COTRH Biblical Conflict Management

The following policy is laid out particularly for those who have a grievance against a leader or staff member of COTRH but we feel it is also useful generally as a guide for all covenant members to handle conflict.

Grievance Procedure

Employees, volunteers and COTRH covenant members have an opportunity to present their work and Church on the Rock Homer related complaints and to appeal supervisory and leadership decisions through a dispute resolution or grievance procedure.  COTRH will attempt to resolve promptly all grievances that are appropriate for handling under this policy.

An appropriate grievance is defined as a person’s expressed feeling of dissatisfaction concerning any interpretation or application of a COTRH related policy, decision, or action by supervisors, employees, volunteers, or fellow covenant members.

As a Biblically based organization we will encourage, whenever appropriate, our covenant members to follow the sequential principles laid out in the Scriptures:

Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

Matthew 5:23-24  “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

Proverbs 10:18 “The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.”

1 Peter 2:1 “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”

I Timothy 5:20 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.

1. Go to the person with whom you have the conflict or who has a grievance against you. You are to go to this individual alone and are not to gossip or slander in the process.

2. If resolution is not brought at this point then it is recommended that you go to your ministry supervisor or to a ministry leader. If the grievance is with your direct ministry supervisor then it is recommended that you go with the supervisor one of the church pastors.  At this point it may be beneficial to describe the grievance in written form.

3. If a resolution is not brought to the situation then it is appropriate to begin the Arbitration of Disputes process laid out below.

After having gone through the Biblical process employees, volunteers, and COTRH covenant members must notify COTRH in a timely fashion of any grievance still unresolved and considered appropriate for handling under this policy.  The grievance procedure is the exclusive remedy for employees, volunteers and COTRH covenant members with appropriate grievances.  As used in this policy, the terms “timely fashion,” “reasonable time,” and “promptly” will mean five working days following the fulfillment of the Biblical process.

Employees, volunteers, and COTRH covenant members will not be penalized for proper use of the grievance procedure.  However, it is not considered proper if an employee, volunteer, or COTRH covenant member abuses the procedure by raising grievances in bad faith or solely for the purposes of delay or harassment, or by repeatedly raising grievances that a reasonable person would judge have no merit.  Implementation of the grievance procedure by an employee, volunteer, or COTRH covenant member does not limit the right of COTRH to proceed with any disciplinary action which is not in retaliation for the use of the grievance procedure.

The grievance procedure has a maximum of three steps, but grievances may be resolved at any step in the process.  Grievances are to be fully processed until the employee, volunteer, or COTRH covenant member is satisfied, does not file a timely appeal, or exhausts the right of appeal.  A decision becomes binding on all parties whenever an employee, volunteer, or COTRH covenant member does not file a timely appeal or when a decision is made in the final step and the right of appeal no longer exists.

Arbitration of Disputes

Employees, volunteers, and COTRH covenant members who feel they have an appropriate grievance, and have followed the prior Biblical steps laid out, should proceed as follows:

Step 1:    Promptly bring the unresolved grievance to the attention of the immediate supervisor of the one with whom the grievance exist.  If the grievance involves the supervisor, then it is permissible to proceed directly to Step 2.  The supervisor is to investigate the grievance, attempt to resolve it, and give a decision to the employee, volunteer staff or COTRH covenant members within a reasonable time.  The supervisor should prepare a written and dated summary of the grievance and proposed resolution for file purposes.

Step 2:    Appeal the decision to a COTRH pastor, if dissatisfied with the supervisor’s decision, or initiate the procedure with the Campus Pastor if the grievance involves the employee’s or volunteer’s immediate supervisor.   If the grievance involves the Pastor then it is permissible to proceed directly to Step 3.  Such an appeal or initial complaint must be made in a timely fashion in writing.  The supervisor’s investigation of the grievance and decision will then be submitted, also in writing.  The Pastor will, in a timely fashion, confer with the employee, volunteer, or COTRH covenant member, the supervisor, and any other members of management considered appropriate; investigate the issues; and communicate a decision in writing to all the parties involved.

Step 3:    Appeal an unsatisfactory Pastor decision to the Church Elders.  The timeliness requirement and procedures to be followed are similar to those in Step 2.  The Church Elders will take the necessary steps to review and investigate the grievance and will then issue a written, final, and binding decision.

Final decisions on grievances will not be precedent‑setting or binding on future grievances unless they are officially stated as COTRH policy.  When appropriate, the decisions will be retroactive to the date of the employee’s, volunteer’s, or COTRH covenant member’s original grievance.

Information concerning an employee, volunteer, or COTRH covenant members grievance is to be held in strict confidence.  Supervisors, department heads, and other members of management who investigate a grievance are to discuss it only with those individuals who have a need to know about it or who are needed to supply necessary background information.