These are staff notes for instructors and other staff members at a club, to provide help and advice for implementing the AHA Code of Conduct and to make sure that the club is able to implement the rules and culture described in that document.
If your club does not have enough income to be able to afford to remove someone from the club, then you are not charging enough. You should set your prices so that you can continue to run even if some of your members are no longer paying in. This is just good business sense anyway, in case someone moves away or cannot attend for whatever reason; it also means that you need not feel any financial constraints about doing the right thing when resolving a complaint.
Make your club robust enough so that you are able to deal with problems and apply whatever solution is required, without damaging your club.
Make sure everyone in your club knows that they can approach you without receiving any negative consequences themselves. This means talking to your people so that everyone knows how to make a complaint and that it is alright to do so.
Do you have at least one or two people (either in your club or in other clubs) to whom you can turn for advice and support in the case of a report of a major problem? If not, then identify one or two peers whom you could potentially approach for help.
If you know what the right thing to do should be after receiving a complaint about someone, and you then fail to do it, you are just as complacent as the accused. Even if it takes all the strength and emotional reserves you have, you absolutely must do what must be done. This is imperative for the health and well-being of your participants, for your club, and for the activity you have chosen to be your passion.
You do not need to do everything alone. You should not do everything alone. Find advice and support for the enquiry if one is needed, and find someone (anyone) to be your support, your backup, your wingman, if you need the help when delivering the verdict and telling someone that you are upholding the complaint against them.
A strong and healthy club culture of friendliness, supportiveness, and being good training partners for each other will suffice to ward off the majority of potential problems, because potential predators or other problematic individuals will realise that they (and their behaviour) are not welcome in the club, and many such people will self-select out of your environment. For those who remain and are determined to cause problems, the same club culture will be what empowers people to trust that they can come to you with complaints, so that the problem can be dealt with as early as possible before it affects any more people. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, and a healthy club culture is your ounce of prevention.
Dealing with problems may be unappealing and emotionally draining. At the end of the day, however, dealing with problems immediately is only a little difficult compared to how problematic (for you) they will become if you let them linger and do not deal with them at the right time. It is much better to have a slightly uncomfortable discussion with someone now, rather than having to go through the heartbreak and stress of a genuine disaster later (especially one that came about because you knowingly allowed it to develop over time).
People are typically quite forgiving of honest mistakes. If you accidentally swear in front of under-18s, they may giggle, but you probably won’t scar anyone for life – just try to do better next time. If you accidentally say something insensitive or inappropriate, then apologise and try to do better next time. You don’t usually need to worry about honest mistakes, especially if you learn from your mistake and do better next time. People usually only raise complaints about more serious (or recurring) issues that they feel strongly enough about to muster the courage to make a complaint – so you should take complaints seriously, believe the victim, and not dismiss them without due process.