The Washington Association of Legal Investigators has adopted a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct developed by the Association. The WALI-Code of Ethics provides rules and principles of professional conduct and ethics by which members will conduct themselves in discharging their professional duties and responsibilities. Any member who contravenes any of these rules and/or principles shall be accountable to the Ethics Committee and the Board of Directors of the Association.
WALI members shall be mindful of their responsibilities to the Private Investigation Profession and shall carry on their work with fidelity to clients or employers, with fairness to employees and with loyalty to the Association, in a manner worthy of a Professional Investigator. Private Investigators have an important role to play in society. In performance of that role the investigator’s actions have an effect on the welfare of other people. Because of their social responsibilities, members of a professional are obliged to act in the interest of these other parties, who have a stake in the nature and quality of professional activities. These stakeholders include employers, clients, various identifiable third parties, and the public at large. Therefore, the professional organization and its members have a stake in the performance of individual members. The Code of Ethics applies to the behavior of members of the Association when they either perform the role of a private investigator or represent themselves as members of the Association.
RULES FOR PERSONAL CONDUCT
A. RESPONSIBILITIES TO SOCIETY
Members shall not knowingly misrepresent themselves, their duties, or credentials. Members shall conduct their businesses with honesty, integrity, and uphold the highest moral principles and avoid conduct detrimental to the profession. Members shall guard their professional reputations and that of their professional associates. Members shall at all times uphold the Constitution, By-laws, and the Code of Ethics of the Washington Association of Legal Investigators.
2. UNLAWFUL ACTIVITY
Members shall not engage in any unlawful or unethical practice. The member shall refuse to participate in practices that are inconsistent with the standards established by regulatory bodies regarding the delivery of services to clients. Members in all cases shall counsel against any illegal or unethical course of action.
3. CRITICISM OF A MEMBER
Members directing any discussion and comments, or criticism toward a fellow member/ investigator/ security professional or organization shall do so in a positive and constructive manner. When asked to comment on current or past matters that are or have been managed by another investigative member or firm, the member, if he/ she believes that the situation was handled wrongly or badly, shall not make any comments of a questionable or derogatory nature toward the handling member before speaking with that member and giving that member and opportunity to respond.
4. REPORTING ACTS DETRIMENTAL TO THE PROFESSION
A member shall report to the Association Board any situation of which the member has sufficient personal knowledge and which the member thinks may be detrimental to the profession.
5. COMPATIBLE ACTIVITIES
A member may engage in any profession, trade, industry, office or duty except where these undertakings are detrimental to the public good or to the standards of the profession.
B. TRUST AND DUTIES
Members shall not disclose or use any confidential information concerning the affairs of any client, former client, employer, or former employer. Members shall treat as confidential and safeguard privileged communication and information that is obtained in the course of practice Professional files, reports and record shall be maintained under conditions of security, and provision shall be made for their return to the client or their destruction when appropriate. A member is not forbidden to disclose the employers’/clients’ affairs where properly acting the course of the duties incumbent on a member, or where disclosure is compelled by a process of law.
2. CONFLICT OF INTEREST
A member shall, when providing services on behalf of a client or employer, be free of any influence, interest, or relationship in respect of the client’s affairs which impairs the members’ professional judgment or objectivity, or which, in the view of a reasonable observer, may have that effect.
3. RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Upon becoming aware that a conflict of interest exits a member shall either eliminate the circumstances that cause the member to be in contravention or resign from the engagement.
4. INFORMATION USED FOR PERSONAL ADVANTAGE
A member shall not, without an employer’s or client’s consent, use confidential information relating to the business of the member’s employer or client to directly or indirectly obtain a personal advantage.
C. DUE CARE AND PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT
The member shall render only those services that the member is competent and qualified to perform. A member shall not promise or offer services or results he/she cannot deliver or has reason to believe he/she cannot provide.
2. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The member should maintain technical competency, and participate in ongoing professional development, at such a level that the client receives the highest quality of service. It is further the member’s duty to avail themselves of opportunities to learn more about their profession.
3. TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT
Members, where required, shall carry professional liability insurance for their own protection and the protection of affected third parties. Members shall not undertake to counsel on legal issues.
D. DECEPTIVE INFORMATION
1. KNOWN OMISSION
Members shall make all his/her reporting based upon truth, fact and observation to the best of his/her abilities and belief. Members shall not purposely alter Video or any other evidence to exaggerate or misrepresent the information obtained during the course of their investigation.
E. PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
A member shall not seek to obtain clients by advertising, or other form of solicitation that is false or deceptive, includes the use of harassing conduct, creates an unjustified expectation of favorable results or contains self-laudatory statements that are not verifiable.
2. CONTRACTING TO OTHER MEMBERS
All services shall be provided in a timely fashion and shall respond to the purpose of the referral. All business-Members accepting assignments from other members are forbidden to contact the client directly, unless specifically instructed to do so. Members are responsible for all proper fees and expenses incurred by another agency for work undertaken under his/her instructions. Members will under-take to pay promptly for services rendered by another member.
F. RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE PROFESSION
Under the Bylaws a member shall comply with the Bylaws and the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct of the Association as amended from time to time, and with any order or resolution of the Board or its committees.
2. DISCIPLINARY ACTION
A member shall be subject to disciplinary action for any offense which constitutes a breach of professional conduct.
3. MEMBERSHIP OBTAINED FRAUDULENTLY
A member shall not obtain admission to membership by means of fraud or other irregularity. A member shall notify the Association immediately regarding a person has obtained membership by means of fraud or other irregularity.
4. LEGAL ACTION AGAINST A MEMBER
When possible a member shall, before entering into a legal action against another member which might discredit the profession, give the Association as much notice as is possible of such intention, outlining the basis of the proposed action.
5. ASSISTANCE TO THE BOARD
Members shall, when required, comply with the request of the Board, or its committees in the exercise of their duties in matters of the Bylaws, or the Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct. And when required, produce any documents in the member’s possession, custody, or control, subject to rules governing confidential information described in Section B (1).
6. PUBLIC STATEMENTS
Members shall not make public statements or comments, which may be interpreted as representing the Association or its views, except when authorized to act as an “Official Spokesperson” for the Association.
_________________________ _____________, 2016 WALI President Dated