Policy 10: Civility
All Society members who serve in a leadership capacity within the Society, be it as elected Directors of the Board, Officers, elected positions in Affiliated Groups (Policy 6: Affiliated Groups), appointed positions in Standing Committees (Policy 2: Standing Committees) or appointed positions on the Nomination Committee (Policy 3: Nominations Committee), are expected to be civil in all interactions. Society members who serve in such a capacity, either elected or appointed, are referred to below as a Leader.
Given this expectation for civil interactions, the Board shall have authority to suspend or remove any Society member from the Society leadership (Article 10.3 – Discipline of Members) for violation of one or more of the following grounds:
a) engaging in personal attacks on other Society members or staff inside or outside of Society-related business;
b) using the position to raise questions or make statements of personal attitude and preference unrelated to the business activities and counter to the values and goals (Policy 5.1 Values Statement of Board Members) of STLHE;
c) acting in a way which is intended to intimidate another person in the conduct of their office, or which a reasonable person would conclude had such intent, or which, in fact, would intimidate such person;
d) undermining the authority of Board, affiliated groups or standing committee members to perform their duties;
e) committing an act which a person would reasonably expect to cause harm to the reputation of the Society, or individual members of the staff; or
f) for any other reason that the Board in its sole and absolute discretion considers to be reasonable, having regard to the purposes of the Society.
Pursuant to Article 10.3 of the Bylaw, the process described below will be the only process used by the Society to address complaints of incivility.
If a person believes that a Leader has violated the grounds, they are first encouraged (but not required) to communicate their concern directly with the Leader. If the Leader continues the behaviour, or if the person considers the behaviour egregious, then a complaint may be filed according to the process described below.
Any member may file a complaint in writing with the President (or, in the case the Presidents’ actions are under question, the Vice-President), identifying: the Leader under question and the Society member by name; the facts described in detail upon which the complaint is based; and why the Society member believes the civility policy has been violated.
With the receipt of a complaint, a special meeting of the Executive Committee will be called (Article 4.4 Calling of Meetings) within ten (10) calendar days. If a member of the executive committee is the Leader named in the complaint, they will be notified of the complaint but excused from the special meeting. The purpose of the special meeting shall be to discuss the complaint and determine if the complaint should go forward to be investigated by the Board.
If the Leader named in the complaint is a Board member, then they will be excused from any business related to the complaint, with the exception of the written submissions noted below.
If the Executive Committee decides that the complaint should go forward to be investigated, then the full Board is responsible for determining if a Leader should be exonerated, suspended or removed from leadership in the Society.
The President (or Vice-President, if the Presidents’ actions are under question) shall:
a) Provide twenty (20) calendar days notice of suspension or removal to the Leader and shall provide reasons for the proposed suspension or expulsion.
b) The Leader may make a written submission to the President (or Vice-President, if the Presidents’ actions are under question) in response to the notice received within such twenty (20) calendar day period.
c) If no written submission is received, the President (or Vice-President, if the Presidents’ actions are under question), may proceed to notify the Leader that the Leader is suspended or removed from all the STLHE Leadership roles in the Society.
d) If a written submission is received
i) The President (or Vice-President, if the Presidents’ actions are under question) will provide a written synopsis of the complaint to the board.
ii) In accordance with By-law No. 1, Article 10.3, the Board shall consider such submissions in a special meeting (Article 4.4 Calling of Meetings) arriving at a final decision and shall notify the Leader via email concerning such final decision within a further twenty (20) calendar days from the date of receipt of the submission.
The length of a suspension will be at the discretion of the Board. A removal will be immediate. A removed Leader cannot again stand for election or re-appointment within the Society. A vacancy on the Board will be filled following the process described in Policy 5, Article 4 (Removal and Replacement of a Director).
The Board’s decision shall be final and binding on the Leader, without any further right of appeal.
Updated September 2018 to add more detail about the duration of notice and the kind of communication to be used.
Approved by the Board, 16 April 2018.