Requirements | Reporting | Code-Enforcement Procedures | Published Sanctions | Resources | Responding to Requests
BACB Ethics Requirements
The BACB’s ethics requirements, as outlined in the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts and the RBT Ethics Code, provide the foundation for consumer, applicant, and certificant protection. Please check back periodically to ensure that you have the current versions of these documents.
The Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts outlines professional and ethical requirements for BCaBAs, BCBAs, and BCBA-Ds, applicants for those certifications, and authorized continuing education providers. It went into effect January 1, 2016.
The RBT Ethics Code outlines professional and ethical requirements for RBTs and RBT applicants. It went into effect December 28, 2018.
Reporting to the Ethics Department
If you are concerned that you, or someone else, may have violated one or more of the BACB’s ethics requirements, you can report your issue of concern to the BACB’s Ethics Department. The BACB receives reports of potential ethical violations through two methods: Self-reporting and reporting an alleged violation.
Reporting required information about yourself to the BACB regarding an ethics requirement.
In accordance with the BACB ethics requirements outlined in the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts and the RBT Ethics Code, applicants and certificants must provide the BACB with information that could impact its ability to effectively communicate with them or that might influence their status or certification.
Need to change your name, address, or email?
You are not required to self-report this information to the BACB. You should update this information through your BACB account, which will ensure that changes are made quickly.
Need to report critical or required information about yourself?
Per the RBT Ethics Code’s preamble and 10.02 of the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts, there are several reasons that might necessitate self-reporting to the BACB to remain in compliance with ethics requirements. Use the Consideration for Self-Reporting document to determine whether you should self-report to the Ethics Department. More guidance on self-reporting requirements and considerations can be found in the November 2016 and April 2017 BACB Newsletters.
Reasons to Self-Report to the BACB Ethics Department
- You are the subject of an ethics requirement violation, a disciplinary investigation, action or sanction, filing of charges, conviction or plea of guilty or no contest by a governmental agency, health care organization, third-party payer or educational institution;
- You are named on any public health- and safety-related fines or tickets; or
- You have a physical or mental condition that would impair your ability to competently practice.
How to Self-Report
Write a summary of the issue you are reporting and include any relevant documentation. Submit the information to the BACB. Do not complete a Notice of Alleged Violation for yourself. Depending on the information you report to the BACB, additional documentation and/or a Verification of Competency to Practice may be required.
Reporting an Alleged Violation
Reporting an alleged violation of one or more ethics requirements by another individual.
All BACB applicants and certificants, and approved ACE providers, must adhere to the BACB ethics requirements outlined in the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts and the RBT Ethics Code. Alleged violations by a BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D applicant or certificant should be reported to the BACB. In some cases, an RBT’s alleged violation should be reported to the RBT’s Requirements Coordinator or Supervisor, while in other cases the allegation should be reported to the BACB. The following sections offer general considerations about reporting alleged violations, providing supporting documentation, reporting allegations against an RBT versus other applicants and certificants, and how to report.
Considerations for reporting an alleged violation
There are several important considerations related to reporting an alleged violation. The Considerations for Reporting a Notice of Alleged Violation document offers assistance in determining whether you should file a Notice of Alleged Violation, what to do once you decide to file, and the timeline and processes to expect once you submit a notice. Before submitting a notice of alleged violation, carefully review the Considerations for Reporting a Notice of Alleged Violation document.
Timeline and Processes Once a Notice of Alleged Violation is Filed
The BACB processes notices based on its Code-Enforcement Procedures. The BACB strives to review notices within a reasonable time, and to keep notifiers and subjects apprised of relevant actions. Please review the visual guide below for more information on the timeline and process during each stage.
What type of supporting documentation do you have?
Depending on the type of documentation you have to support an alleged violation, there are two avenues for reporting to the BACB: A Publicly-documented Alleged Violation or a Notice of Alleged Violation based on private documentation.
What counts as “public documentation?”
Documentation is publicly-available if the general public can find and access it without having to first create an account, join a group, provide personal information, or pay a fee. Because reporting through this avenue is anonymous, notifiers cannot be updated on the matter. The BACB will follow-up directly with the subject of the report if the evidence submitted substantiates a violation of ethics requirements. The only way to determine whether reportable sanctions were taken is to check the BACB’s online registries.
Notice of Alleged Violation Based on Private Documentation
When the Documentation of the Alleged Violation is Private
Use the appropriate form based on the individual’s certification RBT Notice of Alleged Violation form or BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D Notice of Alleged Violation form if you need to report an alleged violation where the documentation supporting the alleged violation is private (e.g., client records or reports, emails, text messages, billing or scheduling records, photos, videos) or based on individual or witness statements.
Completing the Form
When completing the appropriate online form, the notifier is asked to indicate the specific code violation, give a description of the code violation, and provide supporting documentation. If accepted, the notice and all supporting documentation is shared with the subject, who is given an opportunity to respond to the allegations and provide their own supporting documentation. See the Considerations for Reporting an Alleged Violation and Code-Enforcement Procedures documents for more information about processes and timelines.
Reporting an alleged violation by a BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D applicant or certificant
Before submitting a Notice of Alleged Violation against a BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D applicant or certificant, review the information in the Considerations for Reporting an Alleged Violation and the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts.
When completing the online Notice of Alleged Violation, you will be required to enter specific information about the subject, the specific alleged violation, and supporting documentation. If the notice is accepted, the BACB gives the subject due process by providing them with a copy of the notice and supporting documentation. The subject is also given an opportunity to respond and submit their own supporting documentation.
For information about what happens once a notice is submitted, and possible outcomes, see the Code-Enforcement Procedures document.
BCaBA, BCBA, or BCBA-D Notice of Alleged Violation Form
Reporting an alleged violation by an RBT or RBT applicant
RBTs have different ethics requirements (as outlined in the RBT Code of Ethics) and a separate online reporting form. Additionally, because RBTs have a limited area of practice and must be closely supervised, there are unique considerations to be made before filing an alleged violation against an RBT.
Because RBTs receive frequent and direct supervision, all alleged violations should be brought to the RBT’s Requirements Coordinator and/or RBT Supervisor. The Requirements Coordinator and/or RBT Supervisor must take steps to investigate and document the alleged violation. If the Requirements Coordinator and/or RBT Supervisor determines that a violation did occur, they should determine if the matter should be addressed internally or by submitting a Notice of Alleged Violation to the BACB.
Submit a Notice of Alleged Violation against the RBT if the alleged violation:
- involves abuse or neglect of a client
- resulted in the RBT being charged with, or convicted of, a violation of the law
- is a violation of 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, 3.01, or the preamble obligations to the BACB outlined in the RBT Code of Ethics or
- has occurred repeatedly despite reasonable attempts to address the problem with the RBT
If none of the above situations apply, the Requirements Coordinator and/or RBT Supervisor should develop and implement an individualized corrective action plan for the RBT and document the outcome. The BACB reserves the right to audit the Requirements Coordinator or RBT Supervisor for documentation of the complaint, investigation, and resolution.
Note: The BACB reserves the right to generate a Notice of Alleged Violation against an RBT if they are suspected of noncompliance with any BACB standard, rule, ethics requirement, or procedure.
RBT Notice of Alleged Violation Form
Reporting a violation against any level certificant where the supporting documentation is publicly-available
Use the Publicly-Documented Alleged Violation form when reporting an alleged violation where the subject is clearly named in a court ruling, licensure board action, third-party payor finding (e.g., finding of billing fraud), or other publicly-accessible information (e.g., blog post, video).
Publicly-Documented Alleged Violation Form
In keeping with its mission to provide consumer protection, the BACB works to promote and maintain standards of professional conduct in the practice of behavior analysis. The BACB Ethics Department implements Code-enforcement procedures to address alleged violations of any ethics requirements. The term “ethics requirements” is used to encompass all the elements in the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts and the RBT Code of Ethics.
To learn more about the BACB Ethics Department’s processes for receiving and processing Notices of Alleged Violation, review the chart.
The Code-Enforcement Procedures document details the BACB’s Ethics Department’s steps for processing a Notice of Alleged Violation and possible outcomes for each, including a list of typical disciplinary corrective actions.
Failure to Respond to a Notice or Required Action
Failure to respond to the BACB by the deadline provided will result in automatic suspension of certification, application eligibility, or other status with the BACB, all of which is published on the BACB website with the individual’s name. For more information on the consequences of failing to respond to the BACB, as well as steps an individual can take, see the Code-Enforcement Procedures document.
Upon formal request by a governmental agency or court of law, or at the discretion of its CEO, the BACB may release all documentation (i.e., Notice of Alleged Violation, documents relevant to violation, subject’s response and related documents, relevant correspondence) to the requesting party. Note: This timeline and certain steps do not apply to publicly-documented alleged violations.
Active Published Disciplinary Sanctions
To provide additional protection to consumers, all sanctions issued following a disciplinary review—and upheld following a disciplinary appeal, if applicable—are published in the subject’s account through the BACB’s online registries. Individuals with revocations and suspensions are strictly prohibited from representing themselves as BACB-certified during the period of revocation or suspension.
Types of Sanctions
Sanctions are disciplinary actions that restrict an individual’s ability to practice for a specific amount of time.
- Invalidated Certification: Subject’s certification is invalidated because eligibility requirements were not met.
- Revocation: Subject’s certification is terminated.
- Certification Suspension: Subject’s certification may not be used for a specified period of time, after which the individual may be required to apply for reinstatement, subject to compliance with current standards for certification.
- Eligibility Suspension: Subject is ineligible to apply for BACB certification for a specified period of time.
- Restriction: Subject’s ability to practice behavior analysis using a BACB certification is limited (e.g., mandatory supervision, practice limitation).
Sanctions are published on the BACB website until certain requirements are met. See the Code-Enforcement Procedures document for more information.
How Information About Published Disciplinary Sanctions May Be Used
The BACB’s online registries include a “Date Accessed” statement below the search results to verify the information is current.
- Potential employers can check BACB registries to determine whether an individual applying for a position with their company has a current disciplinary sanction. Sanctions might impact an individual’s ability to perform some required duties, including providing and billing for services.
- Individuals with revocations and suspensions are strictly prohibited from representing themselves as BACB-certified during the period of revocation or suspension.
- Individuals with restrictions may be prohibited from performing certain job tasks or working with certain populations, or they may require additional resources (e.g., supervision).
- Trainees may wish to ensure that their supervisors do not have restrictions that could impact their ability to provide the full range of supervised clinical experiences.
- Third-party payors, state licensure boards, or other governmental or regulatory agencies may wish to verify an individual’s standing with the BACB and determine if they have disciplinary sanctions that could prohibit activities (e.g., authorizing contracts for billing, granting licensure), or that might assist in investigating a complaint or determining a disciplinary action.
Note: Individuals seeking information about disciplinary actions in the U.S. may also wish to check relevant state licensing boards for published disciplinary actions.
BACB Published Sanctions
When a certificant receives a disciplinary determination that includes sanctions, those sanctions are published in their record on the BACB registry, and on the Disciplinary Actions page. Sanctions are published for the duration of the sanction period with the following exceptions:
- revocations are published permanently
- sanctions for failing to respond to direct communications from the Ethics Department regarding a notice or case, or for failing to comply with consequences included in a disciplinary or appeal determination are published until the individual responds or complies
See the Code-Enforcement Procedures document for more information about the different types of sanctions that are subject to publication.
Individuals with revocations or suspensions are strictly prohibited from representing themselves as BACB-certified during the period of revocation or suspension. Individuals with revocations may continue to use the relevant certification level (i.e., RBT, BCaBA, BCBA) after their name, but mustindicate that they are inactive (i.e., “BCBA (inactive)”).
As a certifying organization, the BACB is not authorized to provide guidance on specific cases related to possible violations of BACB ethics requirements (outlined in the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts and the RBT Ethics Code), or respond to individual requests for interpretation of ethics requirements. While this may seem counterintuitive, doing so could compromise the BACB’s ability to enforce ethics requirements through its established procedures. Because of such potential conflict, it is customary in many industries for professional associations and other bodies to provide guidance on ethics issues. This page contains general guidance for considering potential violations and ethics-related issues provided by other sources. The BACB does not endorse, represent, or warrant the resources listed as being comprehensive or applicable to individual circumstances.
General Guidance for Considering a Possible Violation
If you suspect a BACB applicant or certificant of violating ethics requirements:
- gather and organize documentation supporting the alleged violation
- consult a trusted colleague or expert to discuss the situation and determine if a violation may have occurred
- keep hard copy documentation of any guidance received should a report related to the case be filed in the future
- review relevant ethics requirements to determine whether the issue should be addressed directly with the individual
- document all efforts to address the issue with the individual and any outcomes
- research other reporting requirements that may be relevant in the geographic region where the alleged violation occurred (e.g., licensure/regulatory board requirements), or related to legal requirements (e.g., mandated reporter).
For more information about the regulation of behavior analysts, visit the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts’ licensure and regulation webpage.
Resources from the BACB
The following BACB resources provide guidance on ethics-related issues. The BACB does not endorse, represent, or warrant these—or any—resources as comprehensive or applicable to individual circumstances.
BACB Ethics-Related Newsletters
The BACB occasionally publishes considerations of specific ethics requirement elements in BACB newsletters. These articles have been indexed and are available as PDFs where possible.
|Article Content||Newsletter Year||Newsletter Month||Article Title||Article Subheading||Article Starting Page Number|
|RBT requirements||2018||December||Ethics Requirements||RBT Ethics Code||5|
|Self-reporting requirements||2017||April||Reporting Important Information to the BACB: Health and Safety Related Incidents–Part 2||10.02 Timely Responding, Reporting, and Updating of Information Provided to the BACB||2|
|Self-reporting requirements||2016||November||Reporting Important Information to the BACB: Health and Safety Related Incidents||10.02 Timely Responding, Reporting, and Updating of Information Provided to the BACB||2|
|Multiple relationships||2015||October||Notes from the Legal Department||Multiple Relationships||3|
|Conflict of interest||2015||October||Notes from the Legal Department||Multiple Relationships||3|
|Exploitive relationships||2015||October||Notes from the Legal Department||Multiple Relationships||3|
|Definition of “client”||2015||May||The Professional Ethical and Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts: An Update||The Definition of “Client”||1|
|Definition of “student”||2015||May||The Professional Ethical and Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts: An Update||The Definition of “Client”||2|
|Code updates||2015||May||The Professional Ethical and Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts: An Update||The Definition of “Client”||1|
|Multiple relationships||2015||May||The Professional Ethical and Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts: An Update||On Gifts||2|
|Guidance on gifts||2015||May||The Professional Ethical and Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts: An Update||On Gifts||2|
|How BACB processes incidents prior to new Compliance Code||2014||December||Notes from the Legal Department||Implementation of the BACB’s New Code of Ethics||5|
|Use of pending, candidate, or pursuant status||2014||December||Notes from the Legal Department||Tips for University Programs and Continuing Education Providers: Avoiding Misrepresentations||5|
|Guidance on retainers||2014||November||Notes from the Legal Department||Setting the Record Straight about Questionable Business Practices||6|
|Guidance on waitlists||2014||November||Notes from the Legal Department||Setting the Record Straight about Questionable Business Practices||6|
|Guidance on providing clinical hour recommendations||2014||November||Notes from the Legal Department||Setting the Record Straight about Questionable Business Practices||6|
|BACB processing of complaints regarding business practices||2014||November||Notes from the Legal Department||Setting the Record Straight about Questionable Business Practices||6|
|Description of 2014 ethics workgroup||2014||September||Special Edition on Ethics||N/A||1|
|Description of Guidelines and Standards into Compliance Code||2014||September||A Revised Code of Ethics||N/A||2|
|Development of Code Compliance Committee||2014||September||Changes to the Disciplinary System||Development of two specialized committees||3|
|Time limitation on complaints||2014||September||Changes to the Disciplinary System||Limitations on actions||3|
|Who can be named in a complaint||2014||September||Changes to the Disciplinary System||Party named in the complaint||3|
|Release of complaint to party named||2014||September||Changes to the Disciplinary System||Provision of the complaint to the named party||3|
|How BACB reports disciplinary actions||2014||September||Changes to the Disciplinary System||Event reporting||3|
|Cross-reference guide for Compliance Code to Guidelines and Standards||2014||September||N/A||N/A||5|
|BCaBA representation of credential||2014||May||Notes from the BACB Legal Department||BCaBA Representations||5|
|RBT trademark/copyright use||2014||May||Notes from the BACB Legal Department||Registered Behavior Technician Trademark/Copyright Use||5|
|RBT ethical requirements (Guidelines); BACB processing of complaints against RBT||2013||December||Ethics and Discipline||N/A||4|
|BACB processing of complaints against RBT||2013||December||Ethics and Discipline||N/A||4|
|Disciplinary and Appeals Committee members||2011||January||Disciplinary Discussion with Revised Disciplinary Procedures||N/A||6|
|Use of pending, candidate, or pursuant status||2008||September||Focus on Ethics: OOPS – Did I Say That?||N/A||2|
|Limitations of BACB legal advice||2007||January||Focus on Ethics||N/A||9|
|Non-behavior-analytic and non-evidence-based interventions||2007||January||The Ethical Behavior Analyst||N/A||10|
|Collaboration with other professionals||2005||August||Playing Nicely with Others||N/A||1|
BACB Summary of Ethics Violations and Code-Enforcement Activities: 2016-2017
This document summarizes ethics violations and enforcement activities based on Notices of Alleged Violation received in the first 2 years under the BACB ethics requirements.
Resources from Other Organizations
The following resources provide guidance on ethics-related issues from sources other than the BACB. The BACB does not endorse, represent, or warrant these—or any—resources as comprehensive or applicable to individual circumstances.
ABA Ethics Hotline
The ABA Ethics Hotline allows individuals to submit ethics-related questions and receive direct guidance from a panel of ethics experts.
Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA) Ethics Challenges
ABPA’s newsletter, APBA Reporter, is available to ABPA members and includes articles highlighting ethical dilemmas and guidance for considering and addressing them.
Journal Articles and Books
Find journal articles since 2003 and books related to ethics and applied behavior analysis. Please note: While updated periodically, this list is not meant to be comprehensive.
Responding to Requests from the Ethics Department
Use the form below to respond to a request from the Ethics Department related to 1) disciplinary consequence fulfillment, 2) educational required actions, or 3) updates regarding a submission. Please be aware that, after reviewing your submission, the BACB Ethics Department may request additional information or documentation.
Do not use the form below to ask for guidance on interpreting ethics requirements or how to proceed with a possible submission, as the BACB cannot provide this type of support (see the Ethics Resource section).
Note: All submissions must be uploaded in PDF format. You may only upload up to TWO attachments, so consider combining documents into one PDF. Include a cover letter indicating the purpose of the submission and a clear description of the documentation included. Please be sure to redact all appropriate identifying/confidential information.
Submit Legal Documentation Form
The BACB cannot provide legal or ethics advice under any circumstances. There are a number of resources available for anyone seeking guidance related to ethics in Ethics Resources. U.S. residents of states that regulate the practice of behavior analysis may contact their state disciplinary boards. For more information about regulation in the U.S., the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts has a resource page on licensure and regulation. Whenever possible, we encourage, but do not require you to consult with a behavior analyst who specializes in the matter before filing a Notice of Alleged Violation. For legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. For additional guidance on ethics-related matters, please see the BACB Ethical Guidance section of this page.