LC: 5. RIGHT OF REDRESS
The definition of redress is: "To set right, to remedy or rectify," or "the satisfaction for wrong or injury." This Right of Redress section is included in the Charter so that if and when your or someone else's individual rights are infringed upon, you can report it and expect some disciplinary measures to take place against those who have caused harm. The Right of Redress went into effect from April 1, 1995, and only covers situations that occur from that time onward.
A. Members whose rights are infringed upon, and those who observe the rights of others being infringed upon, which may result in physical, spiritual, mental or emotional harm, have the right and responsibility to first bring the matter before both the person causing the harm, then the Home's officers, and if deemed necessary, before all voting members of the Home, with the expectation that within a reasonable amount of time the matter will be remedied.
Jesus said, "Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church" (Matthew 18:15-17).
If your rights are being infringed upon, you have the right to speak up about it and to expect it to be remedied. If you see someone else's rights being infringed upon, you have both the right and the responsibility to report it as well.
First, in Scriptural fashion, you are to bring up the matter to the person who's doing it, and then, if that doesn't rectify the situation, you should bring it up to your Home teamwork. There may be times when you don't feel you can bring the matter up directly to the person, in which case you can seek help from the Home teamwork. If the situation is serious enough, or the erring member doesn't change his ways within a reasonable amount of time, the teamwork should bring the matter before all the voting members of the Home.
A "reasonable amount of time" depends on what the infringement is and what the harm is. If, for example, you see that someone is verbally abusing another member and shouting at them, then a reasonable amount of time for that to be remedied is immediately! Whereas if the business teamworker on your Home teamwork has not been informing the Home of the financial state well enough, and a member of the Home feels that he isn't being kept informed, which he has the right to be, he can bring it up to the teamworker, as well as to the Home and say, "I think we need to be informed better, so we need to have a council meeting to discuss finances." In that case a reasonable amount of time might be a few days or even a week. It depends on the problem, how serious it is, and whether or not it's causing harm.
As mentioned earlier, the Right of Redress is not only a personal right, but you are also expected to be your brother's keeper. For example, if a teen in your Home is put on silence restriction for two weeks, which is against the Child Discipline Rules and thus an infringement of his rights, you have not only the right to speak up, but also the responsibility to do so, and if you don't you will be held responsible, and you may also be subject to some discipline.
"Failure to report a crime is a crime" (ML #662:22; DB7).
Jesus gave the pattern and the method and the procedure just as clear-cut as could be from the very beginning! He said first of all somebody should warn'm that they're misbehaving. If they won't listen to that person, then take two or three witnesses with you and say it again before witnesses. And if they still won't listen to the two or three witnesses, He says take them before the congregation (ML #1880:24).
1. If the matter is not remedied within a reasonable amount of time, or is deemed extremely serious, the member has the right, and the responsibility, to send a message or letter formally requesting discipline of those who have caused the harm.
a) Such requests must be sent to the appropriate area and continental offices.
(1) Such requests may also be sent to Maria and Peter if so desired.
If you feel the situation is very serious, or if it is not taken care of after you have followed the steps outlined above, then you can take the next step of informing the area and continental office of the situation. You should send a report by mail or modem as soon as possible. If you want to send a copy to Maria, you may.
(Maria: If you are persuaded that your superior is wrong, are you ever obligated to report to an even higher authority?) Well, if there is a higher authority to make an appeal to, yes, of course.--If there is a higher authority to whom you can appeal and bring your question and say, "I don't think this is right" (ML #849:44).
If you are personally convinced that something is really wrong with your leader's actions or orders, and that God's work is being damaged or His sheep are being abused, mistreated or hurt as a result, then it is your duty to report it to a higher authority! Remember the old saying, "Failure to report a crime is a crime!" (ML #2417:17.)
2. The area office that receives such a request must speedily investigate the matter.
a) If, through investigation, confirmation is made that the rights of the member have been infringed upon, resulting in physical, spiritual, mental or emotional harm, appropriate and proportionate discipline must be assigned to the offending member(s). The offended member, and those who reported the offense, must be informed of the action taken.
b) If, through investigation, it is found that the entire Home was negligent in protecting the rights of the member, the entire Home must be appropriately and proportionately disciplined; the offended member, and those who reported the offense, must be informed of the action taken.
c) If, through investigation, it is decided that the member's rights have not been infringed upon, the area office must inform the member who alleged he was offended as well as those who reported the matter.
If someone is found to be causing harm, then some discipline must be meted out. The discipline should be appropriate and proportionate to the offense. Depending on what they did and how much harm they caused, they could be admonished or given some form of minor discipline, or put on Probationary Status, or moved to Fellow Member status, or be excommunicated.
If someone consistently fails to follow the Child Discipline Rules with their children, or is mean and unkind towards other Home members, then strong disciplinary measures, such as Probationary Status or transfer to Fellow Member status, would have to be meted out. On the other hand, if it were just a minor offense, then the discipline wouldn't have to be so severe. But the offended member and any others who reported it must be informed that discipline was taken. Likewise, they must be informed if the investigation proves that the alleged offender was found not to be at fault.
Consider an example of the teen being isolated longer than is allowed in the "Family Discipline Guidelines": In such a case the whole Home would have been aware of the action and would have known it was not permitted, which makes them all responsible for the infringement. In such a case the Home may need to be put on Probationary Notice. In another instance, in which the offense is not so serious, a public apology by the shepherds and the Home might be enough.
We once again come back to the fact that we are each responsible and accountable for our actions. We are also responsible for the actions of our Home.
Dealing with personal problems and sorting out complicated situations by correspondence is very difficult. We can give general guidelines, but it often requires physical on-the-spot intervention to ferret out deep-seated problems (ML #2024:4).
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family