Complaints Procedure






1       Introduction

1.1 In order to clarify the actions and procedures available to the Club when maters of alleged bad or anti-social behaviour and unethical or unacceptable conduct arise the Club has adopted a Complaints Procedure. The procedure which is detailed below is to be read in conjunction with Clause 10 of the Constitution of the Club entitled” Discipline and/or Suspension of Members


2       Complaints Sub-Committee

2.1 In accordance with clause 10 of the Constitution, the Committee may refer complaints and disciplinary matters to a sub-committee.

2.2 The sub-committee shall meet the complaint within seven (7) days of the complaint being received. If the complaints sub-committee considers an explanation or further comment from the alleged offender is needed or additional enquires should be made, a meeting to consider that evidence shall be scheduled within a further 14 days.

2.3 The complaints sub-committee shall submit a written report outlining the details of the alleged complaint, the parties involved and details of the resolution (including any disciplinary action in line with paragraph 5 – Sanctions Available) to the full Committee at its’ first meeting after formal consideration of the complaint.


3       Grounds for Discipline

3.1     Violation of the proprieties codified in the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge.

3.2    Violation of New Zealand Bridge Incorporated regulations

3.3 Unfounded accusations of unethical conduct at any event or tournament conducted by the Club.

3.4 Anti-social behaviour at any session or event or tournament sponsored by the Club. Examples of such anti-social behaviour may include rudeness, intimidation, threats, insinuations, negative comments concerning play and/or bidding, being disruptive, arguing with a director’s ruling and gratuitous lessons and analysis at the table.

3.5 Improper conduct towards any elected member of the Committee, tournament official or employee of the Club.

3.6 Behaviour unbecoming of a member of the Club or detrimental to the interests of the Club or a failure to observe any rule or by-law of the Club.


4       Disciplinary Procedure

4.1 A complaint must be reported within seven (7) days of the incident complained about.

4.2    Complaints must be in writing in the form of a letter or report addressed to the Secretary. Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.

4.3 Single incidents of misconduct may be noted by the complaints subcommittee without disciplinary action being taken but may be considered at a future date as evidence of a pattern of behaviour if a further complaint involving the same person is received and may be taken into account when determining the penalty to be imposed.

4.4 If no disciplinary action is deemed warranted, details of the complaint are to be sent to the offender for his/her information only.

4.5 If action is deemed warranted, the complaints sub-committee will seek an explanation or further comment from the alleged offender. The alleged offender may reply in writing or by personal appearance, with or without representation, at the next meeting of the complaints sub-committee, the date of which must be notified when details of the complaint are advised. In the event of a verbal response, the Secretary will prepare a written synopsis for consideration by the complaints sub-committee. A copy of the synopsis will be sent to the alleged offender within 72 hours and it will be the alleged offender’s responsibility to notify any objection to the synopsis, or provide any written submissions no later than 72 hours before the next scheduled meeting of the complaints subcommittee. Complainants and alleged offenders may present written or verbal evidence from witnesses at any meeting of the complaints sub-committee. The complaints sub-committee may seek comment from other witnesses at its own discretion.

4.6 Having requested additional information, whether or not a response is received or heard, the complaints sub-committee will consider all information available to it and make a decision on the appropriate action to be taken, details of which will be advised to all parties involved.

4.7 Any party not satisfied by the action taken by the complaints subcommittee may ask for the decision to be reviewed by the full Committee but only if relevant new evidence not available to the complaints sub-committee is presented in support of the application of review.

4.8 Where the complaints sub-committee considers expulsion or suspension is the appropriate sanction, a recommendation will be presented to the next meeting of the full Committee for ratification. In the event of a recommendation for expulsion or suspension of a member is approved, the member affected shall have the right of appeal.

4.9 A register is to be kept by the Secretary recording the following details about each complaint received by the Committee including details of any incident where a director has imposed a disciplinary penalty: 

(i)           All correspondence forwarded and received;

(ii)         Any synopsis prepared;

(iii)        Statement of action(s) taken and/or sanction(s) imposed.

 The Register is to be kept by the Secretary in a place where it is not available for any person to view without the prior approval of the Committee.

4.10    On receipt of a written request a member or other person subject of a complaint may, on reasonable notice, view documentation relating to the specific complaint and on payment of a fee to cover copying costs, receive a copy of such documentation.

4.11    At all times during the procedure all parties involved must be kept fully informed of all matters pertaining to such procedure.

4.12    A member who has been expelled or suspended by the Club shall have a right of appeal. Notice of the appeal shall be given to the Secretary of the Club not later than seven (7) days following the member receiving the notice to expel or suspend. The notice of appeal shall include the grounds of or the reasons for the appeal. The appeal hearing, if undertaken, shall be based solely upon the grounds or reasons contained in the notice. Upon receiving a notice of appeal the Secretary of the Club shall convene within 14 days a special meeting of all Committee members. If the ground(s) of appeal involve a technical and/or legal matter the Committee may invite any person (preferably a Club member) with experience and proficiency in such matter(s) to attend the appeal and advise the Committee accordingly. Upon hearing the appeal, the Committee shall vote either to confirm the suspension or expulsion or to allow the appeal. The suspension or expulsion must be confirmed by at least two-thirds of those Committee members present otherwise the appeal succeeds and the affected member is reinstated.


5       Sanctions Available  

5.1 Private Reprimand: A determination that a person has committed an offence warranting discipline. Details will not form a matter of public record.

5.2 Public Reprimand: A determination that a person has committed an offence warranting discipline. The offence becomes a matter of public record.

5.3 Probation: A determination that a person has committed an offence warranting discipline which becomes a matter of public record. If a member is disciplined for another offence warranting probation during the probationary period, then the probation becomes a suspension for the remainder of or half of the probation period whichever is the greater. The probationary period shall be determined by the complaints sub-committee but shall not exceed six (6) months.

5.4 Suspension: A determination that a person has committed an offence warranting suspension of all rights and privileges of membership for a specified period.

5.5 Expulsion: A determination that a person has committed an offence warranting permanent suspension of all rights and privileges of membership.

5.6 Exclusion from Events: A determination that a person has committed an offence warranting suspension of his/her rights to play in events or tournaments sponsored by the Club.

5.7 Reduction or Forfeiture of Masterpoints, Tournament Placing or Disqualification: A determination that a person has committed an offence at an event or tournament sponsored by the Club warranting forfeiture of some or all of the masterpoints earned or a reduction in the placing in the event or tournament or disqualification from the event or tournament.

5.8     All sanctions (except Private Reprimand) are a matter of public record. 



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