Complaint Procedure

purpose

To outline EPS procedures for the receipt, preliminary review, investigation, and adjudication of Complaints regarding Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) Certified Kundalini Yoga Teachers, KRI Teacher Trainers, participants in KRI Level One Teacher Training, and Sikh Dharma International (SDI) Ministers.

 

definitions

Adjudication – The process of making formal decisions regarding the truthfulness of the allegations in a Complaint and any consequences or discipline for the Respondent.

Complaint – A complaint or concern submitted to EPS via its Webform or Complaint Hotline.

Counter Complaint – A complaint submitted by a Respondent against a Reporter, after the Respondent has been notified of, or in response to, the original Complaint, typically about the same alleged incidents and general factual allegations.

Disciplinary Status Page – In the event a teacher or teacher trainer’s certification and/or ATA trainer’s license is suspended or revoked due to violations(s) of the KRI Code of Ethics or other reason, their name, status (Suspension or Revocation), and area of concern (violation type) are posted on the EPS website Disciplinary Status page. Public notice allows anyone to verify if a particular teacher is currently in a disciplinary process and restricted from teaching. The following statuses are not publicly posted: “Warning” (no restrictions) and “Probation” (where the teacher has fewer restrictions and is engaged in a rehabilitation/resolution/growth process).

Ethics – Ethics is our obligation to consider not only our own well-being, but also that of others, and human society as a whole.

Global Ethics Commission (GEC) – The diverse international body of Teachers and Ministers responsible for the adjudication of Complaints brought forward by EPS for its consideration.

Kundalini Yoga – Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®

Minister – A Sikh Dharma International Minister.

Probation – A consequence, as determined by the GEC, where the Respondent is given a specified period, typically 2 years, during which they are supported in the process of introspection, self-improvement, and coming to terms with the harm caused. This may include requirements to complete certain projects, assignments, education, and/or counseling/therapy. Probation may include conditions and prohibitions including, but not limited to, restrictions from teaching Kundalini Yoga, participation in the Aquarian Trainer Academy, and participation in events. Probation Conditions and Requirements are determined by the GEC on a case-by-case basis.

Report – Term used in reference to a Complaint.

Reporter – The person who submitted the Complaint.

Respondent – The Subject of a Complaint (person complained about).

Restitution – Payment or some other form of compensation that is given to make up for loss, damage, or injury that has been caused. For instance, the Respondent may be required to reimburse a harmed party for costs of therapy related to the harm.

Revocation – A consequence, as determined by the GEC, where the Respondent is permanently prohibited from representing KRI, IKTYA, or 3HO in any matter and from teaching Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Their status in the Aquarian Trainer Academy is permanently revoked.

Siri Singh Sahib Corporation (SSSC) – The nonprofit religious organization overseeing the various nonprofit and for-profit organizations of the 3HO/Sikh Dharma global community.

SSSC Legacy Organization – A nonprofit organization under the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation umbrella, including: Sikh Dharma International (SDI), Kundalini Research Institute (KRI), 3HO Foundation International (3HO), 3HO International Kundalini Yoga Teacher Association (IKYTA), 3HO Europe, Legacy of Yogi Bhajan Foundation (LYBF), SDEI-Miri Piri Academy, and SikhNet.

SSSC Office of Dharmic Counsel – Legal counsel for the SSSC and its offices, including EPS.

Status – A person’s professional status as a KRI-certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and/or teacher trainer licensed by the Aquarian Trainer Academy.

Subject of Complaint – The person(s) whom the Complaint is about.

Suspension – A consequence, as determined by the GEC, where the Respondent is given a minimum number of years during which they are prohibited from teaching Kundalini Yoga, Level 1, 2, or 3 training programs, teaching at KRI/3HO major events, and any participation in the Aquarian Trainer Academy. Other teaching restrictions may apply. The suspended teacher may be barred from attending major KRI/3HO events. Suspension terms may specify additional requirements necessary to attain reinstatement. Note: If Application for Reinstatement is approved, the Suspension is immediately followed with a Probation period.

Teacher – Any KRI-Certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, KRI teacher trainer, or participant in KRI Level One Teacher Training.

Violation – A substantiated breach of the KRI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct or the Code of Ethics for SDI Ministers or SDI Minister Vows.

Warning – A consequence, as determined by EPS or the GEC, where the Respondent is informed about the Complaint and warned a future occurrence or Code violation would result in a more substantial consequence. A warning may include requirements such as education or an apology. The Respondent expresses understanding of the warning and agrees to any requirements.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND ANONYMITY

Maintaining confidentiality is essential to building a culture where everyone can feel safe and comfortable coming forward with a Complaint or any concern. EPS handles all Complaints received with discretion and great respect for confidentiality. 

  1. Confidentiality is maintained as much as possible but cannot be guaranteed. 
    a. EPS may need to share information regarding the Complaint with others during the investigation and  Complaint Procedure.
    b. In a matter involving harm to a minor or other vulnerable person that must be reported to authorities under Mandatory Reporter laws, EPS would be required to report the matter to law enforcement. 
    c. Confidentiality agreements are obtained prior to sharing any information with KRI or SDI leadership/personnel.
    d. Any information shared will be the minimum necessary for the matter at hand, in order to protect the privacy of the Reporter and Respondent(s). 
  2. Anonymous Complaints may be submitted via the EPS Complaint Hotline/Webform service provided via a third-party secure system. 

RECEIPT OF COMPLAINTS

Complaints are accepted via the Complaint Hotline and Complaint Webform, or when referred to EPS by an SSSC Legacy Organization. 

Hotline Reports: Callers are provided a Report ID and Personal Identification Number (PIN). Reporters are asked to save this information to call back and receive messages from EPS and/or to submit additional information.

Webform Reports: Reporters are asked to set a password. After clicking “Submit,” a Report ID number and follow-up-by date are provided. If an email address was provided the Password and Report ID will be emailed to the Reporter. Otherwise, the Reporter must save their Password and Report ID to log back into the system and receive communications from EPS or to provide more information.

For all Complaints received per above, the following procedure takes place:

COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

  1. EPS will acknowledge receipt of all Complaints as soon as reasonably possible, and no greater than 10 business days from receipt.
  2. Preliminary Review of Complaint: EPS will assess the nature of the Complaint to determine if it is subject to the EPS Complaint Procedure or if it can be referred to appropriate leadership to be addressed.
  3. A “Complaint” is subject to the “Complaint Procedure” if: (i) The Respondent has standing as a Sikh Dharma International Minister, KRI Certified Kundalini Yoga teacher or teacher trainer, is a participant in a KRI Level One Teacher Training, and/or is employed by an SSSC Legacy Organization; and (ii) At least one section of the KRI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and/or Code of Ethics for Sikh Dharma International Ministers or Sikh Dharma International Minister Vows (as applicable) has allegedly been breached; and (iii)EPS determines the nature and severity of the Complaint is such that it cannot be most effectively dealt with on a local level or by the correlating Legacy organization. (iv) Other factors may also be considered, such as 1st person Reporter/harmed party vs. 3rd party reporter.
  4. For Complaints regarding a Minister, EPS will refer to the “Procedures for Complaints Concerning SDI Ministers” for additional steps/guidance.
  5. For Complaints regarding any EPS employee or Global Ethics Commission (GEC) member, the staff member first receiving the complaint will refer to the “Complaints concerning EPS Representatives” policy and act accordingly.
  6. In the event EPS determines the Complaint does not meet the requirements set forth in section 2(a) above:
    The Reporter will be notified and provided the reasons why it is not an addressable concern and may be referred to local resources (lead trainers, mediation resources, NKYTA, etc.) for help with their concern.
  7. EPS will contact the Reporter and provide an overview of the process to be followed.
  8. EPS will bring the Complaint to the next scheduled GEC meeting, where the nature of the case will be presented and: (i) An Enquiry Planning Team (EP Team) will be formed to plan the investigation strategy based on the specifics of the case. (ii) A Guide will be assigned to the Reporter to provide them with periodic updates and walk them through the Complaint Procedure process.

Notification of Complaint to Respondent:

  1. The Respondent will be notified of the Complaint in accordance with the EP Team Plan.
  2. The Respondent will also be notified of prohibited activities, which if undertaken could lead to immediate discipline by EPS. These include: (i) Any contact with the Reporter, any witness, or any other person the Respondent could reasonably believe to be involved in the Complaint in any manner, and (ii) Retaliation by Respondent toward anyone involved or thought to be involved in the Complaint.
  3. Details of the Complaint and identities of Reporters may be withheld for the safety of Reporters and potential witnesses. Details of the Complaint are provided, as deemed appropriate by EPS and the EP Team, on a case-by-case basis.
  4. A GEC member will be assigned as Guide for the Respondent to provide them with periodic updates and walk them through the complaint procedure process.
  5. Respondent’s Failure to Respond to Notification of Complaint: (i) If the Respondent does not respond in writing within ten (10) business days, EPS will send a 10-Day Warning of Impending Action Letter giving them an additional ten (10) business days to respond.  (ii) If the Respondent does not respond in writing within ten (10) business days after the Warning Letter is sent, EPS will send a Notice to Take Action giving the Respondent a final five (5) business days to respond and notify them that failure to so respond will result in their immediate Suspension. 
    (iii) KRI, 3HO, IKYTA, NKYTA, and Yoga Alliance will be notified of the Suspension as appropriate.
    (iv)The change of status will be posted on the EPS website Disciplinary Status page with the explanation of “Non-Cooperation with Complaint Procedure” in the Area of Concern column.
    (v)The Complaint Procedure will continue with or without the Respondent’s cooperation or participation.
    (vi) Suspension due to noncooperation will continue pending the completion of the Complaint Procedure. (vii) Once the Procedure is completed and GEC Decision is made, the posted status will be updated. If the updated status is Suspension or Revocation, there will be an additional note added to the “Area of Concern” on the website stating the new determination, e.g., “Non-Cooperation with Complaint Procedure.”

Complaint Procedure Formal Investigation

  1. EPS will conduct its investigation based on the EP Team Investigation plan and make adaptations as indicated by new information.
  2. EPS prepares an investigation report outlining its findings.

Global Ethics Commission Determination and Notifications

  1. EPS will present its report of the Investigation to the GEC for determination as to whether a violation occurred.
  2. The GEC will determine the appropriate consequences for each violation and issue their Decision. Consequences will be determined by weighing the nature of the violation and any positive or negative mitigating factors. Consequences may include, but are not limited to Probation, Suspension, and Revocation. Restitution may be a condition of Probation and Suspension.
  3. EPS will bring the Decision to the SSSC Office of Dharmic Counsel for final review.
  4. For a Minister, EPS will provide the GEC’s recommendation to SDI. (See Procedures for Complaints Concerning SDI Ministers).
  5. For a KRI certified Teacher, EPS and KRI will jointly communicate the Decision in writing to the Respondent. An EPS Appeal form will be included with Procedures for Complaints Concerning Sikh Dharma International Ministers in the letter.
  6. EPS will inform the Respondent of the Decision.
  7. EPS will update the Disciplinary Status page on the EPS website with the Respondent’s new status (if it is Suspension or Revocation) and the Area(s) of Concern (violation category).
  8. EPS will inform the Reporter(s) and any other entities (including but not limited to 3HO, IKYTA, local NYKTA, SSSC, and/or Yoga Alliance) that the GEC has reached a decision, as appropriate.
Continuing Support and Guidance:
  1. EPS may work with the Reporter(s) to determine how EPS can help to address harm and provide support.
  2. The Guide for the Reporter may continue to check in with the Reporter after the Complaint Procedure is completed unless the Reporter declines.
  3. The Guide may periodically check in with the Suspended/Probationary teacher.

Appeal Procedure:

  1. The Respondent, in the event they wish to appeal the Decision, must complete the EPS Appeal form and submit it to EPS within thirty (30) calendar days of receiving the Decision.
  2. Appeals are accepted solely on the basis that the consequences imposed were not fair, e.g., too harsh, in relation to the findings and nature of the violation(s).
  3. Appeals are reviewed by an Appeal Panel: (i) Any individual involved in the complaint or who is an EPS or KRI employee, or member of the GEC is disqualified from participating in the Appeal Panel. (ii) Panel members are selected by the EPS ED and the KRI CEO or SDI CEO as applicable, and will include KRI Lead Trainers, Ministers, and/or other community leadership. (iii) Members are vetted for any conflict of interest.
  4. The Respondent will remain on the status imposed by the GEC or SDI (e.g., Probation, Suspension, etc.) while the Appeal Procedure is underway.

Special Circumstances:

  1. In the case of criminal charges or other serious circumstances involving conduct that, if proven true, would constitute a violation in the KRI Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct or the Code of Ethics for SDI Ministers that may threaten the safety and/or wellbeing of others, EPS may immediately Suspend a Teacher, Minister, or Respondent pending the conclusion of criminal or other proceedings. EPS will update the Disciplinary Status page of its website with the individual’s name, status of Suspension, and Area of Concern “Pending Investigation Outcome.”
  2. If a Teacher or Minister is convicted of a crime the matter will be presented to the GEC for determination of final outcome/status change.
  3. In the case of the Respondent, during the Complaint Procedure, informing EPS of their Resignation from the KRI Aquarian Trainer Academy or as a Teacher of Kundalini Yoga, and/or the SDI Ministry EPS will advise the Respondent of the following: (i) Resignation during a Complaint Procedure results in Revocation, with no possibility to apply for reinstatement. (ii) EPS will continue the Complaint Procedure. (iii) EPS will notify KRI and/or SDI of the Respondent’s intent so the Resignation(s) may be formalized.
  4. When Respondent’s Resignation is confirmed by KRI or SDI: (i) EPS will change the Respondent’s status to “Revocation” on the EPS website and the Area of Concern will be indicated as “Resignation during Complaint Procedure.” (ii) EPS will inform KRI-ATA, IKYTA, the local NKYTA Executive Director, and/or SDI of the status change as appropriate. (iii) Upon completion of the Complaint Procedure, if the allegations of the Complaint are substantiated, the Area of Concern will be updated to include the nature of the allegations (e.g., Student-Teacher Relationship, etc.).
  5. In the case of the Respondent’s death prior to the completion of the Complaint Procedure: The Complaint Procedure will not be completed. EPS will work toward supporting the Reporter and addressing any harm.
  6. In a case where the EPS Executive Director is recused due to a conflict of interest, the ODC will oversee the investigation.
  7. Counter Complaints: In order to maintain the integrity of the Complaint Procedure, EPS does not entertain Counter Complaints against the Reporter, EPS, or any of the SSSC Organizations.
 

If you have any questions about the Complaint Procedure or Appeal Process, kindly contact us HERE. itsi