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Guidelines: Ethics Panel

Guidelines for the Ethics Panel:  Judging a Misconduct Complaint

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Being a member of the Ethics Panel if asked is an important responsibility.  Situations that may endanger the safety and well being of our children do arise, albeit infrequently.  When they do, they must be dealt with promptly and fairly.  Our Club has a complaint processing procedure which is detailed in Section 13 of “Club Philosophy and Policies Governing Professional Coaching Conduct and the Conduct of all Athletes, Employees and Volunteers.”  You should familiarize yourself with this document.

HOW THE ETHICS PANEL IS SELECTED

WHAT THE ETHICS PANEL DOES

TIPS:  EXAMINING THE FACT FINDER’S REPORT

THE ETHICS PANEL MEETING WITH THE FACT FINDER

MAKING DECISIONS (without the Fact Finder present)

1.    Did the misconduct occur?

1.     Yes, I believe the behavior did occur as reported by the complainant;

2.     No, I  believe the behavior did not occur as reported by the complainant;

3.     I believe that in all probability, the behavior did occur as reported by the complainant;

4.     I believe that in all probability, the behavior did not occur as reported by the complainant;

5.     I am not able to determine whether the behavior either did or did not occur as reported by the complainant;

Share your answer with other members of the panel and the reason why you chose it, citing as many facts as you can.  Determine whether the panel can agree on either 1 or 3.  If so, the decision should be to support the complainant’s version.   If the panel agrees on either 2, 4, or 5, the decision should be not to support the complainant’s version.   

Continue if the misconduct was found to have occurred….

2.    How severe was the offense?

It may be helpful to adopt the following decision-making system with regard to the severity of the misconduct.  If there was more than one incident of misconduct, rate each one separately.  Each member of the panel should choose from among the following levels of severity of misconduct:

 Severe

1.     Behavior was deliberate and repeated and caused severe physical or mental trauma to the complainant;  or was deliberate, not repeated, but caused severe physical or mental trauma to the complainant, or was a vicious racial or sexual slur

2.     Behavior was criminal – sex with a minor, rape, sexual battery, sexual coercion

3.     Sexual harassment or violence

4.     Any “serious” misconduct (see below) that is repeated – second offense

Serious

1.     Hazing, initiation ritual, bullying, physical punishment intending to cause harm – 1st offense

2.     Physical abuse during instruction – 1st offense

3.     Misconduct in violation of prohibitions against romantic or sexual relationships with a consenting adult – 1st offense

4.     Any moderate misconduct (see below) that is repeated – 2nd offense

5.     False complaint – 1st offense

Moderate

1.     Non-repeated offensive verbal harassment or bullying committed accidentally or without intent to harm – 1st offense

2.     Non-repeated verbal or emotional abuse – 1st offense

Mild

1.     Unintentional, single offense, first offense, minimal harm to complainant

2.     Behavior overheard or seen but not directed at victim

3.    What is the appropriate sanction?

It may be helpful to consider the following system of sanctions based on the severity of the misconduct.  If there was more than one incidence of misconduct, consider elevating the sanction.  The following is only a sample approach to thinking about sanctions that should always be matched to severity of the offense, whether it was intentional, considering factors such as age, maturity, and position of trust of the people involved, whether there is a history of past offenses, and other appropriate considerations.