ZPO Grievance Procedure

ZPO members are responsible and accountable for their actions. Members are encouraged to participate regularly in Council practice and learn the various practices for addressing difficulties that may arise between oneself and others.

The procedure for when a ZPO member has a conflict with another member is as follows:

Step 1: Speak directly to the person(s) involved whenever possible and make every effort to resolve the situation. Use the practice of The Three Tenets: (1) Not-Knowing, or being open and not fixing your position; (2) Bearing Witness by listening and speaking from the heart and being candid, open, and specific; and (3) arriving at an action(s) that serves all parties affected by the conflict. Many difficulties can be satisfactorily addressed in this way, even if it takes several meetings.

Step 2: When direct conversation does not resolve the issue, go to your local Circle Steward and arrange for a facilitated conversation. The complaint may be verbal or in writing. The Circle Steward will him/herself, or assign the appropriate person, to clarify the nature of the complaint. The Steward who receives the complaint will listen, help to assess and discern the situation, and explore with the person making the complaint ways to address it. The Steward may need to speak to the other party(s) involved and consult with the Regional Steward or Regional Circle members. A good faith effort to respond will be made within fourteen (14) calendar days from the date initially contacted by the person making the complaint.

In a situation where a facilitator is advisable, the Circle Steward will help the parties to the conflict choose an appropriate facilitator. All parties to the conflict should make every effort to agree on the choice of facilitator and method of facilitation (e.g., council, conversation, mediation) before proceeding. If the parties cannot come to agreement, the local Circle Steward will appoint a facilitator.

We understand that situations arise when a quick solution is not forthcoming. We commit to practicing with these situations by continuing to hold a space for introspection, deep listening, speaking our truth, and working towards action(s) that will serve all parties. Effort should be made by all parties to move forward to a satisfactory resolution or dissolution of the problem.

Step 3: When a facilitated conversation does not resolve the issue, or when the person in question is the Circle Steward, a person may file a written grievance with the Steward of the Regional Circle.

A formal, written grievance can be made against any person when steps one and two do not work.

A formal grievance is written, signed, and dated by the person filing the grievance. The written grievance will include all the pertinent details of the situation(s), what previous attempts have been made to resolve the issue(s), and why the previous attempts have not been successful.

The written grievance is submitted to the Regional Circle Steward. Upon receiving the written grievance, a minimum of three (3) members of the Regional Circle will convene and decide what the appropriate next steps should be. The Regional Steward will make a good faith effort to respond to the member filing the written grievance within fourteen (14) calendar days from the date it is initially submitted to inform the person of how the written grievance is being addressed. These next steps could include, but are not limited to:

  • Further investigation. A narrative timeline documenting incidents is created and verified by all parties involved in the dispute.
  • The person being investigated may be subject to being placed on leave from ZPO duties and/or position, or having his or her access to the ZPO Circles limited.
  • A facilitated meeting between the parties may take place.
  • The issue may be referred to an independent party for investigation and recommendation. Independent parties may include someone with expertise in the subject area of the grievance.
  • Should the Regional Circle decide that the conflict  requires an outside investigator, the Regional Steward will contact legal counsel for advice and to assess potential liability to the ZPO.

The Regional Circle should make a good faith effort to respond to a written grievance within sixty (60) calendar days from the date the written grievance is initially received.