How to File an Ethics Complaint
By Judy Misner   
May 2, 2014

How to File an Ethics Complaint

To file a formal ethics complaint, contact Judy Misner by email (, phone (931.787.1234), or regular mail to USCF office in Crossville, TN. Mark the envelope to the attention of Judy Misner, who is the Committee’s liaison in the office. All complaints and responses should be typed. In addition to submitting your complaint you must also mail a $25 check to the USCF as a good faith deposit. The deposit will be returned unless the ruling authority finds the complaint to be frivolous and rules that the deposit is to be forfeited, otherwise the check will be returned.

There are a number of things you should keep in mind when making a complaint. First, the jurisdiction of the Ethics Committee is governed by two documents: the Code of Ethics and the Executive Board Standards of Conduct. A copy of the Code of Ethics may be found on the USCF web site. A copy of the Executive Board Standards of Conduct may be found on the website also. In your complaint, you should make specific reference to the section(s) of these documents, which apply, to the violation you claim.

If you decide to make a complaint, you should include with it ALL the evidence you want considered. The Committee will not research web sites, newsgroup postings etc. If you want such material considered, it is up to you to print this material and send it with your complaint. If you want other individuals to provide statements in support of your charges, we prefer that you obtain them. However, the Committee may agree (but is not required) to ask the USCF office to contact them and ask for the statements.

Once the complaint is received in the USCF office, the following procedure takes place. First, a copy of the complaint will be sent to every member of the Ethics Committee and we will examine it to determine if it falls within their jurisdiction. If they vote that it does not, you will be notified and that will be the end of the matter. If they vote that it does, the complaint will then be sent to the defendant(s) with a request for a formal response by a given deadline. When that response is received, it will be sent to you and you will have the opportunity to make a rebuttal. Finally, your rebuttal will be sent to the defendant(s) who will get the last word. When all four of these documents (complaint, response, rebuttal, and final statement) have been received at the USCF office, a packet will be made up and sent to every member of the Committee. The Committee will then consider the evidence and take a vote and all parties will be notified of the decision.

If the Committee finds that a violation has occurred, they can recommend sanctions to the Executive Board, including a reprimand, a censure, or even suspension or revocation of USCF membership. Please note however, that when the defendant is a member of the Executive Board, they can recommend only a reprimand or censure; if they wish to suggest more serious sanctions, these must be referred to the USCF Delegates for action.

You will have 30 days from when you are notified to submit an appeal of the decision to our Executive Board. Appeals are submitted to our Executive Board through the USCF office at US Chess, P. O. Box 3967, Crossville, TN 38557 or submit your appeal by email to: Executive Director, Jean Hoffman at and Judy Misner at

If you have any further questions about the procedures for filing a complaint, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Judy Misner
USCF Liaison to the Ethics Committee