How to Handle a Disciplinary Complaint
The American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners (ABO-NCLE) can impose sanctions under these Procedures on any candidate or certificate holder who is found to have (a) engaged in misrepresentation or misconduct in the application or examination process, or (b) violated the organization's Disciplinary Guidelines.
A written, signed complaint may be filed by any interested person, or may be instituted by ABO-NCLE.
Except in extraordinary circumstances, the complaint must be filed within two years of the date of the alleged violation.
Upon the filing of a complaint, ABO-NCLE shall initially determine if there is a reasonable basis to proceed and whether the allegations, if proven, would violate the Guidelines. If the conclusion is affirmative, the organization shall advise both the Respondent (with a copy of the complaint) and the Complainant(s) in writing of the nature of the allegations, the identity of the Complainant(s), and the Guidelines that are at issue, and shall enclose a copy of the Guidelines and these Procedures.
Any misconduct subject to the Disciplinary Guidelines of ABO-NCLE may be considered and result in sanctions by the organization. The organization's board may communicate amongst board members about potential misconduct. The decision will be made by taking all information under consideration.
The Respondent shall be given not less than sixty days to submit a written response. The ABO-NCLE may seek appropriate information from other knowledgeable parties as well. This information shall be provided to the Respondent prior to the hearing or decision, so that the Respondent can reply.
The Respondent shall be entitled to a hearing, if requested in writing, within sixty days of receipt of the complaint. The ABO-NCLE shall set a time for a hearing before the Disciplinary Committee, which shall be comprised of at least three Directors appointed by the Chairs of the Disciplinary Committees. The hearing shall be of reasonable duration and shall be conducted under the procedures to be decided by the Committee. Formal legal rules of evidence need not be applied. The Respondent and the Committee may be represented by counsel and may present documents and witnesses. The hearing may be tape recorded. If the Respondent and Committee agree, a conference call may suffice as a hearing.
The Committee shall decide the matter and advise the Respondent and Complainant in writing. In addition, in certain cases, the Committee may advise other appropriate persons, entities, or agencies of its decision.
The sanctions which may be prescribed by the Committee include being barred from the examination for a specified period, non-certification, revocation or suspension of a certificate, reprimand (when there is a violation but no damage to another person,) censure, required on-the-job supervision, education/training/counseling, referral of the matter to appropriate governmental or other bodies, monetary fines, and other appropriate action.
The Respondent may appeal an adverse decision of the Committee by written notice filed with the ABO-NCLE within thirty days of receipt of the Committee's statement. The Complainant and the Committee may also submit an appeal statement within this period. The appeal shall be decided by the Baord of Directors of ABO-NCLE, upon the written record, and without further hearing. The Board's decision shall be final.
At any time prior to the Committee hearing, the Respondent and the ABO-NCLE may enter into an agreement for informal disposition of a complaint, if that is deemed appropriate and acceptable to both sides.