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SGO Introduces Judicial Grievance Procedure

Member Update
Aug 27, 2020

The SGO Ethics Committee has finalized a new SGO Procedure for Judicial Grievance, which  “establishes a process for the SGO to address reports and complaints of behavior by a member that may violate the Code of Professional Ethics, adopted by SGO, or is inconsistent with SGO Bylaws or policies, or violates professional licensure or certification.”

The Judicial Grievance procedure covers a primary review of incidents that have happened at SGO related events, including official events and social events held in conjunction with SGO meetings, as well as incidents that violate the SGO meeting code of conduct and the Anti-harassment and Anti-discrimination Policies that were introduced in December 2019.

We expect that members of the SGO will behave at all times in a professional manner that reflects well on our Society and our patients,” said SGO Ethics Committee Chair Monique Spillman, MD, PhD. “If a member violates the SGO standards of Professional Ethics, Anti-Discrimination or Anti-Harassment policies, the Society must have a fair mechanism to investigate and take action on the complaint, which is what this new policy establishes.”

Dr. Spillman explained that most medical societies have grievance or judicial policies, and such policies are important steps to maintain the value of membership in the organization and ensure that one’s colleagues maintain high professionalism.

During onsite SGO meetings, SGO will contract with an independent complaint management service to triage complaints that are submitted during an SGO meeting, and this service will perform an initial investigation of the complaint after ensuring the safety of the complainant. If a complaint is filed in writing after the meeting, that complaint will go the Ethics Committee Chair and the SGO CEO for an initial investigation.

Complaints directed towards meeting participants who are not SGO members will be referred to the SGO Chief Executive Officer and actions may include immediate expulsion from the meeting and prohibition from future attendance. Any complaints involving an SGO member found to have merit on an initial investigation will be forwarded to aGrievance Committee composed of the SGO Immediate Past President and two Ethics Committee members for further deliberation.

“While we hope that this policy will never be needed, we want SGO members to know that we will take any complaints of unprofessional behavior amongst our members very seriously, and violators may face educational and corrective actions,” said Dr. Spillman.

For more information on SGO policies and procedures, visit the Ethics and Bylaws pages on the SGO website.