Grievance & Accountability Process
Bay Area Open Minds (hereafter BAOM) seeks to make the grievance process clear, so that both members and the general public will have their concerns heard in a timely manner. Anyone who believes that an organization member or board member has acted illegally, irresponsibly, unprofessionally, or out of compliance with the organization's Code of Ethical Conduct may file a grievance. The underlying goal of this process is member enrichment and growth. As mental health clinicians and members of a professional community, we hold each other accountable to the ethical and professional behavior necessary to keep our clients and collegiate spaces safe. BAOM believes that each person has a right to file a grievance without fear of harassment. BAOM invites complainants to notify the Accountability Team within the Board of Directors if they feel they are being harassed. In order to adequately respond to the grievance, the Accountability Team needs to know the name and contact information of the person filing the grievance as well as the name and contact information of the member and/or board member about which the grievance is being made. The Team also needs to be provided with a description of the event that resulted in the grievance being filed, and optionally, the resolution that is desired.
To initiate the grievance/accountability process:
We hold that all BAOM members have a right to boundaries; members have the right to be free from threat, verbal and physical, to their person, their family, and to their professional practice. Members may be removed from the listserv or the organization if their words and/or behaviors are threatening. Harassment, name-calling, verbal abuse, aggressive pressure, intimidation, and threatening another member, their family, or their livelihood will not be tolerated. Members are expected to behave in a compassionate and ethical way when engaging with this professional organization, as not doing so is in violation of the organization's Mission, point (a):
The overall goal is to create a community that serves all members and fosters experiences of safety and respect. In the event that violations of the member agreement occur and the Accountability Team is notified, a response plan can be created that is in line with the offending action. This process, therefore, is defined on a case by case basis where each response is intended to be in direct relation to a complaint of offense.
Bay Area Open Minds holds the following values when responding to grievances:
Once the Grievance and Accountability Process is initiated, there will be an iterative process of discussion and feedback, which proceeds in formality depending on the outcomes of such conversations. The person who has been harmed is encouraged to designate a person/persons as support and witness during any conversations with the board or other accountability community members. Similarly, the person who is the subject of the complaint is also encouraged to designate a person/persons as support and witness during subsequent conversations with the board or other accountability community members, after being initially informed about the complaint.
An Accountability Team will be created on a case-by-case basis, if and as needed depending on the nature of the grievance reported. This work entirely relies on the time offered by volunteers, and thus it may take some time to comprise a Team that has adequate representation from all stakeholders in the organization- BAOM members and board members. The person who has been harmed and the person who is the subject of the complaint will each be asked to approve the members of the Accountability Team so as to protect against conflicts of interest. Once the Team is approved, members of the Team will be informed about the identities of those involved in the grievance process and will be asked to recuse themselves if they are aware of a conflict of interest. In the event that either party refuses to participate in an Accountability Process, they will be given the opportunity to explore choices and means for how to move forward.
The Grievance and Accountability Process is intended to make explicit how organization leadership will respond to grievances coming from membership. Relevant grievances include violations of the Code of Ethical Conduct that Bay Area Open Minds asks of all members. For example, a client not liking their BAOM therapist's interpersonal style is not a relevant grievance. Normative conflict between colleagues is not automatically a grievance. A BAOM therapist practicing conversion therapy IS a valid grievance. A BAOM therapist communicating critically with a colleague might feel hurtful or unfriendly, however, there are no explicit codes that are in violation, therefore this is not an addressable grievance. We recognize there are many ways to treat, and standards of care are evolving. We invite respectful discourse on topics of our professions and regard differences of opinion as opportunities for growth, not reason for complaint. Organization leadership responding to the complaint will discuss the specific instance with the complainant, and will collaboratively determine a path of remediation that relies on the Values listed in this document, the Mission of the organization, and the Code of Ethical Conduct.
The Bylaws of BAOM are on file for the purpose of protecting the working integrity of the organization. Within these Bylaws are described the disciplinary actions that can be taken (i.e., removing membership privileges) if or as needed to legally protect the functioning of the organization. Any organization member has a right to see these Bylaws. A link to the Bylaws is available upon request by emailing: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like the Code of Ethical Conduct, the Grievance and Accountability Process is regarded by BAOM as a live document, intended for regular review and updates as we continue to evolve and grow as a field and as an organization. Any edits to the Process will be published to membership and all versions will be held in the BAOM archives. Please see the most recent version of this Process for current expectations of organization members.
About Bay Area Open Minds
We provide a safe haven for mental health clinicians to gather, network, support, and consult.
Our organization was founded on the values of antiracism, equity, and inclusion.
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