The Grievance Process

Grievance Process IconThe grievance process is intended to provide an internal mechanism for considering employee grievances. Employees with concerns are encouraged to discuss them with managers and/or Department Head prior to initiating the grievance process. This discussion is not, however, required.

A grievance may arise from alleged unfair treatment in work assignments, promotion, transfer, discipline, or termination or from alleged discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or other grounds prohibited by law. The following actions are not subject to the grievance procedure unless discrimination is alleged:

  • Reductions in force
  • Job eliminations (due to restructuring or grant ending)
  • Percent of merit increase
  • Performance Evaluations

The Human Resources representative and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Relations (EEO/ER) establishes procedures for the initiation and conduct of the grievance process to supplement those stated on this web site. These procedures are distributed to the grievant (the party initiating a complaint), respondent (the party responding to the complaint), and, in the case of a Formal Grievance, to members of the Formal Grievance Hearing Committee. Deviations from prescribed grievance procedures may be grounds for an appeal of the Committee's decision.

There are certain time limits set in the grievance procedure for taking action. If the time limit for taking an action expires on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday observed by the university, the action date will be extended to the next business day.

After the HR representative, EEO Office, or the Grievance Committee reviews and rules on a grievance, the decision will be sent to the grievant via USPS Certified Mail. Appeals will be considered and must be filed within the prescribed timeframe.

All employees may file a grievance, regardless of their status with the university. Those covered by a collective bargaining agreement must follow the provisions outlined in the agreement. For allegations of discrimination, the employees should contact the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Relations.

 

The grievance procedure is intended to provide an internal mechanism for considering employee grievances. Informal Grievances allow an employee to explain a situation that concerns them, provide documentation to support (if applicable), provide possible resolutions to the situations, and gives an impartial party, either with Human Resources or Equal Employment (EEO), the ability to review the concerns.

Purpose

An informal grievance hearing has the following purposes:

  • To provide an informal setting for the review of the issues surrounding the grievance
  • To provide a forum for the free exchange of the concerns of the parties involved in the grievance
  • To promote communications for establishing better working relationships between the parties involved in the grievance
  • To resolve the grievance at an early stage, if possible

Request an Informal Grievance

Prior to requesting an Informal Grievance Hearing, an employee should discuss the matter with his or her manager. If the matter remains unresolved, the employee should seek to discuss it with the department head. If the manager or department head does not resolve the grievance, an employee may, prior to requesting an Informal Grievance Hearing, discuss the issue with the HR representative assigned to their working area. If the employee alleges discrimination, he or she should be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO). Such discussions prior to requesting an Informal Grievance do not extend the deadlines for requesting an Informal Grievance. The HR representative or the Office of Equal Opportunity will provide the employee with Informal Grievance documents to complete.

Employees should note that the HR representative or the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO) may make an exception and conduct a Formal Grievance Hearing without first conducting an Informal Grievance Hearing.

Grievants, their witnesses, and their advisers shall be protected from retaliation for participating in the grievance process regardless of the outcome of the complaint.

Informal Grievance Hearing

Upon receipt of the request for an Informal Grievance Hearing, the HR representative or, if the complaint alleges discrimination, a designee from the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO) will respond to the informal grievance.

The grievance process is intended to provide an internal mechanism for considering employee grievances. Formal Grievance Hearings are designed to air the issues involved in a grievance in front of an official committee. The requirements, structure, and results of a Formal Grievance Hearing are different than those of an Informal Grievance Hearing.

Formal Grievance Hearing Board

From time to time, the Chief Human Resoruces Officer will request names of employees in regular positions from each Vice President as prospective members of the Formal Grievance Hearing Board. From among the names submitted, approximately 40 employees will be appointed to a Formal Grievance Hearing Board. Members of the Formal Grievance Hearing Board are appointed permanently. Should a member of the Formal Grievance Hearing Board no longer desire to serve, he or she must provide immediate written notification the Associate Vice President, Human Resources . Employees may be removed from the Formal Grievance Hearing Board by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources at his or her discretion or at the request of a Vice President.

Requesting a Formal Grievance

If a grievance has not been resolved informally, a grievant may request that a Formal Grievance Hearing Committee review his or her request to determine whether a Formal Grievance Hearing should take place.

Employees should be directed to the HR representative. If the employee alleges discrimination, he or she may request to speak with a representative of the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO).

Review of the Request for a Formal Grievance Hearing

Human Resources or the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) assigns three members of the Formal Grievance Hearing Board to a Formal Grievance Hearing Committee within 10 calendar days. When the Formal Grievance Hearing Committee convenes to review a grievance request, the committee selects one member to serve as chairperson. This Committee will review the grievant's request.

Within 15 calendar days of receipt of a request for a Formal Grievance Hearing, a Formal Grievance Hearing Committee determines whether to grant the request. If the request is not granted, the grievant may, within 10 calendar days of the date the decision is mailed, appeal the Committee's decision. If the appeal is granted, the Committee sets a hearing date.

Formal Grievance Hearing

IIn a Formal Grievance Hearing, the Committee listens to the grievant and respondent together with witnesses called by either party, provided the testimony is relevant to the issues under consideration. The grievant and respondent are entitled to question all witnesses appearing at the hearing and to present written statements or other evidence. The proceedings are under the control of the assigned chairperson and are not subject to formal courtroom rules of evidence or procedures.

The Formal Grievance Hearing is independent from the Informal Grievance process. The Formal Grievance Hearing Committee may request for Human Resources or, if the grievance alleges discrimination, the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO) to submit any documents gathered during the Informal Grievance Hearing as evidence or to provide other appropriate assistance. Neither members of Human Resources or the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) nor their designees shall be called as witnesses at the Formal Grievance Hearing.

The Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO), the HR representative, or a designee will appoint an individual to take notes of the proceedings. A copy of the proceedings will be made available to the grievant and respondent(s) upon request; such a request must be made in writing.

Formal Grievance Hearing Decision

Within 10 calendar days of the completion of the hearing the Formal Grievance Hearing Committee submits a written decision, signed by all of its members, to Human Resources or the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO). If a decision is not unanimous, a majority decision controls. Human Resources,  the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO), or their designees will contact the grievant and respondent(s) to inform each of them of the Committee's decision. A copy of the decision is sent by certified mail to the grievant's home address as shown in university records and to the respondent's office address. The Committee's decision is final unless appealed.

Appealing The Formal Grievance Hearing Decision

The decision of the Committee may be appealed. The grievant or the respondent must submit an appeal in writing by certified mail or hand delivery to the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) within 10 calendar days of the date of the mailing of the decision.

Implementing The Formal Grievance Hearing Decision

Human Resources or the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO) takes or directs appropriate administrative steps to ensure that the decision of the Formal Grievance Hearing Committee is implemented.

Grievants are prohibited from seeking relief that results in an adverse action against the respondent, i.e., termination or transfer to another position. If the Senior HR representative or the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO) concludes that action should be taken to resolve the grievance, he or she informs the relevant department head of the appropriate action and, when necessary, discusses the matter with a higher-level authority.

If the grievance is resolved through the informal grievance process, no further action is taken by either party. If the grievance is not resolved to the grievant's satisfaction, an employee has the option of seeking relief through the university's formal grievance process.

Retention of Documents

Grievances filed with the Senior HR representative or in the Office of Equal Opportunity (EEO) are retained in the respective office for a period of two years. Thereafter, the case file is archived.