Association law handbook, JA Jacobs

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Content: The Why and How of Credentialing by Nonprofits-- And the Role of Counsel Presented by ACC's Nonprofit Organizations Committee Sponsored by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP Wednesday, April 23 12:30--2:00 p.m. eastern
Association Law Handbook--Excerpts Chapter 72--Certification of Professionals Chapter 73--Certification of Professionals--Administration Chapter 74--Accreditation of Programs or Entities
Association Law Handbook A Practical Guide for Associations, Societies, and Charities 5th Edition Jerald A. Jacobs ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership
The author has worked to ensure that all information in this book is accurate as of the time of publication and consistent with standards of good practice in the general management community. As research and practice advance, however, standards may change. For this reason it is recommended that readers evaluate the applicability of any recommendations in light of particular situations and changing standards. ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership 1575 I Street, NW Washington, DC 20005­1103 Phone: (202) 628­2723; (888) 950­2723 outside the metropolitan Washington, DC area Fax: (202) 408­9633 E-mail: [email protected] We connect great ideas and great people to inspire leadership and achievement in the association community. John H. Graham IV, CAE, President and CEO, ASAE Susan Robertson, Executive Vice President, ASAE, President, ASAE Foundation Keith C. Skillman, CAE, Vice President of Publications, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership Baron Williams, CAE, Director of Book Publishing, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership Cover design by Beth Lower This book is available at a special discount when ordered in bulk quantities. For information, contact the ASAE Member Service Center at (202) 371­0940. Published by Association Management Press. A complete catalog of titles is available on the ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership web site at www.asaecenter.org. Copyright © 1981, 1986, 1996, 2007, 2012 by ASAE. ISBN 13: 978-0-88034-349-7 ISBN 10: 0-88034-349-4 All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system any portion of this work other than the customizable forms and guidelines in the documents supplement, must be obtained in writing from the director of book publishing at the address or fax number above. Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Books on Nonprofits and Association Law by the Author Association Law Handbook (Author), 1981, 1986, 1996, 2007, and 2012 The Legal Guide to Nonprofit Mergers & Joint Ventures, 2011 Associations and the Law (Editor and Author), 2002 Association Issues (Editor and Author), 1983, 1989 Federal Lobbying Law Handbook (Editor and Author), 1989, 1993 Certification and Accreditation Law Handbook (Editor and Author), 1992, (Co-Author with Jefferson C. Glassie), 2004 Legal Risk Management for Associations (Co-Author with David O. Ogden, Esq.), 1995
About the Author Jerald A. Jacobs is an attorney in Washington, D.C., who focuses on counseling and advocacy for business, professional, social welfare, philanthropic, and other nonprofit organizations. He serves as General Counsel to ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, the major national association of nonprofit organization executive leadership, and its interdependent education and research affiliate, ASAE Foundation; he has taught nonprofit organization law at graduate law and business schools; he has been recognized by the American Bar Association for his work in the nonprofit organization field; and he has advised the governments of the European Union and the People's Republic of China on their laws for nongovernmental organizations.
Contents
Foreword by Malcolm Baldridge................................................................................ix Introduction...............................................................................................................xi
Section I Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28
Nonprofit Governance and Management History of Laws Affecting Nonprofits & Associations....................2 Importance of Incorporation...........................................................6 Incorporation Procedures...............................................................10 Articles of Incorporation................................................................13 Bylaws..............................................................................................17 Manual of Policies & Procedures....................................................22 Name..............................................................................................25 Statement of Purpose.....................................................................28 Federations and Chapters..............................................................31 Sarbanes-Oxley Governance Reforms............................................38 Fiduciary Duty--Conflicts, Confidentiality, Opportunities...........46 Fiduciary Duty--Serving Other Organizations..............................53 Personal Liability of Officers and Directors...................................60 Liability Insurance..........................................................................66 Terminating Employees..................................................................70 Employment Discrimination..........................................................76 Record Retention............................................................................82 Member Requests for Records & Third-Party Subpoenas.............88 Legal Contracts...............................................................................94 Chief Executive Employment Contract........................................103 Outsourcing--Contracts for Consultant & Vendor Services.......114 AMCs & Contract Management..................................................116 Nonprofit Organization Trademarks............................................119 Mergers & Consolidations............................................................123 Legal Audit/Merger or Consolidation Due Diligence Review....129 Legal Counsel--Selection & Use...................................................139 Legal Counsel--Attorney/Client Privilege....................................145 Legal Counsel--Representing Members........................................149
Section II Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33
Nonprofit Activities & Political Endeavors Meeting Procedures.......................................................................154 Minutes of Meetings......................................................................157 Parliamentary Procedure...............................................................160 Hotels & Convention Centers......................................................163 Trade Shows..................................................................................171
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Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43 Chapter 44 Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48 Chapter 49 Chapter 50 Chapter 51 Chapter 52 Chapter 53 Chapter 54
Americans with Disabilities Act....................................................177 Music Licensing.............................................................................186 Publications, Websites & Copyright.............................................192 Authors & Contributors..............................................................198 Tort Liability for Injury or Damage..............................................202 Risk Retention Groups.................................................................207 Joint Employer collective bargaining...........................................211 Filing Litigation.............................................................................218 Briefs Amicus Curiae......................................................................222 Charitable Solicitation..................................................................227 Charitable Deductibility and Donors' Rights..............................233 Association Political Action Committees.....................................245 Political Action Committee Bylaws..............................................251 Political Action Committee Organization....................................253 Political Action Committee Solicitations.....................................257 Political Action Committee Receipts & Expenditures.................266 Political Action Committee Reporting & Record Keeping.........270 Independent Expenditures & Other political communications.....274 Congressional Gifts & Honoraria................................................281 Lobbying Registration & Reporting.............................................288 Lobbying & Federal Contracts or Grants....................................296
Section III Chapter 55 Chapter 56 Chapter 57 Chapter 58 Chapter 59 Chapter 60 Chapter 61 Chapter 62 Chapter 63 Chapter 64 Chapter 65 Chapter 66 Chapter 67 Chapter 68 Chapter 69 Chapter 70
Nonprofit Antitrust Discussions at Meetings................................................................300 Membership Restrictions..............................................................305 Membership Classes & Sections..................................................312 Membership Termination............................................................316 Membership Services to Nonmembers........................................321 Business or Professional Codes of Ethics & Self-Regulation......326 Statistical Surveys..........................................................................334 Prices & Fees of Members............................................................339 Cost Programs...............................................................................349 Standards Development................................................................352 Product Certification....................................................................364 Hydrolevel--The "Apparent Authority" Doctrine..........................369 Joint Research...............................................................................373 Cooperative Research and Production Act..................................379 Credit Reporting..........................................................................385 Group Buying & Selling...............................................................389
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Chapter 71 Chapter 72 Chapter 73 Chapter 74 Chapter 75 Chapter 76 Chapter 77
Export Activities...........................................................................392 Certification of Professionals.......................................................398 Certification of Professionals--Administration............................406 Accreditation of Programs or Entities..........................................418 Antitrust & Lobbying...................................................................423 Antitrust Compliance Program....................................................428 Antitrust Enforcement..................................................................432
Section IV Chapter 78 Chapter 79 Chapter 80 Chapter 81 Chapter 82 Chapter 83 Chapter 84 Chapter 85 Chapter 86 Chapter 87 Chapter 88 Chapter 89 Chapter 90 Chapter 91 Chapter 92 Chapter 93 Chapter 94
Nonprofit Taxation Business & Professional Associations...........................................438 Charitable/Educational/Scientific Organizations & Foundations...448 Unrelated Business Income Tax...................................................453 Advertising Income.......................................................................460 Sponsored Affinity Programs........................................................469 Corporate Sponsorship Income....................................................479 Real Estate.....................................................................................483 Trade Shows & Expositions..........................................................488 For-Profit Subsidiaries....................................................................491 Joint Ventures with Businesses.....................................................500 Deductibility of Meeting Expenses...............................................507 Deductibility of Foreign Convention Expenses...........................512 Nondeductibility of Dues Because of Lobbying.............................516 Lobbying & Political Activity by Section 501(c)(3) Organizations..523 Group Tax Exemption..................................................................530 Excess Benefits from Section 501(c)(3) & (c)(4) Organizations...........536 IRS Forms & Procedures..............................................................541
Documents Supplement Governance 1. Articles of Incorporation .................................................................................. 554 2. Bylaws................................................................................................................ 556 3. Bylaw Provisions on Antitrust Compliance ..................................................... 561 4. PAC Bylaws ....................................................................................................... 563 5. Volunteer Director's Guide to Responsibilities and Risks .............................. 566 6. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST Policy, Procedure, and Disclosure................................... 581 7. Governance Code of Ethics.............................................................................. 586 8. Guidelines on Antitrust Compliance............................................................... 591 9. Guidelines on Statistical Programs .................................................................. 597 10. Guidelines on Litigation................................................................................... 599 11. Guidelines for Negotiating................................................................................ 605
12. Chief Executive Employment Agreement ........................................................ 608 13. Non-CEO Employment Agreement ................................................................. 613 14. Excess Benefits Board Resolution......................................................................616 15. Basic Form 990 Governance Policies/Procedures.............................................618 16. Compliance Policy on Semi-Annual Certification Regarding Gifts/Travel .... 624 Transactions 17. Pre-Transaction Nondisclosure Agreement ............................................... 628 18. Legal Audit/Merger Due Diligence Inquiries........................................... 630 19. Legal Audit/Merger Due Diligence Document Review ............................ 636 20. Affinity Program License Agreement ....................................................... 640 21. Affinity Program Administration-Marketing Agreement .......................... 647 22. Joint Venture Agreement ............................................................... .......... 652 23. Supplement to Hotel Meeting Agreement ............................................... 659 24. Agreement for Cost Sharing with Affiliate.............................................. . 665 25. Agreement with Chapter.......................................................................... 669 26. Gift Agreement....................................................................................... . 673 27. Agreement with Corporate Sponsor......................................................... 676 28. Agreement with Consultant.................................................................... . 679 29. Agreement with Speaker ......................................................................... . 684 30. Agreement with Publisher for Journal ..................................................... 686 31. Agreement with Author for Article ......................................................... . 701 32. Agreement with Author for Book ................................................................. 703 Index ....................................................................................................................... 709 ALH5Title-TableContents.doc
Chapter 72 Certification of Professionals A basic purpose of virtually every individual membership organization is to improve the level of services provided within the profession or field represented by the organization. The goal of promoting professional competence is a worthy one that benefits members of the field itself as well as members of the public who deal with them. Associations can promote individual competence in many ways: presenting informative meetings and education programs, publishing literature of interest to practitioners, sponsoring research in areas of concern to the field, and promulgating and enforcing codes of acceptable conduct. One further avenue for individual membership organizations to improve their members' competence is certification. Certification by nonprofit nongovernmental organizations or by affiliated boards should be distinguished from occupational licensing, which is performed by state governments rather than by private organizations. State licensing of individuals exists as a legal condition for practicing an occupation, or utilizing a professional title, rather than as a voluntary measure of competence. Nongovernmental certification of individuals has become a common activity. It is the rare professional society today that has not organized or does not operate, support, or sponsor a certification program. Through these activities a profession or field takes responsibility for prescribing knowledge and ability qualifications for candidates for certification, administering competitive examinations, and awarding some signs of qualification to the successful. In addition, the certifying body retains jurisdiction to revoke certification from an individual who ceases to meet required minimum qualifications. For the certified individual, the hallmark provides prestige, recognition, and possibly increased earning power. Equally important, certification enables the public (as well as government and private third-party payers for professional services) to distinguish between those that have attained some qualifying level of competency from those that have not. In short, professional certification programs protect the public by helping individuals readily identify competent people, and simultaneously aid the profession or field by encouraging and recognizing individual competency or achievement. Despite the ubiquitous benefits provided by private certification, certain aspects of these programs have at times come under legal attack. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have pursued alleged illegal practices in this field. In addition, occasionally private suits have arisen against certification programs, usually brought by those who have been excluded from qualification. 398
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The next two chapters present some legal background and guidance for nonprofit nongovernmental certification programs based on the decisions and opinions expressed in government and private challenges to the programs, as well as other best practice considerations. This chapter mainly addresses certification generally; the next chapter mainly addresses legal issues in administration of certification programs.
Summary · Professional certification programs operated, supported, or sponsored by nonprofit membership organizations typically rely on a combination of criteria, standards, or principles as factors that may help the profession and the public distinguish between individuals who are more likely to be competent than others. The combination usually includes education, experience, and testing. No program can guarantee the competence of individuals; too many factors besides certification determine the quality of profession services. And those providing or holding certification should guard against assuming or asserting that noncertified individuals are not competent or even less competent than those that are certified. The most that can be said is that certified individuals have taken the initiative to measure their own qualifications against the profession's consensus criteria, standards, or principles of competence; other individuals have not. Although professional certification therefore has inherent limitations--it cannot guarantee competence--it is nevertheless widely used by the public, by employers, by reimbursers or by others as a measure of competence. It is therefore often greatly desired by those who aspire to advance and improve in a profession. Not surprisingly, those who have been excluded from eligibility for certification, or who have tried and failed to achieve it, may be inclined to bring legal attacks against the professional certification programs that they perceive as restraining or even damaging their professional prerogatives. It is not an exaggeration to say that professional certification is a "lightning rod" for legal complaints, charges, claims, and even lawsuits. · Nongovernmental professional certification programs are ultimately quasi-public undertakings. They assume essential, if not primary, roles on behalf of the public rather than on behalf of the individuals in the professions or fields they serve. A review of all of the court cases and federal agency pronouncements on professional certification leads to an inescapable conclusion that the
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programs most likely to be endorsed, or at least not criticized or penalized, in those precedents are the ones where the public interest has been placed uppermost. If instead interests of professional fees or income, exclusion, or inhibition of individuals from practice, enhancement of related professional societies, or other goals inconsistent with the quasi-public role of certification are seen by objective reviewers as permeating or dominating decision-making, adverse rulings were likely to result. · A Supreme Court case concerning a minimum fee schedule for professional legal services held that activities of the "learned professions" are subject to review under the antitrust laws as trade or commerce. However, the Court did reserve some semblance of a distinction for professions by saying that it would be "unrealistic to view the practice of professions as interchangeable with other business activities, and automatically apply to the professions antitrust concepts which originated in other areas" (Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar). · The Supreme Court held that an engineer association's ban on competitive bidding was an antitrust violation, regardless of the ban's reasonableness. An important reference to certification appears in this decision in a concurring opinion stating that the Court might be willing to grant some extra margin under the antitrust laws and analyze the reasonableness of, as an example, "a medical association's prescription of standards of minimum competence for licensing or certification." Although not providing an antitrust exemption for professional certification, it is possible that the Court might view that activity with some additional leniency (National Society of Professional Engineers v. United States). · The DOJ has given its advice to an association on a proposed professional certification program. An audio-visual association proposed to confer the title of "Certified Media Specialist" on qualifying individual professionals. In its advice to the association indicating there would be no antitrust challenge, the DOJ relied on several aspects of the proposed program as important: ® Initial certification would be granted without examinations on the basis of successful completion of certain association-sponsored courses or on the basis of a certain number of years of professional experience. ® Recertification would be granted after a certain number of years if additional courses were taken.
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® Certification, recertification, and courses would be open to members and nonmembers alike (although fees for nonmembers could be higher to reflect members' support of the activities through their payment of dues). ® Decertification would result only from failure to maintain certified status, not for ethical reasons. ® The association would not discourage anyone from dealing with uncertified individuals and would not overtly recommend certified individuals to customers or suppliers. · The FTC once refused to issue an advisory opinion approving a proposed plan by an association of moving consultants to certify "professional moving consultants," who were described as estimators and salespeople for moving services. FTC claimed that: ® The purposes of the program were too closely related to pricing of moving services. ® Standards for refusing or revoking certification were too vague. ® There were sufficient, less restrictive alternative methods for obtaining certification already available. · Subsequently, FTC also refused to issue an advisory opinion approving a certification program for pedorthics professionals. While noting that "certification programs can be helpful to consumers by informing them that practitioners (and establishments) meet meaningful levels of occupational competency," the Commission cited what it considered several failings in the proposed plan: ® The required qualifications for applicants were too indefinite. ® There was no process for appealing adverse decisions to a body other than the credentialing group itself. ® Certified professionals would be subject to "unreasonable" ethical restrictions, such as a tacit ban on advertising. · Legal precedent for the adequacy of policies and procedures used in professional certification programs also can be found in nongovernment cases brought against certification bodies by individuals denied certification. · Two state cases are important because they illustrate issues of denial of certification to health care professionals. In one case, the denial was upheld; in the other, it was overturned.
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® In the case upholding denial, admission to a defendant psychological association (which was effectively a certification process) was not a prerequisite for employment as a professional psychologist because there already existed a separate state occupational licensing program (Salter v. New York State Psychological Ass'n). ® In the case overturning a denial, admission to a defendant medical society (again, effectively a certification process) was the prerequisite for employment as a physician, because without society membership a physician could not use local hospital facilities (Falcone v. Middlesex County Medical Soc'y). · The lesson is that courts will look closely at, and overturn more readily, those decisions by certification bodies where the certification is a prerequisite for employment. · In the context of professional certification, the question often arises as to whether certification equates with competence. The failure to accurately describe the scope of certification could ultimately lead to legal liability for a certification board or sponsoring association. Conclusions about the competence of individual professionals cannot be reached based on certification status alone and, therefore, it is important to be cautious about claims made or language used in describing related programs. A number of issues lead to the conclusion that it is unwise to equate competency exclusively with professional certification. ® Certification cannot guarantee or ensure competence. It can only measure consensus factors that tend to indicate competence, such as whether a candidate for certification is more or less likely to be competent. Further, attaining certification often reflects an individual's determination and diligence in seeking such status, undertaking the proper preparation, spending the time and money to apply, and so forth. Conversely, it is undeniable that many professionals who are universally recognized as competent by peers, clients, customers, or institutions have simply not sought certification in voluntary programs offered by nongovernmental organizations such as membership societies or boards affiliated with them. For a program to represent without qualification that "certified individuals are competent" may often imply that those not certified are not competent; that too can be misleading. ® It may not be possible in an examination setting to accurately and precisely measure competence. In fact, most individuals
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under-perform on certification examinations because an examination is usually taken in such an artificial environment. In the "real life" of professional practice, individuals have time to think, ask colleagues or supervisors for advice, conduct research, tentatively try reversible approaches and correct them if they don't work, and so on. The added pressures of anxiety, time, and other stresses that do not correlate directly with everyday professional endeavors are also present. Even a passing score allows some level of incorrect answers, so the entire process is not susceptible to an unqualified characterization as an accurate measure of competence. The reasons a person failed an examination may be related to proficiency in reading or other language skills, rather than skill in the subject area. These factors are likely more relevant in areas of professional practice where manual skill is primary. ® Little definitive guidance on whether certification equates with competence is available. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court (Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Comm'n.) did address the meaning of certification in an analogous context, where the issue was the permissibility of advertising a lawyer's specialty area of practice. The court said: "A claim of certification is not an unverifiable opinion of the ultimate quality of a lawyer's work or a promise of success, but is simply a fact, albeit one with multiple predicates, from which a consumer may or may not draw an inference of the likely qualities of an attorney's work in a given area of practice." A footnote to the Supreme Court's decision went on to say that "of course, many lawyers who do not have certification or do not publicize certification may, in fact, be more able than others who do claim such a credential." Thus, it is recognized that certification is only one factor in measuring competence, and it is by no means the determining factor. ® An examination by itself, or even a list of qualifications and criteria, cannot accurately measure competence. If psychometrically sound, examinations can be merely predictive of a tendency within a range to show that a person has demonstrated the knowledge or skill considered by consensus as necessary to perform certain professional functions. · Certification provides only a tendency toward, not a guarantee of, competence, but that is valuable in and of itself. It could legitimately lead some to deal exclusively with certified professionals for employment, reimbursement, and other activities if only for reasons of
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convenience. But of course it should not lead anyone to conclude that only certified professionals are competent or that noncertified professionals are incompetent. For certification organizations, the focus on competence adds perceived value to their credentialing programs--but clearly does not give carte blanche to tout in promotional literature or other publications certification as a definitive measure of competence. · Another distinction worth keeping in mind is that between a certification program and a "certificate program." Many organizations offer educational programming, whether day-long, weekend-long, or much longer in duration, which may or may not include testing at the end of the program but for which the attendees receive a written certificate indicating participation (or, where there is testing, the written certificate indicates that the individual has passed the test). This is to be distinguished from certification, which has come to be recognized as a more comprehensive measurement of an individual against criteria, standards or principles established by the profession and usually including elements of education, experience and testing. Those who complete a certificate program may legitimately and appropriately display their certificates and may refer to them on rйsumйs or CURRICULUM VITAE; but they should be careful to avoid suggesting that they have completed professional certification.
Chapter 72 Resources Books Glassie. "Key Precedents and Recent Developments in the Law of Credentialing." In 2002 DC Legal Symposium. Washington, D.C.: American society of Association Executives, 2002, p. 239. Glassie and Hamm. "Certification and Accreditation Programs: Understanding the Risks." In 2002 DC Legal Symposium. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2002, p. 221. Jacobs. "Antitrust and Other Legal Issues for Nonprofit Trade Associations." In Nonprofit Governance and Management. Chicago: American Bar Association and American Society of Corporate Secretaries, 2002, p. 563. Jacobs and Glassie. Certification and Accreditation Law Handbook, 2d ed. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2004. Schoon and Smith. The Licensure and Certification Mission. New York: Forbes, 2000.
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Cases Goldfarb v. Virginia State Bar, 421 U.S. 773 (1975). Illegality of attorney's minimum fee schedules. National Soc'y of Professional Eng'rs v. United States, 435 U.S. 679 (1978). Illegality of ban on competitive bidding. Salter v. New York State Psychological Ass'n, 198 N.E.2d 250 (N.Y. 1964). Denial of membership in society. Falcone v. Middlesex County Medical Soc'y, 170 A.2d 791 (N.J. 1961). Denial of membership in society. DeGregorio v. American Bd. of Internal Medicine, 844 F. Supp. 186 (D.N.J. 1994). Affirming legality of imposition of time-limited certification with required recertification. Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Comm'n., 496 U.S. 91 (1980).
Other Resources FTC Advisory Opinion 350, 76 F.T.C. 1093 (1969). Accreditation program for producers. FTC Advisory Opinion, 89 F.T.C. 654 (1977). Certification program for petroleum industry members. FTC Advisory Opinion, 89 F.T.C. 668 (1977). Certification program for moving consultants. FTC Advisory Opinion, 91 F.T.C. 1204 (1978). Certification program for pedorthics professionals. FTC Advisory Opinion (Jan. 19, 1995). Accrediting standards for trade and technical schools. DOJ Business Review Letter 78-21. Certification program for audio-visual specialists. DOJ Business Review Letter 84-19. Accreditation of travel agents and clearinghouse for ticket sales. DOJ Business Review Letter 86-2. Accreditation of travel schools. DOJ Release of Oct. 31, 1978. Audio-visual specialist certification program.
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Chapter 73
Certification of Professionals--
Administration
Professional certification programs assess whether individuals meet specified levels of education, experience, and knowledge in a profession or field according to consensus criteria, standards or principles of competence. Those who have the requisite credentials of eligibility and demonstrate that they have acquired the applicable professional "body of knowledge" are granted a credential, typically the right to state that they are certified in the area through use of a designation (legally, a certification mark; e.g., "Certified Association Executive" or its acronym "CAE"). Often a certificate is also granted, but certification does not constitute an academic degree, and thus the designation is not a title (e.g., Ph.D.). The criteria, standards, or principles for certification typically include academic qualifications, experience in the profession or field, and passage of a written examination. Many certification programs also impose the requirement that those who have been certified must comply with a code of professional conduct. The written examination, though, is often the focus of the certification process since most applicants will not consider attempting to attain certification unless they have the requisite academic educational and professional experience backgrounds. In order to develop and administer a psychometrically valid and legally defensible examination, a significant effort is required, usually involving preparation of a job analysis and/or role delineation study, careful development of an examination through question and answer item-writing workshops, and secure and objective administration of the exam in order to ensure accurate scores and protection of the integrity of the process. Most often, consultants are engaged to provide professional assistance in the examination development and administration process, ranging from individual psychometricians to large companies with substantial experience in test development and administration. Professional certification by a nonprofit nongovernmental body is perhaps the best method of self-regulation to avoid excessive government regulation. To the extent that certification programs use reasonable criteria, standards, or principles and are conducted with fairness and impartiality, they are likely to withstand government scrutiny and regulation. Therefore, associations involved in certification programs should take care to ensure they are aware of (or even ahead of ) the rapid legal developments that could affect these activities. The expenses for the development of a professional certification program, including consultant fees and costs, can be significant, but the 406
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revenues also can be substantial once certification becomes important for practice in a profession or field. The effort certainly requires dedication by association volunteers and staff. Although many other practical issues arise, a few of the more significant procedural or administrative issues are outlined in this chapter.
Summary · Certification programs can give rise to legal claims from third parties on a number of bases, including due process, antitrust, discrimination, and tort liability. Common law fairness principles mandate that a certification program be substantively and procedurally fair and reasonable. Procedural due process is thus important in promoting substantive fairness, but is extremely relevant in making certain that any complaints or disciplinary matters are handled appropriately, and any appeals from such actions are legally defensible. ® Legal actions can be brought by disgruntled or failed candidates, or those who are complained about and become the subject of disciplinary action for violation of the code of ethics, for example. ® Such aggrieved individuals may sue on due process grounds, or may base their claims on antitrust violations, breach of contract, defamation, or tortious interference with business relations. Antitrust claims are legion, but in the context of a well-developed and administered certification program that is essentially procompetitive, often are not successful. · Another area of potential legal exposure is tort, that is, claims that the certification organization was negligent in some way that resulted in harm to a third party, such as a patient or customer of the certified professional. Although there are risks involved in all of these areas, careful planning and management of the program, together with appropriate insurance coverage, greatly minimizes the potential risk of liability. · The fundamental bases of any nonprofit nongovernmental certification program are criteria, standards, or principles that are established as requirements for certification. Any challenge to the requirements will center on their validity. Do the criteria, standards, or principles required to attain the credential fairly represent the
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attributes necessary to practice competently in the profession or field? In mounting a legal defense for a certification program that is being challenged, one will typically attempt to demonstrate the essential validity of the program by explaining the careful process used to ensure that the program's requirements reflect, to the extent possible, consensus in the profession or field. Likewise, experts such as psychometricians will be utilized to explain why, in their judgment, the requirements together suggest a valid measurement of the level of competence for which the program is aimed. · The best way to maximize validity is to have an open process by which all affected constituencies may participate and/or comment on the certification program as it is developed or when it is changed. A broad base of participation and input will help ensure that the requirements do not unfairly bias or discriminate against any eligible professionals and accurately measure competency. In determining if the criteria are reasonable, the following guidelines should be considered: ® The criteria, standards, or principles should be no more strin- gent than necessary to ensure the levels of competency or quality that the program aims to measure have been achieved by the candidates (i.e., entry level, proficiency level, advanced level, etc.). This is particularly true when certification is of significant economic value, for example, as a prerequisite for employment or third-party reimbursement. ® Any combination of reasonable education, experience, or examination requirements can be used as the bases for certification. However, it may be advisable to establish alternative criteria where requirements for certification are difficult or expensive for many potential candidates. ® Criteria, standards, or principles for certification may include, and perhaps should include, continuing requirements and periodic reassessment of those previously certified. · Criteria, standards, or principles should be established only after reasonable notice to all those who may be affected by certification requirements, including representatives of potential candidates and users of their services. Notice should include an opportunity to participate in establishing certification requirements, such as by commenting on proposed requirements.
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· In addition to reasonable criteria, standards, or principles, any individual certification program should include policies and procedures ensuring that the criteria, standards, or principles are applied fairly to all candidates for certification. The following guidelines should be considered: ® Participation in a certification program ordinarily must be voluntary (except when government agencies authorize associations to administer programs that the agencies use for administering licensing, professional designation, or other mandatory government credentialing programs). ® Participation in a program should not be denied because a candidate is not a member of the certifying organization. However, fees charged to nonmembers for certification may be higher than those charged to members to reflect any members' dues or assessments that contribute to funding the program. There are no rigid guidelines, and virtually no precedent-setting court or agency pronouncements, on what is a fair and defensible nonmember fee increment. Certainly, where a professional certification program is subsidized by a related professional society, those who are not members of the society can be expected to pay some supplement for certification services to reflect the fact that they are not paying dues to the society. But beyond that questions remain, such as whether it is appropriate to reflect in the nonmember certification fees some amount to reflect the estimated value of society members' volunteer time dedicated to the certification program. ® It is not clear whether it is legal to summarily "grandfather" current organization members to a new certification program--that is, provide automatic certification without determining if the current members meet reasonable requirements--the legality will depend on the facts and circumstances in each case. The organizations that approve nongovernmental professional certifying bodies, the National Commission on Certifying Agencies (NCCA) of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) disfavor grandfathering (see Resources). · Organizations may promote their certification programs to potential participants or to the public as good measures for determining the qualifications of practicing individuals. However, they should not promote certified individuals by name (beyond directories and listings) or disparage the noncertified.
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· Denial of certification should not be used to "blackball" individuals, to limit the number of competitors, or to otherwise arbitrarily deny potential applicants access to certification. ® Denial of certification should be made by written notice to the applicant giving the reasons for denial; the candidate should be provided with an opportunity to respond, possibly at a hearing held for that purpose; in some circumstances it may be prudent to offer an appeal to the candidate, with the ultimate decision made by a body other than the one that made the original certification denial. ® Assessment of the qualifications of applicants for certification may be best made by an objective body or organization not composed exclusively of those who have received certification. ® All qualifying candidates should receive the same certification title or denomination for which they qualify, with no discrimination between organization members and nonmembers or any other arbitrary differentiation. · A number of issues related to Intellectual Property arise in connection with a professional certification program. Specifically, there are legal issues with respect to copyright protection for examinations and related certification materials (such as exam items, candidate guides, brochures, applications, etc.), potential trade secret legal protection for exams, and trademark protection for the name of the certification organization/program and the certification mark used by those who are certified. ® When unpaid volunteers assist in creating examination items without compensation, there is a likelihood that those items can be claimed to be owned by their "creators," the volunteers. So volunteer exam writers should either receive stipends for their efforts pursuant to written engagements (rendering these efforts "work for hire" and presumed to be owned by the paying organization) or the organization should require written blanket copyright assignments from the volunteer exam writers. Volunteers or consultants who participate in creating examinations should also be required to agree in writing to confidentiality and to avoiding exploitation of their unique knowledge of the exams through exam preparation services or publications offered to candidates.
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® Special secure procedures exist at the U.S. Library of Congress Copyright Office for obtaining copyright registration of certification exams. Other materials, such as booklets and instructions for candidates, should also be registered in the regular Copyright Office process. ® It is advisable to register the name and certification marks related to the program with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office if possible (although acronyms and certification marks are not as easily registered as trade or service marks). Recent PTO decisions make certification mark registration by private nongovernmental certification bodies more likely than previously (In re National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, Inc. and In re The Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists). ® The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right of certified individuals, as a matter of constitutionally protected commercial speech, to advertise their certification as specialists (Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission). · It is important that governance of a certification program be sufficiently autonomous from a related, supporting, or sponsoring professional membership organization to ensure that no improper pressure or bias influences the credentialing decisions. Conflicts can derive from the fact that the certification body has a duty in part as a quasi-public entity, whereas the professional organization has duties primarily to its members. NCCA and ANSI have mandated "administrative independence" for certification programs, although this standard may be relaxed somewhat in specific cases. The essence of resolution of the issue is for there to be no direct or indirect undue influence from the membership organization to the body making credentialing decisions. ® Such independence is most easily accomplished by separate incorporation of the certification body, but this also risks the certification program eventually becoming totally separate and removing a potentially valuable revenue source for the membership organization. At a minimum, all decisions related to eligibility, standards, examinations, scoring, and appeals should be made in an autonomous manner by the certification body (i.e., its board or commission), and procedures should be in place to ensure this independence of action. ® Policies should also be in place to govern conflicts of interest, confidentiality, copyright, and so on.
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· There are limitations on activities organizations can conduct based on their specific tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) or Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, respectively. Section 501(c)(3) organizations must be organized and operated primarily for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes. Section 501(c)(6) organizations must be organized and operated to advance a type of business or profession as a whole. It is important to determine whether development and implementation of certification programs are consistent with Section 501(c)(3) purposes or Section 501(c)(6) purposes. ® Under the Internal Revenue Code and IRS regulations, educational purposes relate either to "the instruction or training of the individual for the purpose of improving or developing his capabilities; or . . . the instruction of the public on subjects useful to the individual and beneficial to the community." Examples of educational organizations include schools with regularly scheduled curriculums, museums, and organizations that present public discussion groups, forums, panels, lectures, or similar programs. In a series of revenue rulings, the IRS has provided further guidance on what types of activities are considered "educational" for these purposes. ® Pure instructional programs that provide training directly to individuals are of course considered educational in nature, as are organizations that publish and disseminate informational material that confers a benefit on the public as a whole. In addition, the IRS has found that an engineering society qualified for exemption under Section 501(c)(3) because its research was conducted for the benefit of, and distributed freely to, the general public. ® However, activities that primarily benefit the members of a given profession rather than the community at large will generally not be considered educational within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3). For example, in one ruling an association of investment clubs were found to not furthering educational and charitable purposes because "many of the activities [of the organization were] directed in whole or in part to the support and promotion of the economic interest of the investment clubs that comprise its membership." Also a nonprofit organization that administered peer review boards was not operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, because "its primary objective is to maintain the professional standards,
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prestige, and independence of the organized medical profession and thereby furthers the common business interest of the organization's members." Likewise, in a medical specialty board that devised and administered examinations to physicians did not qualify as a Section 501(c)(3) exempt organization because the organization's activities were considered to be directed primarily to serving interests of individual professionals. ® A city bar association conducted many bona fide educational activities, such as sponsoring educational seminars, publishing articles, maintaining speaker panels, and providing legal assistance to indigent individuals. However, the association also conducted activities that were "directed at the promotion and protection of the practice of law" and furthered the common business purposes of the members. The IRS concluded that the existence of these non-educational purposes precluded designation of the association as a Section 501(c)(3) organization. Similarly, the IRS has held that a medical society that engaged in a variety of educational activities, but also provided a patient referral service and conducted public relations activities for the profession, was not operated exclusively for educational and charitable purposes. ® IRS officials have often interpreted standard setting and certification activities (even when conducted in conjunction with legitimate educational and training activities) as primarily advancing the business interests of a particular industry or of the individuals credentialed more consistent with a Section 501(c)(6) organization rather than one dedicated to the public interest under Section 501(c)(3). For example, in one ruling, product testing and certification activities were considered self-regulatory measure to prevent trade abuses in an industry and consistent with Section 501(c)(6) status. In another, testing, inspection, and certification programs for products were considered activities in furtherance of improvement of business conditions and consistent with Section 501(c)(6) status. Elsewhere the IRS has challenged certification programs as inconsistent with Section 501(c)(3) status whether or not the certification activities are substantial in relation to the organization's budget. Thus, any significant formal testing and certification program could provide grounds for the IRS to revoke or deny Section 501(c)(3) status. · A 2004 private letter ruling by the IRS signaled a change in its position. Here a large Section 501(c)(3) organization conducted
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numerous activities, including operation of a professional certification program. Consistent with prior holdings, the IRS found that the certification activities were not "substantially related" to exempt purposes under Section 501(c)(3). The IRS took the position that an activity might be consistent with, appropriate for, and related to, Section 501(c)(6) activities, but nonetheless would not be "substantially related" to Section 501(c)(3) exempt purposes. ® The IRS also found, however, that the certification program was "insubstantial" in comparison with the extensive activities of the organization and would not jeopardize its Section 501(c)(3) status. This appears to be a significant departure from previous IRS positions, in which any sort of a substantial or significant certification program would be held inconsistent with 501(c)(3) status and, thus, not appropriate to be conducted by such an organization. As a result, many Section 501(c)(3) organizations have now "spun off" their certification programs into Section 501(c)(6) entities as a reasonable way to protect the tax exempt status of the main organization. ® Notably, though, because the program addressed in this ruling was also considered a "regularly carried on" trade or business, the IRS held that revenues from the certification program would be considered unrelated business income subject to tax ("UBIT") to the Section 501(c)(3) organization involved in the ruling. It is likely that many Section 501(c)(3) organizations have not been treating revenues from such exclusively (c)(6) activities as UBIT, but rather considering them simply insubstantial although not taxable. In addition, the ruling is noteworthy because it concludes that an insubstantial professional certification program will not jeopardize the main organization's Section 501(c)(3) status. The ruling does not discuss what specific factors led the IRS to conclude the program was insubstantial, that is, whether revenues, budget amounts, size of staff, and so on, were determinative. The IRS does not, however, direct that such a program be carved out and separated from the Section 501(c)(3) organization. ® This position has important implications for any Section 501(c)(3) organization conducting activities that might be characterized as predominantly in furtherance of (c)(6), but not (c)(3), purposes, including, but not limited to, professional certification. It should be emphasized, too, that a private letter ruling such as this one is explicitly not considered to be
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precedent binding upon the IRS nor the basis for reliance by other exempt organizations beyond the one for which the ruling was issued. · Another important yet unique aspect of the legal analysis involves certification programs that have been developed pursuant to a direct or indirect governmental mandate. Where the certification activity arguably "lessens the burdens of government," the IRS has at times granted Section 501(c)(3) status. An important case is in this regard is one in which an Indiana University, which previously had performed agricultural regulatory functions on behalf of the state, delegated to a private nonprofit association the responsibility of seed certification in accordance with Indiana and federal law. The association also conducted research and educational activities. ® The court found that the association's certification activities were in furtherance of an exempt charitable purpose under Section 501(c)(3) because the association lessened the burden of government. There is also an IRS ruling in which preparation of a test format to be used by state registration boards was found to not involve the instruction or training of individuals and therefore not "educational" within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3), but constituting "lessening the burdens of government" provided that the organization's governing documents reflected such purposes and the organization was not formed to support another non-Section 501(c)(3) organization. ® Where a certification program is developed and conducted pursuant to requirements in federal or state law, it will be reasonable to take the position that the program lessens the burdens of government and should be consistent with Section 501(c)(3). It should be noted, however, that lessening the burdens of government as a ground for supporting Section 501(c)(3) status has not, as a general matter, been recently favored by the IRS.
Chapter 73 Resources Books Cipriani. "Contracting for Certification Services." In Associations and the Law. Jacobs, ed. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2002, p. 86.
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Fellman. "How to Implement and Enforce an Effective Professional Certification Program." In 2000 Legal Symposium. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2000. Jacobs and Glassie. Certification and Accreditation Law Handbook, 2d ed. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2004.
Articles Cobb and Tai. "IRS Determines Certification Programs Constitute Unrelated Trade or Business for Section 501(c)(3) Organizations." Association Law & Policy ( July, 2005).
Cases DeGregorio v. American Bd. of Internal Medicine, 844 F. Supp. 186 (D.N.J. 1994). Affirming legality of imposition of time-limited certification with required recertification. Peel v. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Comm'n, 496 U.S. 91 (1980). Jamie Ambrose v. New England Ass'n. of Schools and Colleges, Inc., 252 F.3d 488 (1st Cir. 2001). Unsuccessful suit by students for improperly accrediting their college. Hand v. American Board for Surgery, Inc., 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2323, 2002 WL 227174 (E.D. Pa. 2002). Court upholds denial of certification, finding no unfairness in criteria or process. Indiana Crop Improvement Assn. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 76 T.C. 394 (1981). Finding of Section 501(c)(3) status for an agricultural certification organization authorized by the state government to conduct certification. In re National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, Inc., Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Serial No. 75701344. September 15, 2006. Granting of certification mark registration for professional certification program denomination. In re The Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Serial No. 75722091. March 22, 2007. Granting of certification mark registration for professional certification program denomination.
Other Resources FTC Advisory Opinion 350, 76 F.T.C. 1093 (1969). Accreditation program for producers. FTC Advisory Opinion, 89 F.T.C. 654 (1977). Certification program for petroleum industry members. FTC Advisory Opinion, 89 F.T.C. 668 (1977). Certification program for moving consultants. FTC Advisory Opinion, 91 F.T.C. 1204 (1978). Certification program for pedorthics professionals. FTC Advisory Opinion (Jan. 19, 1995). Accrediting standards for trade and technical schools. DOJ Business Review Letter 78-21. Certification program for audio-visual specialists.
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DOJ Business Review Letter 84-19. Accreditation of travel agents and clearinghouse for ticket sales. DOJ Business Review Letter 86-2. Accreditation of travel schools. DOJ Release of Oct. 31, 1978. Audio-visual specialist certification program. Treas. Reg. 1.501(c)(3)-1(d)(3). Pronouncement regarding public education. Revenue Ruling 77-272, 1977-CB 191. Ruling held that organization providing apprenticeship training programs to Native Americans furthers educational purposes. Revenue Ruling 71-506, 1971­2 CB 233. Ruling on exemption of an engineering society where its publications were available to the public. Revenue Ruling 76-386, 1976­2 CB 144. Ruling in which investment club association was denied exemption. Revenue Ruling 74-553, 1974­2 CB 168. Ruling on organization of peer review programs. Revenue Ruling 73-567, 1973­2 CB 178. Medical specialty board exemption. Revenue Ruling 71-505, 1971­2 CB 232. City bar association denied Section 501(c)(3) exemption because of services promoting members. Revenue Ruling 71-504, 1971­2 CB 231. Patient referral and other activities precluded a medical society from attaining Section 501(c)(3) exemption. Revenue Ruling 70-187, 1970­X CB 131. Product testing and certification not consistent with Section 501(c)(3). G.C.M. 38459, July 31, 1980. Publication of weekly periodical and scholarly articles furthers educational purposes. G.C.M. 8315046, January 12, 1983. Testing, inspection and certification program not consistent with Section 501(c)(3) exemption. G.C.M. 37222, August 19, 1977. Preparation of test formats lessens the burdens of government and therefore qualifies as Section 501(c)(3) activity. P.L.R. 200439043. The professional certification program of a large Section 501(c)(3) organization was found to be subject to unrelated business income but, in this case, so insubstantial as to not defeat exemption in this classification. National Organization for Competency Assurance. "ANSI-NOCA 1100--Standard Assessment-Based Certificate Programs: An American National Standard," March, 2009. National Commission for Certifying Agencies, "Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs." December, 2007.
Chapter 74 Accreditation of Programs or Entities The legal principles applicable to certification of professionals are largely the same in the area of accreditation of programs or entities. Accreditation, like certification, involves the promulgation of criteria for quality, effectiveness, safety, efficiency, or other aspects of some process or institution, and the application of those criteria to applicants for accreditation. While the terms "certification" and "accreditation" are used interchangeably by some-- and other terms like "registration," "approval," and "acceptance" are also sometimes used synonymously with "certification" or "accreditation"--it has become accepted and expected that the endeavor of criteria and testing of individuals is usually called "certification," while the endeavor of criteria and acceptance of programs or entities is usually called "accreditation." Accreditation has its genesis in the United States and is still most widespread in the field of education. A large network of private nonprofit organizations offers accreditation to schools or programs of schools at the early childhood education, primary and secondary education, and higher and postgraduate education levels. Accreditation is a factor throughout private education, and often in private and public higher and postgraduate education. At these latter levels, accreditation will often address not an entire institution but only a field of study, such as library science or psychology. But accreditation has also long been used beyond the field of education. The sectors for hospitals, nursing homes, medical practices, laboratories, and other health care facilities have long had accreditation programs in place, often spurred by the need for governmental and private reimbursement systems to be able to distinguish quality facilities. And increasingly non-education and non­health care business and professional fields have adopted accreditation for industrial processes, inspections or audits, service facilities, and other programs and entities. This chapter addresses accreditation by nonprofit, non-governmental organizations such as associations or boards. Summary · Nonprofit organization-sponsored accreditation of programs or entities is ubiquitous. It spans areas of education, health care, and, increasingly, business and industrial fields. · Accreditation of programs or entities, like certification of professionals, involves promulgation of criteria and measurement against the criteria. While certification tends to rely upon individual
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testing as its means of measurement, accreditation tends to rely upon self-assessment, site visits, or both as its means of measurement. · The basic legality of private accreditation has been affirmed by courts and government officials. However, because the programs or entities that seek accreditation sometimes compete with one another and, even if they don't compete, often rely upon accreditation as a prerequisite for revenue or reimbursement, accreditation can raise legal issues if its purpose or effect is in any way anticompetitive, or if its criteria or procedures are improper. · From an antitrust point of view, little direction concerning accreditation has been provided by the two federal antitrust enforcement agencies or in decided cases in private litigation. The Department of Justice has never directly challenged accreditation programs, although it once charged a nonprofit membership society of pathologists with violations that involved accreditation of laboratories. In a settlement of the charges, the organization was specifically allowed to maintain "lawful, reasonable and nondiscriminatory technical and performance standards for the operation or accreditation of laboratories" (United States v. College of American Pathologists). · One private nongovernmental federal accreditation case held that an educational credentialing body was justified in denying accreditation to a women's junior college on the basis that the college was a proprietary, rather than a nonprofit, institution. The court found no antitrust violation by the college as alleged in the lawsuit (Marjorie Webster Junior College v. Middle States Association of Colleges & secondary schools). · The legal defensibility of any accreditation endeavor for programs or entities depends upon reasonable criteria, requirements, conditions, standards, or qualifications that applicants for accreditation are measured against. In determining if the criteria are reasonable, the following guidelines should be considered: ® The criteria should be no more stringent than necessary to ensure attainment and maintenance of the levels for quality, effectiveness, safety, efficiency, or other attributes that the accreditation endeavor measures. The greater the economic value of accreditation for applicants, such as for attracting students, clients, business, reimbursement, or other economic results, the greater will courts scrutinize and judge the reasonableness of the criteria.
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® Any combination of requirements for facilities, personnel, procedures, materials, and so forth can be used as criteria for accreditation. However, it may be advisable to establish alternative criteria where requirements for accreditation are difficult or expensive for many potential applicant programs or entities. ® Criteria for accreditation virtually always include continuing requirements and periodic reassessment of those previously accredited. ® Criteria should be established only after reasonable notice to all those programs or entities that may be affected by accreditation requirements, including representatives of potential applicants. Notice should include an opportunity to participate in establishing accreditation criteria, such as by commenting on proposed criteria. · In addition to reasonable criteria, any accreditation endeavor should include policies and procedures ensuring the criteria are applied fairly to all programs or entities that are applicants for accreditation. The following guidelines should be considered: ® Application for nongovernmental accreditation ordinarily must be voluntary (except when agencies authorize private nonprofit organizations to administer accreditation that the agencies use for their own governmentally mandated regulations). ® Participation in accreditation should not be denied because a candidate is not a dues-paying member of the accrediting organization or a membership affiliate. However, fees charged to nonmember applicants for accreditation may be higher than those charged to members to reflect any members' dues or assessments that contribute to funding accreditation. ® It is particularly important that all those who participate in an accreditation decision, including especially site visitors, staff or volunteer evaluators, or members of a governing board that has decision-making or appellate authority over a program's or entity's accreditation be completely free of bias or subjectivity. Extraordinary efforts to assure conf licts-free and objective decision making are essential. ® Organizations may promote accreditation to potential applicants or to the public as good measures for determining the qualifications of programs or entities eligible for accreditation.
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However, they should not promote accredited programs or entities by name--beyond objective and accurate listings and directories--or disparage the nonaccredited. ® Denial of accreditation should not be used to "blackball" unpopular programs or entities, to limit the number of competitors, or to otherwise arbitrarily deny potential applicants access to accreditation or attainment and maintenance of accreditation. ® Denial of accreditation should be made by written notice to the applicant program or entity giving the reasons for denial; the applicant should have the opportunity to refute the reasons for the denial, ideally at a hearing held for that purpose; an appeal opportunity should be afforded to the program or entity denied accreditation, with the final decision made by an appellate body other than the one that made the original denial. ® Any periodic reassessments of accredited programs or entities should be made on the same fair basis as the original decision, although it is common to have less-intensive review for reaccreditation than for initial accreditation. ® All qualifying programs or entities should receive the same accreditation designation for which they qualify, with no discrimination between organization members and nonmembers or any other arbitrary differentiation. ® All policy-making and decision-making functions of accreditation should be kept as independent as is feasible from influence or domination by a parent, affiliated, or otherwise related membership organization whose functions include promoting the economic wellbeing of the field in which accredited programs or entities operate. In short, accreditation should be autonomous. ® In some fields, such as education, there are government regulations applicable to accrediting bodies. In that case, the U.S. Department of Education closely controls accreditation. Applicable regulations should, of course, be closely observed.
Chapter 74 Resources Books Glassie. "Key Precedents and Recent Developments in the Law of Credentialing." In 2002 DC Legal Symposium. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2002, p. 239.
Glassie and Hamm. "Certification & Accreditation Programs: Understanding the Risks." In 2002 DC Legal Symposium. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2002, p. 221. Jacobs and Glassie. Certification and Accreditation Law Handbook, Second Edition. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2004. p. 169. Cases Marjorie Webster Junior College v. Middle States Ass'n of Colleges & Secondary Schools, 432 F.2d 650 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 965 (1970). Arbitrary exclusion of accreditation for proprietary school condoned. DM Research, Inc. v. College of American Pathologists, 170 F.3d 53 (1st Cir. 1999). Accreditation standards for laboratories upheld in antitrust challenge. Foundation for Interior Design Education Research v. Savannah College of Art & Design, 244 F.3d 521 (6th Cir. 2001). Unsuccessful challenge to denial of accreditation of interior design program; court found adequate due process, inadequate market power, and no injury to competition. United States v. College of Am. Pathologists, 1969 Trade Cas. (CCH) para. 72,825 (N.D. Ill. 1969). Accreditation of laboratories overly restrictive. Staver v. American Bar Ass'n., 169 F.Supp.2d 1372 (M.D.Fla. 2001). Court refused to substitute its judgment for that of accrediting body that had provisionally denied law school accreditation. Hampton University v. Accredidation Council for Pharmacy Education, 611 F. Supp. 2d 557 (E.D. Va. 2009). Affirmation of probation status. K & S Associates, Inc. v. American Ass'n of Physicists in Medicine, 2011 Trade Cas. (M.D. Tenn., 2011). Conflicts in accreditation decision. ALH5Accreditation.doc

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