ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
PROCEDURES FOR ADDRESSING GRIEVANCES

(Approved by the Executive Council June 1998)

1. Introduction. From time to time a member of the Society or group of members may believe that they have been treated unfairly, improperly or unethically by an officer or committee of the Society, or by an individual acting on behalf of the Society. Such grievances may be disagreements on how the Rules of the Society are interpreted or administered, or may involve, for example, allegedly unethical action or behavior.

If direct and informal discussion between the parties fails to resolve the issue, an appeal may be made to the Society by the person making the complaint, as outlined below.

2. Scope. These Procedures for Addressing Grievances outline a series of action to be followed by the Society and the Society's Committee on Ethics and Grievances in attempting to resolve grievances referred to it.

The scope of these Procedures does not include grievances within the purview of the Executive Council, the President, or the Society's legal counsel, such as:

a) a grievance that the Society may have against an individual or another organizations,

b) a grievance that another organization may have against the Society,

c) a grievance brought by a lawyer on behalf of an individual or organization.

3. Procedure. The following procedure for handling grievances shall be followed:

3.1 When the grievance involves procedural factors, the complainant should appeal in writing to the Office of the Society responsible for that area of activity (e.g., an appeal against the action of an Associate Editor should be made to the Editor-in-Chief, or on a matter involving standards to the Standards Director). A copy of the written appeal shall be sent to the Executive Director of the Society, who shall be informed of all subsequent developments during the resolution of the situation, and may advise either or both parties to the grievance. The Officer may either attempt to resolve the matter by discussion with each party individually or with both parties together as seems appropriate, or may refer the matter to the President.

An appeal received directly by the President, or at an office of the Society, that involves procedural matters shall be referred to the Officer responsible for the matter in question.

3.2 When the grievance involves broader issues or ethical factors, then the complainant shall be asked to submit in writing a complete confidential statement describing the details of the incident to the President of the Society (but note the provisions of 4 below). The President shall promptly acknowledge in writing receipt of the statement and indicate what, if any, further action is contemplated. Further action may range from a simple letter response within 30 days from the President indicating that no Rules of the Society have been violated and no action is appropriate, to referral of the matter to the Society's Committee on Ethics and Grievances. The President shall provide a copy of the initial written appeal, and all subsequent correspondence, to the Executive Director for confidential retention in the records of the Society (but note the provisions of Section 4 below).

3.3 The Committee on Ethics and Grievances shall ordinarily treat all matters referred to it as confidential. An exception is that confidential discussions may occur with, and advice may be obtained from, Officers of the Society when necessary. The Committee shall undertake one or more of the following actions, as appears to the Committee to be appropriate, no later than the next regular meeting of the Society following receipt of the grievance statement:

a) request direct interviews with either or both parties,

b) recommend appropriate actions to be taken by the President, such as meeting with the parties involved either individually or jointly,

c) recommend that the matter be referred directly to the Executive Council for disposition, or for the Society to obtain legal advice,

d) other actions as appropriate in the specific circumstances of the incident.

3.4 The Committee shall report its decision in writing no later than the second regular meeting of the Society after the issue was first referred to it. This report shall be made to the President, or to the Past President in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 below, who shall then request acceptance of the Committee's decision by the Executive Council. The parties shall be informed by the President of the decision of the Executive Council and any actions to be taken. The Society should not entertain an appeal of an accepted decision unless significant new information warrants it. [See Section 24 of the Rules of the Society.]

In addition to the Committee's decision on the issue referred to it, the Committee may recommend any changes to, or clarification of the Rules of the Society, or other actions which it considers desirable to avoid recurrence of similar incidents.

3.5 The Executive Director (but note the provisions of Section 4 below) shall be kept fully informed and monitor the progress of the Society's actions, shall ensure that the matter is treated in an appropriate and confidential manner, and shall ensure that advice is obtained from legal advisors and Society officers as required, as noted in Sections 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 above.

4 Contingencies. If the President is implicated in the grievance then the serving Past President shall fulfill the duties defined above for the President.

If the Executive Director is implicated in the grievance then the serving Past President shall fulfill the duties defined above for the Executive Director.

The serving Past President may serve in both roles if circumstances require it. When the serving Past President is implicated or unable to fulfill these duties, the President-Elect shall serve.

Return to ASA Online Handbook