Service providers and service coordinators maintain ethical business practices
Consumers and clients expect service providers and service coordinators to conduct business in an honest, transparent, principled, and fair-minded manner. This means that prices will be determined impartially and independently, and that policies regulating the provision of services will be clearly established and adhered to consistently by service coordinators, agency representatives, and service providers alike.
Business integrity also denotes that qualified speech-to-text providers working on behalf of agencies, companies, or disability services offices, are entitled to professional wages, prompt compensation, and safe working conditions conducive to the effective delivery of services.
- Represent yourself truthfully and accurately, providing authentic credentials upon request (including your educational background, training, experience, and other relevant qualifications)
- Speech-to-text providers are trained professionals who have successfully completed TypeWell training or C-Print training, and have met all the requisite conditions and qualifications of the profession. Clients should not hire anyone without first requesting to see proof of training, and should not hire any person who cannot provide (or refuses to provide) valid educational credentials
- Speech-to-text providers should not misrepresent or embellish their employment history on résumés and other documents by listing schools and organizations that they served while contracted by an agency (i.e. “I was employed by Harvard University,” “I worked for Microsoft for 5 years”)
- Do no not “fill in” for a colleague without first going through the proper channels to be officially hired as a replacement. (This includes stepping in temporarily on someone else’s behalf)
- Do not accept remote transcribing assignments if you do not have an adequate technical setup, connectivity, and the capability to provide effective communication access—tech requirements exist to ensure that quality services are delivered to the client and consumer
- If an employer purchases or provides you with resources (e.g. speech-to-text software, a software license, equipment, internet access, electricity), do not use those resources to provide services for other assignments or clients (i.e. moonlighting) without the employer’s explicit permission
- Do not work for two clients at the same chronological time and/or be paid twice for the same work (i.e. double dipping)
- Design service documents (e.g. contracts, policies, invoices) so that they are plainspoken and transparent, and deliver them expediently to the client
- Service prices and policies should be made accessible to clients and consumers in print copy or on the web
- Service coordinators should communicate policies clearly with clients prior to every assignment, especially as they pertain to billing, teaming protocol, event cancellations, consumer no shows, and assignments that run beyond their scheduled completion time
- Charge fair, lawful, reasonable, and competitive rates for the delivery of services
- Many factors can influence the cost of services. Therefore, it is important that the client understands and agrees to all rates and fees prior to the delivery of services
- The cost of service provision should not change once a contract has been signed by a client unless the nature of the assignment changes, as spelled out in the initial agreement or contract (i.e. bait-and-switch)
- Prices should not be raised based on the income (or perceived income) of the potential client or consumer, or the scarcity of competition in a given region (i.e. price gouging). This does not prohibit volunteer or pro bono work
- Billing practices should be determined independently and without collusion (i.e. price fixing)
- Professional service provider compensation should be established fairly, commensurate with an individual’s qualifications, performance, and experience, and may vary regionally depending on prevailing geographic wage rates
- At no point should a service provider be denied compensation for work they have completed in good faith (this includes unreasonable delays in payment)
- Establish well-defined customer service policies to promote client and customer satisfaction and to resolve disputes in a fair and equitable manner
- Never harass, badger, or pressure a client into scheduling, purchasing, or using services from a specific service provider or agency/company
- Never coerce a client or consumer into providing positive feedback about services
- Client testimonials should not be published without consent or when doing so violates client confidentiality (see Tenet I)
- Do not attempt to profit off private information obtained during an assignment
- Do not break your contracts with consumers who have hired you to provide services
- If unexpected or emergency conditions require you to delay, postpone, discontinue, or terminate an assignment, notify the client, consumer, and service coordinator as appropriate, providing as much notice as reasonably possible under the circumstances
- Promote working conditions that are safe and conducive to the effective delivery of services
- If an assignment becomes dangerous or unsafe, and you are unable to resolve these working conditions satisfactorily, you may notify the consumer and your service coordinator before judiciously exercising your right to discontinue services
- Freelance service providers who serve as their own service coordinators should notify the client accordingly
If I hire a service provider for an event, meeting, or program that I am hosting, may I charge the participant who is deaf or hard of hearing for the cost of speech-to-text services?
The short answer is: No.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, “No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.” This means that consumers have a right to equal access when they go to restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, dentists’ offices, retail stores, malls, museums, libraries, parks, public and private schools, day care centers, courthouses, job interviews, public lectures, government offices (such as the DMV)—pretty much any business or institution that you can think of.
When defining discrimination, the ADA specifically references “steps as may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services.”
By definition, auxiliary aids and services include “methods of making aurally delivered materials available” to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, such as speech-to-text services.
Therefore, with very few exceptions, it is the responsibility of the business, organization, or institution to provide and pay for speech-to-text services in order to ensure effective communication for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
For more information, please refer to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.