BYLAWS

GREIVANCE PROCEDURES

Council of Virginia Archaeologists, Inc.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

Accepted by CoVA Membership 10/26/03
Revisions 2/28/07

Pertaining to Compliance with
Statement of Ethics and Standards of Performance

These procedures have been adapted from those established by the Register of Professional Archaeologists.

1. Complaints. Complaints concerning alleged violations by any COVA member of the Statement of Ethics and/or the Standards of Performance (as outlined in Article IV and Article V of the Bylaws of the Council of Virginia Archaeologists, Inc., and hereafter referred to as "Statement/Standards"), shall be made in writing to the Executive Board.

a. Within 30 days of receiving such a complaint, the Executive Board shall determine based on available information whether the complaint is frivolous. All legitimate complaints shall be referred within that 30 day period to the Ethics Committee and the Chair of the Ethics Committee shall appoint no fewer than three Ethics Committee members to examine the grievance. All records from a grievance determined to be frivolous and dismissed by the Executive Board shall be destroyed after a period of thirty days following the Executive Board's decision.
b. At the same time, the accused member shall be notified by certified mail, return receipt requested, that a grievance has been filed, the identity of the accuser, and that an investigation will follow.

 

2. Ethics Committee Members Appointed to Examine the Grievance. The Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance shall be COVA members, shall have the necessary expertise to evaluate the evidence, shall have no conflict of interest in the case, and shall not be members of the Executive Board.

a. The responsibilities of the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance shall be to investigate the allegation, to maintain complete and accurate records of the case, to report to the Executive Board with recommendations for Board action, to participate, if necessary, in the Hearing of Complaint, and other duties the Executive Board may assign.

b. The Executive Board may appoint additional COVA members to assist the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance when the case is complex and upon recommendation by the members of the Ethics Committee appointed to examine the grievance.

c. At its discretion or upon the recommendation of the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance, the Executive Board, at COVA’s expense, may secure consultant services of other individual(s) with expertise or knowledge relevant to the case.

d. The Ethics Committee members’ term of appointment as grievance examiners expires at the conclusion of the case. These Ethics Committee members can be reappointed to other cases.

3.Investigation. The Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance shall conduct a thorough investigation of the complaint and allegations to determine whether or not, in their opinion, the conduct of the accused member violated the Statement/Standards. The investigation is to be completed and the report submitted to the Executive Board within 120 days. This time period may be extended by the Executive Board at the request of the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance.

a. Procedures. The investigation shall follow procedures established by the Executive Board, which shall include the following:

1. The investigation shall proceed discreetly; confidentiality of information and participants ’ identities shall be maintained.

2. Both the accuser and the accused member will be interviewed about the facts of the allegation.

3. The only evidence collected will be that directly relevant to assessing the validity of the allegations, but if evidence suggests possible violations other than those alleged in the complaint, these may also be investigated.

4. All findings shall require a simple majority vote by the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance.

5. At the discretion of the Executive Board, COVA will reimburse direct expenses incurred by Ethics Committee members during the course of the investigation. These expenses include but are not limited to mileage and per diem.

6. If evidence of criminal wrongdoing is found at any point during the course of the investigation, the grievance committee shall immediately inform the Executive Board and report the matter to the appropriate law enforcement agency[ies].

b. Report of Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance. Upon completion of the investigation, the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance shall prepare and submit to the Executive Board the Grievance Examination Report ( "Report"), containing the following:

1. A Statement of the relevant facts;

2. A summary of the procedures followed in making the investigation;

3. The findings of the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance, which shall include, if applicable, a statement of the particular provision or provisions of the Statement/Standards which the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance deem to have been violated; and

4. One of the following recommendations:

a. That no disciplinary action is taken and that the file be closed; or

b. That disciplinary action (as defined in Section 5.d.(3) below) be taken, in the form and substance set forth in the recommendation.

c. Executive Board Review of the Report. The Executive Board shall review the Report and shall follow the Report’s recommendations unless a majority of the Board votes to take other action.

1. "No disciplinary action" recommended. The Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance shall close the file and retain it in the permanent records of COVA.

2. "Disciplinary action" recommended. The Executive Board shall, within 20 days of the Report’s submission, send a copy of the Report to the accused member by certified mail, return receipt requested, accompanied by a letter notifying the accused member of the Executive Board’s action and informing the accused member of his/her rights either to agree to the Report’s recommended disciplinary action or to have a hearing on the complaint, and requesting a reply within 30 days. The letter shall notify the accused that he/she must request a hearing within the 30-day period or waive his/her right to that hearing.

3. If the accused member does not reply to the Executive Board within 30 days, the recommendation becomes final.

4. If the accused member requests a hearing within 30 days, the Executive Board shall direct the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance to prepare a Formal Written Complaint, and submit it to the Executive Board within 30 days.

d. Rights of the Accused to a Hearing. The accused member shall have the right to a hearing in which evidence of the allegation and opposing arguments are heard. A hearing is not required in all cases. The accused may waive this right. The right to a hearing is waived if the accused does not respond to the Executive Board within the 30-day period and specifically request a hearing.

4. Formal Written Complaint. The Formal Written Complaint ("Complaint") submitted by the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance to the Executive Board shall contain the following:

a. Allegations of Fact. The accused member’s specific acts or failures to act which are alleged to violate the Statement /Standards shall be presented in such detail as to inform the accused member of the facts relied upon as the basis of the Complaint.

b. Statement/Standards Provisions. Each provision of the Statement/Standards which is alleged to have been violated by the accused member shall be specified and related to the allegations of fact.

5. Hearing of Complaint. The Executive Board of COVA shall formally hear the Complaint, including evidence and opposing arguments, and shall make a decision in the case.

a. Scheduling of Hearing. The Executive Board shall set a date and location for the hearing on the Complaint, such date to be within six months after receipt of the Complaint by the Executive Board.

b. Notice of Hearing. The Executive Board shall notify the accused member and the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance by mail as soon as the Hearing has been scheduled. The notice shall state the time, date and place set for the Hearing and shall be accompanied by a copy of the Complaint. The date shall be at least 30 days after the date of the notice that is sent to the accused member.

c. Procedures at the Hearing of Complaint.

1. The Hearing shall either be open or closed, at the option of the accused.

2. The Executive Board shall hear the Complaint. The President shall preside at the Hearing. A court reporter (or comparably skilled individual) shall be hired to keep a stenographic record or tape recording of the proceedings. This requirement may be dispensed with entirely by mutual consent of the parties. If this requirement is not dispensed with, the two parties shall share the cost equally; if either party requests a transcript, that party shall bear the expense of its preparation.

3. The Hearing shall be conducted in accordance with rules which the Executive Board may establish; provided, however, that such proceedings shall be conducted in accord with such local, state, or federal laws as may relate to such undertakings. The accused member is required to bring such laws to the attention of the Executive Board at the time of the hearing so that they may be addressed at that time. Failure to bring such laws to the Executive Board’s attention at the time of the hearing will constitute a waiver of those rights unless the waiver is prohibited by law. The hearing shall include the following:

a. The Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance or legal counsel for COVA shall present the facts of the case against the accused member by means of witnesses, other evidence, and oral argument.

b. The accused member shall be entitled to be represented by legal counsel and to present a defense by means of witnesses, other evidence, and oral argument.

c. The members of the Executive Board may ask questions of the accused member, the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance, and the witnesses at any time during the course of the Hearing.

d. COVA and the accused member have the right to cross-examine witnesses called by the other party.

e. The accused member will bear his/her own expense of the hearing and COVA will bear the expense incurred by the Executive Board and the Ethics Committee members.

4. The Executive Board shall be the judge of the relevancy and materiality of the evidence offered. All evidence shall be taken in the presence of the Executive Board and the parties.

d. Procedure Following the Hearing.

1. Decision. Upon completion of the Hearing, the Executive Board shall adjourn to executive session to discuss the facts and evidence presented during the Hearing. The Executive Board shall reach a decision on the Complaint ("Decision") by majority vote. The Decision shall be in writing and shall be rendered within 30 days after completion of the Hearing. Each Decision shall contain:

a. A detailed finding of fact with specific reference to evidence presented at the Hearing;

b. A specific determination as to which of the allegations of the Complaint, if any, have been proven; and

c. A statement of the disciplinary action to be imposed, if one or more such allegations have been proven.

d. The hearing may be re-opened by the Executive Board on its own motion or upon application of one of the parties for good cause shown to hear after-discovered evidence at any time before the Board report is made. Recommendations and findings of the Executive Board shall be based exclusively upon evidence presented to the panel at the hearing.

2. Notification. A copy of the Decision shall be sent certified mail, return receipt requested, to the accused member, with a copy retained with the official files of the case. A copy of the Decision will also be sent to the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance.

3. Disciplinary Action. If the Executive Board determines that the accused member has violated the Statement/Standards, any one or more of the following disciplinary actions may be imposed:

a. Admonishment. A statement, entered into the permanent records of COVA, calling the attention of the accused member to a violation of the Statement/Standards.

b. Censure. A formal statement, entered into the permanent records of COVA, of criticism and disapproval for a violation of the Statement/Standards.

c. Expulsion. A complete termination of membership in COVA. A person expelled may not reapply for membership until three years after the date of the Decision.

4. Confidentiality of Records. All records of the case will be kept confidential.

a. The Board will adjourn to executive session to hear matters pertaining to complaints or the investigative report of the Ethics Committee members appointed to examine the grievance.

b. All records pertaining to grievance complaints shall be sealed except where: (a) required by law to be made public, (b) the parties to the matter agree that the records shall be made public, or (c) the Board is required to defend the fairness or adequacy of its grievance procedures with regard to a particular disciplinary action.

5. Review of Decision. The Decision may be reviewed upon the submission, within 30 days, of evidence of lack of due process during the original Hearing or submission of significant substantive evidence that was not available at the time of the original Hearing. The original Decision can only be overturned by a unanimous vote of the Executive Board.