Revised 09-17-2019

1. Overview

1.1       The goal of the Dzogchen Center Grievance Policy (“Policy”) is to ensure that the Dzogchen Center deals with all complaints, concerns, and problems having to do with violations of Dzogchen Center’s Code of Ethics and Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment fairly and consistently

1.2       This Policy establishes procedures for addressing alleged unethical, discriminatory and harassing conduct connected with your employment or affiliation with the Dzogchen Center.  You should look at the Dzogchen Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment, and Dzogchen Center Code of Ethics, which may be relevant to the situation giving rise to your complaint. Those policies may be found at https://www.dzogchen.org/policies. Issues surrounding work performance, terms of employment or terms of service may be dealt with under other Dzogchen Center policies as appropriate.

1.3       This Policy applies to all Personnel (which includes the Center’s teachers, management, board of trustees, employees, and (paid and unpaid) staff), as well as its Attendees (which includes students and retreat participants), partners and collaborators. This Policy does not imply employment or form part of any contract of employment, and Dzogchen Center reserves the right to amend this Policy at any time.

2. Direct Resolution of Grievances

2.1       If you are comfortable doing so, you are encouraged to attempt to resolve any grievance directly with the individual or individuals responsible for the action or behavior that gives rise to your grievance. The individual(s) may not realize the action or behavior is objectionable and a simple communication may effectively end the behavior.

2.2       If you are not comfortable engaging in such communication or if the behavior does not stop following such communication, you should immediately bring it to the attention of the Retreat or Events Manager, then if necessary you may bring it to the attention of the Community Council (see section 3 below). You are encouraged to report harassing or discriminatory conduct as soon as you become aware of such behavior.

2.3    Attendees may also report any grievance during a retreat to the Retreat Manager or other Personnel.  The Retreat Manager or other Personnel will assist the Attendee as appropriate in presenting the grievance in accordance with this Policy.

3.  Contacting Community Council

3.1       You may informally contact the Community Council to discuss a situation related to your employment or affiliation with Dzogchen Center, which includes a Dzogchen Center retreat. The Community Council includes board member Elizabeth Dabney Hochman, and teachers Roger Walsh, a long-standing community elder and Julie Barker Guilette, as well as to the Executive Director.  You may make an informal contact in person  with any member of the Community Council , via telephone to any member of the Community Council, or email the Community Council to discuss a violation of the Dzogchen Center Code of Ethics or misconduct against you under the Dzogchen Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment, and, if you would like, ask that the discussions remain confidential.  To reach the Community Council, email CommunityCouncil@dzogchen.org.  If your grievance involves a member of the Community Council, you may report it to a different member of the Community Council.

3.2       You may also make a formal complaint to the Community Council. The complaint should be in writing, by either email or a letter, and set out the details of the complaint.  It should include dates, names of individuals involved, and any other relevant facts, and state clearly that you want to lodge a formal complaint.  If applicable, you can set out any steps you have taken to resolve matters informally.  We encourage you to request assistance from a third person such as a friend or family member to write your complaint if that would be helpful.

3.3       The complaint should explain clearly how you believe a Dzogchen Center policy has been violated and what you want to see the Dzogchen Center do in response.  You could for example say: “[the name of the individual you are complaining about] is harassing me on retreat and I want that person to stop harassing me”, or: “I believe I have been retaliated against for my gender identity.”

3.4       A complaint may be emailed to CommunityCouncil@dzogchen.org or handed to a member of the Community Council in person.  The complaint will be shared with the other members of the Community Council with the goal of fairly and expeditiously addressing your complaint.

3.5       You should receive a written acknowledgement of your written complaint, usually within 10 days of receipt (electronic or by hand).

3.6       We invite you to cooperate with the Community Council to ensure the investigation is fair and thorough.  How your complaint is investigated will depend on the nature of your grievance.  The Community Council will look at any relevant documents or other evidence and may interview you and/or take a statement from you and from other people able to provide information.

3.7       Requests for confidentiality will be respected unless they are contrary to governing law. However, in many cases, pursuing a complaint will require disclosing information to witnesses or person(s) accused of misconduct in the complaint that may reveal the identity of the grievant.

4.  Grievance Proceedings

4.1       The Community Council may invite you to have a conversation, usually within 21 days of receipt of your complaint.  In order to ensure that the grievance is addressed in a timely manner, the conversation may take place via remote technology.  This initial conversation is an opportunity to explain your grievance.

4.2       You can invite a colleague or other companion to participate in the meeting if you would like.  You must inform the Community Council as soon as possible if you are unable to attend the meeting so that they can try to reschedule.

4.3       After the initial conversation, the Dzogchen Center will investigate your allegations.  This may involve looking at documents or other evidence or interviewing other people.  The Community Council may ask you for more information or for another meeting, or may conclude there is no need for any further investigation.

4.4       Within 14 days after the final meeting (this may be the first or a subsequent meeting, depending on the circumstances), the Dzogchen Center will write to you with its decision on what action, if any, it will take with respect to your grievance.  The Dzogchen Center will notify you if it needs more time to render a decision, but it will attempt to render its decision no later than 60 days after receipt of your complaint. If the Dzogchen Center decides not to take any action, the written decision will explain why.

4.5       Notwithstanding the above timeline, if the complaint is urgent, such as harassment during a retreat, the Community Council will make every effort to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.

5.  Grievance Remedies Available

5.1       If the Community Council  determines that  you have been discriminated against or harassed in violation of the Dzogchen Center Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment, the responsible person shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension and termination of employment.

5.2       The working relationship and/or contract with Dzogchen Center may be terminated for any Attendee, partner, collaborator, volunteer, or anyone else affiliated with Dzogchen Center found by the Community Council to have discriminated against or harassed you.  In the case of Attendees, they may be prohibited from coming to future Dzogchen Center retreats or other events.

5.3       In cases of criminal misconduct, Dzogchen Center may file a criminal complaint with local law enforcement authorities.