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2001-10: Disciplinary Procedural Code (DEPRECATED)

 
This policy has been superceded by Resolution 2016-07
 
  1. This document shall be cited as the Disciplinary Procedural Code, hereinafter referred to as the "Code".
  2. In this code,
    1. Active and supporting members have the meanings ascribed to these terms in section 2 of the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality's bylaws;
    2. Board means the board of directors of the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality;
    3. Bylaws mean the bylaws of the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality;
    4. Complainant refers to the individual who wishes to initiate a disciplinary proceeding against another member;
    5. Conduct unbecoming a member means conduct which is disgraceful, dishonourable or discreditable when directed toward the character or reputation of NFB: AE or any of its members;
    6. First Vice-President means the First Vice-President of the NFB: AE;
    7. Membership meeting has the same meaning as set forth in section 2 of the bylaws;
    8. Penalty means any of the penalties set forth in Sections 19-23 of the bylaws.
    9. President means the President of the National Federation of the Blind: Advocates for Equality;
    10. Respondent refers to the individual who has had a disciplinary proceeding commenced against her or him by the complainant.
  3. Two discipline procedures are hereby established as follows:
    1. An informal discipline procedure; and
    2. A formal discipline procedure.
  4. The informal discipline procedure is available in circumstances where the penalty sought by the complainant is a reprimand or the issues between the complainant and the Respondent may be resolved short of holding a formal hearing. The informal discipline procedure will utilize the following procedure:
    1. The complainant will prepare a written complaint addressed to the President of NFB: AE, unless the president is the respondent himself or herself, setting out the particulars of the complaint against the Respondent. If the President is identified as the respondent, the matter will be dealt with by the first vice-president;
    2. The President or first vice-president, if applicable, will arrange a meeting in person or by teleconference with the Respondent to discuss the complainant's concerns in an attempt to resolve the matter;
    3. If the matter cannot be resolved at the meeting described in clause (b) above, the President or first vice-president, if applicable, shall ask the Respondent to prepare a written response to the complainant's concerns to be shared with the complainant;
    4. Once the response is received, the President or first vice-president, if applicable, shall meet with the Complainant and the Respondent in person or by teleconference in an attempt to resolve the matter.
    5. If this meeting is unsuccessful in resolving the dispute, the complainant may submit to the President or first vice-president, if applicable, a written reply to the Respondent's response. The complainant will not raise any new disciplinary infractions against the Respondent in her or his reply; and
    6. The President or the first Vice-President, if applicable, shall make a decision in favour of the complainant or the Respondent based on the written record. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision, they may appeal the matter to the board of directors within 30 days of the date on which the decision is put in the mail by the President, the first vice-president or their designate from the organization's employees or contractors. A further appeal to the members at a membership meeting is also available after the matter has been considered by the board, pursuant to the bylaws.
  5. At the time of registering his or her complaint, the complainant shall have the opportunity to choose whether the matter should be treated as an informal or a formal disciplinary matter. However, four members of the board have the authority to override the complainant's choice of procedure and require the complaint to proceed through the formal disciplinary procedure if:
    1. The matters in issue affect the organization as a whole;
    2. There are other complaints dealing with the same subject matter, which are already under way;
    3. The matters involve allegations that criminal acts have been committed by the Respondent; or
    4. It is determined that in the interests of the just resolution of the matter that the complaint should be treated as a formal disciplinary matter.
  6. When a decision is released, copies will be sent by regular mail to the Complainant and the Respondent in the format or formats of their choice as previously expressed by these members to the national office staff. Copies of the decision will also be kept at the National office. Neither the decision nor any proposed penalty will be made public unless the matter has been appealed to the board of directors and the board has rendered its decision.
  7. Each complainant and respondent is entitled to be represented by legal counsel or an agent at any face-to-face meetings, at any hearings before the board or when the matter is considered at a membership meeting. However, the NFB: AE is not financially responsible for paying for any legal fees or disbursements incurred by legal counsel or agents representing any of the parties in discipline proceedings. The board and the President, provided that he or she is not a party to the proceeding, may expend funds in the form of legal fees or disbursements to retain its own legal counsel or agent to provide legal advice relevant to any issue arising in the disciplinary proceeding.
  8. There are certain matters which may not warrant disciplinary sanctions but may still represent a major irritant within the organization. In order to have these issues addressed without resort to the disciplinary process, the board or the membership be resolution may establish a grievance committee and determine the composition and terms of reference for such committee.
  9. The formal disciplinary process is reserved for the most serious of disciplinary infractions or for cases where important organizational values and beliefs are challenged. In ddition, the formal discipline procedure must be utilized in circumstances where the respondent is alleged to have committed criminal acts as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada, the Narcotic Control Act, the Food and Drugs Act or any other statute containing indictable offence provisions.
  10. The structure of the formal disciplinary procedure is established as follows:
    1. The process is initiated by the complainant drafting a written letter of complaint to the President or the first vice-president if the president is a respondent or complainant;
    2. The Respondent shall prepare a written response to the complainant's concerns within 30 days of receipt of the complainant's letter from the president or first vice-president, if applicable, and send it to the Respondent, the President or the first vice-president, if applicable;
    3. The Complainant shall then submit his or her letter of reply to the President or first vice-president, if applicable, and the Respondent within 15 days of receipt of the Respondent's response to the initial complaint. The complainant may not raise any new allegations of infraction against the Respondent in his or her reply;
    4. The President or first vice-president, if applicable, shall schedule a meeting in person or by teleconference with the parties to the proceeding within 14 days of his or her receipt of the complainant's reply, described above. The purpose of the meeting is to attempt to resolve the matters in dispute between the parties. If the matters cannot be resolved, the President or First Vice-President, if applicable, shall appoint an investigator by selecting an individual from a list of interested active members of the corporation;
    5. The powers of the investigator include:
      1. to interview witnesses;
      2. to collect documents;
      3. to review and analyze all data collected; and
      4. to make a recommendation in writing to the parties, the President or first vice-president, if applicable within 30 days of being retained, as to whether formal disciplinary charges should be laid against the Respondent;
        1. If the investigator determines that there is no merit to the allegations, the complaint shall be dismissed. Any party to the proceedings that is dissatisfied with the investigator's decision may appeal the investigator's decision to the President or the First Vice-President, if applicable. The decision of the President or Vice-President, if applicable, on an appeal under this section is final and is not subject to review by the board.
        2. If a decision is made to proceed with disciplinary charges, a mediator shall be selected by the complainant, the respondent and the President or first vice-president, together. If the parties are unable to agree on the selection of a mediator, the choice of the President or first vice-president, if applicable, shall prevail. The selection of a mediator must take place within 30 days of the receipt of the investigator's report by the president or first Vice-President.
        3. The goal of the mediation is to attempt to settle the matters in dispute between the parties. The mediation shall take place between the complainant, the Respondent, the President or First Vice-President and the mediator himself or herself. The mediation session shall take place within two weeks of the mediator being selected. Any party may choose to be represented by legal counsel or an agent, but the financial restrictions and options set out in clause 7 above apply in this context.
        4. If the dispute is settled at mediation, the matter will be taken to the board for approval. The board shall approve the settlement reached by the parties in the mediation process unless:
          1. The result was arrived at by one party being coerced; or
          2. The result was achieved through any form of fraudulent activity by any party to the mediation or the mediator.
        5. If the mediation is unsuccessful, what transpired at the mediation shall remain confidential. A member of the board except for the President or first vice-president, if applicable, who is selected by the board and the respondent shall hold a negotiation session to determine if the matter can be resolved before a formal discipline hearing is required.
        6. If the mediation process and the negotiations following it do not result in a settlement, a formal discipline hearing before the board of dirctors will be scheduled. The hearing shall take place within 30 days of the conclusion of the mediation. The Respondent will be served with a notice of hearing two weeks before the hearing date by the secretary of the corporation. The notice shall set out the infractions that the respondent has allegedly committed in sufficient particularity to allow the Respondent to understand the case that he or she has to meet. The parties to the proceeding are the corporation represented by the board and the respondent. At the hearing, the parties may present documentary evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses and make opening and closing arguments. The parties may also be represented by legal counsel in accordance with clause 8 above. The hearing may take place in person or by teleconference.
        7. The board shall render its written decision in favour of the complainant or the Respondent within seven days of the discipline hearing. Five out of seven board members must agree in the result before a member may be found guilty of a disciplinary infraction.
        8. If the respondent is unhappy with the board's decision s/he may appeal the matter to the membership at a membership meeting in accordance with NFB: AE's bylaws. The transportation, food and accommodation costs of any member wishing to appeal a disciplinary penalty imposed by the board shall be paid by NFB: AE. The member who is appealing the board's decision is responsible for the costs of any legal counsel or agents s/he has chosen to retain. The member who wishes to appeal their disciplinary conviction must notify the president or first vice-president, if applicable, within 30 days of receiving the board's decision.
      5. All decisions in formal discipline proceedings shall be sent to the parties to the proceeding in the formats of their choice as identified in the records held by the national office. In addition, copies of the decision shall be circulated to all active members of the corporation along with the next publication produced by NFB: AE for its members.
      6. No member may commence disciplinary proceedings of any kind against another member of NFB: AE after the expiration of 30 days from the time of the incidents complained of occurred or 30 days from the time that the complainant may have learned about the incidents in question through exercising reasonable diligence.
      7. If any party to the proceeding breaches any time periods set forth in this code, the board may make an order either:
        1. Compel the party in breach to comply with a new set of time periods;
        2. Impose interim sanctions against a member until compliance is achieved;
        3. Dismiss a disciplinary complaint; or
        4. Make whatever other order that is just in the circumstances of the case.
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