This policy sets out how complaints will normally be handled by the hackspace. In extreme cases, especially in cases of breaches of Rule 0, the trustees can bypass this policy in its entirity if an N-1 majority is reached.
Complaints may be made by any member, or non-member of the hackspace by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If the complainant prefers, they can directly email one or more of the trustees using their direct email addresses, available on the wiki.
Complaints fall into one of three categories, set out in the sections below. These are given in priority order, and a complaint falls into the first category it can fit into.
Complaints Involving a Trustee
Complaints fall into this category is they are made by, or against, a trustee or trustees.
A complaint against, or raised by, a trustee or trustees creates a conflict of interest for the that trustee(s). That trustee or trustees must be removed from all discussions and decisions about the complaint. They should also be removed from the primary email@example.com distribution list whilst the complaint is active.
The remaining trustees should also consider whether they or any other trustee might have any conflict of interest due to their relationship with the named trustee(s). If they feel that they are unable to contribute to the discussion dispassionately, they should remove themselves from the discussion.
If the number of trustees able to investigate and discuss the complaint is less than four, the trustees should not proceed. At this point, the remaining trustees should arrange for the complaint to be heard by a panel of external, independent, people. This is likely to be trustees from another hackspace.
Once the investigating panel has been formed, the complaint follows the flow in the appropriate section below.
Complaints Against Nottinghack
Complaints fall into this category if they are made against the hackspace as a whole, or a section of the organisation, such as a team.
The primary purpose of the investigation is to determine the root cause of the complaint, identify any required changes to the hackspace’s policy or procedures and deliver those changes.
Complaint Against a Member
Complaints fall into this category if they are made directly against a member or members, or if a complaint is referred from the previous section.
If it is deemed necessary, a temporary ban from the space may be issued until the complaint is resolved. These must only be used in severe cases where other people are at risk of harm.
Where a formal warning needs to be given, or a member needs to be banned, the following flow should be followed. In extreme cases, and with an N-1 Majority, the trustees can jump stages in this process, or decide on alternative consequences.
In the case of Rule 0 violations especially, additional consequences such as required re-induction, or a short ban from certain tools, may be issued alongside a formal warning.
Bans from tools or the space must be agreed by an N-1 Majority. A ban for a current member will trigger the process to remove the member as per section 4.4 of the Constitution.
Confidentiality and Openness
Complaints are very delicate issues, so details of all complaints will be kept in the upmost confidence. The trustees cannot, and will not try, to stop a complainant from discussing their complaint with their friends, but the trustees will not discuss with anyone outside of the trustees and involved parties. Additionally, a trustee who makes a complaint will treat that complaint as if they received it for the purposes of confidentiality.
Finally, the trustees may choose not to share a complaint with the subject of that complaint if they deem the complaint to be without merit. The complainant will be informed of this fact.