The complaint process is designed to protect members from unsubstantiated allegations yet still protect
the HSCG and the public from the possibility of unethical actions on the part of a member.
Because of the nature of the internet, the Board of Directors of the HSCG has a very firm stance on taking any
precipitous actions based on unsubstantiated allegations, defamation or general mudslinging, particularly
when it is apparent that it is being generated or incited by one individual.
The HSCG Ethics Committee was established in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order, to privately and fairly evaluate the
validity of any complaints and to recommend appropriate action. The Ethics Committee acts autonomously in fulfilling their duties.
The Ethics Committee will only take official action when a formal complaint has been received.
It is a fundamental belief and policy of the HSCG Board of Directors that no member shall be censured, nor their membership
rights reduced without full due process as outlined in our Ethics Procedures and Policy.
Any complaint or comment upon the professional or business ethics of a member shall be referred to the Ethics Committee. Of
these, complaints and comments are divided into two different types: informal, multiple and formal complaints.
Informal Complaint: A comment or complaint about the professional or business ethics or actions of a member that
is in informal format, without documentation and/or is incomplete in nature. Most typically, informal
complaints are received by mail or email.
Multiple complaint: When two or more informal complaints are received against the same person or company and warrant
review by the ethics committee to determine whether a formal complaint should be lodged on behalf of the HSCG Members.
Formal Complaint: A complaint that is submitted to the Ethics Committee on a Formal
Complaint Form, is complete and may be accompanied by supporting documentation.
An informal complaint might be in the form of an email or letter from the public complaining about the actions of a member, or
a report by a member casually alleging misconduct by a committee or board member. An informal complaint alone is insufficient to
warrant investigatory action by the Ethics Committee.
When receiving an informal complaint the Ethics Committee takes the following actions:
If the person about whom the report was written resolves the matter with the sender, he/she may submit that information to the
Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee will appropriately file the information but will take no further action. The report and any
informal resolution of the matter will remain on file.
If, at some point during the informal resolution, the sender of the informal complaint feels the matter is fully
resolved, he/she may request that the informal complaint be withdrawn. In this case the Ethics Committee will remove
all copies of the initial information complaint from the Ethics Files of both the sender and receiver.
When two or more informal complaints are lodged against the same person or company, the Ethics Committee will review the
complaints and determine whether or not further action by the committee is warranted. The determination will be based on:
If further action is warranted, the Ethics Committee will take the following actions:
Based on the content of the complainants responses and the response from the accused, the Ethics Committee shall determine whether
additional investigation or action is necessary. If the complainants fail to provide adequate substantiation, the Ethics Committee
will submit a report to the Board of Directors but will take no further investigatory action. If the accused provides adequate substantiation to refute the allegations, the Ethics Committee will submit a report to the Board of Directors, but will take no further investigatory action.
Upon completion of the review and based on the facts of the case, the Ethics Committee will
recommend to the Board of Directors that:
The Board of Directors will then decide the course of action by a 2/3 vote. If the board votes to
file a formal complaint, the Secretary will complete the necessary forms and submit to the Ethics
Committee. The Ethics Committee will follow the guidelines outlined under
Formal Complaint Procedures.
If there is insufficient evidence to warrant a formal complaint, the Board of Directors may, upon
the completion of the review process, issue by unanimous vote a formal warning to the accused.
Only one warning may be issued per review. Three warnings will constitute adequate substantiation
and a Formal Complaint will be filed by the Board of Directors.
A formal complaint must be submitted on a Formal Complaint Form approved by the Ethics Committee and the Board of Directors. Formal Complaint Forms is available by mail from the HSCG offices or downloadable from the website (see Formal Complaint Form).
The Formal Complaint should include the completed Formal Complaint Form, fully explain the facts surrounding the acts or omissions complained of and clearly define the nature and extent of the alleged violations. Documentation of the alleged complaints, including names of witnesses, letters of testimony, minutes, receipts or other documents as applicable should accompany the complaint.
The report must be sent by mail to the HSCG office. It should be submitted in a sealed envelope marked "Confidential - Ethics Committee". The HSCG administrative personnel do not open the report; it is forwarded to the Ethics Committee unopened. The HSCG administrative office shall keep a log of any ethics complaints received, who they were from, the date received and the date referred to the Chairman of the Ethics Committee.
Upon receipt of a Formal Complaint, the Chairman of the Ethics Committee shall take the following actions:
At the end of the 30 day period, the Chairman of the Ethics Committee shall send a copy of the written response received from the
accused to all members of the Ethics Committee. If no response was received, the Chairman shall so inform the members of the Committee.
Based on the content of the original complaint and the response from the accused, the Ethics Committee shall determine whether
additional investigation or action is necessary. If additional investigation is deemed appropriate and necessary to finding the truth
of the accusations, the Ethics Committee shall gather such additional information as the committee requires to make their findings.
When the investigation is complete, but no more than 90 days following receipt of the written complaint, the Ethics Committee
shall take one of the following actions based on the facts of the case:
If the Ethics Committee has recommended 1 or 2 above, they shall inform the complainant and accused of their findings and
If the Ethics Committee recommends reprimand, suspension of membership or expulsion from the HSCG, notification shall not be
given to the complainant and the accused until action is taken by the Board of Directors.
If the Ethics Committee needs additional time to complete their investigation, they may request an extension of up to sixty (60)
days from the President. If an extension is granted, the Ethics Committee must inform both the complainant and the accused of the
Within thirty (30) days of the completion of an investigation, the Chairman of the Ethics Committee shall compile a complete
file containing all documents relating to the complaint, investigation and its disposition, including all correspondence, documents
relating to the investigation and a written report of the Committees final determination and/or referral to the Board of Directors
for further action.
The file shall be sent to the HSCG administrative office for safe-keeping, with copies to the Board as needed.
The Board of Directors shall receive and review all recommendations forwarded by the Ethics Committee. If the Ethics Committee
has recommended suspension or revocation of membership, the Board of Directors shall take appropriate action within 30 days.
Upon action being taken by the Board of Directors, the Secretary shall notify both the accused and
the Ethics Committee within thirty (30) days. The Ethics Committee shall then notify the original
complainant of the final outcome of the complaint.
The accused may appeal any decision made by the Board of Directors by sending a written request to the Secretary within 30 days
of receipt of notification of the action taken by the Board. The Board will address any request for appeal in the next regularly scheduled meeting. The Secretary will inform the accused of the result of the appeal within 30 days.
All documents and correspondence regarding the complaint shall be sealed and held in the HSCG offices. Documents may be stored in
paper or electronic format (CD or diskette). Once all the documentation is filed at the HSCG offices, the Ethics Committee, Board of
Directors and/or others involved in the case shall destroy any paper copies and delete any electronic copies of documents or
correspondence in their possession.
In order to protect the privacy of the individuals involved, all sealed documents and correspondence regarding the complaint
shall be held in strict confidence except:
Any expulsion of membership shall be published in The Handcrafted Soapmaker, the quarterly journal of the HSCG. The notice shall
state "After due process by the Ethics Committee, [name] was expelled from the Handcrafted Soa & Cosmetic Guild on [date]". Suspensions
or reprimands shall not be published.
If the complaint against a member is dismissed as frivolous or inconsequential or the accused is fully exonerated by the
investigation of the Ethics Committee, the accused may request that these findings be published in The Handcrafted Soapmaker,
and must be afforded the courtesy of their name being publicly cleared.
The content of this page is taken from the HSCG Policy of April 28, 2005,
Procedures for Reporting and Handling Ethics Complaints, authorized and approved by a vote of
the membership at the 2005 Annual Meeting on April 28, 2005 and revised at the 2007 Annual Meeting to
add the "Multiple Complaint" and specify the procedure should several informal complaints be
received against one individual.
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