Addressing Complaints

All Open Society Foundations employees are responsible for ensuring that the Foundations operate in an ethical and lawful manner at all times.  This policy provides guidelines for bringing forth any serious concerns regarding illegal, unethical or other improper acts or practices that may have an impact on the Foundations.  This policy applies to all Open Society trustees, directors, officers, employees, consultants, agents, vendors and volunteers.

Individuals are encouraged to discuss any good faith concerns about violations of any Open Society Foundations policies or procedures, applicable laws or regulations, or any illegal, unethical or other improper acts or practices, with any of the following: the Open Society Foundations’ general counsel; the director of International Human Resources; the director of programs; and/or the director of international operations.  Concerns should be reported promptly.

An individual may communicate concerns in person in a face-to-face meeting or may set them forth in writing.  Such concerns could include acts or practices of trustees, directors, officers, employees, consultants, agents, vendors or volunteers that, for example, constitute fraud, might lead to incorrect financial reports, or might violate contractual or other commitments of the Open Society Foundations.

All concerns shall be investigated to the extent possible. If it is determined that the alleged concern is a confirmed violation of policy, procedure or law,  individuals responsible for the wrongdoing will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, including termination for cause in serious cases.

Complaints coming from outside and within the Open Society Foundations about acts or practices that appear to constitute abuses of authority by the Foundations themselves, can be addressed to the Open Society Foundations ombudsman.

The ombudsman investigates the complaints she receives at her discretion, and reports her findings to the Board of Directors at Open Society Foundations office in Budapest.

Where necessary, the Open Society Foundations support the work of the ombudsman by providing her with investigative assistance. Matters that can be dealt with by other grievance mechanisms within the Open Society Foundations are referred to those grievance mechanisms for resolution. For example, the ombudsman does not deal with employee grievances or with disagreements about the merits of a grant or programming decision. Rather, the ombudsman’s primary responsibility is to investigate accusations of rudeness, negligence, dishonesty, or other abuses dealing with grant applicants, other parts of the network, partner organizations, or the general public.

The position of ombudsman is held currently by Irena Veisaite; in the past, she has served both as the chair of the board at the Open Society foundation in Lithuania and as a board member at the Open Society Foundations office in Budapest. Contact information for Veisaite is as follows:

Open Society Fund–Lithuania
Didzioji str. 5
2001 Vilnius
Lithuania
Tel: 37-02-685511
Fax: 37-02-685512
Email: irena@osf.lt