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Grievances and Complaints Policy and Procedure

The terms “us” or “we” or “our” herein refers to Yoga Alliance®, Yoga Alliance Australia®, Yoga Alliance International®.

This policy is for anyone who has received a service or product from Yoga Alliance or a RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) a RYS (Registered Yoga School) member of the organisation.

LEGAL NOTICE: Before lodging a Grievance or Complaint with Yoga Alliance CAREFULLY consider the following:

  1. Yoga Alliance (Australia) it is not and does not claim to be a Citizens Advice Bureau and therefore is not legally qualified and cannot provide anyone with legal advice on the subject of Grievances/Complaints submitted.

  2. There are certain things we can help with, and others where we cannot. Usually people are looking to resolve a problem with their lawyers, and our approach is to try and help. If the Grievance/Complaint is of a legal nature (e.g. commercial, industrial, administrative, employer/employee related, harassment, racial or religious vilification, wilfully damaging property, striking another employee or member of the public, or otherwise inflicting harm on, or endangering the life of, another person, conduct involving dishonesty, wilfulness or recklessness, loss or damage or  similar litigations/disputes, it is not appropriate to “lodge a grievance/complaint” with Yoga Alliance, the pursuer/s should seek legal advice to resolve the issue.

  3. Reporting copyright or trademark infringements: If your Grievance/Complaint is related to what you believe to be infringement of your (IP Intellectual Property) by one or more of our RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) or RYS (Registered Yoga School) it is not appropriate to “lodge a grievance/complaint” with Yoga Alliance as Yoga Alliance does not have any legal responsibility for, or power to enforce, compliance with trademark or copyright laws. Noting that Yoga Alliance it is the only Yoga Organisation in the world that prior to accredit yoga training programs requires mandatory legal evidence of copyright and trademark ownership. It is up to the owner of the trademark/copyright responsibility to take steps to deal with infringements. If you need to know about how the law applies to a particular situation, please get advice from a lawyer.

  4. Be aware that anything you write can be used against you.

  5. Yoga Alliance will under no circumstances accept Grievances/Complaints that are (intentionally or unintentionally) “defamatory” or abusive of any of the parties involved. NB: Defamation is the oral utterance (slander) or written publication (libel) of false or misleading facts, or false or misleading implied facts, that are derogatory or damaging to an individual’s, entity’s or product’s reputation. Accusing someone of dishonesty or other moral deficiency, or of professional or business deficiency, raises particularly significant risks of defamation liability.

  6. Any Grievances/Complaints whose subject matter is intentionally or unintentionally “defamatory” of Yoga Alliance, Yoga Alliance Australia or Yoga Alliance International, will be dealt with directly by the Yoga Alliance’s legal team who may decide to bring an action in defamation/libel if they believe that a person or publication has harmed Yoga Alliance Australia reputation by making false statements about Yoga Alliance/Yoga Alliance Australia or Yoga Alliance International.

  7. A Grievance resolution is not a disciplinary process and therefore Yoga Alliance is under no obligation to enforce disciplinary actions on behalf of the complainant/s against a registered member/s of the organisation, Yoga Alliance’s Management or staff. While we encourage anyone to inform us if they believe another user has violated any of our policies, we reserve the right to investigate and take appropriate action at our sole discretion.

SECTION 1. Statement of Purpose and Scope

This Grievance Policy based on Yoga Alliance’s Code of Practice and Code of Ethics aims to ensure that complaints and grievances are handled and resolved in an appropriate, fair, transparent and timely manner, and in accordance with the principles of natural justice.  

SECTION 2.  Distinction between a Complaint and a Grievance

This policy defines the difference between a grievance and a complaint as follows:

  1. A complaint is a general expression of dissatisfaction with a situation or the behaviours of other person (s), an expression by a complainant of concern, dissatisfaction or frustration concerning matters such as the quality or delivery of a service, a policy or procedure, a decision, or the conduct of another person which arises from a grievance.

  2. A grievance is a more specific and serious feeling of an alleged wrong or hardship suffered, which is the grounds of a complaint it may arise, for example, from any action or inaction, behaviour, situation or decision; discrimination, harassment, victimisation, racial and religious vilification, interpersonal conflicts or difficulties, resources; and unethical behaviour of one or more parties. For a real grievance to have occurred there must have been a serious violation that can be challenged. There are occasions when it may be deemed inappropriate to commence a grievance resolution process. NB: Grievances must be lodged in good faith and not be vexatious.

SECTION 3. Principles of Yoga Alliance Australia Grievance Complaint Procedure

3.1 The service’s Grievances and Complaints Policy Procedure values:

  1. procedural fairness and natural justice;

  2. transparent policies and procedures for everyone to understand;

  3. grievances/complaints are openly accepted;

  4. grievances/complaints are handled at no charge;

  5. a code of practice and ethics;

  6. a service culture free from discrimination and harassment;

  7. the lodgement of a grievance will not result in unfair treatment or victimisation of any party.

3.2 The Grievances and Complaints Policy ensures that all persons are presented with procedures that:

  1. value the opportunity to be heard;

  2. promote conflict resolution;

  3. encourage the development of harmonious partnerships;

  4. ensure that conflicts and grievances are mediated fairly; and

  5. are transparent and equitable.

SECTION 4. Who can make a complain

4.1 This policy applies to grievances/complaints that may arise between:

  1. a member of  the organisation and another member; or

  2. a non-member (e.g. a person/s of the general public or yoga student/s) and a member of the organisation.

  3. a member of the organisation and a member/s of the Yoga Alliance Management or staff; or

  4. a non-member (e.g. a person/s of the general public, yoga student or enrolee in a training courses offered by the Yoga Alliance Academy) and a member of the Yoga Alliance Management or staff.

4.2 This procedure does not cover grievances/complaints made by Yoga Alliance paid staff, volunteers and trustees who need to follow agreed grievance, disciplinary or other internal procedures.

SECTION 5.  Lodging a Grievance/Complaint

5.1  Prior to lodging a grievance the grievant/complainer is expected to have fully read the Yoga Alliance’s Code of Practice and  Code of Ethics available on the web-site.

5.2 Prior to lodging the complaint, the grievant/complainer is expected to attempt to resolve the matter informally with the  individual/s concerned, but if this is not possible, then in writing to provide Yoga Alliance with evidence of every attempts made.

5.3 Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.

5.4 All grievances/complaints are accepted in writing only using our standardised downloadable Grievance Form (please see at the footer of this page) and must be sent at the e-mail address available on the form.

5.5 A copy of all incoming and outgoing grievances/complaints is preserved by the Yoga Alliance‘s legal team in its entirety for two (2) years following the final resolution of the grievance/complaint.

5.7 For clarity and transparency purposes, we promote the disclosure and sharing of information between the parties to a matter where, in our view, this will help in the investigation and resolution of the matter. Any information we release to either party is on the condition that it will only be used by the party who receives it, and only for the purpose of investigating and resolving the matter.

5.8 All parties will maintain appropriate confidentiality during the grievance or complaint resolution process. Only the people directly involved in the grievance, or in resolving the issue, can have access to information about grievances/complaints resolution process.

5.9 All parties will be given the opportunity to decide whether or not they agree to disclose their names to the parties involved in the grievance/complaint and want to continue with their grievance/complaint. If any of the parties refuse to  disclose their personal details, under these circumstances staff are required not to divulge information about the investigation to the person/s object of the grievance/complaint and therefore they will dismiss the  grievance/complaint..

5.10 We may choose to keep any information confidential from a party, whether the parties have asked for this or not.

In the form the grievant/complainer must provide the following information:

  1. name of grievant.

  2. home or work address.

  3. statement of grievance or details of why you are filing a grievance.

  4. the date and time the incident occurred.

  5. where did the incident occur (give specific location or address).

  6. who was involved (give names and titles).

  7. which Yoga Alliance’s policies procedures, or guidelines have been violated.

  8. were witnesses involved (give names and titles).

  9. what is the alleged violation.

  10. the steps taken to resolve the grievance, including whether the complaint has been lodged elsewhere.

  11. what consideration or resolution is the grievant seeking from Yoga Alliance Australia.

  12. include any documentation that is relevant to the grievance/complaint.

  13. another person, or proxy, may represent the grievant  in the grievance procedures. The name of the person, title, relationship and the grievant signature will be required.

SECTION 6. Receiving the Grievance/Complaint

6.1 A Grievance/Complaint filed, either informally or formally, will not be considered unless it is filed not later than 120 days after the event or occurrence giving rise to the grievance or knowledge of the event or occurrence.

6.2 Grievances/Complaints are responded to (excluding holidays) within 14 working days from the date they are received. The entire formal procedure should take no longer than 28 working days.

6.3 The complainer will receive a letter of acknowledgment from Yoga Alliance containing the following information:

  1. name, and telephone number of the person who will investigate the complaint. This nominated person/s will be a Yoga Alliance’s representative and will have the necessary skill and experience to manage the grievance resolution process;

  2. what support will be offered during the process of the grievance/complaint;

  3. grievance/complaint completion time limits.

Note: In some cases, Yoga Alliance may decide that its involvement in resolving the grievance/complaint is not appropriate. In this instance, Yoga  Alliance will make this clear to the grievant/complainant and may recommend alternative  approaches.

SECTION  7Unreasonable Griever/Complainant Conduct

7.1 We expect that the parties to a matter will communicate with us and with each other in a, courteous and non-threatening manner.

7.2 We take a serious view of communications that contain offensive, rude, abusive or threatening material. In these cases we may take a number of steps, including:

  1. in line with Australian Complaint Handling Standard  any Organisations that receive a grievance/complaint  containing personal abuse, inflammatory statements or material clearly intended to intimidate the Organisation (e.g Yoga Alliance/Yoga Alliance Australia or Yoga Alliance International) and/or any participants in the grievance/complaint have the right to take one of the following action:

  2. decide to stop handling a grievance/complaint; or

  3. return the grievance/complaint  to the sender and not be acted upon;  or

  4. editing information received to remove offensive or abusive comments; or

  5. where the grievance/complaint alleges criminal behaviour, the Organisation may consider reporting issues of concern to an external agency or regulator including the police.

SECTION 8. Processing the Grievance/Complaint

Stage 1

8.1 Grievances /Complaints are assessed on an individual basis and in the first instance will be dealt with at the lowest     operational level within the organisation with the aim to resolving the complaint promptly.

8.2 The investigation may involve all or some of the following courses of action, as appropriate to the individual case:

  1. the subject of the complaint will be asked to submit further version of events;

  2. further information may be sought from third parties with regard to the background of the grievance/complaint (e .g proxy, witnesses).

8.3  Throughout the process the complainant will be kept informed at regular intervals as to how the investigation is progressing and timescales involved. The complainant may also be asked for further information and comments to ensure that the appointed Representative has a balanced understanding.

8.4 When the nominated Yoga Alliance’s representative has made a decision, the complainant will receive a formal written response to the grievance/complaint.

The response will include the following information:

  1. a decision about whether the complaint was upheld or not;  

  2. the sources of the information relevant to the decision;

  3. the reason for the decision;

  4. any other action that may be taken in light of the complaint.

Stage 2

8.5  Should a resolution not be reached after Stage 1, the complaint will be referred to a Senior Managing Director within Yoga Alliance. The person who handles an appeal will generally ‘rehear’ the grievance, by going through the same steps as the person who handled the original grievance. However, they may decide to interview more witnesses if they think they will be able to
assist in resolving the grievance.

8.6  If the Managing Director decides that the complaint is a frivolous one, he/her shall advise the complainant of the following:

  1. that there appear to be no grounds for their complaint; or
  2. may choose to use a mediation process where the nature of the complaint lends itself to being resolved by mediation; or
  3. the original decision may be confirmed or it may be overturned.  

Stage 3 Mediation

8.7 Mediation is a process by which the participants in a dispute, together with the assistance of a neutral person (in this case a trained mediator), systematically isolate disputed issues in order to develop options, consider alternatives, and reach a consensual settlement that will accommodate their needs.

8.8 The process of mediation emphasises the participants’ own responsibility for making decisions that affect their lives.
Mediation incorporates the setting of goals and the solution to a problem, through the efforts of the participants who ultimately are required to accept the consequences of their decisions.

8.9 Where mediation is sought, the mediator cannot be a party to the dispute. The mediator may be a member of Yoga Alliance’s Management or staff, or an independent mediator may be recommended. The mediator will be appointed by the person who is managing the grievance process. The mediator will facilitate the process but will not make decisions for the parties.

8.10  All persons (complainants/grievers) directly involved in the complaint will share the costs of the mediation equally, unless agreed otherwise. The mediator will give the parties involved, and the Yoga Alliance grievance manager, documentation noting that mediation occurred and who attended, and the outcome.

SECTION 9. Appeals Panel. Any person involved in the grievance/complaint has the right to appeal

9.1 If a resolution has not satisfactorily been reached after Stage1; Stage 2 and Stage 3, the griever/complainant have a right of appeal. Any appeal must set out reasons why the griever/complainant consider the appeal to be merited. The griever/complainant must lodge the appeal with the Appeals Panel within 15 working days of receiving the decision from the Managing Director.

9.2 The  Appeals Panel normally composed of three members of the  Yoga Alliance’s Board of Directors, will be convened to consider the complainant appeal. The Yoga Alliance’s Board of Directors, will be responsible for ensuring the panel is appropriately representative. Panel membership will be restricted to people who have had no previous involvement in the investigation and consideration of the complaint

9.3 Members of the Appeals Panel will:

  1. consider whether the grounds for appeal are reasonable;
  2. read through the necessary paperwork and speak to any relevant individuals involved with the complaint as they consider necessary;
  3. make a final decision.

9.4 The Appeals Panel will write to the complainant as soon as possible, to confirm:

  1. the final decision about the complaint;
  2. the reason for the decision;
  3. any action that may be taken in light of the complaint.

10.Time limits

10.1 In circumstances where time limits cannot be met due to unforeseen circumstances, grievers/complainants will be notified in writing. The reasons for the delay with adjusted timescales will be supplied by the person responsible for handling the grievance/ complaint.

SECTION 11. Complaints - Follow up on a resolution

11.1 Within 10 working days of the grievance/complaint being resolved, or upon an agreed timeframe with the person lodging the complaint, a Yoga Alliance’s nominated representative will conduct a follow-up interview with the aggrieved via telephone and ask for a written statement to gain feedback on the process to make sure that the griever/complainant is satisfied with the way the resolution was both reached and implemented.

11.2 The record of all incoming and outgoing grievances and complaints including these that has been referred to an external party (e.g. mediator or legal representatives), is preserved by the Yoga Alliance ‘s legal team in its entirety for two (2) years following the final resolution of the grievance/complaint. After two years, maintenance or destruction of grievances and complaints records will be handled in accordance with this policy, but a final copy of the decision will be permanently maintained in the Yoga Alliance database accessible to the grievant for review on written request.

For further information please visit the web-pages listed below:

Download The Grievance Form

Our Policies

Our Code of Practice

Our Code of Ethics


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