Reporting a Violation

Speech-language pathologists and audiologists within the state of Illinois are governed by the ASHA Code of Ethics and the Illinois Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Practice Act.  It is the ethical duty of anyone aware of a violation to report it to the appropriate governing body.  

If you feel an individual’s behavior or actions are unethical, it is important to determine specifically what rule has been violated.  An individual can violate ASHA’s Code of Ethics, the Illinois Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Practice Act, or the School Code of Illinois.  

ASHA’s Code of Ethics outlines the fundamental principles and rules that are essential for speech-language pathologists and audiologist.  The Illinois Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Practice Act outlines the scope of practice and the licensure law and incorporates the ASHA Code of Ethics by reference.  The School Code of Illinois, specifically Article 21 and 21B, applies only to the school setting.  

Before formally reporting a violation, discuss the concerning behavior or actions with the individual.  It is possible that a misunderstanding occurred.  Additionally, the individual may potentially be unaware that his or her behavior or actions are unethical and in violation of the governing documents of our profession.  The individual should be given the opportunity to voluntarily change his or her behavior.  If the individual continues to engage in the unethical behavior, a formal report of a violation should be made.  

The report of a violation must be filed with the appropriate governing body.  The ASHA procedure for filing a complaint must be followed when ASHA’s Code of Ethics is violated.  ASHA outlines the specific instructions and forms necessary to file a complaint.  Specific questions may be directed to ASHA’s Director of Ethics, or ASHA’s Ethics Program Manager.  

When a speech-language pathologist, speech-language pathology assistant, or audiologist violated the Illinois Practice Act, the complaint must be filed with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations (IDFPR).  Examples of violations of the practice act would include but are not limited to, exceeding or infringing upon the scope of practice, supervising an assistant without a license, or providing inappropriate supervision of a speech-language pathology assistant.  IDFPR provides specific information and instructions for filing a complaint.  The Complaint/Claim Intake Form can be accessed online.

When provisions of the School Code is violated by a school-based speech-language pathologist or speech-language pathology assistant, the administration within that specific school or district should first be notified.  If this does not resolve the concerning issue, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Division of Special Education Compliance should be contacted.  If the violation relates to a person performing a task for which he or she is not certified, protect the rights of the students by contacting ISBE through their toll-free certification number, 800-845-8749.  

Complaints cannot be investigated unless the proper authorities are notified.  While this can be difficult to do, the rights of our clients and profession must be protected.  
    
If you have any questions, or need guidance, contact ISHA's Executive Director at executivedirector@ishail.org.

written and edited by Christy Stole, Carol Szymanski and Whitney de Haseth