Ethics Breach and Grievance Procedure

Purpose of the Ethical Breach and Complaint Process and Procedures

The purpose of this Breach and Grievance Procedure is to effectively resolve any issues related to possible breaches of the Ethics Code, Standards of Practice or Scope of Practice in order to protect the public, and to rectify, clarify or consolidate practitioner and educators’ understanding and following of the Ethics Code, Standards of Practice and Scope of Practice

Vivrelan™ International views ethics as a living, evolving way to live the values of life awareness and interconnection instilled by Vivrelan™. In this way ethics is moving and alive, and carries aspirational intentions to earnestly do one’s best to live into the ethos. Most conflicts around breaches are often in need of an adjustment of understanding, education, habit, motivation or intentions.

Vivrelan™ International encourages attempts to resolve the possible ethics breach by approaching and discussing the issue/s with the persons involved so that it can be brought to their awareness and both parties can resolve without the need to commence an Ethics Breach and Grievance Process. If the issue is within a training program it’s recommended to discuss with the programs Educator. If it involves the Educator directly, discuss with them and/or approach the issue with a different Educator or Training Support so that it might be resolved between all parties.

If earnest and reasonable attempts have been made to address the possible breach/s or issue, and it has not after sometime been resolved, then a Notice of Ethics Breach can be filed.

Complaints are taken seriously and with respect for the effect on all parties involved – their lives, families, community, reputation, safety and business.

Principles for Ethics Issues and Complaints

  1. The Vivrelan™ International (VI) ethics complaint procedures emphasize preventive, corrective and educational action about ethical and professional standards of behavior for practitioners and educators.

2. There are three levels of approach for dealing with ethical issues. Informal discussion between parties; Mediation between parties; A formal grievance hearing.

3. The first two levels involve the filing of a Notice of Ethics Breach, and the third level progresses to the filing of a formal Ethics Grievance.

4. Every effort should be made by the parties involved to resolve the issue at Approach 1. Informal discussion between parties with negotiation, before progression to Approach 2. Mediation and onward to Approach 3. Formal grievance and hearing.

5 Discussion between parties who may be in conflict involves direct negotiation. Then confidential advice and information from Flow Awareness International Ethics Advisory Council or Director may resolve the situation.

6 Some issues may not resolve by simple discussion. Mediation between parties may be required in which the Ethics Advisory Council and/or Flow Awareness Directors meet with the parties to help resolve the issues. 

7 lf 1. Direct discussion with negotiation and 2. Mediation fails, then 3. Formal grievance will be filed, requesting a hearing to be held by the Ethics Advisory Council to attempt to resolve the ethical grievance in question.

8 The Ethics Advisory Council and/or Flow Awareness Director has the power to provide penalties such as, but not limited to corrective recommendations, education, supervision, therapy, suspension or expulsion if it determines that a respondent’s behavior is outside the Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Scope of Practice or unlawful.

9 The Ethics Advisory Council and/or Directors in the case of particularly dangerous or illegal offenses may find they have the moral, ethical and legal responsibility to report to other licensing, certifying boards and/or appropriate legal or law departments.

10 Any respondent who has been found to have acted in breach of the Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Scope of Practice and has been given a specific penalty will have the right of appeal.

Process and Procedures

There are three levels of approach for the process of resolving an ethical breach or grievance:

  1. Informal discussion with negotiation between parties,
  2. Mediation between parties 
  3. A formal grievance hearing

(1) Informal discussion with negotiation between parties – The parties involved agree to have an informal discussion to resolve any dispute or issues around a possible breach of the Ethics Code, Standards and/or Scope of Practice. They agree to approach the discussion in a peaceful, collegial manner with self reflection and the commitment to resolving the conflict. Every effort should be made to resolve issues at this level of approach in the process.

(2) Mediation between parties – If a dispute cannot be resolved at Approach 1 it then moves to Approach 2, by recommendation of the Ethics Advisory Council and/or Director. The Director, or the Ethics Advisory Council Lead may act as a mediator during discussions between parties who are in dispute over an ethical breach. Additional parties may be included if warranted, including a professional mediator at the Ethic Advisory Council and Directors discretion. Complainant and Respondent cannot request or use their own mediators of choice. During mediation Respondents may find they were unaware that they violated the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and/or Scope of Practice. They may come to greater self awareness of any errors. They may then be prepared to take corrective actions, make restitution, stop the unethical conduct, and/or apologise to the Complainant if appropriate to do so. It could also unfold that the Complainant may see they have had an error of judgment or perception. They can then take corrective actions, such as dropping their complaint, and/or make an apology to the respondent, where appropriate.

(3) A formal grievance hearing – lf the issues around a breach cannot be resolved at the first or second levels and/or the matter is considered a serious breach of the Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Scope of Practice, the dispute moves to filing a Formal Ethics Grievance and and a formal hearing will take place, this will involve the entire Ethics Advisory Council, the Director and if deemed necessary legal counsel who will meet to consider the grievance issue and make a determination.

Procedure for filing:

  • The first step for any Ethics Breach not resolved by parties between them, is to submit the Notice of Ethics Breach. The Notice must be completed and signed, with the legal names of people involved. It cannot be anonymous or under a pseudonym. It is sent to the Ethics Advisory Council.

  • Then the Ethics Advisory Council will inform and discuss with the Vivrelan™ International Director the situation. A decision will be made as to the factual nature – in what way and to what extent there has been a breach, and the seriousness of the matter. Then there will be a response sent to the complainant within 14 days of the Notice of Ethics Breach being received.
  • At this point if the Ethics Advisory Council and Director believe the complaint warrants further investigation they will notify the Respondent that a Notice of Breach has been filed against them, that an investigation is occurring which requires their response to the allegations of breach in writing within 21 days of receipt of message.

  • An Interviewer will contact the Complainant and the Respondent within 14 days of receiving the reply from the Respondent to set phone interview times and collect additional facts about the complaint and issue from both parties. Interviewers do not counsel, offer advice, deliberate, decide, mediate or take part in the decision process. Their job is to collect facts and information about the alleged incident/s.

  • Once the interviews are complete the additional facts will be reported back to the Ethics Advisory Council and Director, who will discuss the situation. The Director and/or a Member of the Ethic Advisory council will enter in discussion with both parties in an attempt to negotiate informally. Overall this process will take 35 – 70 days depending on interview and discussion times.

  • If the breach and issues between parties cannot be rectified by Approach 1. Informal Discussion and Negotiations and it has been 60 days – the process moves towards Approach 2. Mediation.
  • The Ethics Advisory Council and Director meet to discuss the ongoing complaint, to officially decide to move it to Approach 2. Mediation and to decide on the person to be a mediator. They then contact both parties to inform them and set a date for mediation within 30 days of the process officially moving to mediation.

  • If mediation fails to be productive the Director and Ethics Advisory Council meet to debrief the ongoing issues. They decide to move the process to Approach 3. Formal Hearing and inform both parties. At this stage the Notice of Breach must be replaced by a formal Ethics Grievance submission from the complainant sent to the Director and Ethics Advisory Council requesting a formal hearing and decision. The Respondent will be informed and given the chance to further respond and prepare for the hearing.

  • A formal hearing will be set at a time all parties can agree to meet. It will involve the Director, The Ethics Advisory Council and in some situations a legal counsel. This should be in 45 days of receipt of Ethics Grievance and moving it to Approach 3.

  • Determinations will be made by the Ethics Advisory Council, the Director and Legal Counsel. This can involve reprimand, censure, suspension, expulsion and reporting to relevant licensing, certification or legal bodies. There may be educational, therapeutic or supervisory requirements to be fulfilled within a certain time frame, there may be apologies or reparations in order to continue as a Vivrelan™ Practitioner, Educator or Trainee.

Ethics Council due diligence:

  • If at any time during the complaint process the Advisory council feels circumstances or additional information are identified which warrants an immediate temporary suspension of the Respondent’s certification, guild membership, educator status or participation in a training program accredited by VI, the Ethics Advisory council will deliberate and recommend this action to the Director.

  • If during any of the 3 approaches of the complaint process the Ethics Advisory Council determines there has been no material violation to the Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Scope of Practice the complaint shall be dismissed, and the Complainant and Respondent shall be informed.

  • If the Ethics Advisory Council has not received sufficient information to determine whether the complaint is true, the case may be closed and the Complainant and Respondent will be informed. The complaint may be reopened if further information is provided.

Ethics Council Determinations:

There may be corrective, educational, supervisory or reparative actions decided based on the outcome of any resolutions in the 1. Informal Discussion and negotiation, 2. Mediation approaches to the complaint. The Ethics Advisory Council may call a meeting to deliberate these decisions. Following the Hearing, the Ethics Council will determine the appropriate Action which may include any of the following:

REPRIMAND: The respondent will be issued a statement of recognitionof breach and behavior contrary to the Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and/or Scope of Practice. The Respondent must correct immediately. Respondents must also reply with proof to the Ethics Advisory Council of the correction. Ongoing conditions shall not be added to a reprimand. This will also go on record in case of future breaches.

PROBATION: The Respondent will immediately be placed on probation for a defined period of time. The Respondent will be asked, at their expense, to fulfill a course of correction, education, supervision or therapy to name a few options the Ethics Advisory Council may feel is necessary. They may also require evaluation and a letter of support from supervisor/s and/or therapist/s that the probation should/should not be lifted. The removal of probation will be subject to the Ethics Advisory Councils ongoing evaluation of Respondent, they may decide whether the Respondent will continue to possess the full benefits of being certified, listed and a guild member of, VI. The Ethics Advisory Council may convene at any time during the probation term, and will convene at the end of the probation period to determine if probation should be modified, extended or ended.

SUSPENSION: Respondent’s certification, authorization and/or membership will immediately be suspended for a defined period of time, and the Respondent must comply with specific corrective actions before the suspended rights are restored. 

EXPULSION, REVOCATION and PERMANENT SUSPENSION: The Respondent’s guild membership and all certifications and authorizations will be completely revoked. If the Respondent is enrolled in a training program accredited by VI, the Trainee shall not be allowed to participate in or attend any training program accredited by VI. If the proposed action is expulsion or removal of certification.

During Suspension and after Expulsion:

During the suspension period and after revocation, the Respondent may not:

1. Use Vivrelan™ service marks or certification marks;

2. Advertise using their VI guild membership I.D. number, certification or logo;

3. Use their VI guild membership I.D. number or certification in any other way to promote themself;

4. In any way identify themself as being an VI member or VI certified; or call themselves a Vivrelan™ Practitioner (VIP)

5. Work in or attend any training program accredited by VI.

6. Work or offer services under, or as a Vivrelan™ Practitioner. In states or locales where certification may provide some rights to practice – they can no longer use Vivrelan™ to do so.

Reinstatement

In all cases of the above penalties, before the respondent can be reinstated to their original position, they must submit a letter to the Ethics Advisory Council, along with recommendation letters from their required supervision, education, or therapy. In their letter they must sincerely reflect upon the lessons they have learned, what they have done to make amends to the Vivrelan™ community, individual people, and how they plan to rectify the past breach by how they resolve to conduct themselves in the future if reinstated. The Ethics Advisory Council and Director will meet to discuss the letter and request for reinstatement. They will determine if the respondent will have their former credentials and guild membership and listing restored. The respondent will be notified of the outcome by letter, co-signed by the Director and Ethics Advisory Council Members and legal counsel if necessary.

Right of Appeal

All respondents have the right of appeal to the decision. Appeals must be filed in writing within 30 working days of the date of the letter sent from the Ethics Advisory Council to the respondent after the Formal Hearing informing them of the decision. The Appeals Council will hear the appeal within 30 working days of the date on the letter of appeal from the appellant. The appellant will be notified of the outcome of the appeal in writing within 10 working days of the hearing of the appeal. The Appeals Council will consist of the Vivrelan™ Director, a Guild Member, Ethics Advisory Council Lead, an independent Ethics Counsel, and legal counsel.

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