Certification: Disciplinary Action
To assure quality and ethical practice, the Lamaze International Certification Council has established a Code of Ethics for Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators (LCCE educators), and a process by which unethical or other objectionable practice may be addressed.
This policy applies to all complaints received about the quality and ethical practice of an LCCE educator. Actions taken under this policy do not constitute enforcement of the law, although referral to appropriate federal, state or local government agencies may be made about an LCCE educator’s conduct in appropriate situations. Individuals bringing complaints are not entitled to any relief or damages by virtue of this process, although they will receive notice of the actions taken.
The Council will ensure that a copy of the Code of Ethics for LCCE educators is provided to all candidates for the Lamaze International Certification Examination, that all LCCE educators are informed of the discipline policy, and that information concerning the complaint process will be available to consumers and the public through appropriate means. All statements and publications made by persons involved in the disciplinary action process shall be limited to those persons who have a need to know such information as a result of their involvement in the disciplinary process, the oversight of Lamaze International, or the protection of the public.
LCCE educators are responsible for adhering to the Code of Ethics established by the Council. In the event of a violation of or conduct contrary to the Code of Ethics or of other substantive requirements of the certification process by an LCCE educator, the Council may reprimand or suspend the charged LCCE educator, or revoke certification.
The review process for administration of the discipline policy is as follows:
- To initiate the review process, an individual must submit a written notice describing the situation to the Certification Council within sixty (60) days of discovery of the alleged violation by the complainant, and in no event later than two (2) years after the alleged violation occurred.
- The Chair of the Certification Council will refer all such complaints raised in a timely manner to an Ad Hoc Review Committee. Upon notice of referral to the Ad Hoc Review Committee, the charged LCCE educator will be notified in writing about the complaint and will have thirty (30) days to submit a written statement or other material for review by the Committee..
The Ad Hoc Review Committee will be composed of three (3) individuals: An LCCE member of the Certification Council, who will serve as Chair, an LCCE member who does not compete in the same geographic area as the charged LCCE educator, and the public member of the Certification Council. The charged LCCE educator shall be notified of the name of the proposed Chair of the Ad Hoc Review Committee and shall have seven (7) days from such notice to strike such person from serving as Chair if such person competes in the same geographic area with the charged LCCE educator. If the charged LCCE educator exercises this right to strike, the Chair of the Certification Council shall appoint another LCCE member of the Certification Council to serve as Chair of the Ad Hoc Review Committee who does not compete in the same geographic area as the charged LCCE educator.
- The Ad Hoc Review Committee shall review all written statements or other information submitted by the individual submitting the complaint and the charged LCCE educator.
- When notified of the complaint, the charged LCCE educator shall also be given notice of the right within seven (7) days to request an informal evidentiary hearing before the Chair of the Ad Hoc Review Committee (or at the option of the Chair by an LCCE educator appointed by such Chair), at which the charged LCCE educator shall have the right to counsel and the right to cross-examine the complainant. Such notices shall also include the name of the LCCE educator who will conduct a hearing if one is requested by the charged LCCE educator. If the charged LCCE educator exercises the option to request such a hearing, and the LCCE educator designated to conduct the hearing competes in the same geographic area as does the charged LCCE educator, the charged LCCE educator may within such seven day period strike such LCCE educator, in which event the Chair of the Ad Hoc Review Committee shall appoint an LCCE educator who does not compete in the geographic area of the charged LCCE educator, but who resides as close as is reasonably feasible to such area. The LCCE educator so chosen shall within six (6) weeks conduct the hearing and submit a written report to the Ad Hoc Review Committee for its review.
- The Ad Hoc Review Committee shall issue its opinion either as: (1) that reason able evidence exists to support the contention of the individual submitting the complaint or, (2) that reasonable evidence does not exist to support a violation.
- In the event the Ad Hoc Review Committee determines that reasonable evidence does not exist to support the complaint, this decision shall be final.
- In the event that the Ad Hoc Review Committee finds that reasonable evidence does exist to support a violation, this finding and all evidence shall be submitted to the Governing Body Council Chair who shall then consider all the evidence. The Ad Hoc Review Committee will recommend an appropriate sanction for the violation.
- Any determination of the Governing Body Chair shall be final. A final decision on the issue raised by the individual submitting the complaint shall be made within ninety (90) days from the date on which the disciplinary review process is initiated.
- In the event the charged LCCE educator wishes to appeal the decision, she must submit the reason for the appeal in writing within ten (10) days of notification regarding the decision to the Chair of the Certification Council. The appeal will be referred to the Certification Council Governing Body for review, which may by majority vote change the original decision. The charged LCCE educator will be notified regarding the outcome of the appeal within ten (10) days. In no event may any change made by the Certification Council Governing Body to the original decision increase the severity of the sanction incorporated in the original decision.
In the event of a violation of or conduct contrary to the Code of Ethics or of other substantive requirements of the certification process by a charged LCCE educator, any of the following sanctions may be imposed by the Council:
- Written reprimand to the charged LCCE educator.
- Suspension of the charged LCCE educator for a designated period.
- Termination of the charged LCCE educator’s certification.
The sanction applied must reasonably relate to the nature and severity of the violation, focusing on reformation of conduct of the charged LCCE educator and deterrence of similar conduct by others.
Normally for the first substantiated violation, a reprimand in the form of a written notice from the Chair is sent to the charged LCCE educator. Suspension is normally imposed on a charged LCCE educator who has had two substantiated violations.
Updated: April 2012