Handbook for Christian Conciliation - Conciliator Grievance Standards

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Individuals who serve as Certified RW Conciliators™ (a designation granted by Relational Wisdom 360, aka RW360), are expected to comply with the Standard of Conduct for Christian Conciliation in all aspects of their lives. If a party to a conciliation case or other interested individuals believe that a Conciliator may have violated those standards, the following conciliator grievance process may be initiated.

Commitment to Respect and Fairness

Throughout the grievance process, RW360 will make every reasonable effort to provide all those involved with the “Three P’s of Satisfaction:”

  • Process satisfaction, which requires a fair, orderly, and even-handed process where everyone feels that they’ve had a reasonable opportunity to present their side of the matter (1 Cor. 14:40)
  • Personal satisfaction, which requires treating everyone with respect, courtesy, and equality, just as we would want to be treated ourselves (Matt. 7:12, James 2:1-4)
  • Product satisfaction, which requires a final solution that is as reasonable, just and equitable as is humanly possible (Micah 6:8; Prov. 28:5)

Initial Review of a Conciliator Grievance

  1. If a Certified RW Conciliator (“Conciliator”) realizes that he or she may have acted inconsistently with the Standard of Conduct for Christian Conciliation, or may have been perceived by others to have done so, the Conciliator may “self-report” the situation to RW360. RW360 may then coach the Conciliator on how to address the issue privately or to reach out to an aggrieved party. RW360 may also contact the aggrieved party directly to facilitate a resolution of the matter pursuant to the following procedures.
  2. If a party or legitimately interested individual (“Complainant”) believes that a Conciliator may have violated the Standard of Conduct for Christian Conciliation, the Complainant should normally communicate his or her concerns directly to the Conciliator and make a good faith effort to resolve those concerns through personal conversations. This step is not necessary in cases of power imbalances or abusive behavior that would make further personal conversations with the Conciliator intimidating or inappropriate.
  3. If personal conversations do not resolve the issue satisfactorily, the Complainant shall notify RW360 of the alleged violation by sending a detailed written description of the incident to mail@rw360.org or to RW360, 4460 Laredo Place, Billings, MT 51906.
  4. The president of RW360 will normally serve as the Initial Reviewing Officer (“IRO”) for complaints that involve RW360 staff and non-staff Certified RW Conciliators. If the complaint is filed against the president, the IRO shall be a member of RW360’s Board of Directors.
  5. To ensure a fair and objective process, communications shall take place directly between the Complainant and the IRO and shall not be channeled through the Conciliator.
  6. The IRO may immediately contact the Complainant to clarify information, or may contact the Conciliator to request an initial response to the complaint. In either case, the Conciliator shall normally be informed of a complaint and given an opportunity to respond.
  7. If the IRO believes there is a reasonable chance that the complaint can be resolved privately between the Complainant and the Conciliator, the IRO may offer them relevant advice and encourage them to make another attempt to resolve the matter personally.
  8. In addition, the IRO may propose a specific regimen of counseling and discipleship for the Conciliator, which may include temporary suspension of certification, in order to help the Conciliator address character or skill issues raised by the grievance. If both the Complainant and Conciliator approve of this regimen, the grievance process will be stayed until the regimen is completed, at which point the IRO will report the results to the Complainant. If the IRO and the Complainant are satisfied with the results, the grievance will be closed.

Formal Review (Investigation) of a Conciliator Grievance

  1. If either the Complainant or Conciliator prefer not to talk privately again, or if they do talk but are unsuccessful in resolving the complaint, or if either the Complainant or the Conciliator is not satisfied with a proposed counseling regimen, or the Complainant is not satisfied with the reported results of such a regimen, either the Complainant or the Conciliator (“the Parties”) may request a Formal Review of the complaint.
  2. The IRO shall make every reasonable effort to gather as complete and accurate an understanding of the situation and issues as possible. This investigation may involve: requesting more detailed written statements or evidentiary documents from the Parties or relevant witnesses, individual conversations with the Parties or relevant witnesses, or joint conversations with the Parties or witnesses, either by phone, video conference or in-person meetings.
  3. If the complaint involves complex issues or has the potential to impact the wider conciliation community, the IRO may appoint a special panel of three or more qualified individuals to carry out the formal review process.
  4. As more information emerges, the IRO (or panel)  may offer verbal or written counsel to either or both of the Parties on how they might be able to resolve the matter personally and informally by acknowledging their own misunderstandings or mistakes and by committing to specific remedies or changes in the future. If agreed upon by the Parties, this may include the implementation of the counseling regimen specified in provision 8.
  5. If a personal, informal resolution is not supported by both Parties, after gathering all relevant information the IRO (or panel) shall render a Decision that addresses the elements of the Complaint. This Decision may be communicated either verbally or in writing to the Parties and may include: acquitting or reproving the Conciliator in whole or in part; offering counsel to either or both parties on how to repair wrongs or change attitudes or behavior that appears to have contributed to the complaint; communicating concerns to the Conciliator’s church leadership or colleagues; temporary suspension of certification and implementation of a counseling regimen for the Conciliator; or, in the case of serious or unrepentant violations to the Standard of Conduct, revocation of the Conciliator’s certification.
  6. If the Conciliator is certified by another training/certification organization, such as Ambassadors for Reconciliation or the Institute for Christian Conciliation Peace, those organizations may be notified of a suspension or revocation of certification by RW360, and RW360 will cooperate with those organizations as they determine their response to the IRO’s Decision.

Appellate Review of a Conciliator Grievance

  1. If either of the Parties is dissatisfied with the IRO’s (or panel’s) Decision, they may appeal it to an Appellate Panel within thirty (30) days.
  2. The Appellate Panel shall be three members of the Board of Directors of RW360, as designated by the Board of Directors. If the complaint is filed against the president of RW360, neither he nor any family member may serve on the Appellate Panel or participate in its deliberations.
  3. If the Board of Directors of RW360 prefers to instead have the IRO’s Decision reviewed by an independent body, they may request that three members of Crossroads Resolution Group, LLC or Ambassadors of Reconciliation serve as the Appellate Panel.
  4. The Appellate Panel shall follow the procedures described in steps 4-11 to the degree that they believe is appropriate, which may involve collecting further testimony and evidence or making a decision, including a summary judgment, on the basis of the communications, documents, reports and decisions generated during the Formal Review and request for appeal.
  5. A majority of the Appellate Panel shall issue a Decision that either affirms or modifies the IRO’s Decision in whole or in part, and that Decision shall be final and binding.