This Licensee Grievance Policy (“Policy”) of The Miss America Organization, a Delaware nonprofit corporation (“MAO”), applies to state and local organizations (“Licensees”) which are party to a license agreement with MAO (“License Agreement”) with respect to the operation of a state or local Miss America competition (“Competition”).
The purpose of this Policy is to set forth an efficient and effective process (“Grievance Process”), administered by MAO, for receiving, investigating and facilitating resolution of concerns, conflicts or complaints (“Grievances”) communicated to MAO by the party with the Grievance (“Grievant”) or otherwise brought to the attention of MAO in writing regarding Licensees and their Competitions, including actions or inactions of Executive Directors, state or local titleholders or volunteers with decision-making authority. The Grievance Process will be subject to MAO’s other relevant policies, such as anti-harassment and non-retaliation, and the terms and conditions of the relevant License Agreement.
Policy and Procedure:
Grievance Notification. The Grievance Process is intended to occur only after a good faith attempt to resolve the Grievance has occurred directly between the Grievant, if known, and the relevant Licensee. If direct resolution has failed, the Grievant or the Licensee may submit the Grievance to MAO for possible review and potential resolution pursuant to the Grievance Process or MAO may do so upon its own initiative.
The submission must occur through MAO’s online submission process, which will solicit certain information and supporting documentation with respect to the Grievance, including details of attempts at direct resolution and an explanation why direct resolution failed. The submission process also requires acceptance of certain terms and conditions, including obligations to maintain confidentiality and to cooperate with and abide by the Grievance Process.
Acceptance of a submitted Grievance will be at MAO’s sole and absolute discretion. Factors which may be considered in not accepting the submitted Grievance includes whether the Grievance is submitted anonymously, under a fictitious name, or with a request to not reveal the Grievant’s identity, and whether public disclosure of the Grievance has occurred through any form of media, including social media.
If the Grievance has multiple Grievants, each Grievant must submit their own separate Grievance submission. MAO will promptly notify the Grievant(s) and the relevant Parties of MAO’s receipt of a Grievance submission and its determination whether to accept the Grievance submission. The identity of the Grievant(s) and the relevant Parties will be kept confidential to the extent possible, unless doing so does not comply with applicable law or prevents a full and effective investigation or resolution of the Grievance.
A grievance concerning a Candidate in the Miss America program must be filed by the candidate herself, a grievance from a parent or legal guardian will not be considered unless the candidate is under the legal age of 18 years old. Any grievance involving a local organization within the Miss America program will not be considered if the MAO state licensed organization has not had the opportunity to try and resolve the grievance. To clarify, MAO grants a license for a state organization to operate within their respective state and it is the state organization who grants licenses to local programs.
Grievance Committee. In the event MAO accepts a Grievance submission (“Accepted Grievance”), MAO will create a committee (“Grievance Committee”) for the purpose of reviewing and investigating the Accepted Grievance, and recommending an appropriate resolution to the Board of Trustees of MAO. The Grievance Committee will be composed of three (3) members selected randomly by MAO from among a pool of 50 candidates, 25 of whom will be those previously submitted by state-level Licensees and 25 of whom will be those previously submitted by state title holders. Two of the three members must be Licensee Executive Directors, if the Grievance is against an Executive Director or volunteer, or Former State Titleholders, if the Grievance is against a titleholder.
Once selected and informed of the Accepted Grievance, each member of the Grievance Committee will be required to submit a conflict of interest disclosure form. No member who has a conflict of interest or could reasonably be perceived as having a conflict of interest or other inability to be impartial with respect to the parties involved in or the subject matter of the Accepted Grievance, as determined by MAO in its sole and absolute discretion, will be allowed to serve on the Grievance Committee.
In the event a member of the Grievance Committee is determined by MAO to have a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest, or otherwise is not available or permitted by MAO to serve or to continue serving on the Grievance Committee, he or she will be replaced by another candidate chosen in the manner described above. The identity of the Grievance Committee members will only be disclosed to or known by the Grievant(s), if any, the relevant Licensee and MAO.
Grievance Committee Proceedings. The proceedings of the Grievance Committee will be conducted in accordance with this Policy and such governance procedures determined from time to time by MAO or, to the extent consistent or compatible with this Policy and any governance procedures determined by MAO, the members of the Grievance Committee.
After the Grievance is accepted for review and the independent panel is established, the first meeting of the Grievance Committee will be held within ten (10) business days after MAO notifies the Grievant(s), if any, and the relevant Licensee that it has accepted a Grievance submission. Upon conclusion of its investigation and consideration of the Accepted Grievance, the Grievance Committee will make a recommendation with respect to any appropriate corrective or disciplinary action to the Miss America Board of Directors within thirty (30) days. The Miss America Board will promptly consider and determine whether to accept the recommendation, and will provide prompt notice to the Grievant(s), if any, and the relevant Licensee, which must abide by the resolution, subject to any rights or remedies under applicable law and the relevant License Agreement.