Staff HR Grievance Procedure

Issue Date: 07/29/2019
Related Policy: Staff HR Grievance Policy; OIDEO Grievance Policy

Goal

To provide an objective process for reviewing Staff HR Grievances.

Detailed Procedures

Pre-Grievance Consultation

  1. Employees will be given a copy of the Staff HR Grievance Policy and Procedure at the time they receive a Positive Corrective Action (PCA). Additionally, 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 grievance. No employee will be disciplined, harassed, intimidated, or retaliated against for discussing workplace issues, concerns, and complaints, or for utilizing the grievance procedure. 
  2. Employees and supervisors can consult with Employee Relations to help resolve workplace issues, without regard to whether a grievance has been filed.

Grievance Process

If an employee elects to file an HR Grievance, the Grievance will be handled in the following manner.

  1. Grievances should be submitted in writing to Employee Relations by email at AskHR@case.edu or in person by visiting the HR Service Center in Crawford Hall, Room 320.
  2. Grievances alleging discrimination or violation of the university’s equity policies (e.g. discrimination and harassment) should be submitted to the Equity Office in Adelbert Hall, Room 318.
    1. If a grievance involves both HR and OIDEO issues, Employee Relations and the Office of Equity may coordinate the handling of a grievance.
  3. The grievance process commences with the filing of a written grievance on the Staff HR Informal Grievance Form by an employee (the “grievant”). The Staff HR Informal Grievance Form must include:
    1. A written statement, including the alleged violation and/or misapplication of a stated policy or procedure (i.e. typically that the facts detailed in the PCA are not accurate or the level of discipline is too harsh for the events that occurred); 
    2. A statement of the relevant facts supporting the grievant’s position, e.g., date(s), event(s), names(s)/title of person(s) involved; witness(es); and
    3. The remedy sought by the grievant (i.e. PCA discipline lessened, PCA language revised, PCA removed, etc.).

Grievance Stages

An employee who receives a PCA for discipline less than termination (e.g. verbal warning, written warning, suspension) must first file an Informal Grievance. The university will make a good faith effort to seek informal resolution of a grievance. If the effort is not successful and the employee is not satisfied, the employee may file a Formal Grievance. If they file a formal Grievance and are not satisfied with the resolution, they may file an Appeal, which will be heard by the Staff Grievance Appeal Committee.

An employee who received a PCA terminating their employment must file a Formal Grievance. If they file a formal Grievance and are not satisfied with the resolution, they may file an Appeal, which will be heard by the Staff Grievance Appeal Committee.

An employee is not able to participate in the Staff HR Grievance procedure if the employee’s discipline was due to acts of violence or threats of violence.

Timing of Grievances

  1. The grievance process commences with the filing of a grievance on the Staff HR Grievance Form and submitting to Employee Relations. The Staff HR Grievance Form must be submitted to Employee Relations no later than:
    1. Ten (10) business days after the PCA was issued (the Informal Grievance Form).
    2. Five (5) business days after any Informal Grievance decision was issued to institute a Formal Grievance (the Formal Grievance Form);
    3. Five (5) business days after a Formal Grievance decision was issued to institute an Appeal before the Appeal Committee (the Appeal Form).
  2. Any untimely filed Staff HR Grievance will be dismissed, unless it alleges a violation of the university’s Non-Retaliation and Whistleblower Protection PolicyThese timing limitations do not apply to equity grievances under the Office of Equity Grievance Procedure.
  3. The grievant may dismiss the grievance at any time by giving written notice to Employee Relations at AskHR@case.edu or to the individual Employee Relations Investigator with whom they are working. However, Employee Relations may be obligated to investigate allegations of retaliation even if the staff member dismisses a grievance.
  4. Generally, Employee Relations will attempt to complete the informal grievance process within thirty (30) calendar days, and any formal grievance process within sixty (60) days of the filing of the grievance. Complex grievances or grievances with extenuating circumstances may take longer.

Informal Grievance Stage

  1. The informal grievance stage is initiated by the grievant executing and submitting the Staff HR Informal Grievance Form within ten (10) business days after the employee received the PCA and submitting it to the Human Resources Department at AskHR@case.edu or in person in Crawford Hall, Room 320.
  2. Human Resources will make a good faith effort to seek informal resolution of an Informal Grievance submitted to Employee Relations. Employee Relations will review the grievance, clarify issues, and offer advice and consultation with both the employee and the supervisor to attempt to resolve the grievance.
  3. If resolution is achieved at the Informal Grievance stage, Employee Relations will set out the informal resolution in writing and provide a copy to both the grievant and the supervisor.
  4. If the informal resolution process fails to satisfactorily resolve the grievance, the employee may execute and submit a Formal Grievance.

Staff HR Informal Grievance Form

Formal Grievance Stage

  1. If an employee is unsatisfied with the Informal Grievance response, the employee may initiate the Formal Grievance stage by executing and submitting the Staff HR Formal Grievance Form within five (5) business days after the employee is notified of the determination of the informal grievance and submitting it to the Human Resources Department at AskHR@case.edu or in person in Crawford Hall, Room 320.
  2. During the formal grievance, Employee Relations will investigate the grievance or otherwise obtain additional evidence relating to the involved employment issue. Employee Relations will make one of the following determinations:
    1. The PCA was warranted as issued and the formal grievance is dismissed.  In such a case, Employee Relations may refer the grievant to other resources or may refer the matter to other appropriate university offices.
    2. Changes or modifications to the PCA are warranted, or modification will be granted in response to the grievance, including and up to rescinding the PCA if warranted. In such a case, Employee Relations will direct actions to provide the remedy granted by the grievance determination.  To issue this finding, Employee Relations must be convinced in light of all the information presented, it is more likely than not university policy was violated, errors were made in the PCA process or relevant information failed to be considered when the PCA was issued. Employee Relations may refer the matter to another employee within Human Resources or another university office to implement the remedy.
  3. At the conclusion of the investigation, Employee Relations will provide a written determination of the grievance to the grievant, the responding party, and other parties that may be involved in the grievance or have reason to know about the determination, such as the grievant’s supervisor, the grievant’s department leadership, the responding party’s supervisor, or the responding party’s department leadership.

Staff HR Formal Grievance Form

Appeal

  1. If an employee is unsatisfied with the Formal Grievance response, the grievant may request an appeal of the determination by executing and submitting the Staff HR Appeal Grievance Form within five (5) business days after receipt of the written Formal Grievance determination from Employee Relations, and submitting it to the Human Resources Department at AskHR@case.edu or in person in Crawford Hall, Room 320.
  2. The Staff Grievance Appeal Committee are comprised of university-wide employees appointed by the Human Resources Department.
  3. The appeal request must be requested in writing stating in detail the basis for the appeal. Appeals may be sought and granted only on the following four (4) bases:
    1. Procedures for the Grievance Process were not followed and the failure to follow procedures substantially affected the outcome of the grievance;
    2. The facts detailed in the positive corrective action are not accurate;
    3. New evidence has become available that was not available at the time of the Formal Grievance and not considered in the underlying investigation, and could substantially affect the outcome of the grievance determination; or
    4. The positive corrective action taken was not appropriate to address the underlying circumstances (i.e. the level of discipline is too harsh for the events that occurred).
  4. The Associate/Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, or a designee, will determine whether the appeal falls within at least one of the appropriate bases for appeal. If the appeal does not fall within at least one of the stated bases for appeal, the appeal will be dismissed. If the appeal does fall within at least one of the stated bases for appeal, the Associate/Assistant Vice President for Human Resources or the designee, will notify the grievant, the responding party, and those with reason to know, and will appoint a three (3) person panel from the Human Resources roster of Staff Grievance Appeal Committee members (the “Panel”).
  5. Panel members will not be assigned to a grievance brought by an employee within their department or school. The Panel and the grievant will be asked if there are any conflicts of interest with any of the parties regarding the grievance. Panel members will be removed only if the Associate/Assistant Vice President for Human Resources or the designee determines that a genuine conflict of interests exists.
  6. The Panel may not reconsider whether the appeal falls within one of the bases for appeal. The Panel will be provided with: (1) Employee Relations written determination of the grievance; (2) any additional documents provided by the grievant, the responding party, and/or the grievant’s or responding party’s department relating to the appeal; and (3) any other relevant documents obtained during the investigation of the grievance. The Panel will typically conduct their review based on the written documents, but may interview the grievant, the responding party, or others if necessary to make a determination on the appeal.
  7. The Associate/Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, or their designee who has not been involved in the particular matter being appealed, will serve as a non-voting facilitator for the Panel to advise on procedural issues involving the appeal.
  8. The Panel may recommend the determination of Employee Relations be accepted, narrowed, modified, and/or reconsidered.
    1. Generally, if a Panel finds an appeal is valid because new evidence has become available that was not available at the time of the Formal Grievance and not considered in the underlying investigation or procedure was not followed, and could substantially affect the outcome of the grievance determination, the Panel will refer the appeal back to Employee Relations to reconsider the matter with the new evidence. 
    2. If a Panel finds that the positive corrective action taken was not appropriate to address the underlying circumstances (i.e. whether the facts detailed in the PCA are not accurate or the level of discipline is too harsh or too lenient for the events that occurred), the Panel will make a recommendation regarding the finding(s) and the discipline based on its review.
    3. The sanction recommended by the Panel may be different than the sanction imposed by Employee Relations, including a sanction greater than or lesser than the sanction imposed by Employee Relations.
  9. The recommendation of the Panel shall be made and communicated to the Vice President for Human Resources. The decision of the Vice President for Human Resources shall be the final decision regarding the grievance and will be delivered by the Associate/Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, or their designee, in writing to the grievant, the responding party, and other persons who have reason to know.

Staff HR Appeal Grievance Form

Revision History: 01/01/1995; 01/01/2002; 01/01/2008; 08/01/2010; 06/03/2019

Download the Staff HR Informal Grievance Form

Download the Staff HR Formal Grievance Form

Download the Staff HR Appeal Grievance Form