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Section 3: Accountability

The following policy and procedure is created to support the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work (WSSCSW) board and membership with understanding the process for holding members and board members accountable for harmful acts performed against members. Corrective actions are steps that respond to member concerns or misconduct; the actions address the root causes of the conduct to prevent re-occurrence. Corrective action may include nondisciplinary steps such as counseling, training, improvement plans, restorative justice, and certificates of completion for programs completed. Corrective action may also include discipline, such as verbal warnings, written warnings, suspension from the Listserv, and dismissal from the Society. The board, an appointed board member, or a board approved outside organization hired by the member who committed the harmful act, will be responsible for ensuring that conduct standards are met and if they are not then administration of a corrective action will occur. If the member who committed the harmful act cannot afford to hire a board approved outside organization then the board will work with the member to ensure that conduct standards are met. The board and members will be held to this policy and procedure.

The concept of “just cause” discipline, which is the basis for corrective action, is typically metered out progressively, and with increasing severity if the performance or behavior is not corrected. The fundamental objective is not to discipline a member to the point of dismissal, but rather to provide the member with direction, guidance, motivation, and support to correct the deficiencies or conduct before discipline is escalated. This is the underlying concept of Progressive Discipline. 

To support compassionate and thoughtful use of the Progressive Discipline, board member consultation with NASW and/or CSWA is encouraged. To reduce a financial burden to WSSCSW, the board will utilize their memberships with NASW and CSWA to help facilitate these consultations. If a membership is no longer in existence, then the board will determine how best to move forward with receiving this support in a fiscally responsible and ethical manner. The WSSCSW is also invested in supporting the implementation of restorative justice models and training pre-disciplinary designee, board members, or outside agencies to perform investigations and make recommendations as to whether proposed discipline is reasonable and supported by evidence.

Steps of WSSCSW’s Progressive Discipline 

  1. Members who are deemed to perform harmful acts will be given a verbal warning and will work with the board and the injured party in determining which restorative actions will help heal the harm that was committed. An example of a harmful act is saying racist comments and/or excluding members from events and activities based upon the color of their skin, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation. Restorative actions may include, and not be limited to, attending relevant training sessions, participating in support groups, and/or any other such activity that the injured party and board believe would be supportive. If the injured party and board believe that the harm is egregious, then the board may progress directly to step 3.

  2. Members who persist in the same, or similar, harmful act will be given a written warning and their ability to post in the Listserv will be suspended. They will meet once more with the board and injured party to participate in restorative justice.

  3. Members who continue to perform the same or similar acts will be asked to leave the WSSCSW. Per the policy of WSSCSW, the member will not be refunded their membership fee. If they wish to return to the WSSCSW they are required to meet with the full board, a designated board member, and/or a board approved outside organization hired by the member for an interview. The interview will assess whether the person has performed work to learn and grow since they were dismissed from membership. If it is deemed that they have grown then they will be given a one-year probationary membership. If during the probationary period the member continues to perform the behaviors that originally resulted in termination, then they will be asked to permanently leave WSSCSW.

WSSCSW is responsible for creating and maintaining an internal culture that is both healthy and grounded in its ethical values. We resolve to implement restorative processes for communities of color, LGBTQ+, and members of minority status that extend beyond the current content, format, and style of this board. We resolve to be responsive to, and respectful of, the unique cultures and traditions of a given group. WSSCSW reaffirms its rejection of racism and racist ideologies and commits to doing the ongoing work of evaluating the organization for racism and oppression and implementing updated processes and policies for addressing racism and oppression.

Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work
PO Box 252 • Everett, WA  98206 • admin@wsscsw.org


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