A couple months ago the Brewers Association introduced a code of conduct for its members. This was in response to recent concerns that the BA had not adequately addressed issues at two of its member breweries. The previous lack of a code of conduct was, admittedly, an oversight on the BA’s part. You can read more about that here.
As promised, the Brewers Association introduced a complaint process to accompany the code of conduct. The process was in place by early September, but the BA recently hosted a town hall meeting to discuss its implementation. You can learn more here.
Here are some highlights of the process.
To begin with, the Brewers Association will not accept complaints regarding matters that occurred before it introduced the code of conduct (August 6, 2020).
Members of the Brewers Association professional brewing division can file complaints. Complaints may also come from a group of members.
The Brewers Association is appointing a panel to investigate complaints. The panel will consist of three independent experts who are not brewery employees.
Once a complaint is filed, the panel has 60 days to investigate the complaint and decide if it should be advanced to the BA’s board of directors. Advancing a complaint requires a two-thirds majority.
The person filing the complaint, as well as the subject of the complaint, may submit evidence to the panel.
The panel will not share information with the board of directors during the investigation. Information will be divulged to the public on a case-by-case basis. The panel has the option to dismiss the case based on certain circumstances.
Depending on the circumstances, the complainant will remain anonymous. In other circumstances, the complainant will be identified.
If the complaint is advanced to the board of directors, they will have 30 days to determine a course of action. The goal is to achieve outcomes that are not necessarily punitive but that provide opportunities for education and self-remediation. Possible courses of action include:
- Conditional membership in the BA based on the member taking remedial actions
- Indefinite removal of membership or removal of membership for a specified period of time
According to the Brewers Association, “The code of conduct codifies its commitment and responsibility as an industry to respect the law, promote and consume beer responsibly, and eliminate discrimination, harassment, and bias of all types.”
The code of conduct was adopted by the board as an official policy on August 6, 2020.
The code of conduct complaint process was developed by the Brewers Association Board of Directors in collaboration with the Governance and Diversity committees and staff. It was adopted by the board as an official policy on September 10, 2020.
Learn more about the code of conduct and the complaint process here.