Advisory Opinion 20
Timely Delivery of Transcripts
(originally written 1995; revised 2013)
Statement of Facts
A freelance reporter has requested the Committee on Professional Ethics for an advisory opinion regarding the individual reporter's responsibilities under the Association's Code of Professional Ethics in the situation where an agency contracts with a freelance reporter for reporting services and requests the reporter to deliver the transcript to the agency by a certain date. The reporter accepts several assignments from the agency. Upon completion of one assignment, the reporter delivers the transcript to the agency by the requested due date and later becomes aware of the fact that the agency failed to deliver it to the consumer in a timely manner. Upon completion of another assignment, the reporter fails to deliver the transcript to the agency by the requested due date.
The Committee believes that the when accepting job assignments from reporting agencies, per Section I.5 of the Guidelines for Professional Practice, reporters should meet promised delivery dates whenever possible, make timely delivery of transcripts when no date is specified, and provide immediate notification of delays. If the reporter knows that he or she cannot deliver the job by the requested date, he or she should decline the engagement. In addition, if the reporter is aware that an agency has a history of failing to deliver transcripts in a timely manner to the consumer, the reporter should refrain from accepting engagements from that agency. To do otherwise would violate Provision No. 3 of the Code which mandates reporters to guard against not only the fact but also the appearance of impropriety, and Provision No. 9 that requires the reporter to maintain the integrity of the reporting profession.
The Committee on Professional Ethics believes the individual reporter that subcontracts with an agency has a duty to meet promised delivery dates whenever possible and to refrain from accepting engagements with which the reporter knows he or she is unable to comply. If the reporter knows the agency has a history of not following through with timely delivery to the consumer, even though the reporter has delivered the transcript in a timely manner to the agency, the reporter should refrain from participating in such engagements. Failure to do so constitutes a violation of Provisions Nos. 3 and 9 of the Code requiring avoidance of the fact and appearance of impropriety and maintenance of the integrity of the reporting profession.
THIS PUBLIC ADVISORY OPINION REFLECTS THE STATUS OF THE LAW IN MOST JURISDICTIONS. MEMBERS ARE REQUIRED TO CONFORM TO THE ACCEPTED PRACTICES SET FORTH IN THIS PUBLIC ADVISORY OPINION TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH PRACTICES ARE CONSISTENT WITH THEIR OWN APPLICABLE STATE AND LOCAL LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS.