COMPLAINTS AND GRIEVANCES POLICY

The purpose is to provide a comprehensive mechanism for handling complaints and grievances within the CPEI community. Members of the CPEI community are required to maintain the highest level of personal, professional, moral, and ethical standards.  When moral and ethical standards are in question, the following provides guidance for engaging the person(s) and resolving the issue(s).  These engagements are expected to be redemptive and problem-solving in intent and nature.

11.1 Definition
• A complaint is an informal issue of a perceived conflict, which should be resolved at the lowest level.  
• A grievance is a formal concern that is presented in writing and signed and involves an alleged violation related to the CPEI Code of Professional Ethics.  The grievance must specify the standard or process that is an alleged violation. 

11.2 Guiding Principles
• Issues are encouraged to be resolved at an informal level, face-to-face, and in a spirit of collegiality and mutual respect.   
• Issues that are unable to resolved in the informal level can be elevated in a written and signed formal grievance, which must identify the specific CPEI Code of Ethics Standard allegedly violated. 
• Confidentiality is of upmost importance. Persons involved in an investigation, mediation, fact finding, and record keeping shall respect the confidentiality of all parties as far as possible without impeding the pursuit of truth or violating state laws.
• Persons that have a bias or conflict of interest will be removed from any aspect of a grievance process.

11.3 Complaint (Informal Process): CPEI encourages persons to resolve concerns informally, face-to-face, and in a spirit of collegiality and mutual respect. 

11.4: Grievance (Formal Process)   
• Use of the formal grievance procedure is limited to circumstances in which all efforts to resolve the issue have been exhausted at the informal level and must involve a specific alleged violation of CPEI Code of Ethics Standard.
• A formal grievance must be submitted in writing and signed. It must also identify the specific CPEI Code of Ethics Standard that has been allegedly violated.
• The grievance will be filed with the Ethics Chair for CPEI.
• All steps involved in this process will be recorded.

11.5:  Investigation and Resolution Process
• The ethics chair and an appointed consultant will conduct an initial inquiry via a telephone or internet live-connection within 30 days of the filed grievance to determine if the alleged conduct were in response to a CPEI Code of Ethics Standard and if an agreeable resolution can be reached. 
• If a resolution has not been reached, the Ethics Chair will appoint a mediator to facilitate discussion between the parties involved.  This will occur within 30 days of the initial inquiry’s final action.  If an agreeable solution is reached the matter will be settled.
• If mediation does not bring resolution to the issue, a formal review panel will be initiated.  The Chair of the Ethics Committee will appoint a 3-person panel and invite all parties involved to participate, at their own expense.  After hearing the evidence and deliberating the Panel shall decide that no violation occurred, there were concerns that needed to be addressed. 
• If the issue was related to a credentialed member of CPEI the Panel can recommend:

(1) Admonishment.  A written statement issued that acknowledges the CPEI Code of Ethics Standard was violated, and that continued education that addresses the ethical standard be required
(2) Probation. The person found guilty of an ethical violation will be monitored for a period to ensure that s/he remains compliant.  Continued education may also be a requirement or other requirements set forth by the Panel.
(3) Suspension. If the person found guilty of an ethical violation does not understand the seriousness of the violation and/or fails to take responsibility for their actions the panel can suspend the individual for periods of 3 to 12 months based on the nature and consequences of the violation.
(4) Removal of Credentials. The individual who refuses to accept responsibility for the violation and demonstrates no remorse shall have his/her credentials removed.  The actions of the Hearing Panel are final.

11.6:    Final Action: Any student who has followed the compliant/grievance policy as listed above and the feels the issue has not been resolved may contact our accrediting agency.