Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers

  Search

APPIC Standards and Review Committee (ASARC)


PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING GRIEVANCES AND VIOLATIONS OF APPIC POLICIES

Revised October 2002

(Download .pdf version)


  1. Jurisdiction of the APPIC Standards and Review Committee (ASARC)

    1. ASARC may accept complaints, filed by an internship or postdoctoral applicant, intern, postdoctoral resident, internship or postdoctoral staff/faculty, or other interested party, about violations:

      1. of Match Policies;

      2. of the Match Agreement; and

      3. of other APPIC policies.

    2. Where ASARC has no jurisdiction, it may recommend that the Board refer the complaint to the appropriate entity.

  2. Responsibilities of ASARC

    1. Consult to determine whether a complaint is within ASARC's jurisdiction.

    2. Investigate alleged violations of APPIC policies and procedures determined to be within ASARC's jurisdiction.

    3. Advise the APPIC Board of Directors as to whether a policy violation has or has not occurred.

    4. Recommend an appropriate response to the APPIC Board of Directors.

  3. ASARC Membership and Terms of Office.

    1. ASARC will be comprised of at least three members from the APPIC constituency plus one ex-officio member from the APPIC Board of Directors.

      1. Members will be appointed by the APPIC Board of Directors.

      2. The APPIC Board of Directors will appoint a Board member to serve as a representative to ASARC. This Board member will participate in ASARC deliberations, but will not be a voting member of ASARC.

      3. The Board of Directors will appoint a Chairperson of ASARC to serve a one-year, renewable, term (January-December).

    2. Terms of office

      1. The term of each member ordinarily will be three years.

      2. When all ASARC members are appointed simultaneously, the terms may be staggered to provide continuity on the committee.

      3. Service on ASARC is limited to two consecutive terms, which must be followed by a three-year interval before a Committee member is eligible to serve another term. This limitation does not apply to the terms of members appointed to fill vacancies on the committee created by the early resignation of a committee member, or to the terms of the non-voting Board member.

    3. ASARC Meetings

      1. ASARC may meet face-to-face annually, or more often as needed, but only if the press of ASARC business requires such face-to-face meetings.

      2. Business at other times shall be conducted by telephone conference, e-mail, or written correspondence.

      3. A quorum at all such meetings shall consist of a majority of the voting committee members.

      4. ASARC may recommend sanctions in any type of meeting (whether by e-mail, face-to-face meetings or conference calls).

      5. ASARC must create a written record of any discussion that results in any recommendation.

    4. ASARC Autonomy and Authority

      1. All ASARC recommendations are advisory to the APPIC Board of Directors.

      2. ASARC will conduct its own investigations.

      3. ASARC shall require an alleged violator to respond in writing within 30 days of the date of an ASARC letter requesting such a response, unless the alleged violator, prior to the end of the 30-day period, requests a reasonable extension of that time in writing, showing good cause for such an extension.

      4. ASARC may require a complainant to provide additional information as necessary for ASARC to investigate or process a complaint.

      5. Lack of cooperation by an alleged violator will not delay ASARC's deliberations and, even without establishing a violation, may result in an ASARC recommendation to sanction the alleged violator solely for such lack of cooperation.

  4. Procedures for Problem Resolution

    1. Definitions

      1. Complainant. Person(s) or organization(s) who files a formal complaint; or who requests help in resolving a problem or alleges a violation of APPIC policies.

      2. Alleged violator. Individual(s) or organization(s) against whom a complaint is directed.

      3. Informal complaint. Verbal or written allegations of a violation of APPIC policy, effective at the time of the alleged violation, except for APPIC membership policies. A complainant should present an informal complaint to the person designated by APPIC to handle such complaints.

      4. Formal complaint. Written allegations of a violation of APPIC policy, effective at the time of the alleged violation, except for APPIC membership policies.

    2. Filing A Complaint

      1. Prior to filing a formal complaint about an APPIC policy violation, a complainant should, as appropriate, avail him/herself of the informal complaint process, by contacting the person designated by APPIC to handle such complaints.

        1. Complainant's initiation of the informal complaint process within 60 days of the alleged violation, or within 60 days after Complainant knew or should have known of the alleged violation, will satisfy the timeliness requirements for filing a formal complaint.

        2. If the informal complaint process is not successful, the complainant should describe the complaint, as completely and specifically as possible, in narrative form, and may consult the ASARC Policies and Procedures to identify the APPIC policy or policies allegedly violated. Or he/she may consult the persons above for assistance in identifying the policy or policies allegedly violated.

      2. To initiate the formal complaint process, the complainant must complete fully the ASARC complaint form (available from the APPIC web site or from the APPIC Central Office). A complainant's failure to provide adequate information may preclude ASARC investigation and processing of a complaint, or may result in dismissal of the complaint.

      3. Time limits

        1. Complaints must be postmarked no later than 60 days after the date of the alleged violation or after the complainant knew or should have known of the alleged violation, whichever is later, unless Complainant, in writing, shows good cause for submitting a complaint after that date.

        2. Where the Complainant shows he/she has a reasonable fear of retaliation for filing a complaint relating to the Match, internship, or postdoctoral program, the Complainant may file such a complaint within 30 days after the completion of the Match, internship program, or postdoctoral program. The complainant should describe in the complaint the basis for his/her reasonable fear of retaliation.

        3. ASARC will send all correspondence related to ASARC complaints, including correspondence closing a case, by registered mail, return receipt requested, or commercial delivery service; complainants and alleged violators are urged to do likewise. It is the responsibility of the parties involved to ensure that ASARC receives all pertinent correspondence.

  5. ASARC Action Upon Receipt of the Complaint Form

    1. The ASARC Chair shall:

      1. Acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 15 days.

      2. Review the complaint prior to sending it to the Committee for investigation and, if necessary or appropriate, request additional information from the complainant.

      3. Recommend to the Board that it reject any complaint that is-

        1. Untimely without good cause shown;

        2. Not within ASARC's jurisdiction;

        3. Incomplete; or

        4. On its face completely without merit or frivolous.

      4. After consultation with ASARC Committee members, recommend to the Board that it reject a complaint that ASARC does not believe warrants further consideration.
      5. Assign a case coordinator for any complaint if the ASARC Chair does not recommend that the Board reject the complaint.

    2. Investigation of the complaint

      1. The case coordinator will gather pertinent information about the complaint.

        1. The case coordinator will notify the internship or postdoctoral training director, as appropriate, of a complaint, and will attempt to seek informal resolution of the complaint.

        2. The case coordinator will contact other internship or postdoctoral personnel only when he/she determines it is necessary to gather pertinent facts and, in those instances, will inform the internship or postdoctoral training director in advance.

        3. The alleged violator must respond to the allegations within 30 days from the date of the letter from the case coordinator.

      2. The case coordinator, as appropriate at this stage, will once more seek informal resolution of the complaint.

      3. The case coordinator will present the information, along with his/her comments to ASARC, within 30 days from the date the investigative file is complete.

      4. ASARC investigations will continue independent of an alleged violator's request for a delay or for further information.

  6. ASARC Evaluation of Complaints

    1. No finding of violation

      1. If ASARC determines that the alleged behavior does not constitute a violation of APPIC policy, the ASARC Chair shall communicate this finding to the Board.

      2. The complainant then may amend the complaint, only if he/she, within 30 days from the date of the Board's letter, provides new information that was not discovered or could not have been reasonably discovered at the time of the initial complaint.

      3. If the complainant does not provide new information within 30 days from the date of the Board's letter, the Board will instruct ASARC to close the complaint, and so inform the complainant.

    2. Insufficient information for a determination

      1. If ASARC decides it has insufficient information to determine whether the alleged behavior reasonably suggests a violation of APPIC policies, the case coordinator may request further information from the complainant.

      2. The complainant must respond within 30 days from date of the case coordinator's request.

      3. Upon receipt of the additional information, and based on the case coordinator's investigation, ASARC will decide whether to pursue the complaint further or recommend any action to the Board.

      4. If the complainant fails to provide information within 30 days from the date ASARC requested additional information, ASARC may recommend to the Board that it close the case.

  7. ASARC Recommended Sanctions Where It Finds a Policy Violation

    1. Factors ASARC may consider when making recommendations to the APPIC Board of Directors may include, but are not limited to-

      1. Intent;
      2. Consequences to individuals or the profession; and

      3. Single or multiple occurrences.

    2. Effective date of sanctions is the date of the letter informing the alleged violator of the APPIC Board's final decision.

    3. Types of sanctions

      1. Private actions

        1. Directive, a private, written statement only to the training director when ASARC has determined an inadvertent, technical, or otherwise minor violation of APPIC policy occurred, that does not warrant a more severe sanction than a directive.

        2. Reprimand, a private written statement to the internship or postdoctoral training director with copies to the training or postdoctoral training director's immediate supervisor when ASARC has determined a policy violation has occurred with ramifications beyond the complaint at issue.

        3. Reprimand with monitoring, a private written statement to the internship or postdoctoral training director, with copies to the internship or postdoctoral training director's immediate supervisor, when ASARC has determined a policy violation has occurred with ramifications, which requires more than merely a reprimand. ASARC will monitor for a period not to exceed one year, requiring written reports from the site, as deemed appropriate by the Board, as to how the site resolved the problem.

      2. Public Actions

        1. Censure, a public written statement to the training director and other appropriate administrators, when ASARC has determined a policy violation occurred that warrants a more severe sanction than a reprimand.

          1. The date of the censure will be the date of the Board of Director's final decision, and will be in effect for one year.

          2. The Board will inform in writing all APPIC members and Directory Doctoral Program Associates announcing the public censure.

          3. Notice of the public censure will be published in the APPIC Directory and/or website; and in two consecutive issues of the APPIC newsletter most closely following the APPIC Board's censure decision.

          4. Censure does not affect current membership.

        2. Probation, incorporates the conditions of a censure described above and involves ASARC monitoring, during the censure period, of the degree to which the alleged violator resolves the problem and complies with APPIC's policies. Probation does not affect current membership.

        3. Expulsion, whereby the Board removes the member from its membership roster (APPIC Bylaws, Art. V, Sec. 4); and reports this violation in the APPIC Directory and/or website and two issues of the newsletter.

      3. Referrals to relevant state, provincial, or national associations, boards or other appropriate bodies, alone or in addition to any of the above sanctions.

  8. APPIC Board Consideration of ASARC Recommendations of a violation or no violation

    1. The APPIC Board of Directors will consider each ASARC recommendation.

    2. As to each ASARC recommendation, the APPIC Board will make the final decision regarding whether a violation occurred and the sanctions, if any, it will impose. The Board also may instruct ASARC to gather additional information or conduct additional investigation prior to making its final decision.

    3. Closing and reopening a case

      1. If the APPIC Board decides to close a case, the Board Chair will so inform the complainant and the alleged violation.

      2. Once the APPIC Board has closed a case, it may not be reopened except under compelling circumstances. Such compelling circumstances occur where sufficient evidence exists that the alleged violator deliberately or knowingly has withheld information material to the complaint, or where new information becomes available that the complainant reasonably could not have discovered before.

  9. Procedural Steps After the Board's Final Decision

    The Board Chair will inform the complainant, the alleged violator, and all other relevant persons of the Board's final decision on the complaint.

  10. Appeal of the Board's Decision

    1. Appeal by complainant

      1. To appeal, the complainant must, within 30 days of notification of the Board's decision, provide the Board with significant new information or evidence of a violation of APPIC policy that the complainant did not discover or could not reasonably have discovered at the time of the initial complaint.

      2. The Board Chair will inform the ASARC Chair if the complainant appeals.

    2. Appeal by the Alleged Violator

      1. The alleged violator may request a review of the APPIC Board's decision by submitting to the Board in writing, within 30 days of that decision, a request for an appeal of the decision, including the reasons he/she disagrees with the Board's decision on the complaint.

      2. The Board Chair will inform the ASARC Chair if the alleged violator appeals.

    3. APPIC Board Response to an appeal

      1. The APPIC Board of Directors will review any additional information submitted.

      2. The APPIC Board may conduct additional investigation, may direct ASARC to re-evaluate all pertinent information, and/or conduct additional investigation, or may decide not to conduct additional investigation.

      3. The APPIC Board then may take one or more of the following actions on the appeal.

        1. It may uphold, overturn, or modify its original decision and will communicate this decision to the complainant and the alleged violator.

        2. It may authorize a challenge to its original decision, by-

          1. authorizing the filing of a new complaint, waiving the time limits, as necessary; or

          2. inviting the alleged violator and the complainant to attend one of its regularly scheduled meetings to present their cases.

      4. The APPIC Board then will make a final written determination on the case and will communicate the results to the parties.

      5. The APPIC Board of Directors will inform ASARC of the disposition of any appeal.

  11. Costs Associated with Complaint Processing

    1. Any expenses incurred by ASARC members and/or the APPIC Board of Directors in the course of processing a complaint shall be borne by APPIC. ASARC members must comply with APPIC travel and expense policies.

    2. Any expenses incurred by the complainant and/or alleged violator during the processing of a complaint (e.g., copying, travel, lodging) shall be borne by the parties, not by ASARC or APPIC.