Conflict Resolution & Grievance Process
Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts (GSCWM) builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Volunteers serve as role models for girls. They are the leaders behind the leaders.
Girl Scout volunteers are expected to accept the Girl Scout Promise and Law, abide by Volunteer Responsibilities and Girl Scouts Safety Guidelines, and model leadership by applying the Leadership Model in Action for Adults (as documented in the current GSCWM Volunteer Essentials resource).
Most potential conflicts and grievances between volunteers, and between guardians and parents, can be anticipated and prevented by merely being sensitive and respectful to others. Many complaints and concerns can be resolved if they are brought to the direct attention of the appropriate individual with a genuine intention to discover a resolution satisfactory to all parties involved. GSCWM hopes that most, if not all, grievance situations can be resolved informally, the goal of which is to eliminate the cause(s) for the grievance.
Potential grievances might include:
- disputes between volunteers, volunteers and paid staff, or volunteers and the parents/guardians of girls
- volunteer leader personality conflicts
- disputes over disciplinary issues
- differences in interpretation of or concern regarding compliance with GSCWM policies and procedures
- differences in opinion on how to incorporate Journeys and Girl Guides into troop activities
- inappropriate behavior
GSCWM has established procedures to assist volunteers, parents, guardians and staff in their efforts to find resolutions to problems in a respectful, responsible and timely manner. Throughout the conflict and grievance resolution process, Girl Scouts volunteers, parents/guardians, and staff are expected to practice self-control, confidentiality, and diplomacy so that conflicts do not erupt into regrettable incidents.
Every individual should expect prompt attention to his/her concerns and volunteers should expect a fair resolution of the complaint without fear of jeopardizing his/her volunteer status. The conflict resolution procedure, however, will not restrict GSCWM from taking action to protect the safety and health of the girls.
GSCWM reserves the right to refuse reappointment, dismiss or exclude affiliation with GSSDI any volunteer who does not conduct herself/himself in a manner that is consistent with the principles of the Girl Scout Movement, or who violates any policies or procedures of Girl Scouts of the USA or GSCWM. Decisions made by GSCWM are deemed final.
Note: Use of GSCWM’s Grievance Form isn’t required unless a formal grievance is submitted directly to council. However the Grievance Form can be used by parents/guardians, volunteers or other concerned parties, as a helpful resource to ensure complete information regarding a conflict or concern is documented.
Conflict Resolution and Grievance Procedure
Click here to download GSCWM Grievance Form.
- If a volunteer or parent/guardian of a Girl Scout has a grievance, he/she should first take the concern to the person(s) involved (as close to the time of the incident in question as possible) and seek a resolution that is acceptable to all parties. Girl Scouts volunteers are expected to make every attempt possible at resolving a grievance through open discussion directly with the party in question, immediately after identification of a problem.
- If informal attempts at resolution fail, the individuals involved should meet with the volunteer’s direct supervisor and attempt to resolve the conflict with mediation support from the supervisor (i.e. for a troop leader/co-leader this would be the Service Unit Manager). The direct supervisor will document the concern and resolution and provide a copy to each party as well as the designated GSCWM Volunteer Development Specialist for the Service Unit. The Volunteer Development Specialist will put a copy of the documentation in the volunteer’s physical file and database record.
- If the parent/guardian or volunteer still does not feel the concern has been adequately resolved, he/she may directly contact the GSCWM Volunteer Development Specialist for the Service Unit. The Volunteer Development Specialist will review the documentation and contact all concerned parties to seek resolution, providing documentation of the resolution to all involved parties and putting a copy of the council-based decision in the volunteer’s physical file and database record.
- When the concerned party and the volunteer in question are still unable to resolve the conflict or grievance or have concerns about the decision, any involved party (including the individual’s direct supervisor) may elect to initiate the Council’s Formal Grievance Procedure.
- A conflict may be brought to the attention of GSCWM, by submitting a GSCWM Grievance Form to the Volunteerism Manager. The Volunteerism Manager will review the grievance and identify the appropriate staff member to investigate. The appointed staff member will contact all concerned parties to seek further information and schedule meetings as needed. The appointed staff member will deliver his/her response and resolution in writing to all concerned parties and will put a copy of the documentation in the volunteer’s physical file and database record.
- If this effort does not solve the problem, the concerned party may request that the Volunteerism Manager review the Grievance Form and all related documentation. The Volunteerism Manager will contact all involved parties, as needed and/or set up a meeting with the concerned party, volunteer(s) in question and appropriate staff members. The Volunteerism Manager will deliver the resulting decision in writing to the concerned parties and file the documentation.
- If the filing party still feels that the situation has not been adequately resolved, a final review of the submitted grievance may be requested in writing to the Director of Program and Membership, who will make a final decision on the conflict and see that the decision is implemented. All decisions will be documented, and each party will need to sign the agreement and keep a copy.