It is the policy of Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing (MASH) to ensure MASH certified sober homes and stakeholder grievances are handled respectfully, appropriately, and professionally. The formal grievance procedure includes, but is not limited to, the investigation, determination of the grievance, and recommendation of the Ethics Committee regarding the standing of MASH certified sober homes. Based on the nature of the grievance, the Ethics Committee may make recommendations to suspend or discontinue a sober home certification to the MASH Board of Directors who will make the final decision. Grievances reported to MASH must be submitted through the MASH website (Grievance Policy tab) by submitting a grievance form.
- MASH processes grievances for MASH certified sober homes only.
- The formal grievance procedure shall not be used for retribution or personal gain.
- All grievances are confidential, and your identity will not be disclosed to the sober home. In some circumstances, investigating the grievance itself may identify the complainant.
- Grievance investigations are limited to the elements of certification. MASH does not investigate grievances that may require legal enforcement.
- If your grievance requires further action by an outside agency, MASH will close the grievance, inform the complainant of the decision, and may forward the information to a local, state, federal, or judicial authority.
If you have a question about any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Please note: It is important to follow the grievance procedure carefully and to document all pertinent facts, dates and information when filing a grievance.
Step 1: Filing
A formal grievance should be filed within 30 days of when the complainant became aware of or suspected violation of the MASH Code of Ethics or MASH Standards. The complainant is required to file a grievance online through the MASH website. Under special circumstances where a complainant is unable to file a grievance on the website, a MASH staff member may assist.
Step 2: Submission
Upon submission, the completed MASH formal grievance form will be directed to the Recovery Homes Collaborative’s designee (investigator) for prompt processing.
Step 3: Notification of Receipt
Upon receipt of a grievance, the investigator from Recovery Homes Collaborative (RHC) shall notify the respondent and complainant by email or telephone within 3 business days of the receipt of the grievance. The investigator will also forward a copy of the grievance to the MASH Executive Director and the MASH Ethics Committee upon receipt.
Step 4: Investigation
Within 14 days of receipt of the written grievance, the investigator will complete an investigation and report the findings in writing to the MASH Executive Director (ED) and the Ethics Committee. The investigation may include telephone or in-person interviews with the parties and witnesses, site visits to the sober home and review of written records. Site visits may be unannounced. An extension of no more than 14 days may be granted for an investigation that takes longer than the initial 14-day time frame.
Step 5: Ethics Committee Review
The ED and the Ethics Committee Chair will review the report from RHC and determine if additional information from the parties involved is needed. During the Ethics Committee monthly meeting, the Committee will consider and discuss the RHC report and any supporting documentation and determine whether or not the grievance is substantiated. If the grievance is deemed substantiated by the Ethics Committee, the Committee will make recommendations for corrective action. When considering recommendations for corrective actions, the Ethics Committee will consider the concept of progressive discipline.
Within 30 days of receipt of the findings of the investigator, the Ethics Committee will record its findings and decision. An extension of no more than 30 days may be granted for assessments that take longer than the initial 30-day timeframe. No member of the Ethics Committee shall intentionally try to stall, prolong, or delay proceedings. The Ethics Committee may render its decision solely on the basis of the grievance and the investigator’s report or may request the complainant or respondent to appear separately in front of the Ethics Committee to gather additional information. A complainant or respondent does not have the right to demand to appear in person before the Ethics Committee.
Step 6: Presentation to the Board
If the Ethics Committee determines that a house should be recommended for suspension, decertification, or denial of an operator’s certification, they must present verbal and written documentation to the MASH Board of Directors for their determination. The presentation shall include the original grievance, the RHC investigation report, additional information as a direct result of the grievance, and the recommendation or action recommended.
Step 7: Board Decision / Recommendation (in the case of a recommendation of suspension, decertification, or denial)
The MASH Board of Directors will discuss and vote on the suspension, decertification, or denial of MASH certification. A report of the findings, voting results and corrective actions to be taken will be provided to the respondent via certified letter within 14 business days after the MASH Board Meeting. The proceedings will be recorded in the meeting minutes as an official record. If an operator wishes to appeal to the Board’s decision, they will be given the opportunity to meet with the Board Directors at the next meeting. The operator must inform the MASH ED that they would like to appeal against the decision prior to the next meeting.