Core Documents

Commentaries to the Guidelines for Practice

Commentary 12 - Adverse Commentary

Although a conservation professional may be uncomfortable providing adverse commentary about the professional conduct of a colleague, it is ethical to do so in appropriate proceedings. Such action contributes to the integrity of the field.

It is important to distinguish between substantiated adverse commentary, and gossip and innuendo. The conservation professional should be aware of the consequences and potential damage to an individual’s professional reputation and to the profession as a whole that may result from gossip and innuendo.

  1. Rationale
    • To ensure that fair and true testimony is available in all appropriate proceedings concerning allegations of unethical conduct.
    • To ensure that cultural property is protected from damage resulting from unethical conduct.
  2. Minimum Accepted Practice
    • Adverse commentary must be made in such a way that the individual will be notified of the allegation and have an opportunity to respond. The conservation professional offering adverse commentary must personally ensure that the individual is notified, unless notification is automatic (such as in proceedings under Guideline 13). Failure to do so is professional misconduct.
    • The conservation professional must provide fair and true testimony when required to testify in proceedings concerning allegations of unethical conduct.
    • The conservation professional must not offer unsubstantiated adverse commentary.


Approved by the AIC Board.