PMI’s Ethics Complaints Process

Posted on March 24, 2010 by


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In an earlier posting (Understanding Ethics Complaints Questions on the PMP Exam, February 8, 2010), we discussed our duty as members (or certification holders) of the Project Management Institute (PMI) to report ethics violations to PMI and when we are obligated to carry out this duty. Section 2.3.3 of the Code of Ethics ( states “We bring violations of this Code to the attention of the appropriate body for resolution” and section 2.3.4 states “We only file ethics complaints when they are substantiated by facts.” To summarize, substantiated ethics violations should be reported.

How do we do this? First of all, submit a completed ethics complaint form which can be found at You’ll need to provide your name and contact information (anonymous complaints will be rejected), contact information for the Respondent whom you believe committed an ethics violation, the facts of the case, the portion(s) of the Code of Ethics you believe was violated, whether there are other similar complaints against the individual, potential witnesses, relevant documents, and the steps you have already taken to resolve the problem.

The PMI CEO then has the discretion to reject the complaint if the information is unreliable, trivial, litigation is involved, it would more appropriately be a Grievance Complaint, or if the Respondent is not subject to PMI’s Code of Ethics. If the CEO does not reject the complaint, it is forwarded to the PMI Ethics Review Committee which has at least seven PMI members.

If the Ethics Review Committee, based on its investigation, believes there is evidence to show that a violation has occurred, they mail an Ethics Complaint Notice to the Respondent. Within 45 days, the Respondent must return the Ethics Complaint Response Form. This form requests the facts of the case, whether there is agreement that an ethics violation occurred, whether there are other similar complaints, and whether there are any witnesses or relevant documents.

The Review Committee will do further review based on this returned form. They may either dismiss the complaint or prepare written charges against the Respondent. The Respondent may appeal written charges within 45 days and the Appeals Committee (which has at least five PMI members) can conduct a hearing and then issue an Appeals Decision and Order.

Disciplinary actions can include suspension or probation of membership, certification, or volunteer status; rejection of an application for membership or certification; private or public reprimand and censure; or termination of membership.

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