Instructions and Information for Filing and Replying to Ethics Complaints
1. Complaints must be made using the SEIA Ethics Complaint form and supplemental material and submitted to SEIA by email or U.S. mail to the address below:
Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®)
600 14th Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
2. General Counsel of SEIA will promptly submit the complaint to the Chair of the SEIA Ethics Committee for distribution to the full Ethics Committee and notify the complainant of receipt of the complaint.
3. The structure and charter of the SEIA Ethics Committee are stated in the SEIA bylaws.
4. Complainant need not be a SEIA member. SEIA will only consider complaints in which one or more of the respondents are members of SEIA.
5. SEIA reserves the right to not pursue any action that is not in the best interest of SEIA at its sole discretion. In such instances, an explanation of why the action is not taken shall be recorded and shared with complainant.
6. SEIA will not act upon any complaint regarding an issue that is either pending in a court, arbitration, tribunal, or other proceeding of a government body or authorized by a government body of competent jurisdiction. SEIA also will not act upon any complaint that it deems in its sole discretion to be more appropriately dealt with in another forum, such as a court of law. SEIA may, however, act upon a complaint on a matter that has reached a final decision in such a government forum to be criminal, tortious or similar.
7. If the complaint alleges a violation against one or more members of the Ethics Committee, those individuals will be precluded from evaluating the complaint. The Chair of the Ethics Committee and the General Counsel will work to ensure that confidentiality of the matter is maintained and that conflicts of interest are identified and avoided.
8. If the Ethics Committee finds the complaint to constitute a proper cause of action, it will arrange an informal hearing in person or by telephone by contacting the complainant and respondent. The Ethics Committee may request either party to supply additional information.
9. If the Ethics Committee does not find the complaint to constitute a proper cause of action, it will recommend to the SEIA Board of Directors to return the complaint to the complainant. If the Board agrees, the Ethics Committee will notify the complainant of the finding promptly. The Board of Directors may overrule the Ethics Committee and decide that there is a proper cause of action and direct the Ethics Committee to reconsider the matter.
10. If there is to be a hearing, the Chair of the Ethics Committee will contact complainant and respondent within fifteen (15) business days of the Ethics Committee’s finding of cause to set a date for the hearing within thirty (30) business days of such finding. If no reply is received from respondent within fifteen (15) days from service of copy of the Ethics Complaint, date, time, and place of hearing will be set.
11. The Ethics Committee shall provide the respondent with a copy of the complaint and be given fifteen (15) business days to prepare a written reply to the complaint along with supporting documentation. Upon receipt by SEIA or its Ethics Committee, a copy of said reply will be sent to complainant and shared with the full Ethics Committee and SEIA General Counsel.
12. All parties may be represented by counsel, and may use witnesses, provided that notice of either (including names of witnesses) is transmitted to the association at least fifteen (15) days prior to the hearing. Failure to provide timely notice may result in a continuance of the hearing at the sole discretion of the Ethics Committee.
13. Lack of responsiveness or refusal to follow the procedures for an official complaint can result in an incomplete complaint, which constitutes grounds for the Ethics Committee to dismiss the complaint without bringing it before the Board of Directors.
14. The Ethics Committee will make best efforts to find a mutually beneficial resolution to the matter to all parties. The length and manner of the hearing is of the sole discretion of the Ethics Committee. No hearing will be held in the absence of a complainant. An ethics hearing may proceed in the absence of a respondent.
15. Following the hearing, the Ethics Committee shall make a recommendation in writing to the Board of Directors as to its findings as well as its suggested remedy.
16. Remedies available to the Board of Directors include but are not limited to a recommendation for a voluntary course of action to be taken by the parties, as well as suspension or termination of SEIA membership and/or benefits.
17. At its next regularly scheduled meeting, the Board of Directors will vote to approve or reject the recommendation of the Ethics Committee by two-thirds vote. Upon approval, written notice will be provided to all parties in a timely manner by the Ethics Committee. Upon rejection, the Ethics Committee will take subsequent action depending on the direction of the Board of Directors.
18. Suspension or termination of SEIA membership or benefits may result in the forfeiture of any dues already paid by respondent to SEIA, which are non-refundable.
Dated: November 27, 2012