Grievance Procedure

1. Introduction.
As an Association that embraces diversity in all its forms, including freedom of expression, differences of opinion that can lead to tensions will inevitably arise from time to time. Whilst many of these tensions can be resolved amicably and informally through discussion, some may require a more structured intervention to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution. In order to facilitate a more structured approach to the resolution of internal tensions and/or grievances by members of the Association that cannot be resolved informally this grievance procedure has been drafted and adopted as a policy by the Association.

2. Definitions.
All terms used in this Grievance Procedure shall have the meaning as assigned in section 2 “Definitions” of the Association’s Constitution and section 2 “Definitions” of the Association’s Code of Conduct. Where any term is not subject to a stipulative definition in those documents the common everyday English meaning of a word shall apply.

3. Standing of the Code of Practice.
This Grievance Procedure has been drafted and adopted by Exco as an Association policy in terms of section 17.2.2 of the Association’s approved Constitution.

4. Scope and Application of the Grievance Procedure.
Where any member of the Association feels aggrieved by any alleged act or omission of any other member of the Association, or the Association itself, he or she may, in his or her discretion take the following steps:
4.1 Where the grievance is a consequence of any alleged act or omission by another member, or group of members, of the Association, the aggrieved member may approach that member or group of members whose conduct led to the grievance, whether verbally or in writing in an effort to resolve the grievance. Should this approach successfully resolve the grievance the matter will be assumed to have been disposed of and no further action will be considered;
4.2 Where the grievance is a consequence of any alleged act or omission by another member, or group of members, of the Association, and the aggrieved member believes that an informal approach, as described above, has little prospect of successfully resolving the grievance he or she may, in writing, approach the Executive Officer with a request for the appointment a member of the Association to mediate between the aggrieved member and the other members whose alleged conduct led to the grievance arising. Should the grievance relate to the Executive Officer the member may approach the President to make such an appointment. The Executive Officer, or President as the case may be, will within 14 days of receiving the request appoint an appropriate member of the Association, whether an office-bearer or ordinary member, to mediate between the aggrieved member and the members whose conduct led to the grievance arising.
The appointed member shall within 30 days of being appointed, in his or her discretion:
4.2.1 Request further information from, and/or interview the member that submitted the grievance;
4.2.2 Interview any other members of the Association;
4.2.3 Collect any information, whether documented or verbal, from any other member of the Association;
4.2.4 Request the member that submitted the grievance and other member whose alleged conduct led to the grievance to attend a mediation meeting to attempt to reach a mutually acceptable consensus resolution;
4.2.5 Report back to the Executive Officer, or the President as the case may be, when a mutually acceptable consensus resolution has been reached;
4.2.6 Report back to the Executive Officer, or President as the case may be, that a mutually acceptable consensus resolution could not be reached in terms of this process and that the matter should be escalated to the formal Grievance Procedure described below in section 4 of this Grievance Procedure;
4.3 Where the grievance is a consequence of any alleged act or omission by another member, group of members, or the Association itself, and the aggrieved member believes that any informal approach, as described above in sections 3.1 and 3.2, has little prospect of successfully resolving the grievance he or she may, in writing, report the grievance to the Executive Officer as a formal grievance with a request for the appointment a grievance panel to hear, investigate and make a determination regarding the grievance as described below in section 4. Should the grievance relate to the Executive Officer the member may approach the President to make such an appointment. The Executive Officer, or President as the case may be, will within 14 days of receiving the request appoint a grievance panel comprising at least one (1) member of the Exco and two (2) appropriate ordinary members of the Association to hear, investigate and make recommendations to resolve the grievance.
The steps described in sections 3.1 to 3.3 are not sequential and do not need to pursued in any order of precedence. Any aggrieved member may, in their discretion, elect to pursue any of the approaches described above in sections 3.1 to 3.3 in the first instance. There is thus no necessity to follow the informal grievance procedures before the submission of a formal grievance. However, members are encouraged to consider the more conciliatory informal grievance resolution approaches before electing to submit a formal grievance.

5. Formal Grievance Procedure.
Any member of the Association that feels aggrieved by any act or omission by any member of the Association, group of members, or the Association itself, and who feels their grievance is of a sufficiently serious nature may report the matter for further investigation and resolution in the following manner:
5.1 The member shall communicate the nature and details of their grievance, along with any supporting information and/or documentation, in writing, whether by E-Mail or hard copy, to the Executive Officer. Should the grievance pertain to any alleged conduct on the part of the Executive Officer the grievance may be directed to the President in the first instance;
5.2 The Executive Officer, or the President as the case may be, shall within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the formal grievance, appoint a formal grievance panel comprising one (1) Exco member and two (2) appropriate and knowledgeable ordinary members to further investigate and attempt to resolve the grievance to the mutual satisfaction of all concerned;
5.3 The formal grievance panel, under the chairpersonship of the Exco member, shall further investigate and attempt to resolve the formal grievance within 30 days of being appointed. Should it not be possible to secure all the necessary information or interview the members concerned within 30 days the Exco member on the panel shall report this to the Executive Officer, or President as the case may be, and advise that a further 30 days will be required to properly investigate the matter;
5.4 The formal grievance panel shall have the same standing, powers and rights as a disciplinary investigation panel appointed in terms of the Association’s Code of Conduct. The formal grievance panel may in their discretion:
5.4.1 Request further information from, and/or interview the member that submitted the grievance;
5.4.2 Interview any other members of the Association;
5.4.3 Collect any information, whether documented or verbal, from any other member of the Association;
5.4.4 Request the member that submitted the grievance and other member whose alleged conduct led to the grievance to attend a mediation meeting to attempt to reach a mutually acceptable consensus resolution;
5.4.5 Where a mutually acceptable consensus resolution cannot be reached, the formal grievance panel may reach a finding and issue a directive as to how the grievance should be resolved and disposed of;
5.4.6 Report back to the Executive Officer, or the President as the case may be, when a mutually acceptable consensus resolution has been reached;
5.4.7 Report back to the Executive Officer, or President as the case may be, that a mutually acceptable consensus resolution could not be reached and the formal grievance panel has issued a directive as to how the grievance should be resolved and be disposed of.
5.5 Where the aggrieved member, and/or the members whose alleged conduct led to the lodging of the formal grievance, feels that the grievance has not been satisfactorily dealt with they may lodge an appeal against the findings and/or directive issued by the formal grievance panel to the Exco in the manner prescribed below in section 5 of this procedure.

6. Formal Grievance Appeals Procedure.
Where any member of the Association feels that their grievance has not been satisfactorily dealt with and disposed of by the formal grievance panel, they may within 14 days of being notified of the formal grievance panel’s decision lodge a formal grievance appeal with the Association’s Exco. The aggrieved member shall lodge the appeal in writing with the Association’s Executive Officer. Should the grievance pertain to the Executive Officer the appeal shall be lodged with the Association’s President. The Association’s Exco shall within 30 days of receipt of the formal grievance appeal:
6.1 Meet, either at a normal Exco meeting or an ad hoc Exco meeting, to consider the formal grievance appeal. The full Exco meeting shall not constitute a de novo hearing and shall be conducted in a summary manner. It shall not be necessary to observe the strict rules of evidence applied in disciplinary proceedings, but shall be based on the principles of fairness and equity;
6.2 The aggrieved member shall have no right to be present during such Exco meeting convened to consider this matter. The Exco may in its discretion only consider evidence tabled at the formal grievance panel’s meetings or may provide the aggrieved member, or any other member of the Association, the opportunity to address the Exco regarding the grievance;
6.3 The Exco may, in its discretion:
6.3.1 Dismiss the formal grievance appeal as being vexatious, frivolous or without grounds, uphold the formal grievance panel’s decision and inform the aggrieved member accordingly;
6.3.2 Set aside the findings and/or directive issued by the formal grievance panel and issue a revised finding and/or directive;
6.3.3 The Exco shall communicate its decision to the accused member in writing within fourteen (14) days of having reached its decision with the reason(s) for its decision. The Exco’s decision will be final and no further internal appeals process will be followed.

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