Harassment and Grievance Policy
Passed on 24 March 2019 by the Membership Assembly.
Section 1: DSA Resolution 33.
The Capital District Democratic Socialists of America (CDDSA) affirms that its harassment and grievance process and the actions of its HGOs will be in full accordance with national DSA policy as expressed in Resolution 33.
Section 2: Actions justifying the initiation of a formal harassment and grievance procedure against chapter members.
These actions include but are not limited to:
- Harassment as defined in DSA Resolution 33 adopted 4 August 2017.
- Theft or misuse of chapter funds,equipment or property.
- Actions taken in violation of the CDDSA constitution and bylaws.
- A pattern of behavior and/or speech that clearly violates the letter and spirit of the national DSA Statement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights.
- A pattern of behavior and/or speech clearly intended to undermine, discredit or subvert the CDDSA’s purpose and mission as stated in Article 2 of the CDDSA constitution, and/or similarly and knowingly interfere with initiatives and actions approved by the chapter membership through customary democratic processes.
- A pattern of behavior and/or speech, not rising to the level of unconstitutionality, that clearly intends, through divisive and undemocratic means, to empower a clique, faction or tendency within CDDSA and advance its special interests at the expense of the solidarity and effectiveness of the chapter as a whole.
- In chapter officers, ongoing and significant dereliction or negligence of their duties as specified in Article 5 of the CDDSA Constitution.
Section 3: Standing for filing grievances.
Any CDDSA member in good standing regardless of position or status may file a grievance with chapter HGOs at any time in accordance with the process outlined in Section 4. Pursuant to the adoption of this policy, CDDSA will establish a grievance email hotline to the chapter HGOs to facilitate quick and confidential delivery of grievances.
Section 4: Grievance reporting, evaluation and resolution process.
After a written report has been submitted–whether through the CDDSA grievance email hotline or otherwise:
- The chapter HGO will contact the accused member within seven days to notify them that a report has been filed against them and request a written response to the report either affirming or denying its substance;
- The accused will submit their written response within seven days of being notified. If the accused does not meet this deadline, the HGO will recommend the Executive Committee move to take appropriate disciplinary action;
- If the accused denies the substance of the report, the HGO overseeing the dispute will have the option to investigate the report by:
- interviewing other members with direct knowledge of the substance of the report;
- requesting documentation from either the accuser or accused or any other parties directly involved; or
- employing any and all other means deemed necessary, with the utmost respect for the confidentiality of the parties, within a time period not to exceed ten days.
The chapter HGO(s) will determine whether the report is credible and, if necessary, make a recommendation to the Executive Committee of appropriate disciplinary action as soon as practicable, but ultimately within thirty days of the report being filed. This is to ensure the timely, efficient, accurate, and discreet adjudication of all reports. The HGOs may notify the Executive Committee of the accuser’s report and its substance at any time after the report is filed, but must give written notice to both the accuser and the accused member before doing so. If the accused is a chapter officer, they must recuse themselves from any role in the evaluation, resolution and remedies and penalties phases of this process.
The ultimate disposition of each grievance report will be made by the Executive Committee. The resolution of a formal grievance is classified as Executive Committee business as described in Article 6, Section 2(A) of the CDDSA constitution and accordingly any grievance resolution and/or imposition of a remedy or penalty requires a quorum be present as specified in Article 6, Section 4. To find a grievance credible and therefore requiring application of a remedy or penalty, at least a quorum of the Executive Committee must agree by majority vote that the preponderance of evidence presented in the chapter HGO’s report confirms and validates the grievance. In this proceeding the HGO counts toward the quorum total, but abstains from the Executive Committee vote on the particular grievance.
Remedies and Penalties:
If the Executive Committee finds the report to be credible they are authorized to carry out the following remedies and penalties:
- A formal discussion between the accused and the Executive Committee to develop a plan to change the harassing behavior(s); -Suspension from committee meetings and other chapter or organizational events; -Removal from chapter committee(s);
- Removal from CDDSA in accordance with the procedures specified in Article 3, Section 4 of the CDDSA constitution.
- If a chapter officer, a recall vote as described in Article 5 of the CDDSA constitution.
- Any and all other relief deemed necessary and just by the chapter or national leadership. In assigning remedies and penalties, the Executive Committee may use these criteria among others:
- The wishes of the accuser;
- The severity of the offense;
- The response of the accused
- The accused’s relevant behavioral histories.
Section 5: Appeals process.
Either party may appeal the form of relief determined by the Executive Committee by filling out an appellate form created by the accuser’s reporting channel. Appeals must be filed within thirty days of receiving written notice of the Executive Committee’s decision. The limited grounds for appeal are:
- Either party believes the behavior in question did not meet the criteria specified in Section 2
- Procedural errors, misconduct, or conflicts of interest
- affected the fairness of the outcome
- The remedy or penalty determined by the Executive Committee was grossly disproportionate to the violation committed.
Appeal to national DSA:
If the grievance involves violation of DSA Resolution 33 or the DSA Statement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights, appeal can be made to the DSA National Grievance Officer:
Section 6: Retaliation.
This policy prohibits retaliation against any member for bringing a complaint of harassment pursuant to this policy. This policy also prohibits retaliation against a person who assists someone with a complaint of harassment, or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a complaint of discrimination or harassment. Retaliatory behaviors includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, and/or adverse actions related to organizing. If any party to the complaint believes there has been retaliation, they may inform the HGO who will determine whether to factor the retaliation into the original complaint, or treat it as an individual incident.