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 any Society member from the Society leadership (Bylaw section 3.8, 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 section 14 of the Bylaw, Dispute Resolution, 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 Chair of the Board (or, in the case the Chair’s actions are under question, the Vice-Chair), 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 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 or suspended from leadership in the Society.
The Chair of the Board (or Vice-Chair, if the Chair’s actions are under question) shall:
a) Inform the Leader that a Policy 10 complaint has been received and request acknowledgement of receipt of this communication within 48 hours. If acknowledgement of receipt is not received within 48 hours, the Chair (or Vice-Chair, if the Chair’s actions are under question) shall undertake any means feasible to communicate the nature of the complaint as soon as possible to the Leader in question.
b) Provide twenty (20) calendar days notice of suspension to the Leader and shall provide reasons for the proposed suspension.
c) The Leader may make a written submission to the Chair (or Vice-Chair, if the Chair’s actions are under question) in response to the notice received within such twenty (20) calendar day period. Acknowledgement of the receipt of any such response shall be made to the Leader within a 48-hour period. If the Leader has not received such acknowledgement of their response within a 48 hour period, they are entitled to communicate their response by any means feasible to the Chair (or Vice-Chair, if the Chair’s actions are under question).d)If no written submission is received, the Chair (or Vice-Chair, if the Chair’s actions are under question), may proceed to notify the Leader that the Leader is suspended 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 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.
The Board’s decision shall be final and binding on the Leader, without any further right of appeal.
This policy was revised by the Board at its November 12, 2021 meeting.
Updated March 2021 to clarify acknowledgement of receipt of communications and suspension; removal of a Director is at the sole discretion of the membership as a whole.
Approved by the Board 25 March 2021.
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.