Grievance Policy

As defined by the Bylaws of Breastfeeding USA, a voting member whose membership has been terminated or membership privileges revoked can request that the Grievance Committee be convened to initiate a review of the actions taken (Article 2. Membership. Section 7. Grievances.).

In addition to the Bylaws, the Grievance Policy is guided by these organizational documents:

  1. The Mission statement
    The mission of Breastfeeding USA is to provide evidence-based breastfeeding information and support, and to promote breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm.
  2. The Code of Ethics
    1.4 Communication. Participants in Breastfeeding USA will communicate in a manner that demonstrates honesty, fairness, responsibility, personal integrity, and respect for self and others. Respectful and ethical communication is fundamental for decision making, for developing relationships, and for enhancing human worth and dignity.
    2.9 Volunteers. Volunteers are essential to the mission of Breastfeeding USA. Individuals in Breastfeeding USA shall honor commitments to each other and shall maintain communication to ensure the smooth functioning of procedures and services.
    2.10 Feedback and Grievances. Breastfeeding USA shall provide resources to deliver feedback and facilitate filing and resolving grievances.

These principles guide the processes implemented through the Grievance Policy:

  • Confidentiality. Discussion and details of a grievance are limited only to the members of the Grievance Committee and those individuals involved in the grievance. Records will be kept in a manner to ensure confidentiality among the members of the Grievance Committee and those individuals involved in the grievance.
  • Fairness. Grievances are reviewed without bias.
  • Timeliness. A prompt response to a grievance provides the best opportunity for a
    successful outcome.
  • Free of unfair repercussions. Requesting review of a grievance is considered a positive step in improving volunteers’ activities and the overall functioning of Breastfeeding USA. Individuals should not experience unfair repercussions or victimization during or after a grievance is reviewed.

Grievance Process
A person whose voting membership has been terminated by the Board or who has had membership privileges revoked by the organization, may contact [email protected] or any member of the Grievance Committee with questions about the Grievance Process at any time.

General Guidelines:

  1. Definitions. Based on Bylaws. Article 2. Membership. Section 7. Grievances.
    1. Person. “Any person whose voting membership has been terminated by the Board, or has had membership privileges revoked by the organization...”
    2. Request. “...request that the Grievance Committee convene in order to
      initiate a review of the actions taken.”
  2. At any point in this Process the person may choose to withdraw the Grievance Request.
  3. At any point in the Process a Grievance Committee member who has a conflict of interest or is identified as a party in the grievance will be excluded from the Process.
  4. Grievance Case decisions require participation of a minimum of three members. If fewer than three or an even number of members are available due to conflicts of interest or personal involvement in the Case, the Board of Directors will appoint the requested number of temporary Committee members.
  5. Decisions will be made by simple majority. Minority opinions will be Documented.
  6. The Grievance Committee will document all communications.
  7. The Committee member who receives a Grievance Request will be responsible for submitting the request to the rest of Committee and providing next step information to the person.
  1. Grievance Request:
    The services of the committee must be requested within 60 days of the action taken. Exceptions may be made upon appeal to the Grievance Committee. (Bylaws. Article 2. Membership. Section 7. Grievances.).
    1. Email [email protected].
    2. The Grievance Committee will respond to all communications within seven (7) calendar days.
    3. The reply from the Committee will include a copy of the Grievance Process and the Grievance Request form which is to be completed.
    4. Submit the Grievance Request Form.
    5. All members of the Grievance Committee, except those with a conflict of interest or involved in the grievance, will review the Grievance Request.
    6. The Grievance Committee will review the Grievance Request within 14 days of receipt.
    7. If the Grievance Committee decides the person’s concern can be addressed through the Grievance Process, a Grievance Case will be opened and the Statement requested.
    8. The Grievance Committee will then determine how to address the person’s concern. A member of the Grievance Committee will provide information and answer questions as to how the concern can be resolved.

    Decision to Withdraw.

    1. At any point in this Process the person may choose to withdraw the Grievance Request.
    2. The Grievance Committee will respond to an emailed request to withdraw the grievance within 7 days.
  1. Case is Opened:
    1. Statement
      1. The person will submit the Statement to the Grievance Committee within 14 days of receipt of the Statement request.
    1. Conversation with Member of Grievance Committee.
      1. A member of the Grievance Committee will arrange a real­time conversation with the person within 14 days of receipt of Statement.
      2. The Grievance Committee member and the person will review the written statement together.
    1. Additional Interviews and Statements
      1. Members of the Grievance Committee may request interviews and statements from other persons identified in the person’s Statement.
      2. These additional interviews and statements will be obtained within 14 days of the Conversation.
    1. Summary
      1. Within 14 days of the Conversation and/or Additional Interviews and Statements, the Grievance Committee will prepare a written summary of the information gathered.
      2. All members of the Grievance Committee, the person submitting the Statement, and all persons who gave additional interviews or statements will have access to the Summary.
      3. Within 7 days of review of the Summary, the person will decide to continue to a Hearing or withdraw the Grievance.
      4. The Grievance Committee will notify all persons involved in the Grievance Case of the person’s decision.
  1. Hearing:
    1. Meeting
      1. A phone conference will be scheduled within 14 days of the person’s decision to continue to a Hearing.
      2. All persons involved in the Grievance Case may be asked to participate.
      3. Minutes will be recorded.
    1. Decision The Grievance Committee will vote on these items:
      1. Were policies and processes were followed?
      2. Should voting membership should be reinstated?
      3. If for any reasons a decision cannot be reached due to (a) a tie vote or (b) any other dilemma that cannot be resolved by the Committee, the Grievance Committee will hold a closed meeting to reach a decision. The minutes of this meeting will be part of the Case record.
      4. All Hearing participants will be notified of the Committee’s decision within 24 hours of the open or closed meetings.
      5. All persons involved in a Grievance Case Hearing will receive a copy of the minutes.
  1. Recommendations:
    1. Committees affected by the outcome of a Case will receive relevant Recommendations from the Grievance Committee. Committee response will be required.
  1. Appeals:
    1. A written appeal may be requested within 7 days of notification of a Case decision.
    2. The Grievance Committee will convene within 14 days of receipt of Appeal to review the process and decision; they will consult with external advisors, including the Board of Directors as needed.
    3. The Appeal decision will be documented.
    4. An Appeal may be withdrawn at any time.
  1. Follow­up:
    1. Records management. Documents, including email correspondence, from the Grievance Process will be stored in a secure and confidential location accessible by all members of the Grievance Committee.
    2. Reflection. Within one month of completion of a Grievance Case the Grievance Committee will meet to review processes and actions and discuss possible improvements.
      1. Whether or not the Case was withdrawn at any stage of the Process.
    3. Improvements. The members of the Grievance Committee will meet at least once yearly to plan and implement improvements to the Grievance Process.

Adopted June 2012
Updated July 2016