It is the Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing’s (MASH) policy to ensure MASH-certified sober homes and stakeholder grievances are handled respectfully, appropriately, and professionally. If you would like to file a grievance, please carefully read the following information about MASH’s formal grievance procedure. Also, please note all grievances are CONFIDENTIAL and your identity will not be disclosed to the sober home. If you have a question about any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please note: MASH manages grievances only for MASH-certified sober homes. To learn more about the certification process and why you should certify your sober home, click here.
• The formal grievance procedure includes, but is not limited to, the investigation, validation of grievance, and recommendation of the Ethics Committee regarding the standing of MASH-certified sober homes. Based on the nature of the grievance, the Committee will make recommendations and/or disqualify a sober home certification.
• The formal grievance should be documented on the MASH formal grievance form, which is found on the File a Grievance page.
• The formal grievance procedure should not be used for retribution or personal/agency gain.
• Please note: Your grievance may need to be forwarded to a local, state, federal, or judicial authority. The Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing does not address or enforce anything that would require legal enforcement. If your grievance requires further action by an outside agency, The Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing will close the grievance and inform the complainant of the decision.
I. The complainant is required to file a grievance online through the MASH website. Under special circumstances where a complainant is unable to physically file a grievance, a MASH staff member may assist;
II. Upon receipt of a grievance, the investigator from Recovery Homes Collaborative (RHC) shall notify the MASH Executive Director (ED) and the MASH Ethics Committee Chair via email;
III. The RHC investigator will conduct an investigation of the grievance and may do an in-person site visit. Site visits to a MASH-certified sober home may be unannounced and the investigator must be allowed to enter the home regardless of whether or not the owner/operator is present. These site visits may also include a member of the MASH staff although the staff has no input on whether or not a grievance is substantiated.;
IV. Upon completion, the RHC investigator will issue a report to the ED and the Ethics Committee;
V. The ED and the Ethics Committee Chair will review the report and determine whether or not the Ethics Committee Chair needs to reach out to the operator to gather additional information to present to the Ethics Committee for review;
VI. At its monthly meeting, the Ethics 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 substantiated the Ethics Committee will make recommendations for corrective action;
VII. If the corrective action includes suspension or revocation of the certification, the ED and Ethics Committee Chair will prepare documentation for consideration by the Board of Directors (BOD);
VIII. In considering recommendations for corrective actions, the Ethics Committee will consider the concept of progressive discipline;
IX. If the BOD votes to suspend or revoke certification, the operator will be sent a certified letter with the BOD decision (the letter will include the standards and/or ethics violated). The operator will be invited to contact the ED and let MASH know if they wish to appeal the decision. If the operator wishes to appeal the decision he/she will be invited to the next board meeting to meet with the BOD;
X. Notice of the conclusion of the grievance will be provided to the Ethics Committee.
It’s important to follow the grievance procedure carefully and to document all pertinent facts, dates and information when filing a report or claim.
Step 1: Filing
A formal grievance should be filed within 30 days of when the complainant became aware of or suspected violation of MASH ethics or standards. The formal grievance should be documented on the MASH formal grievance form. Verbal grievances will not be acted upon.
Step 2: 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
Respondent should be notified by email or telephone within 3 business days of the receipt of the grievance. The investigator will forward a copy of the grievance to the MASH Executive Director and the MASH Ethics Committee.
Step 4: Investigation
Within 14 days of receipt of the written grievance, the investigator will complete an investigation of the matter and report the findings in writing to the MASH Executive Director and 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 to a MASH-certified sober home may be unannounced and the investigator must be allowed to enter the home regardless of whether or not the owner/operator is present. An extension of no more than 14 days may be granted for investigations that take longer than the initial 14-day timeframe.
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 investigations 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 5: 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 this 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 6: Board Decision / Recommendation (in the case of a suspension, decertification or denial)
The MASH Board of Directors will discuss and vote on the suspension, decertification or denial of 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 general meeting. The proceedings will be recorded in the meeting minutes as an official record. If an operator wishes to appeal the board’s decision they will be given the opportunity to meet with the BOD at the next BOD meeting. The operator must inform the MASH ED that they would like to appeal the BOD’s decision prior to the next BOD meeting.