The Alliance of Premier Nanny Agencies Ethics Program
The APNA Ethics Program is based on the bylaws of the association, established in 1993. This is the section of the by laws concerning Ethics: Section 5. Censure (Warning) or Expulsion – Members of the Association may be censured or expelled for cause. Sufficient cause for such censure or expulsion from membership shall be a violation of these bylaws, any rule or practice duly adopted by the Association, or any other conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Association. Censure or expulsion shall be by the affirmative action of the majority of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall have such authority and power as may be necessary to adopt rules and policies relative to the procedures to be followed to implement this section of the bylaws.
Ethics/ Complaint Process
Anyone who has reason to believe and evidence to prove that a member agency is conducting business in a manner contrary to the Standards of the Association can register a complaint with the Ethics Committee. The APNA process for handling complaints is modeled after the Better Business Bureau (BBB) process. The Better Business Bureau conducts the complete process on line and is able to be viewed by anyone.
How Does the APNA Process Differ from the BBB?
APNA maintains confidential files of all correspondence relating to the complaint. Only the parties involved and the Board of Directors are privy to the information. If a complaint is investigated by the Ethics Committee and does not result in any action being taken, the Ethics Committee submits that report at the next regular Board Meeting and the report is entered into the meeting notes. Minutes from APNA Board Meeting can be viewed by current board members only. Emails or parts of e-mails received during the ethics investigation may be forwarded to the involved parties at the discretion of the Ethics Committee.
The APNA Complaint Process:
- Anyone wishing to register a complaint is directed to the Ethics Committee’s online Complaint Form.
- The Ethics Chairperson receives the Complaint Form and reviews the complaint.
- The Ethics Chairperson sends an e-mail to the member agency involved and may choose to send all or part of the complaint.
- Agency sends an e-mail to the Ethics Chairperson within 10 business days of receiving the original email.
- Ethics Chairperson conducts an evaluation of all of the facts involved, which may include sharing all or part of the agency’s response with the complaining party.
- Ethics Chairperson, along with committee members and the President of the Association, decides if additional action is taken, which may include further contact with either or both parties involved. The Ethics Committee may recommend that the Board of Directors consider warning or revocation of the agency’s membership in the APNA.
What Would be a Reason to Register a Complaint to the APNA Ethics Committee?
Listed below are some, but not all, of the possible reasons to submit a complaint to the Ethics Committee.
- Unseemly conduct in interaction between:
A member agency and their client or prospective client
A member agency and their current or prospective nanny or service provider.
A member agency and any another agency member.
A member agency and any other allied business in the industry.
- Unseemly conduct is defined as:
Making a slanderous accusation.
Using profanity, either verbally or in written correspondence.
Defaming the association.
Failure to represent the ethical standards of the association.
Deceptive practices on line.
- Misuse of the proprietary information of one member agency by another:
Theft of proprietary materials.
Exact copying of verbiage in marketing or promotional material, including misuse of work product.
Use of proprietary information without first receiving permission.
(This does not include published material in blogs or newsletters posted on the Internet).
- Abuse of the financial obligation:
Failure to adhere to the terms and conditions of their agency’s agreement.
Charging a credit card without the client’s permission.
Failure to promptly refund any unauthorized charges.
What Would NOT be a Reason to Make a Complaint to the APNA Ethics Committee?
Each member agency is responsible for creating and managing their contractual agreements with both clients and nannies or service providers. APNA will not intercede or impose any penalty on any member agency who is in compliance with their own contractual obligations.
How is a Complaint Made to APNA?
A Complaint is registered by completing the APNA Member Complaint Form here:
This Complaint Form must be complete in order to register a formal complaint against a current member of the Association of Professional Nanny Agencies. All complaints will be investigated by the Ethics Committee. All or part of the complaint may be shared with the current member agency involved during the process of investigating the complaint.
Anonymous complaints will not be considered.
How Long Does the Process Take?
The Ethics Committee’s goal is to resolve all complaints within thirty (30) days. While every effort will be made to conduct an unbiased review, member agencies that do not respond in a timely manner may be subject to censure or revocation of membership due to non-responsiveness.
What Happens After a Complaint has been submitted?
- The Ethics Chairperson e-mails the member agency to inform them of the complaint and requests a response within 10 days.
- The Ethics Committee carefully reviews all information submitted, and makes a recommendation as to what action should be taken to resolve the matter.
- The Ethics Committee will be in communication with the person who registered the complaint both during the process and will report to them the outcome of its investigation.
- The Ethics Committee, upon completing its investigation, may seek the recommendation of the Board if the matter is deemed a serious breach of APNA Standards. In this case, the following would occur:
• The Ethics Committee would present their findings to the Board.
•Any penalty imposed by the Board will be done so by a majority vote of the Board during a Board Meeting or in a telephone conference call.
4a. The agency may receive a warning:
It is the discretion of the Board of Directors to decide on a warning appropriate with the findings of the complaint.
4b. The agency may have their members revoked. If an agency’s membership is revoked, the following actions are taken:
• All marketing materials, including web sites, must be modified to reflect the change in status within 10 days after membership is revoked.
• No portion of the membership annual fees will be refunded
• Member agency must wait two years before reapplying. The reapplication will involve a review by the Membership committee and Ethics Committee and is followed by a decision rendered by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
All information concerning any member agency is kept strictly confidential and will not be discussed with other agencies or non- board members.