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Grievance Policy & Procedures

Approved by the Seattle Audubon Board of Directors, November 11, 2021

Purpose and Values Statement

Seattle Audubon will truly be for everyone when it is led, staffed, and supported by people of many different backgrounds and perspectives. We celebrate and value people of every age, race, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, class, ability or disability, sexual orientation, and political or religious belief.  We also acknowledge that these categories, and especially their intersections, play a significant role in how power and resources have been inequitably distributed historically and today. We are committed to using our position and influence to challenge the systems of oppression that have created and uphold these inequities. 

This policy aims to ensure that:

  1. All perceived violations and complaints of discrimination and harassment are considered seriously and dealt with in a manner that is fair, urgent, and consistent.
  2. People reporting grievances feel that their grievances are addressed and taken seriously.
  3. People reporting grievances do not experience any retaliation or victimization.

This policy applies to all people who are a part of the Seattle Audubon community, including but not limited to: staff, board, volunteers, donors, program participants, and nonprofit and corporate partners.


A grievance is the reporting of an incident of discrimination or harassment to Seattle Audubon.

Incidents of harassment and discrimination include but are not limited to inappropriate comments, microaggressions, slurs, jokes, pictures, objects, threats, physical assaults, intimidation, institutionally or culturally discriminatory policies, practices, and norms, inequitable application of policies, and inequitable or biased treatment, based on age, race, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and expression, class, ability or disability, sexual orientation, and political or religious belief. This includes behaviors, actions, or systems that are not intended to be harmful, and intentional harassment or discrimination.

Examples of Harassment and Discrimination

  • Microaggressions, defined as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults” (Source: The People’s Institute Northwest);
  • Unwelcome comments and conduct with discriminatory connotation(s) or subject matter that are demeaning to anyone;
  • Offensive and vulgar jokes, name-calling, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, stereotyping, physical gestures or enactments, or displaying inappropriate photographs or objects;
  • Physical assaults or threats and intimidation;
  • Denial or obstruction of access to programs or opportunities with Seattle Audubon;
  • Policies, practices, and norms that perpetuate institutional or cultural inequities;
  • Unequal application of policies;
  • Any other misconduct that interferes with building a culture of belonging at Seattle Audubon, where people can show up as their true selves.
    Reporting and Addressing Incidents of Discrimination or Harassment

    Every Seattle Audubon staff member and board member may serve as a representative of Seattle Audubon if someone needs assistance in addressing a grievance.

    1. Designated Seattle Audubon representatives 
      • Claire Catania, Executive Director,, 206-523-8243 ext. 105
      • Grace Rajendran, Equity & Justice Committee Chair and Board Member,
    2. The person wishing to report a grievance may also contact a person they feel most comfortable contacting, inside or outside of the organization, and ask them to report on their behalf.
    3. Complete our grievance reporting form, anonymously or named.

    To address an incident and report a grievance, Seattle Audubon has the following procedure:

    Option 1: Directly Address the Other Person

    If you feel safe and able, directly address the person committing the act:

    1. Address the person committing the incident directly.
      • You can choose to have another person with you when addressing the person directly.
    2. Name the behavior or activity and how it impacted you (If you are an observer, check-in with the person impacted first before confronting the behavior. See “If you observe an incident of discrimination or harassment” below.)
    3. Explain that their action or behavior is against Seattle Audubon values and policies and give them a chance to correct their actions.
    4. If that does not resolve the incident, bring your concern to a Seattle Audubon representative as quickly as possible, using the contact information below.
    5. The Seattle Audubon representative will address the incident according to our investigation and grievance procedure listed below.
    6. Complete grievance reporting form or report incident to a Seattle Audubon representative so Seattle Audubon has a record of the incident.

    Option 2: Speak to a Seattle Audubon representative

    If you don’t feel safe or able, do not directly address the person committing the incident:

    1. Bring your concern to a Seattle Audubon representative as quickly as possible, using the contact information below or grievance reporting form.
    2. The Seattle Audubon representative will address the grievance according to our investigation and grievance procedure listed below.
    3. The Seattle Audubon representative is responsible for recording the incident through the grievance reporting form and recording any action taken by Seattle Audubon.

    If you observe an incident of discrimination or harassment

    1. First, check in with the person experiencing the incident to see what support they need and what course of action would be most helpful to them.
    2. From there, determine next steps for addressing or reporting the grievance (see above for more details).
    3. If you see someone address an incident, offer them support and acknowledge their action to continue to build solidarity and community around building a culture of accountability and inclusion.
    After a Grievance is Reported
    1. Once a Seattle Audubon representative is notified about a grievance and the person reporting requests follow up, they will first reach out to the person affected to hear their experience and decide on an appropriate course of action that best supports and protects the affected person.
    2. The first action must be taken by the Seattle Audubon representative within three business days.
    3. Next steps may include:
      • A Seattle Audubon representative speaking one-on-one with the subject of the grievance to share the feedback, reinforce our values, and determine a corrective action plan.
      • Holding a mediation session or other conflict resolution with the affected person and the subject of the grievance.
      • Involving a third-party person trained in conflict resolution, specifically around the nature of the grievance.
      • Conducting a prompt, thorough, and fair investigation towards a resolution.
      • Dismissing subject of grievance from Seattle Audubon and/or Seattle Audubon programs and events.
      • Training or education for the subject of the grievance or community at large.
      • Updating Seattle Audubon policies, norms, and practices to dismantle institutionalized and/or cultural systems of oppression at Seattle Audubon.
      • If needed, supporting the person impacted in communicating with law enforcement or taking legal action.
    4. The Seattle Audubon representative may reach out to other Seattle Audubon representatives for support in addressing the grievance.
    5. If a grievance is reported anonymously, Seattle Audubon representatives will determine the best course of action to address the grievance with the information provided.
    6. If the incident has not already been reported on the form, the Seattle Audubon representative will record the grievance and any action taken on the grievance reporting form,
    7. If the incident is already reported on the form, the Seattle Audubon representative will send the Executive Director the Seattle Audubon response and the result of the action. The ED will record the response on the grievance reporting form response page.
    Tracking and Recording Information

    Seattle Audubon will maintain a record of reported grievances and actions taken to hold ourselves accountable to addressing grievances and continuously learning and growing as an organization.

    1. All reported grievances must be recorded in the grievance reporting form. This includes reporting from:
      • Person who experienced or witnessed an incident of discrimination or harassment,
      • People who are contacted about reporting a grievance on behalf of someone else may contact any of the above contacts or complete our grievance reporting form, or
      • Seattle Audubon representatives who are contacted about reporting a grievance.
    2. The Executive Director will receive email notifications when the form is completed.
    3. The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that any action taken by Seattle Audubon is recorded on the reporting form response spreadsheet.
    Confidentiality, Access to Information, and Protection from Retaliation
    1. All grievance reports will be treated as confidential to the extent possible while addressing the grievance.
    2. Grievances reported via the grievance reporting form will be shared with the Equity & Justice Committee Chair, and other people as appropriate to address the grievance.
    3. Records of grievances about staff will be placed in their personnel file. A record of the grievances report will not be placed in the personnel file of a staff member reporting an incident.
    4. Threats, other forms of intimidation, and retaliation against a person reporting a grievance or any other party involved in implementing the grievance policy are violations of the policy and may be grounds for disciplinary action.
    Acknowledgements and Sources

    Our grievance policy and reporting form are based on the leadership and work of Seattle Works, who used materials from Dent Values, University of Cape Town Policy on Racism and Racial Harassment, Goshen College Policy and Procedures on Racial Misconduct, Racial Harassment & Discrimination, and The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond Northwest.