All BACB trainees, supervisees, certificants, authorized continuing education (ACE) providers, and verified course sequences (VCSs) must provide behavior-analytic services in an ethical manner.
In situations where behavior-analytic services are not provided in an ethical manner, the BACB has a system for concerned individuals to file a Notice of Alleged Violation to alert the BACB of the alleged ethical violation(s).
The BACB cannot provide legal advice under any circumstances. There are a number of resources available for anyone seeking guidance related to ethics on our ethics resources page.
Filing a Notice of Alleged Violation (Notice)
Before filing a Notice, you will need to:
1. Review the Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (Code) or the RBT Ethics Code to determine if the incident(s) could be considered a violation by the BACB.*
Review Considerations for Reporting an Alleged Violation to help determine if you should report a potential violation to the BACB Ethics Department.
2. Identify the incident date or the point at which you could have reasonably known about the incident. Typically, notices must be filed within 6 months of the incident date; BACB staff, however, have the discretion to extend the deadline if doing so would not impede the ability of the subject of the notice to respond.
Note: To avoid retaliatory actions against those who report ethical violations to the BACB, the BACB will not allow the subject of an active Notice to file a Notice against another behavior analyst or RBT until 60 (sixty) days from the completion of their matter (i.e., 60 days following the issuance of a BACB warning, completion of coaching, final determination by a Disciplinary Review or Disciplinary Appeals Committee, whichever is later).
3. Determine if the incident could be resolved with appropriate parties (e.g., certificant, supervisor), if applicable, before submitting a Notice.
Note: If you are a behavior analyst reporting the violation, carefully review “7.02 Ethical Violations by Others and Risk of Harm” in the Compliance Code to ensure you are in compliance. If you are an RBT reporting the violation, carefully review Section 1.13 of the RBT Ethics Code.
When filing a Notice, you will need to:
1. Collect documentation relevant to the alleged violation(s), including:
- Evidence of violation(s) – Documentation to support the allegation(s), such as emails, behavior support plans (relevant pages only), supervision forms(the BACB will typically refrain from acting on cases that lack supporting documentation).
Note: Remove or black-out text that identifies sensitive information, such as client name, address, date of birth, etc.
- Witness statement(s) – If there are additional witnesses to the incident, at least one witness should complete, and have notarized, an affidavit.
- States with Licensure – If the subject of the notice lives in a state with licensure for behavior analysts, you must first report the incident to the appropriate licensure agency or board and include relevant case information.
- Litigation – If there has been a lawsuit filed, include any relevant documentation such as the final determination.
- Complaints filed with other agencies – If a complaint has been submitted to another agency (e.g., governmental agency, third-party payor), include any relevant official documentation such as a copy of the complaint, findings of fact, the final determination, etc.
2. Create one single PDF of your supporting documentation (e.g., evidence of violation, witness affidavits, litigation, complaints filed with other agencies). The initial PDF should be no more than 20 pages, unless additional documentation is requested by BACB staff. If your supporting documentation includes a video or audio file, please create a document describing the contents of the file and how it was obtained (i.e., who made it, where it is currently stored). The BACB will contact you for further instructions on how to share the file.
3. Complete the relevant Notice of Alleged Violation form and submit.
Note: Notices of Alleged Violation must be complete upon submission. The BACB will not accept supplemental documentation after a Notice is filed; however, BACB staff may request additional documentation, if deemed necessary.
What to Expect after Filing a Notice
1. You will receive an email from the BACB acknowledging receipt of your Notice after initial processing (please allow up to 30 days for initial processing). If additional information is needed, BACB staff will contact you via email. All official BACB correspondence regarding your Notice will be via email and your case will typically be classified as:
- Accepted – the facts, if true, may be a violation of a BACB standard. The Notice and the subject’s response will be submitted to the appropriate BACB committee (i.e., Disciplinary Review Committee, Code Compliance Committee, or Executive Committee).
- Deferred – the Notice is held until the BACB receives an application from the subject or a ruling from a third-party investigation. It is your responsibility to keep the BACB updated of third-party investigation developments.
- Declined – the allegations could not be confirmed and/or the incident does not violate a BACB standard.
2. To the extent possible, you will be informed of the final results. Typical results might include an advisory warning, continuing education, sanction (i.e., suspension, revocation, or supervision), a combination of actions, or exoneration. Only individuals directly subject to disciplinary sanctions may appeal those sanctions. You will be contacted if additional information is needed from you during the appeal process.
This process could take anywhere from 30 days to more than a year depending on a number of factors, such as (a) whether the BACB is awaiting additional documentation, (b) whether either party is represented by legal counsel, and (c) whether an appeal is requested.
Accepted Notices and documentation are submitted to the subject of the Notice. In addition, upon formal request by a governmental agency, court of law, or at the discretion of the Chief Executive Officer, the BACB may release all documentation (i.e., Notice, documents relevant to violation, and relevant correspondence) to the requesting party.