legal authority for financial censure of any kind.
● The AHG has no capacity or authority for any action against a member of the public who is a non-member and who is also not teaching, presenting, writing, or otherwise participating in AHG events or activities.
Statute of Limitations:
● The AHG cannot investigate violations that are over 1 year old.
● The AHG cannot investigate anyone that is not a current AHG member.
For Complaints Lodged Against Members Regarding Code of Ethics (CODE OF ETHICS)
1. The AHG shall prominently display on its website an email address or on-line submission form, as well as phone number, for submitting complaints regarding Code of Ethics.
2. Confidentiality: All staff, Committee members, Board members, and others involved in this process will be required to put in writing their commitment to honor confidentiality throughout this process and in perpetuity.
3. All individuals involved in this process will adhere strictly to the AHG Conflict of Interest policy.
4. Confidentiality: If private information is shared or published publicly during the investigation, it may compromise the investigation, and the complaint could be thrown out or legal recourse could be implemented. All participants shall agree to our Confidentiality Policy.
5. Urgency: Timeframes for dealing with what are considered serious complaints may be reduced so as to resolve an issue within the shortest possible time.
6. Complete records of every complaint, investigation, and resolution shall be kept by the ED.
Submission of Complaints and Initial Review for Code of Ethics:
1. For complaints first submitted by phone, the AHG may require complaints to be filed in writing, barring unusual circumstances that prevent that (such as illiteracy or low levels of literacy, language barriers, or cultural reasons).
2. Complaints will first be reviewed by the Executive Director. Acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint will be sent to the complainant within three business days. At this time the complainant should also be informed that confidentiality will be honored throughout the process, but that as part of the investigation the member in question will have the opportunity to respond to any allegations, and may therefore be able to determine who has filed the complaint.
3. Initial Review: The ED will conduct the initial review of the complaint within eight business days. In the event of a Conflict of Interest, the Chair or other designated member of Board shall conduct the initial review. The purpose of the initial review is to determine the validity of the complaint that potentially violates the core mission or values of the organization as stated in the Code of Ethics. The initial review will consist of a recommendation to (a) proceed with further investigation, or (b) dismiss the complaint. A complaint will be dismissed at this stage only if the nature of the complaint is inapplicable and irrelevant to this process; i.e. even if true, the action would not result in a sanction of any kind against the member or individual. The results of the initial review will be submitted to the Complaints Committee (see below).
Ethics and Code of Conduct Review Advisory Committee (ECOCRAC):
1. The AHG has a standing Ethics & Code of Conduct Review Advisory Committee (ECOCRAC) to address complaints against professional practicing herbalist members in the Code of Conduct Investigations, and all other members for Code of Ethics complaints. This committee for investigations will consist of at least three members and include at least one Board member. In general members of the Committee shall be RH members in good standing, although general, student, or other non-professional members can be invited to serve on the Committee based on specific expertise, such as but not limited to legal expertise, or experience in mediation, conflict resolution, or appeals processes. The Committee will decide matters by majority, and any lack of majority decisions may result in consultation with the Board.
2. The Committee shall inform the Board in an ongoing manner of any complaints being considered and the status of the complaint.
Ethics & Code of Conduct Advisory Committee members shall strictly abide by Conflict of Interest policies as established by the AHG Board and outlined elsewhere, and shall recuse themselves from any review of a member with whom they have a substantive relationship.
3. The committee as a whole shall examine any initial Code of Ethics Reviews and determine their agreement or lack of agreement with the results.
- a. If the initial review called for an investigation, whereas the Committee decides none is necessary, this result will be sent to the full Board for review and final decision.
- b. If the Committee decides that an investigation is warranted, that investigation will take place (see below).
- c. If the initial review and the Committee are in agreement to dismiss a complaint, the complainant shall be notified.
- a. The Committee will designate an investigator to follow up with both the complainant and the member against whom the complaint was filed, to gather more information, including documentation of evidence, as needed.
- b. The investigator will issue a recommendation to the ECOCRAC in writing. This recommendation may include:
- i. Termination of membership
- ii. Statement of concern or warning to the member (Statements are private between parties unless otherwise determined by the Board of Directors.)
- iii. Other remedies outlined above in this document
- iv. Dismissal of the complaint
- c. At this stage either the investigator or the Committee may also determine that more time is needed for the investigation.
Final Determination and Appeals:
1.Once the Committee has decided on the recommendation, it will be sent to the Board for review and final decision, which shall be done at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. Board may determine the need to consult legal counsel before a final decision is made. At this time the ED will inform both parties to the dispute of the determination, and their right to appeal.
2. Appeals: If the person or entity who has submitted a complaint or the subject of a complaint submitted to the AHG is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaints process (the findings and determination), either party has the right to appeal the decision. This appeal must be made in writing within three weeks and must include reasons for requesting the appeal. The appeal will be heard by a joint meeting of the ED and Board. Board may seek additional input or advice as it sees fit. The Board shall fully review all appeals and make a ruling on the appeal. This decision by the Board is final.
Investigations Initiated by the Board:
The AHG reserves the right to launch an investigation for any reason at its discretion, provided that it relates to a members’ ethical conduct including the AHG Code of Ethics, or conduct that potentially violates the core mission or values of the organization. This includes rumors, allegations of abuse, and other information obtained by the AHG that may be investigated in the same manner as officially submitted external complaints. However, the Board must approve the initiation of any such investigation.