It is the policy of the Massachusetts Alliance for Sober Housing (MASH) to ensure MASH certified sober homes and stakeholders grievances are handled respectfully, appropriately, and professionally.
The formal grievance should be documented on the MASH formal grievance form found at file a grievance.
The formal grievance procedure should not be used for retribution or personal/agency gain.
The formal grievance procedure includes, but is not limited to the investigation, validation of compliant, and recommendation of the MASH ethics committee as to the standing of the MASH certified sober homes, recommendations and/or disqualification of their sober home certification.
Please note: Your grievance may need to be forwarded to a local, state, federal, or judicial authority. MASH does not address or enforce anything which would require legal enforcement. If your grievance requires further action by an outside agency, MASH will close the grievance and inform the complainant of the decision.
I. The grievant is required to file a grievance online through the MASH website. Under special circumstances where a grievant is unable to physically file a grievance, a MASH staff member may assist;
II. Upon receipt of a grievance, the investigator from the Recovery Homes Collaborative (RHC) shall notify the MASH Executive Director (ED) and the MASH Ethics Committee Chair via email;
III. The Ethics Committee chair shall assign a committee member to reach out to the operator and discuss the grievance;
IV. Simultaneously, the RHC investigator will conduct an investigation on the grievance;
V. Upon completion, the RHC investigator will issue a report to the ED and the Ethics Committee;
VI. At its monthly meeting, the Ethics Committee will consider and discuss the report to see if the grievance was substantiated. If the grievance was substantiated the Ethics Committee may make recommendations for corrective action;
VII. If the corrective action includes suspension or revocation of the certification, the ED will prepare a report for consideration by the Board of Directors (BOD). The report will be shared with the operator who will have ample notice and opportunity to be heard at the next BOD meeting;
VIII. In considering recommendations for corrective actions, the Ethics Committee will consider the concept of progressive discipline;
IX. The Board of Directors will consider reports for discipline at its monthly meeting and will make a determination on each case. The ED will then issue a written report to the operator and also make it available to the grievant; and
X. Notice of the conclusion of the grievance will be provided to the Ethics Committee.
It’s important to follow the grievance or complaint procedures 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 will be directed to the RHC 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 ED. The MASH ED will then forward the grievance and their findings, upon completion by the investigator, to the Ethics Committee for review.
*If the grievance concerns take issue with existing MASH policies in which a MASH certified sober home believes should be examined prior to the next scheduled annual policy review meeting, then an investigator shall forward a copy of the grievance to the Ethics Committee and the investigator shall take no further action.
Step 4: Investigation
Within 14 days of receipt of the written complaint, the investigator will complete an objective investigation of the matter and report the findings in writing to the MASH ED, who will then forward finding to 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. 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 in writing. 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 at a hearing to gather additional information. Written notice of the time and date will be sent to the complainant at least 10 days prior to the hearing. A conference call may take the place of a personal appearance. A complainant or respondent does not have the right to demand to appear in person before the Ethics Committee.
The decision of the Ethics Committee shall be communicated to the respondent and to the MASH Board of Directors (will be entered into the next Board meeting’s minutes) within seven days. The decision is final. However, any grievance where the Ethics Committee recommends suspension, revocation or denial of certification for an operator shall be presented to the MASH Board of Directors for their determination as outlined in Step 5.
Step 5: Presentation to the Board
The Ethics Committee shall present its recommendation for suspension, revocation or denial of an operator’s certification to the MASH Board of Directors for their determination. The presentation shall include the original complaint/grievance; an investigation summary including an objective account of events, additional information as a direct result of the grievance, and the recommended or action recommended.
Step 6: Board Decision / Recommendation (De-certification)
The MASH Board of Directors will discuss and make a formal recommendation for a vote at the next general or special meeting for suspension or revocation of Certification. A report of the findings, voting results and corrective actions to be taken will be provided to the respondent via email within 14 business days after the general meeting. The proceedings will be recorded in the meeting minutes as an official record.