Procedure no. V-4a
Effective date: 08/01/2010
Related Policy: V-4
Goal: To provide an objective process for reviewing staff grievances.
For Staff: Review Board
For Faculty: See Faculty Handbook
For Student Employees: See Student Employment Handbook
Any supervisor who is approached by an employee about filing a grievance will give the employee a copy of this procedure without commenting as to the appropriateness of the complaint. No employee will be disciplined, harassed, intimidated or retaliated against for discussing workplace issues, concerns and complaints or for utilizing the grievance policy/procedure. For staff employees, informal and formal complaints will be handled by the Office of Employee Relations. For faculty, informal and formal complaints will be handled through the Faculty Grievance Procedure, as described in the Faculty Handbook.
If an employee elects to verbally discuss or provide written documentation regarding their workplace issues, concerns and/or complaints with a supervisor or Employee Relations prior to filing a grievance, the supervisor or Employee Relations will allow time for consultation with the employee about the issue, concern, or complaint. If the supervisor is the subject of the workplace issue, concern and/or complaint, the supervisor or the employee has the option to request the presence of an objective third party, such as an administrative head or a representative from the Office of Employee Relations.
If an employee elects to proceed with a grievance, it will consist of an informal and formal resolution process for resolving grievances concerning the alleged violation and/or misapplication of a stated university policy.
Informal Resolution Process:
The university will make a good faith effort to seek informal resolution of a grievance brought to the attention of the Employee Relations Office. Representatives of Employee Relations will be available to counsel staff employees who believe they have a grievance. The representative will review the grievance and determine whether or not the employee’s grievance falls under the Grievance Policy. If it is determined that the grievance is not within the grievance policy, the consultation will consist of assisting the employee to identify the source of the situation, providing the employee with information about university policies affecting their employment, providing feedback about their particular situation, and suggesting possible solutions.
All grievances must be submitted within ten (10) business days of the alleged incident(s) underlying the grievance utilizing the Staff Grievance Form.
If it is determined that the grievance falls under the Grievance Policy, the Employee Relations representative will review the grievance, conduct an initial investigation, help clarify issues, and offer advice and consultation to resolve the grievance. This may involve discussion(s) with the individuals involved and communication with the department or unit involved and with appropriate university officials when necessary. The representative(s) will make recommendations for resolution of the grievance. If the informal resolution process fails to satisfactorily resolve the grievance, the employee may utilize the formal resolution process as long as the grievance falls under the grievance policy. The staff member can also dismiss the grievance at any time by giving written notice to an Employee Relations representative.
Formal Resolution Process:
Formal grievances may be initiated by an employee if the informal resolution process fails to satisfactorily resolve the grievance. Formal grievances must be filed within five (5) business days after the employee is notified of the determination by the Employee Relations representative.
To initiate the formal resolution process, the employee must submit to the Employee Relations staff the following information in writing on the Staff Grievance Form:
1. A written statement, including the alleged violation and/or misapplication of a stated policy or procedure.
2. A statement of the relevant facts supporting the staff member’s position, i.e., date(s), event(s), names(s) and title of person(s) involved, and include information about the impact the issue has had or is having on the staff member.
3. A statement of the remedy sought by the staff member.
The Employee Relations representative will discuss the matter with the complainant, other persons involved, and witnesses if necessary, and will review any other relevant information or evidence in reaching a decision.
Following the investigation, one of the following determinations can be made:
1. University policy has not been violated. In such a case, the Employee Relations representative may direct the complainant or parties as to other steps required to address the issue(s) or may refer the matter to other appropriate university offices.
2. University policy has been violated and will determine appropriate corrective actions. To issue this finding, the Employee Relations representative must be convinced in light of all the information presented, that it is more likely than not that the university policy was violated. The corrective actions may include the corrective actions set out in the university’s Positive Corrective Action Policy (III-3) or other appropriate actions.
At the conclusion of the investigation, a representative of Employee Relations will make a determination and shall respond to the employee and the employee’s department in writing within a reasonable amount of time.
The complainant or the respondent has the right to an appeal to the Staff Grievance Appeal Committee within five (5) business days after being notified of the determination by the Employee Relations representative. The appeal must be in writing on the Staff Grievance Form, stating in detail the basis for the appeal. The appeal must be submitted to the Employee Relations office.
The Staff Grievance Appeal Committee is comprised of representatives from Human Resources and various management centers. The members will be appointed by Human Resources.
The Assistant Vice President of Human Resources or a designate will schedule the Staff Grievance Appeal Committee and notify the employee and the department. The committee members will be asked if they have a conflict of interest with regard to the grievance. If it is determined that a conflict of interest exists, the committee member will be removed or will remove themselves from hearing the grievance. The employee may also request that a committee member be excused for a legitimate conflict of interest. The Director of Employee Relations will make the decision concerning any such request.
The Staff Grievance Appeal Committee will consider the file and other written evidence, which it deems to be relevant to the allegations raised in the appeal. The Committee will ordinarily conduct their review based on the written documents, but may meet with the appealing party or others, if necessary, in a particular case.
The Staff Grievance Appeal Committee may accept, reject, or modify in any way the determination and recommendations of the Employee Relations representative.
The Staff Grievance Appeal Committee will communicate its decision to the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources or designate who will be responsible for communicating that decision to all parties involved in the grievance. The Committee’s decision shall be final.