TRA Certification International shall develop and maintain procedures for appeals to any decisions or actions taken by TRA Certification International, Inc. Any persons or legal entities wishing to appeal a decision or action of TRA Certification International, Inc. shall be provided with copies of such procedures.
Appeals are processed in an impartial manner and are not influenced by commercial, financial or other pressures. TRA Certification is responsible for all decisions documented during the appeals process.
Appeals must be filed with the TRA Certification management staff in writing. The format can be determined by the appellant but should contain all available evidence to support the appellant's position.
All appeals received by TRA Certification are logged and forwarded immediately to the Governing Board. A report will be prepared by the TRA Certification personnel responsible for the decision outlining the reasons for their decision. The Governing Board shall consider the appellant's arguments, and the report prepared in substantiation of their decision, at their next meeting. If unable to resolve the appeal, an appeals hearing will be scheduled at the earliest opportunity. The appeals will be handled and considered by persons other than those who carried out the certification. The appellant will be informed in writing of the time and location for the hearing and the membership of the appeals board.
A record of the appeal and actions by the Board will be maintained in the client file. Any recommendations for corrective action will be implemented as specified in the Corrective Action procedure.
Appeals hearings are conducted in an informal manner and presided over by an independent person appointed by the Chairman of the TRA Certification Governing Board and at least four (4) additional members. At least one (1) of the members shall be a member of the TRA Certification Governing Board and the remainder shall be selected from persons who are independent of T. R. Arnold & Associates, Inc., TRA Certification and the appellant and who have demonstrated expertise in the matter being appealed. The hearing will be scheduled with the concurrence of the appellant. The appellant shall have the right to reject any of the members on the grounds of conflict of interest only upon presentation of evidence of such conflict.
The appellant may be represented by legal counsel but must provide TRA Certification at least fourteen (14) days written notice if this option is to be exercised. TRA Certification shall be represented by members of the management staff selected by the President and any other TRA Certification personnel involved in the appeal. TRA Certification International, Inc. reserves the right to have legal counsel present at all appeals proceedings. Additional experts in the relevant field may be consulted by the appeals board at their discretion.
Decisions shall be reached on the basis of a majority decision and shall be considered final and binding on all parties involved.
All proceedings of the appeal hearing will be recorded in the form of minutes and the minutes made available to all concerned parties. All evidence presented and the minutes of all hearings will be considered confidential and all members present at an appeals hearing will be required to sign an agreement of confidentiality. Concerned persons not present who subsequently request a copy of the minutes will be required to sign a similar confidentiality agreement prior to receiving a copy.
The cost of all appeals proceedings shall be paid by the appellant if the decision is in favor of the TRA Certification position and by TRA Certification if the decision is in support of the appellant. When deemed necessary by the President of TRA Certification, the appellant shall be required to place sufficient funds in escrow to cover the estimated cost should the appeal be unsuccessful.
A copy of this procedure will be provided to anyone who expresses an interest in appealing a TRA Certification International, Inc. decision or action.
Decisions on appeals shall not result in any discriminatory actions against the appellant.