GRIEVANCE RESOLUTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES
Meditation Australia aims to address grievances brought to its attention, as an essential part of maintaining both its own professional integrity and the professional integrity of the meditation-teaching sector.
Reflecting the values of the Meditation Australia Code of Ethics and Conduct, and the Rules of the Association, Meditation Australia aims to address complaints using processes that are based on the values of respect, confidentiality, good will and equality.
1. Who can make a complaint?
Complaints or disputes may arise between:
- a member of the association and another member; or
- a member of the association and a member of the Meditation Australia committee, executive committee, or staff; or
- a non-member (e.g. a meditation student or person from the general public) and a member of the association; or
- a non-member and a member of the Meditation Australia committee, executive committee, or staff; or
- a member or non-member of the association, and a person teaching on a teacher training course that is registered with Meditation Australia, or provider of that registered course.
2.Grievance Resolution Procedure
2.1. Prior to lodging a complaint
Prior to a person making a formal complaint to Meditation Australia, it is encouraged and expected that all reasonable attempts have been made to resolve the complaint directly with the other person or persons involved.
It is also expected that the person making the complaint has read:
- The summarised Grievance Resolution Policy on the Meditation Australia our website
- The Meditation Australia Code of Ethics and Conduct and Formal Scope of Practice
- Divisions 2 and 3 of the Rules of the Association.
The Meditation Australia Grievance Resolution Policy is not a vehicle for complaints related to commercial disputes between parties shown in clause 1.1, unless such dispute also alleges an infringement of Divisions 2 or 3, or the Meditation Australia Code of Ethics and Conduct.
Prior to lodging a complaint:
2.1.1 The complainant must:
- Take all reasonable measures to correspond with the respondent in relation to the grievance, detailing the nature of the grievance. An exception to this requirement may apply in the case of an alleged abuse, harassment or harm occasioning the reporting of the incident(s) to the police or other appropriate authority.
- Allow a reasonable time for the respondent to respond to the grievance.
- Make all reasonable efforts to try to understand the respondent’s response, including seeking clarification or further information as required.
- Make all reasonable efforts to have the matter resolved directly with the respondent, to the satisfaction of both parties.
2.1.2 The respondent must:
- Respond in good faith and in a timely manner to any correspondence from a complainant in relation to a grievance.
- Make all reasonable efforts to try to understand the complainant’s grievance, including seeking clarification or further information as required.
- Make all reasonable efforts to have the matter resolved directly with the complainant, to the satisfaction of both parties.
2.2 Lodging a complaint
A complaint must be lodged in writing using the downloadable Grievance Form. The grievance will outline the following information:
- The nature of the complaint including the date(s), time, location, people involved and any other relevant information;
- The steps taken to resolve the grievance, including whether the complaint has been lodged elsewhere;
- What the person making the complaint would like the other person or persons to do or not do to address the complaint;
- What assistance the person making the complaint hopes to receive from Meditation Australia;
- A convenient time and date to discuss the complaint with a Meditation Australia representative;
- Any other suggestions for ways to resolve the complaint;
- The person making the complaint has signed and dated the completed form.
2.3 Receiving the complaint
Within 14 days of its having received a complaint, Meditation Australia will provide written acknowledgement that the complaint has been received. Meditation Australia holds the discretion to refuse to deal with a complaint if the complaint is lodged more than 12 months after the matter has occurred. Meditation Australia reserves the right not to consider anonymous complaints and may suggest alternative approaches to resolving the complaint. Complaints alleging criminal behaviour may be referred to the appropriate authority such as the police.
The Complaint Form will be forwarded to the executive committee of Meditation Australia (comprising the Officers of the Association). A member of the executive committee of Meditation Australia, or some other suitable person, will be nominated by the executive committee to coordinate the grievance resolution process. This nominated person will have the necessary skill and experience to manage the grievance resolution process.
Meditation Australia will notify the person or persons being complained about, that a complaint has been received so that all parties can participate in resolving the grievance.
2.4 Addressing the complaint: The role of Meditation Australia
Meditation Australia will assess each grievance on a case-by-case basis and determine the most appropriate and useful role that Meditation Australia can have, given the context and nature of that complaint. Meditation Australia may seek independent advice on any matter related to the grievance process.
In some cases, Meditation Australia may decide that it cannot have a useful role in resolving the grievance. In this instance, Meditation Australia will make this clear to the person making the complaint and, where possible, recommend other approaches.
If the grievance is being made against a member of the Meditation Australia committee, executive, or staff, the same impartial consideration will be given to that complaint. The person against whom the complaint has been made will be notified as above, and will not be included in Meditation Australia’s management of the complaint. If this is not possible, independent external assistance may be sought.
Meditation Australia will actively encourage each person involved in the complaint to communicate directly with each other, preferably in person, but if this is not possible, then by phone or by other remote means. This negotiation phase will include the people involved in the complaint, and a person who has been appointed by the executive committee of Meditation Australia to manage the grievance process, in an initial attempt to help address the complaint. The appointed facilitator will maintain a written record of the grievance resolution process and will be accountable to the executive committee of Meditation Australia.
More specifically, the person nominated by the Meditation Australia executive committee will help to resolve the conflict by:
- facilitating a fair and open process of negotiation ensuring all parties are heard; and may:
- provide support and/or advocacy to each person involved and/or;
- make recommendations that uphold professional standards of meditation teaching.
Specifically, in cases that involve a substantiated breach of the Meditation Australia Code of Ethics and Conduct or Rules of the Association by a member of Meditation Australia, Meditation Australia will make recommendations to the member involved to uphold the Code of Ethics and Conduct and Rules of the Association.
Where possible, reasonable attempts will be made to resolve the grievance within 28 days after the complaint has come to the attention of all people concerned. The persons involved in the complaint have a right to appeal the decision of Meditation Australia. The appeal must be made in writing to Meditation Australia within 14 days after the decision by Meditation Australia has been served.
If the matter remains unresolved, Meditation Australia will consider alternative ways of dealing with the complaint, including appointing an external third party or mediator to address and manage the complaint. Where mediation is sought, the mediator cannot be a party to the dispute. A member of Meditation Australia committee, executive or staff may be the mediator if that is deemed appropriate, or an independent mediator may be recommended. It is preferable that each person involved in the complaint agrees on who is selected as the mediator, but if the parties cannot reach agreement, then the mediator will be appointed by the person who is managing the grievance process.
The mediator will facilitate the process but will not make decisions for the parties. The mediator will give all parties every opportunity to be heard and ensure a fair and participatory process.
Both/all persons directly involved in the complaint will share the costs of the mediation equally, unless agreed otherwise. The mediator will give the parties involved, and the Meditation Australia grievance manager, documentation noting that mediation occurred and who attended, and the outcome.
All attempts will be made to reach a resolution by negotiation and/or mediation as these processes encourage the conflicting parties to seek their own solutions and can often lead to satisfying outcomes to all parties. However, if the mediation process does not resolve the conflict, then an external party, which may include the Meditation Australia executive committee, may be appointed to address the complaint through a process of arbitration or the dispute may be referred to a formal dispute resolution service.
2.5 Follow Up
The Meditation Australia executive committee wants to ensure that all grievances are resolved to completion. This follow up is considered an important role of the committee and grievance reporting and follow-up will maintain a permanent place on the agenda of the executive committee.
In those cases where a grievance has been resolved within the association, the file (hard or soft copy) will be noted by the President of the association and another member of the executive committee that resolution has been achieved. The parties involved in the resolution acknowledge by signature that resolution has been achieved and the grievance procedure is brought to completion.
Where the grievance has been referred to an external party, the committee will maintain liaison with this external party during the external resolution process until the parties to the grievance, the external party, and the association approve the finalisation of the grievance. Authorisation to that effect will be maintained on the grievance file.