FAPI’s policy and process for investigating a grievance complaint shall be as follows.
Any person, member or not may file a grievance against a member:
1. The Complainant must submit a written request of their desire to file a Grievance Complaint to the President, with no submission of facts or evidence. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted. If a complaint alleges a violation of any governmental statute, law, rule, or regulation the Complainant must first file with the appropriate agency and no action will be taken by FAPI until that issue has been fully adjudicated. The Executive Committee (hereinafter: EC) shall have the right to suspend membership upon the filing of any governmental action or while a complaint is being investigated by the Grievance Committee (hereinafter: GC).
2. The President will acknowledge the receipt of a Complaint within 5 business days, shall appoint a 3 or 5 member GC to hear the complaint and a Chairperson.
3. The Complainant must submit evidence substantiating the specific breach of Ethics, and must specify which Ethics Code(s) are believed to have been violated. Complainant must include the name(s) address, phone and email address of all witnesses, and indicate the date, time and location where the violation(s) occurred, if known.
4. The GC will review the complaint and determine whether an investigation is warranted.
5. If an investigation is not warranted, the Complainant will be notified and the matter will be dismissed.
6. If an investigation is warranted, each party shall be responsible to present or refute the grievance at their own expense. A copy of the Complaint will be sent to the Respondent for a response in writing.
7. The Respondent shall have 15 days within which to respond. If there is no response, the matter shall proceed.
8. The GC will determine their next course of action based on the Respondent’s submission (or lack thereof) and if necessary, shall conduct an investigation into the allegation(s) to be completed within 60 days unless due to circumstances an extension is warranted which the EC must approve. The investigation may include the use of emails, written correspondence, in-person testimony, interviewing witnesses by phone, face to face meetings with the Complainant and Respondent individually or together, including a meeting of all parties and witnesses collectively or individually, and any other lawful investigation techniques or inquiries needed to assist the GC to arrive at a decision. Should there be any expense to conduct the investigation, the EC shall be advised and must approve the expense in advance.
9. If the GC determines that the Respondent has violated the Code of Ethics, the GC may recommend to the EC sanctions against the Respondent. Sanctions are not limited to the foregoing and may include:
10. The Respondent shall be notified of the GC decision in writing within 10 business days of their decision. A copy of the decision shall be given to Complainants and Respondents.
11. The Complainant or Respondent shall have the right for one appeal of the GC decision. To appeal the decision, the Complainant or Respondent must submit a written notice of appeal to the President within 10 business days of receiving notification of the GC decision. The written notice shall clearly indicate the party’s desire to appeal, reasons for the appeal, and shall contain any additional or new information the Complainant or Respondent believes to be relevant to the case, but not a repeat of information previously submitted.
12. The EC shall meet and consider if an appeal is warranted following the receipt of the written notice of appeal from the President. At its discretion, the EC may decide to schedule an appeal to be heard by either itself or remand the matter back to the GC. The EC’s review of an appeal or rehearing shall be the final decision including if substantiated, the sanctions it decides if any.
13. The GC and FAPI’s Officers and Board of Directors are prohibited from disseminating, discussing, or rendering any opinion or information to any party or member regarding a final GC or EC decision unless ordered by a Court of competent jurisdiction.