LLLI Complaint Resolution Process
The purpose of the LLLI Complaint Resolution Process is to ensure that complaints raised from within La Leche League or by the public are resolved fairly and promptly, with the goal of a respectful resolution. This process addresses conflicts involving La Leche League International and issues including, but not limited to, compliance with the LLLI Bylaws and the LLL Code of Conduct and LLL Policies and Standing Rules. All complaints are addressed by a Complaint Resolution Team (CRT) appointed by the LLLI Board.
LLL Leaders respond promptly to any investigations or complaints against Leaders and cooperate with complaint resolution processes as requested. [See Code of Conduct item 2.5]
- Complaints arising at a local level should be addressed or resolved at that level: Area, Area Network, Direct Connect Entity (DCE). If the local complaint resolution process has been followed, and the complainant believes that the process does not align with LLL policy or procedures, the complaint may be escalated to the LLLI Complaint Resolution Team
- Complaints arising at the local level about a member of the Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) regarding their LAD role are addressed or resolved at that level of LAD. For some Direct Connect Entities (DCEs) this may be the Area level; for others it is the DCE level. If needed, complaints starting at the Area level may be moved to the Area Network (AN) or DCE level.
- If the complaint is not resolved at the DCE level, any party to the complaint may consult the Director of the Leader Accreditation Department (DLAD).
- If the complaint resolution process of the local entity or DCE has been followed in earlier attempts to resolve the conflict, and the complainant believes that the process does not align with LLL policy or procedures, the complaint may be escalated to the LLLI Complaint Resolution Team. The Complaint Resolution Team consults the DLAD if the DLAD has not already been consulted
- For complaints about the Leader accreditation process and/or applications under the Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) see the Accreditation Appeals Procedures
- Complaints between two or more DCEs which are not settled between them may be referred to the LLLI Complaint Resolution Team
- Members of the public may access the LLLI Complaint Resolution Process to make a complaint at any level. These are received by the ED and referred on to the most appropriate place
- Grievances and complaints about LLLI committees, LLLI Board members, or LLLI staff are sent to the LLLI person or group most directly responsible. If this has already been done and the complainant believes that the responsible LLLI person or group is refusing to address the situation or that the response does not align with LLL policy or procedures, the complaint may be referred to the appropriate committee chair or the LLLI Board, whichever is the next local level
- If the complainant believes that the LLLI Board is refusing to address the situation, they may file a complaint with the CRT
- If the complainant believes that the LLLI Board decision does not align with LLL policy or procedures, they may take their complaint to the Global Leaders Committee.
- A DCE Council may also decide to refer a complaint to the LLLI Complaint Resolution Team if they believe they are unable to address it adequately
- Complaints about LLLI Board actions and decisions are referred to the Global Leaders Committee, not to the Complaint Resolution Team.
- Any complaint made to the police or legal system in any country about an LLL Leader, LLL entity, LLL staff member, or LLL volunteer supersedes this Complaint Resolution Process, until the legal process is complete
- If legal action is threatened by anyone who is making a complaint or has a complaint made against them, this Complaint Resolution Process is suspended until such time as the legal action is ended, abandoned or otherwise resolved
For additional clarification, see the Complaint Process Flowchart.
Complaint Resolution Team
The LLLI Board establishes and maintains a Complaint Resolution Team consisting of seven to nine Leaders or former Leaders. Current LLLI Board Members are not eligible to serve on the Complaint Resolution Team.
Candidates for the Complaint Resolution Team are required to undertake training provided by LLLI and to have experience in conflict resolution and/or mediation, as well as extensive LLL experience. Effort is made to create a diverse Complaint Resolution Team representing the composition of LLL.
In consultation with the LLLI Board, the Complaint Resolution Team may engage a professional outside mediator or create a position of a professional Advisor to the Complaint Resolution Team to assist with a case under consideration.
Each member of the Complaint Resolution Team:
- Commits to being fair and impartial
- Has LLL administrative experience at an Area level or higher in the LLL administrative structure, or extensive LLL experience
- Has conflict resolution or mediation experience
- Undergoes training provided by or approved by LLLI, including bias training and training in addressing claims of harassment and discrimination
- Maintains confidentiality in the Complaint Resolution Process
- Recuses themselves from working on any issue in which they have:
- a conflict of interest
- a personal or financial interest that may prevent the exercise of impartial judgment, including a relationship with any parties to the conflict
- instances in which any party to the conflict is from the member’s LLL Group or Area
- circumstances in which the subject matter of the complaint prevents the member from being fair and impartial
- A Complaint Resolution Team member recuses themselves in these situations even if they believe that they are able to be impartial.
Nominations from each DCE for the Complaint Resolution Team are requested by the LLLI Personnel Committee before the Mid-Year session. Complaint Resolution Team members are appointed by the LLLI Board at this session. The LLLI Board endeavors to select as diverse a group of Complaint Resolution Team members as possible.
Complaint Resolution Team members serve staggered three-year terms starting November 1st. No member serves more than two consecutive three-year terms, or a total of seven consecutive years, unless this requirement is waived by the LLLI Board of Directors. In the event of a Complaint Resolution Team member being involved in investigating an active complaint at the time that their term on the team ends, the LLLI Board of Directors has discretion to extend the end of that member’s term until the complaint is resolved.
The Complaint Resolution Team elects a chair within a month after the Mid-Year session of the Board. The Chair of the Complaint Resolution Team serves as liaison between the Complaint Resolution Team and the LLLI Board Chair(s) and may hold this position for a maximum of three consecutive years.
The Personnel Committee of the Board seeks and recommends candidates to the LLLI Board whenever necessary to replace any Complaint Resolution Team member who resigns or is removed before the conclusion of a term. The Board appoints the chosen candidate(s) who then serve(s) for the remainder of the original term or for a specified term.
After due consideration, the LLLI Board may remove a member of the Complaint Resolution Team for failure to perform member duties or for non-compliance with the LLL Code of Conduct, LLLI Bylaws, or LLL Policies and Standing Rules.
Initiating the Complaint Resolution Process
A complaint is initiated by completing a Complaint Form.
LLLI Complaint Resolution Procedures
- Complaints about an LLL Leader or administrative entity (Group, Area, Area Network, or DCE)
- The Chair of the Complaint Resolution Team confirms receipt of the Complaint Form to the complainant immediately upon receiving it
- The Complaint Resolution Team decides whether the complaint is addressable by the Complaint Resolution Team or best addressed by other means such as complaint resolution processes of DCEs, Area Networks, Areas, or by other action of administrative volunteers or employees of LLL entities
- In making their decision, the Complaint Resolution Team may consult with the LLLI Board of Directors
- If the complaint is deemed to be best addressed elsewhere, the Complaint Resolution Team forwards the complaint to the appropriate place and informs the complainant
- If the complaint has been referred to the Complaint Resolution Team after a completed process within a DCE, the Complaint Resolution Team accepts the referral only if the complainant alleges that the responsible entity is refusing to address the situation or that the response does not align with LLL policy or procedures. See the Complaint Process Flowchart.
- For complaints within the purview of the LLLI Complaint Resolution Team, the Complaint Resolution Team assigns a designated reviewer of the complaint from within the members of the Complaint Resolution Team to facilitate the process and to document steps taken.
- As promptly as possible, the Complaint Resolution Team reviews the complaint and determines what additional information is required and what steps should be taken. The designated reviewer contacts all relevant parties, sending them appropriate documentation and clear guidelines for the next steps.
- The Complaint Resolution Team gathers information and may interview the complainant and other relevant parties, while respecting the privacy and confidentiality of all. Agreement is made about recording of interviews and compilation of notes. During the investigation, the designated reviewer communicates periodically with the person who brought the complaint to let them know the process is continuing.
- Complaint Resolution Team members discuss the grievance and determine a proposed resolution or mediation.
- After reviewing all documentation and information received, the Complaint Resolution Team compiles a written report containing a summary of the complaint, the Complaint Resolution Team’s findings of fact, and recommendations. Complaint Resolution Team recommendations may include:
- A specific outcome, solution, and/or course of action for the affected party or parties to the complaint
- A recommendation to the LLLI Board or other LLL entity for further action.
- If an issue arises that involves interpretation of policy, the Complaint Resolution Team may refer the question to the Bylaws committee and/or the LLLI Board.
- The Complaint Resolution Team report and recommendation comes to the LLLI Board for discussion and approval before being communicated to the parties.
- The report and recommendation are shared with the complainant and other affected parties to the complaint. In line with the LLLI Document Retention policy, this report is retained permanently.
Complaint Resolution Resources
The Resource Bank for conflict resolution contains tools, model protocols, and conflict resolution information including but not limited to materials developed by LLL Communications Skills Departments and materials shared by other LLL entities. The Resource Bank is available for use by the LLLI Complaint Resolution Team and by all individuals and entities within LLL, including the LLLI Board, DCEs, Area Networks, Areas, and employees. It is intended that the resources are shared both to and from the LLLI Complaint Resolution Team and LLL entities.
The LLLI Board may designate a Resource Bank Coordinator (RBC) to manage and maintain the Resource Bank.The Resource Bank Coordinator is responsible for updating and revising the Resource Bank as needed.
(Nov 12, rev Aug 17, rev Jan 21, rev Oct 22)