COURT CRITICISES CLUB OVER WRONGFUL SUSPENSION OF MEMBER............. ( Carp not surprised at all )
In America at least even private non-profit making clubs are kept in check over the way they go about disciplining members. Even the vulgar and filthy are entitled to respect according to an appeal court judge. The obnoxious individual, who allegedly used the "F " word to describe women members , still deserved a fair hearing before being expelled.
So where did the club go wrong in its attempt to sling out a member who had a history of bad behaviour ? The judge explained the expulsion was wrongful on several grounds, all of which equated to a failure to act in accordance with rules of natural justice and due process.
1. The member was denied a right to confront his accusers before losing his membership.
2. In a closed meeting the board ( committee ) discussed numerous incidents which were not disclosed in the notice to the member about the hearing.
3. Board members had discussed in private not only the swearing incident , but also various other matters, including allegations of impropriety some of which were totally unrelated to incidents involving club members.
4. At the private meeting the board voted to expel the member , who was unaware that the current complaint , along with all the other prior complaints , would now be the basis behind its decision to expel.
5. The disciplinary process was flawed in that it failed to meet the requirements of being carried out in fair and reasonable manner.
6. Being denied the opportunity to confront his accusers and challenge undisclosed allegations of misconduct , the member's right to fair procedure had been violated.
7. The member was clearly denied an opportunity to properly defend himself against the most serious accusations.
8. The court was also offended by the manner in which the board members had talked about the member behind his back.
9. The board's consideration in closed session of unnoticed and undisclosed matters to which the member had no opportunity to respond , clearly deprived him of a procedurally fair hearing.
10. The argument by the club's lawyers that the member would have been expelled even without consideration of the extraneous matters was rejected , simply because the decision was made on the overall review of the improperly considered matters.
11. The board had in effect failed to follow the procedural rules laid down by the law , and as a result the board could not claim it was making a discretionary decision as a way of overcoming their mistakes.
12. The court also felt that the board failed to prove due process by not taking into account the severity of the punishment likely to be imposed. Expulsions warranted a higher level of adherence to fair and proper procedures , which on the facts presented to the court had not been established.
( Footnote : Although the court ruled that the club must reinstate the member , the board was given the option of proceeding with a full hearing, after proper notice , on all the charges against him. However , one is left to wonder how fair that might be , given the prevailing level of prejudice , resentment and loathing that must be endemic within the membership as a whole , against an obnoxious man who took their club to court ? )