Grievance Procedure

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Yoga Alliance’s Grievance Procedure describes how Yoga Alliance investigates and resolves allegations of a violation of the Misconduct Policy, Code of Conduct, Scope of Practice, and other Yoga Alliance policies.

Table of Contents

A. Definitions
B. Application of this Policy
C. Reporting a Grievance
D. Preliminary Review
E. Early Resolution
F. Opening a Formal Investigation
G. Account Suspension
H. Confidentiality of Investigation
I. The Investigation
J. Use of a Support Person
K. Findings
L. Notice of Finding
M. Discipline
N. Appeal
O. Publication of Outcome

A. Definitions

Accountability Department: The Yoga Alliance department responsible for accepting, reviewing, investigating, and making findings about reported Grievances. The Accountability Department may appoint a designee to investigate on its behalf.

Appeal: A Party may contest a Grievance Finding on the following bases: (a) when there have been significant procedural deviations from the Grievance Procedure, or (b) if material new evidence not available at the time of the original Finding is discovered.

Complainant: A person who reports a Grievance.

Discipline: Any disciplinary action or sanction imposed by Yoga Alliance as a result of an Investigation or Early Resolution, which can range from education to revocation of Yoga Alliance credentials and membership.

Early Resolution: A process by which Yoga Alliance seeks to resolve a grievance prior to the issuance of a Notice of Investigation, avoiding the need for an investigation.

Finding: The determination as to whether there is sufficient information to conclude that the Respondent has violated the Misconduct Policy, Code of Conduct (“COC”) or Scope of Practice (“SOP”) policies. Yoga Alliance utilizes the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, which means it is “more likely than not” that a violation occurred. Under this standard, one can only conclude that a violation occurred if the greater weight of evidence tends to show this. If, however, the weight of evidence is equally balanced on both sides, then one cannot conclude, by a preponderance, that the respondent violated a policy.

Grievance: Any allegation of a violation of the Misconduct Policy, COC or SOP policies.

Investigation: The fact-finding process that seeks to determine whether there is sufficient information to find that the Respondent violated the Misconduct Policy, COC or SOP policies. The Investigation will be conducted by a member of the Accountability Department or their designee.

Member: A person holding any active Yoga Alliance credential or membership.

Misconduct: Conduct which violates Yoga Alliance’s prohibition against sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination and retaliation, or violates Yoga Alliance’s Code of Conduct, Scope of Practice, or any other Yoga Alliance policy.

Notice of Finding: the communication from Yoga Alliance that notifies the Parties of the Findings of the Investigation and Yoga Alliance’s Discipline.

Notice of Investigation: the written communication to the Respondent informing them that Yoga Alliance has initiated an Investigation.

Party: The Complainant or Respondent; collectively, may be referred to as the “Parties.”

Preliminary Review: The Accountability Department’s initial review following receipt of a Grievance to determine whether to open an Investigation.

Prospective Member: A person who applies for an RYS, RYT, and/or YACEP credential.

Protected Class: The term used to describe individuals and groups who are protected from discrimination and harassment under the Misconduct Policy, including discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, physical or mental ability, marital status, parental status, political activities or affiliation, or any other or any other basis proscribed by local, state, provincial, national, and federal laws and regulations.

Respondent: A person who is alleged to have engaged in Misconduct and who is responding to a Grievance or who is engaging in Early Resolution.

Witness: A person who is identified as having relevant information about the subject matter of an Investigation.

Yoga Alliance: The largest nonprofit association representing the yoga community; may be referred to as “YA” or “we.”

B. Application of this Policy

  1. This Policy applies to Members and Prospective Members, regardless of whether the Complainant is a Member.
  2. Any Grievance must be reported to Yoga Alliance within two years of its occurrence, unless Yoga Alliance determines that an extension is warranted.
  3. This Policy and Procedure apply to incidents reported after the publication of this policy, regardless of when the alleged Misconduct occurred.

C. Reporting a Grievance

Reports of Misconduct must be initiated by the individual who has personally experienced the alleged wrongdoing. If such individual is a minor at the time of the report, the individual’s parent or legal guardian can report the misconduct on the minor’s behalf.

In the interest of safety, privacy, and fairness, Yoga Alliance ordinarily will not initiate an Investigation based upon a third-party or anonymous reports of Misconduct.

To report a violation of the Policy, please email the following information to

  1. Your full name;
  2. Your email and phone number, including any international extensions;
  3. Full name of the Respondent, and contact information, if known;
  4. A description of the conduct alleged to have violated the Policy;
  5. The date(s) and location(s) of the alleged misconduct;
  6. Names and contact information of Witnesses; and,
  7. If necessary, a request for an exception to the two-year time limit for reporting a Grievance.

If you do not have access to email, you can call the Accountability Department.

Yoga Alliance may request additional information from you during the course of review or Investigation of any Grievance.

Complainant and Respondent agree that, if the Grievance results in a suspension or revocation of a Respondent’s credentials, or if a Respondent fails to participate in the Grievance process, or if a Respondent voluntarily surrenders their membership or credentials while a Grievance matter is ongoing, Yoga Alliance may publicly disclose the Finding and Discipline, and other information related to the Grievance. Yoga Alliance may publicly disclose such information when it deems such disclosure appropriate or in the best interest of the yoga community it serves. Yoga Alliance will not publish the Complainant’s name or identifying information.

D. Preliminary Review

The Accountability Department will review reported Grievances to determine whether (a) the alleged conduct is prohibited by the Misconduct Policy, COC or SOP policies; and (b) the Grievance is timely. Ordinarily, Yoga Alliance cannot conduct a preliminary review without the information described in Section C.

E. Early Resolution

Yoga Alliance may initiate an early resolution of a Grievance before the issuance of a Notice of Investigation in circumstances in which the respondent seeks to quickly remedy an alleged policy violation. If the matter is resolved, Yoga Alliance will not conduct an investigation. If the matter is not resolved, Yoga Alliance may initiate an investigation. It is left to Yoga Alliance’s discretion to initiate an early resolution; early resolution will rarely be initiated in cases alleging sexual misconduct.

F. Opening a Formal Investigation

There are two ways for Yoga Alliance to open an Investigation:

  1. After Preliminary Review of a Grievance, the Accountability Department determines that there is sufficient information to proceed with an Investigation.
  2. To protect the health, safety or interests of the yoga community, Yoga Alliance chooses to initiate an Investigation on its own behalf.

Once an Investigation is opened, Yoga Alliance will provide the Respondent a written Notice of Investigation via electronic mail. In the event that a Respondent does not have an email address on file with Yoga Alliance, the Accountability Department will call the Respondent to notify them of the Investigation, when the Member has provided Yoga Alliance with current, accurate contact information.

G. Account Suspension

Yoga Alliance reserves the right to suspend any Member’s credentials and membership pending any of the following:

  1. A Yoga Alliance investigation;
  2. Law enforcement investigation;
  3. Criminal or civil legal proceedings;
  4. A Respondent does not respond to or participate in an investigation within 21 days of being contacted by Yoga Alliance.

Yoga Alliance may choose to await the final outcome of a law enforcement investigation and/or criminal/civil legal proceedings prior to conducting or concluding an internal Investigation.

H. Confidentiality of Investigation

Yoga Alliance appreciates that participating in an Investigation—whether as a Complainant, Respondent, or Witness—can be difficult. We strive to balance the desire for privacy with the need to conduct a thorough and fair Investigation.

Information you provide to Yoga Alliance, including your identity, will remain confidential to the extent practical. However, we may disclose such information to the extent reasonably necessary to conduct a meaningful Investigation and to allow the Respondent to respond to the allegations. This may include disclosing information to an Investigator and/or to Complainants, Respondents and Witnesses. Further, please note that even where Yoga Alliance does not disclose your identity, your identity may be known by Respondents and Witnesses simply based on the allegations or facts of the case.

Where the credential of an RYS’s lead trainer or teaching staff is suspended (including suspended pending an investigation) or revoked, Yoga Alliance will inform the RYS of the lead trainer’s or teaching staff’s suspension or revocation.

Additionally, Yoga Alliance reserves the right to disclose any information in its possession to respond to any judicial, law enforcement, or regulatory process, such as subpoenas. To protect the integrity of the investigatory process and participants’ privacy, Parties and Witnesses should not discuss the Investigation with each other during the pendency of the investigation.

I. The Investigation

If an interview is requested of the Complainant or Respondent, they will have 21 days from the date of the request to participate in an interview and/or to provide information in writing, absent extenuating circumstances. If a party fails to participate in an interview and/or to provide information in writing within 21 days, the Accountability Department may proceed to make a decision in the matter without that party’s participation and based solely on the available information.

The Complainant and Respondent will be provided an opportunity to speak with the Accountability Department to submit information, and to identify Witnesses who may have relevant information. The Accountability Department (or its designee) will interview the Complainant, the Respondent, and Witnesses separately, and will gather other evidence and information relevant to the determination of whether a Policy violation has occurred. Witnesses must have information deemed relevant to the Investigation as determined by the Accountability Department; they cannot participate solely to speak about an individual’s character.

J. Use of a Support Person

Each party has the right to be accompanied to an interview by an advisor or support person (who can, but need not be, a lawyer). Support persons may not speak on behalf of the parties or otherwise participate in, or in any manner, delay, disrupt, or interfere with interviews or the investigation.

K. Findings

The Accountability Department will consider the totality of information gathered in the Investigation to determine whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Policy. In reaching a Finding the Accountability Department will consider things such as:

  • Party participation;
  • Detail provided;
  • Timeliness of the report;
  • Corroborating or conflicting information;
  • Plausibility of information provided;
  • Relevancy of information;
  • Omission of information.

L. Notice of Finding

At the conclusion of the Investigation, the Accountability Department will notify the Parties of the finding of the investigation.

M. Discipline

If Yoga Alliance determines that a Respondent has violated the Policy, it will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Such action may range from education to revocation of Yoga Alliance credential(s) and membership.

N. Appeal

Either Party has the right to request an Appeal of the Finding. Yoga Alliance will grant the right to appeal (a) when there have been significant procedural deviations from the Grievance Procedure, or (b) if material new evidence not available at the time of the original Finding is discovered. An appeal will not be granted solely on the basis that the Party is dissatisfied with the Finding.

O. Publication of Outcome

If Yoga Alliance becomes aware of Misconduct allegations regarding a Member, suspends or revokes a Member’s membership or credentials for violation of a Yoga Alliance policy or requirement, or if a Member voluntarily surrenders their membership or credentials while a Grievance matter is ongoing, Yoga Alliance may disclose information related to any allegations or Grievance matter, the Finding, and/or Discipline when it deems such disclosure appropriate or necessary to protect the interests of the yoga community it serves.

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