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Complaint Resolution Policy
Moksha Yoga Amazonica's complaint resolution policy sets out resolution processes so that Management, employees, students and volunteers can feel confident that complaints about bullying and harassment are taken seriously and will be handled fairly, expeditiously and in a manner that respects the rights and dignity of all parties involved in a complaint.
To have a written procedure so all Management members, employees, students and volunteers are aware of options and steps they can take should they have a complaint or are the subject of a complaint of bullying or harassment.
1 Confidentiality and Anonymity
1.1 Allegations of bullying and harassment may require the disclosure of sensitive information. Confidentiality must be maintained to ensure that those who may have been bullied or harassed feel free to come forward and are confident that their reputations will be protected throughout the process. It is the responsibility of all parties involved to respect this intent to protect the reputations of all individuals. Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed for individuals who initiate proceedings or make comments if they involve others outside the processes outlined in this policy.
1.2 Confidentiality must, however, be distinguished from anonymity. If a complainant wishes to file a formal complaint and proceed with an investigation, the respondent must be made aware of the nature of the harassment complaint, which may include the identity of the complainant. In order to conduct a fair and objective investigation that is in the best interests of all parties, hearsay or anonymous complaints will not be investigated.
1.3 Initially, complainants may wish to review this Policy, or discuss a problem without giving the name of potential respondents. There are options to do this in Step 2.1 of this Policy. The confidentiality of both the complainant and potential respondent will be respected until the complainant chooses a resolution process that requires identification.
1.4 AII written materials, including all notes taken during a formal or informal workplace harassment resolution process and any report prepared in relation to the resolution of a complaint, will be treated as confidential for the purposes of applications under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 165.
2 Individual Steps to Resolution
2.1 If an individual feels that he or she has been subject to bullying or harassment and is comfortable discussing the issue directly with the harasser, he or she should tell the harasser that the behavior is unwelcome and request that it stop immediately. This is an important step to ensure that the harasser knows that his or her conduct is unwelcome. If after discussing a complaint with the harasser, the complaint is dealt with to an individual's satisfaction, the issue is considered to be resolved.
2.2 If an individual is unable to talk to the harasser, or if after confronting the harasser the behavior persists, the individual has the option of discussing his or her concerns with a number of individuals. The various steps to resolution that can be pursued are set out below.
3 Initial Consultation with School Management or Teachers
3.1 This stage of the complaint resolution process is an avenue to obtain information, voice a concern and develop a means to deal with the problem.
3.2 Individuals who consider that they have been subjected to harassment may choose to consult an advisor. The advisor could be a member of the School or Center Management, a member of the teaching staff, or another representative as agreed upon. If the individual is a volunteer, the initial advisor will be a School or Center Management member.
3.3 Discussions regarding the complainant's concerns will be considered advisory and informal in nature. If the advisor reasonably believes that bullying or harassment has occurred, the advisor will determine whether or not the alleged harasser has been made aware of the objectionable or unwelcome conduct. Where this has occurred but the harasser's behavior had persisted or where this has not occurred but the complainant is not comfortable doing so, the advisor may intervene at the complainant's request and inform the harasser of the objectionable behavior.
3.4 The advisor will also review the Anti-Harassment Policy and this Complaint Resolution Policy with the complainant and discuss various choices to assist the complainant in deciding which course of action is most appropriate.
3.5 A complainant's concerns at the Initial Consultation stage will be treated in confidence by the advisor, unless the complainant consents to having the advisor speak to the respondent about the behavior. The other exception to maintaining confidentiality is if the advisor deems the complaint to indicate a possible physical threat to any person. In that case, the advisor must immediately advise the School or Center Management of the complaint and inform the complainant of this requirement to do so. Management will promptly initiate an investigation and keep the complainant aware of the developments.
4 Written Complaint
4.1 If the complainant does not wish to pursue the steps above or the steps taken are unsuccessful in resolving the complaint, the complainant may make a written complaint to the Manager of the School. This written complaint should contain full particulars of the facts surrounding the complaint, including the following: a) have the complainant discuss concerns directly with the respondent, where the complainant feels comfortable doing so; b) have the complainant discuss concerns directly with the respondent, with the assistance of an Advisor; c) request that the Advisor meet individually with the respondent and discuss the complaint; d) initiate Mutual Resolution; or e) initiate Formal Review.
4.2 The written complaint must be initiated by the complainant within six (6) months of the date of the last alleged incident of bullying or harassment.
4.3 Upon receipt of a written complaint, Management will meet with the complainant within five (5) working days to decide on the next course of action. Some of the options for resolution of the complaint include the following: a) Name, title and department of the complainant and the respondent; b) Description of the behavior, conduct, events, context and circumstances of the complaint; c) Times and dates of the incident(s), if available; d) Names of any witnesses; and e) Previous attempts to resolve the complaint
4.4 If any steps under ss. 4.3(a) through (c) have been taken and have not successfully resolved the complaint, the complainant will confirm in writing to the Advisor or Management within five (5) working days of the final informal step and advise which further resolution option he or she wishes to pursue. The complainant may, at his or her option, choose to proceed to Formal Review if the parties cannot agree to resolve the complaint through Mutual Resolution.
4.5 Advisor or Management is also entitled, at his or her discretion, to initiate a Formal Review at any time, taking into account the seriousness, severity and impact of the behavior complained of.
5 Mutual Resolution
5.1 At the request of the complainant and with the agreement of the respondent, a third party will be selected to act as a mediator to assist the individuals in resolving the complaint through mediation. The role of the mediator is to help the complainant and respondent come to an agreement, and not to advocate a position or impose a decision,
5.2 The mediator will be selected by agreement of the complainant and respondent, with the Advisor or Management retaining the right to select a mediator if the complainant and respondent are unable to agree.
5.3 Both the complainant and the respondent may be accompanied by a representative of their choice. If the complaint is resolved through Mutual Resolution, a written record of the complaint and the resolution will be given to the complainant, respondent and the advisor or management. Should there be recommendations for the employer to consider, the mediator will forward these recommendations as well to the advisor or management. The resolution and recommendations must be kept in confidence, except to the extent that they must reasonably be disclosed to any other member of management.
5.4 If Mutual Resolution does not prove to be successful in resolving the complaint, the complainant may request a Formal Review within five (5) working days of the conclusion of the Mutual Resolution process.
6 Formal Review
6.1 A request for a Formal Review should be made in writing to the advisor or management. The advisor will, within ten (10) business days, begin the Formal Review process and appoint an internal or external investigator to conduct an investigation, as appropriate in the circumstances.
6.2 As part of the investigation into the complaint, the Investigator will do the following: a) notify the respondent of the allegations(s), provide the respondent with a copy of the Anti-Harassment Policy and Complaint Resolution Policy and advise the complainant of this notification; b) receive information from any witnesses the Investigator believes may have information relevant to the complaint. This information may be received through written documentation, interviews, or informal hearings; c) keep both the complainant and the respondent aware of any allegations made against them and ensure that they are given a reasonable opportunity to respond; and, d) inform the complainant and the respondent that they may be accompanied by a representative of their choice during the Formal Review process.
6.3 The Investigator is required to ensure all details, dates, conversations and meetings are well documented. Once the investigation has been completed, the Investigator will prepare a written report and provide the report to the school management. The report should, at a minimum, contain a description of the allegations, a summary of the evidence of the parties and the witnesses, and a determination of whether harassment occurred. The report may also provide recommendations with respect to the potential outcome.
6.4 After reviewing the report of the Investigator, the school management will make a decision on the appropriate disciplinary action, if any, that is appropriate in the circumstances. In determining the appropriate disciplinary action, the following factors will be considered: a) degree and nature of the conduct; b) whether the bullying or harassment was a single or repeated act; c) whether the respondent was told that the conduct was unwelcome or offensive, and nonetheless continued the conduct; c) the nature of the work relationship of the complainant and the respondent, and whether the respondent was in a position of authority over the complainant, such that the degree and nature of the conduct was thereby exacerbated by an abuse of power; d) the impact of the bullying or harassment on the complainant; e) the respondent's acknowledgment of wrongdoing; and f) the respondent's history of other bullying or, harassment.
6.5 Where the Investigator concludes that bullying or harassment has occurred, the school must endeavor to protect the complainant from any subsequent bullying, harassment, discrimination or reprisal. Management also recognizes its responsibilities to protect the rights of the harasser and to see that no reprisal takes place.
6.6 Where the Investigator finds that the original complaint was initiated in bad faith or with intent to harm, management will take appropriate disciplinary action against the complainant.
6.7 Management's decision pursuant to section 6.4 will be in writing and provided to the complainant and respondent within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the report from the Investigator.
6.8 A copy of the Investigator's Report and the management's decision will be retained in a confidential file maintained by the school.
6.9 In the case of a complaint against the school or its management, the school will contact Yoga Alliance's Accountability Team for them to assume the responsibilities assigned to the school management as a part of the complaint process.
7 Complaints against school management or teachers
Where a complaint is made against the school management or teachers, the same procedures set out above are applicable to the resolution of the complaint, subject to the following:
1. The school management is required to immediately report: a written complaint about a member of the management or teacher's team to the Yoga Alliance.
2. If the complaint proceeds to the Formal Review process, the school management, in consultation with the Yoga Alliance, must appoint an external Investigator.
3. The external Investigator will carry out the investigation and provide a report in accordance with this Policy.
4. The Investigator's report must be presented to the school management at a closed meeting for discussion. The Respondent school management member must be given at least one (1) week's advance notice that the report will be considered.
5. Where the results of the investigation; find that the respondent school management member engaged in behavior contrary to the Anti-Harassment Policy, the Yoga Alliance Board may, after giving the Respondent school management member an opportunity to be heard, impose disciplinary action on the school management member.
6. All copies of the report must be returned to the external investigator following the meeting.
8.1 For the purpose of this Policy, disciplinary action for management members may include verbal or written warnings, training or education, transfer, suspension or termination of employment.
8.2 Disciplinary action for employees may include written warnings, censure, training or education, limited access to the workplace, or work termination.
8.3 Disciplinary action for students may include warning or expulsion from training.
11.1 This policy will be posted in visible and accessible locations within the training centers and on the Moksha Yoga Amazonica website.
11.3 Any questions related to the interpretation of this policy should be directed to the school management team.