Grievance Committee

Purview of the Committee

The Committee is charged with addressing any complaint of harassment or abuse brought by any member of the faculty, medical or graduate student, house staff officer or postdoctoral research fellow against any other such member of the school community.

Composition of the Committee

The Committee will consist of at least 22 members. Among these will be 2 with counseling experience, 2 medical students, 2 graduate students, 2 house staff, 2 faculty with administrative appointments, and 2 research postdoctoral fellows. Faculty members of the Committee will be representative of both basic science and clinical, junior and senior faculty. Every effort will be made to have the Committee reflect the full diversity of the medical school population. The Chairperson of the Committee (the “Chairperson”) shall be a faculty member with experience in counseling and who does not have an administrative appointment. All members of the Committee, including the Chairperson, will be appointed by the Dean after consultation with relevant groups in the School. Faculty will serve staggered 3-year renewable terms; students, postdoctoral fellows and house officers will serve renewable 1-year terms.

Grievance Procedures

Any member of the faculty, any medical or graduate student, house officer or postdoctoral research fellow who believes that he or she has been harassed or abused by any other such member of the School community may contact any member of the Committee or the Chairperson to seek advice, or may submit a written complaint to the Committee. The Committee member contacted can discuss the matter with the complainant, advise the complainant of his/her/their alternatives in pursuing the complaint, including, if the complainant agrees, (and where permitted by law), helping the complainant to resolve the complaint informally without revealing the complainant’s name. Such help may include, but is not limited to, assisting the complainant in drafting a letter to the alleged offender asking that he/she/they stop the behavior, or coaching the complainant in preparation for a conversation with the alleged offender. The complainant may ask the Committee member to meet directly with the person accused to seek a resolution. If the complaint includes an alleged violation of law, the Committee member initially contacted must bring the complaint to the full Committee, the complaint must be fully documented and investigated, and a report made to the Dean.

Upon request of the complainant to the Committee member originally contacted, or upon receipt of written complaints to the Committee, or when required by law, the complaint, with the names of the complainant, respondent and department withheld, will be discussed by the Committee at its next regular meeting.

Following discussion of the complaint, the Committee has 2 options:

  1. It can decide that even if the allegation is true, it does not constitute harassment or abuse. The complainant will be notified of the finding and can be offered guidance and/or assistance in resolving the matter, or be referred to another, more appropriate venue, such as Human Resources, the Faculty Relations Committee or a Tenure Review Committee to pursue the complaint.

  2. It can decide that the allegation is sufficiently serious to warrant further investigation. Unless previously submitted, the complainant will be requested to submit a full written account of the complaint. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Chairperson will appoint a five-member Board and two alternates.

The Chairperson will serve as chair of the Board (or, in case of conflict of interest or other inability to serve, appoint another Committee member) and will appoint at least 4 additional individuals and at least 2 alternates to consider the complaint. Students, postdoctoral fellows, and house staff members are to be excluded from the Board in cases involving a faculty member alleging harassment by another faculty member. In cases involving a student, postdoctoral fellow or house staff (either as an accuser or accused), at least one of the members of the Board will be from the same group. Each Board will have at least one member with experience in counseling, and at least 3 faculty.

Upon selection of the Board, the complainant will be notified of the names of Board members, and will have 48 hours from receipt of such notification to challenge, in writing, any member for cause. The respondent will be notified that a complaint has been brought against him/her, the name of the complainant, the nature of the complaint, and the names of the members of the Board. The respondent shall also have 48 hours from receipt of notification to challenge, in writing, any member of the Board for cause. In the event of a challenge, the Chairperson will decide on the merits and replace Board members if necessary. In the event that the Chairperson is unable to appoint a sufficient number of members not disqualified for cause, the Dean will appoint additional members.

The preliminary stages of the investigation may consist of meetings of one or more members of the Board with the complainant, respondent and other members of the community who might have relevant information. In the event that preliminary meetings have been held, all information obtained in these meetings will be shared with the entire Board. In all meetings, confidentiality will be stressed.

The respondent will receive the full written complaint with the supporting documentation provided by the complainant to the Board and will be afforded two weeks to provide a written response. This response will be distributed to the Board and provided to the complainant.

The Board will then hold one or more hearings, which the complainant and respondent will attend, either individually or together, along with any other witnesses the Board deems relevant to the complaint. At the hearing, each of the parties may be accompanied by an advisor, who is a member of the Mount Sinai community, but who is not a lawyer, and who will not function as an advocate during the hearing.

At the close of the hearing(s), the Board will deliberate the findings without the presence of either the complainant or the respondent. Upon concluding its deliberations, the Board will vote on whether or not there has been a violation of this policy based on a majority vote. Recommendations for remedial actions will be discussed. A full report will be drafted, including the findings, vote and recommendations of the majority. It will then be submitted to the Dean. The Board's written report will include:

  1. A determination that a violation of this policy did or did not take place

  2. A listing of its findings of fact

  3. A summary of the written submissions of the parties

  4. A summary of testimony at the hearing

  5. A summary of evidence gathered during the investigation

  6. The conclusions it has drawn from this material

  7. Its recommendations for action to be taken by the Dean.

The Board may recommend sanctions based on the severity of the offense. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, verbal reprimand, written reprimand, change in job responsibilities, suspension, discharge, and expulsion. The Board and/or the Committee may, at their discretion, modify the Grievance Procedures depending on the nature of a particular complaint.

Dean's Review

The Dean may accept or reject conclusions and/or recommendations of the Board. However, in the event the Dean does not accept either the Board’s conclusions or its recommendations, he/she/they will meet with the Board to discuss the reasons for the rejection before recording a final decision on the matter. The Dean will convey his/her/their decision in writing to the complainant, respondent and the Board.

Protection from Retaliation

All individuals involved in registering a complaint, serving as representatives for the complainant or respondent, as witnesses, or on the Committee will be free from any and all retaliation or reprisal or threats thereof. This principle applies with equal force after a complaint has been adjudicated. Upon submission of a complaint or threat of retaliation, the Committee will review the facts and recommend appropriate action.

Re-Evaluation of Procedures

The Committee will review the grievance procedures periodically. Proposed changes, approved by a majority of the Committee, must be reviewed and approved by the Office of the General Counsel before being implemented.

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