I am an HGO (Harassment Grievance Officer) or chapter leader who has had HGO training.

Thanks for your work as an HGO and your participation in our trainings — we really appreciate your work to help eradicate harassment in your local chapter and to help transform the culture of DSA to create a space that is welcoming and inclusive to members of all genders, races, and classes and ensures that everyone is able to organize without fear of harassment, abuse, or harm. The National Harassment Grievance Officers (Paula and Ana) are here to support you in your work, and are available to answer questions and meet with you to discuss complicated grievance matters that may not be covered in the trainings and resources listed below.

Here are some resources that may assist you in your work as an HGO (Harassment Grievance Officer):

  • DSA’s Harassment Policy is found in Resolution 33, passed at the 2017 Annual Convention, which was amended at the 2021 Annual Convention. Between the biannual conventions, the National Political Committee (NPC) makes decisions about grievance matters to clarify Resolution 33.

  • HGO Database: We regularly send out information to HGOs about trainings, forms and new resources. If you have not yet been added to our HGO database, or you need to update any of the information you previously supplied, please use this form: Updating Your HGO Information. Please note: if your chapter has multiple HGOs, only one of you should use the official chapter HGO address. Otherwise, one of you will overwrite the other’s data. If you use your personal email address, you’ll be sure to get the updates.

  • Trainings: Since we now offer monthly grievance program trainings, we no longer include updated slides here. Below are older versions of our trainings, if you need to reference them before you can attend an updated training. If you have specific training needs for your chapter or have questions about what was covered in training, please reach out to Paula via email at [email protected].

  • Annual Reports: Resolution 33 requires chapters to submit data annually about grievances processed. This information is included in Annual Reports submitted to DSA’s membership following the end of the reporting period. The annual reporting period runs from July 1 to June 30 each year. The third Annual Report covers July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021, and will be posted here when finalized. Don’t worry about preparing an annual report yourself: you will be sent a reporting form to fill out which will be used to compile the report.

  • Codes of Conduct: Resolution 33 was amended in 2021 to require chapters to adopt Codes of Conduct. Chapters may adapt the National Code of Conduct to fit the Chapter’s specific needs, use its own Code of Conduct, or use the National Code of Conduct. Chapters with questions regarding codes of conduct can contact the NHGOs for assistance.

  • Confidentiality and Anti-Retaliation Provisions: Confidentiality is critical to the grievance process, as it plays an important role in ensuring that the process is legitimate, protects survivors and is fair to those accused of harm. Retaliation against those who participate in the grievance process is prohibited and can cause additional harm in the grievance process. In 2021, Resolution 33 was amended to provide additional clarification concerning confidentiality, and to provide specific examples of prohibited forms of retaliation. Please review Section 2e (confidentiality) and 3f (retaliation) to learn more about the new changes to Resolution 33, and if you have any questions about confidentiality or whether a particular action is considered to be retaliation, please set up a meeting with Paula as described below.

  • Expulsions: Resolution 33 was recently amended to provide additional clarification concerning expulsions. If your chapter has voted to expel a member, due to a violation of Resolution 33, chapter codes of conduct, and/or a violation of the chapter’s bylaws, the chapter can make a recommendation for expulsion from the National organization, so that a member cannot participate as an at-large member or in any National working groups or committees. A member has the right to appeal the chapter’s recommendation for National expulsion to the NPC. If you are a chapter leader or HGO who is handling the member’s expulsion, please inform the expelled party of their right to appeal, and please reach out to Paula via email at [email protected] to receive the applicable appeal form. If a chapter does not reach out to National, the member will be expelled from the chapter only, so if the conduct is serious enough that the member could cause harm elsewhere in DSA, it is important to notify National to complete the expulsion process.
  • Additional Resources: We will be adding HGO resources over time here on this page, so please let Paula know what additional resources will be helpful to you in your work.  Here are some that have been developed so far:

    • Information about harassment grievances for DSA members: This link can be shared with parties to a grievance who have questions about the process.
    • Model Harassment Grievance form: Please follow the instructions on the model form to create your own chapter form and/or adapt your chapter’s current form.
    • NEW: HGO Investigation Guide: To be used when you are investigating a grievance.
    • Chapter Impartiality Form: To be used when sharing the HGO’s recommendation with the chapter leadership, to ensure that each member of the leadership body (known as the Steering Committee, Coordinating Committee, Executive Committee, etc.) agrees to keep the information confidential, will decide the matter fairly and impartially, and will recuse themselves if unable to do so or there is a conflict of interest.
    • NPC Resolution 33-Related Decisions: The NPC has passed several measures to resolve unanswered questions and/or provide additional interpretation of Resolution 33 as the NPC and the NHGO work to implement the resolution nationwide and resolve issues arriving in certain grievance appeals. These decisions provide further clarity as to how Resolution 33 will be interpreted by the NHGO and the NPC in addressing appeals, and to implement best practices in ensuring the policy is accompanied by procedures that execute its intent.

If you are dealing with a difficult grievance situation, or have questions or feedback for Paula, you are invited to meet with Paula to further discuss your grievance situation.

Paula is here to support you in your work as an HGO, and would rather deal with difficult situations as they arise rather than being forced to overturn a grievance on appeal over an avoidable mistake. If you are unsure about how to proceed with a particular grievance, please set up a technical assistance session with Paula.

Technical assistance sessions are conducted via Zoom, typically last up to 45 minutes, and are an opportunity for up to 4 chapter HGOs to meet with Paula about HGO-related concerns. Time slots are available to accommodate the needs of those in different time zones and/or who work during regular business hours. Please email Paula ([email protected]) to be provided with the calendar link.