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Misconduct Complaint Process
Misconduct Complaint Process
Safe Congregations, Conflict Management in Congregations, Professional Misconduct

Professional Misconduct contains a top level information on the Office of Ethics and Safety.  This is a more detailed narrative of how a complaint works through the UUA..

(Note: The term religious professional is used to refer to (1) ministers and (2) religious educators who are members of Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA), including those who are or may be seeking credentialing with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and (3) music leaders who are members of the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM), including those who are or may be seeking credentialing with the UUA. The UUA Consultant in this context can mean either an external consultant or the Director of Ministry and Faith Development. )

The UUA intake person is the primary point of contact for any person wishing to report an alleged instance of misconduct by a religious professional. This function reports to the Executive Office of the UUA.  Currently the UUA Intake Person is Heather Bond, who can be reached at safecongregations [at] uua [dot] org (safecongregations @ uua.org) and (617) 948-6462.

At the "intake" stage the UUA intake person has the discretion to refer matters not suitable for adjudication by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC), to other resources such as Regional Field Staff, Ministry and Faith Development staff, Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM), LREDA Good Offices, etc.

At any point in the process the UUA Intake Person may consult with the Director for Ministry and Faith Development, the Director for Congregational Life, and/or the UUA Executive Vice President.

The UUA Intake Person hears the complaint, provides information on the process and responds to questions from the complainant. The UUA Intake Person may assign an Advocate to the complainant to help with the discernment process and the formation of the complaint. Once the complainant completes an official complaint, the complaint is then referred to the UUA Consultant. An official complaint must be made in writing. It can be submitted via U.S. Mail or email to safecongregations [at] uua [dot] org (safecongregations @ uua.org). The mailing address is: Heather Bond, Office of Ethics and Safety/ UUA, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210.

When/if a complaint is received in writing; the UUA Consultant contacts the religious professional to inform them of the complaint.

If the complaint warrants, the UUA Consultant will conduct interviews and other fact-finding activities. If warranted, it is the Consultant's responsibility to define the scope of the case to be presented to the MFC.

In certain instances, the religious professional may not contest the factual basis for the complaint. This is referred to as self-disclosure. In cases of self-disclosure, the religious professional may enter into negotiations for a voluntary resolution without the necessity of an investigation. The UUA Consultant will be a focal point for such negotiations and the complainant will be consulted with respect to the proposed resolution.

If it is determined that the case is to be adjudicated by the MFC, the UUA Consultant will have responsibility for presenting the case to the Committee. The Consultant may decide to exclude certain parts of a complaint that are not supported by evidence developed during an investigation.

In cases to be investigated and possibly adjudicated by the MFC, a complainant "liaison" will be a point of contact and communication between the aggrieved party and those involved in the process on behalf of the UUA.

All participants in any complaint process will be informed that confidentiality may be breached if the UUA Consultant deems it necessary to protect against harm.

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is an association of member individual and independent congregations. The role of the UUA is to provide support to its member congregations. It does not govern them. In our tradition of congregational polity, each member congregation has the power to ordain, call/hire, supervise and dismiss ministers and other staff; and to do so independently of the UUA. It is the congregation, not the Association, that takes responsibility for regulation of its own policies and staff. 

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For more information contact safecongregations@uua.org.